Peace and Disarmament
SGI-Australia and Toda Institute Participate in IPRA Conference
On July 7, 2010, in conjunction with the International Peace Research Association (IPRA), SGI-Australia sponsored a workshop with peace scholar Johan Galtung in Sydney, Australia. The workshop was held at Customs House, one of the city's historic landmarks.
Professor Galtung, the founder of modern international peace studies and of IPRA, shared his vast experience of conflict resolution and related anecdotes of working as a peace mediator in conflict-ridden regions. The audience of 120 included participants from an IPRA conference taking place at the same time, as well as members of the public, SGI-Australia youth representatives and the media.
Prior to Professor Galtung's address, Professor Stephen Zunes of the University of San Francisco spoke about a case study of ongoing conflict transformation work being undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa. The evening closed with a question-and-answer session with the scholars. In his response to questions regarding conflicts around the world, Professor Galtung expressed his belief in the need to manifest creative responses to the recurring issues that inhibit progress toward peace.
From July 6-10, representatives from the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research attended an international assembly held by IPRA at the University of Sydney. Titled "Connecting Peace," the conference addressed issues pertaining to peacebuilding, human rights and nonviolence.
Toda Institute General Director Professor Kevin Clements gave the opening remarks. This was followed by a session on religion and peace by Dr. Olivier Urbain, Toda Institute director. Dr. Urbain spoke about SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's philosophy of peace and the current influence of Mahayana Buddhism on society.
On July 8, a session on religion and peace was also led by Dr. Urbain in which he spoke about the Buddhist principles of respecting the dignity of life and tolerance.
[Adapted from an article in the July 21, 2010, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan, and a report from SGI-Australia]