Peace and Disarmament
SGI-USA Celebrates 65th Anniversary of United Nations
On October 24, SGI-USA held an event at SGI-USA San Francisco Culture Center's Ikeda Auditorium to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the United Nations, which is celebrated every year on October 24.
David Krieger, founder and president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, attended the event as guest speaker. Gesturing to two giant gilded urns full of bright sunflowers, Mr. Krieger remarked that the flowers stood in stark contrast to the weapons of mass destruction he so adamantly opposes. "Wherever missiles are planted on the earth," Dr. Krieger said, addressing some 200 people, "we must uproot them and replace them with sunflowers."
Dr. Krieger has published a dialogue on nuclear abolition with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda titled Choose Hope.
On the same day, SGI-USA also cosponsored the final day of the UN Association-USA San Francisco event in conjunction with international nongovernmental and other organizations. San Francisco was the site, in 1945, where representatives from 50 founding nations signed the United Nations Charter.
To commemorate both the 65th anniversary of the United Nations and the 50th anniversary of Mr. Ikeda's first visit to San Francisco for global peace in October 1960, the UN Association-USA San Francisco Chapter proclaimed October 24, 2010, Day of Daisaku Ikeda--Global Leader of Peace.
Several international peace activists spoke at the daylong event, which combined dialogue on some of the world's most pressing issues with an ensemble of musical and dance performances, including a hip-hop dance by the Oakland-based youth troupe Global Chill and Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" sung in German by SGI-USA's San Francisco Golden Gate Chorus. The SGI antinuclear exhibition "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" was also on display.
Several dignitaries sent congratulatory messages, including world-renowned futurist Hazel Henderson and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said that the occasion was a time to "reaffirm our global mission, reassert the universal values of tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity, and, above all, resolve to do more."
During a panel discussion, Christina Weber, SGI-USA Youth Peace Committee representative, related how SGI-USA youth are studying Mr. Ikeda's peace proposals and other writings on nuclear abolition. She then encouraged the audience to include youth in solutions to peace. The day concluded with a concert by five-time Grammy nominee John Santos and his sextet.
[Adapted from an article in the December 17, 2010, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photo courtesy of Kingmond Young]