Peace and Disarmament
SGI Women in Bolivia and Japan Promote Women's Role in Creating Peace
On October 1, SGI-Bolivia's Women's Peace Committee held two events in celebration of the role of women toward the betterment of society and the creation of peace.
The theme of the first event, a National Women's Conference for Peace, was "Women of Bolivia United for a Culture of Peace," held at the Alberto Saavedra Pérez Municipal Theater in La Paz. The conference commemorated both Bolivian Women's Day, which falls on October 11, and the 15th anniversary of the founding of SGI-Bolivia's Women's Peace Committee.
Elvira Colque Condori, president of the Women's Council Members Association of Bolivia (ACOBOL) expressed her appreciation for the conference which brought together women in Bolivia who have fought to improve their country, for the sake of future generations.
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message to the conference, which attracted some 650 participants. Yolanda Herrera Hoyos, president of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights of Bolivia, gave a presentation titled "For a Culture of Peace by Respecting Human Rights." She stated that peace can be successfully achieved only when women's access to full participation in power structures is ensured, and when their access to conflict prevention and solution efforts is ensured. A second presentation titled "Humanistic Education for Value Creation" was given by Vice Rector Jael Mirka Loredo of the National Pedagogic University.
Margot Olivares, a history teacher at Rafael Mendoza Castillo School, commented that the conference "had created an opportunity for women to meet each other without discrimination."
The conference was also attended by Congresswoman Senobia Gutiérrez, who represents the Department of Tarija; Congresswoman Marilin Partes Amachuy, of the Department of Chuquisaca; Councillor Julia Tamayo of La Paz City Municipal Council, who gave the opening remarks; and Regina Apaza Calizaya, president of San Andrés de Machaca Municipal Council.
SGI-Bolivia youth performed two dances, and youth representatives from the Ignacio Duchen Academy of Cordova contributed a poetry reading.
The second event was the opening of the exhibition titled "A Century of Women: Homage to Women of Bolivia and the World" which took place following the peace conference at the Contemporary Art Museum of La Paz, where it was on display until October 30.
The exhibition focused on the lives of 20 women who have been agents of positive social change in the fields of equality, human rights, education and peace, individuals such as Manuela Gandarillas, Ana María Romero de Campero from Bolivia, and Rosa Parks.
Congresswoman Marilin Partes Amachuy, who attended the peace conference, officiated the ribbon cutting ceremony and said, "The example and the courage of all these women featured in the exhibition is remarkable. There are many more anonymous women who are promoting values of peace and equality. We should value women more."
Earlier in October, the exhibition was shown at the Juan de Vasgas Costumbrismo Museum in La Paz.
In Japan, the exhibition "Women and the Culture of Peace" was shown at the Soka International Women's Center in Tokyo from November 23 to 27. On November 23, the Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee hosted a lecture by Yukie Osa, president of the Association for Aid and Relief, Japan, on the challenges of dealing with the aftereffects of the earthquake and tsunamis that hit the Northeast of the country on March 11, 2011.
On November 25, they hosted a further lecture on relief efforts in the Tohoku region by journalist Shinichi Torikai. He introduced SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's message following the disaster and spoke about the importance of giving people encouragement. Soka Gakkai members Tomoko Oikawa from Minami Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture and Toshi Sasaki from Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture also reported on their ongoing relief activities which have provided hope to many in the affected areas.
Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee Chair Kayo Maeta and Women's Peace Culture Center Chief Akemi Tsukiji also spoke at the event.
[Adapted from articles in the November 26, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, and October 2011 issue of Sol De Felicidad ; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]