Education for Human Rights, Disarmament, Sustainability Are Key--SGI President Issues Annual Peace Proposal
Tokyo, Japan: In his annual peace proposal issued today, Daisaku Ikeda, president of the global Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International (SGI), urges renewed efforts to promote education for human rights, disarmament and sustainable development. In Ikeda's view, education that focuses on such global issues as peace and elimination of poverty "forms the basis for cooperative efforts to build a sustainable human society, one that we can pass on to future generations."
Ikeda also stresses the importance of bringing disarmament education to schools worldwide. This should include simulations of conflict situations and participatory learning at the secondary level, and enhanced peace studies curriculums at the college and university level.
The proposal also includes measures for enhancing the "soft power" capacities of the United Nations and other forums of international cooperation. For example, Ikeda calls for the creation of an Asia-Pacific UN Headquarters with a focus on enhancing human security; making the working group dealing with the issues of North Korean nuclear development a standing body; the creation of an international nuclear disarmament agency; and the early adoption of a global small arms treaty.
The SGI was active in working with other NGOs for the adoption, last December, of the World Programme for Human Rights Education. The Programme will focus in its first three years (2005-2007) on the primary and secondary school levels. Likewise, 2005 marks the first year of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Ikeda supported the establishment of such a decade in a proposal issued during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. SGI organizations worldwide have been actively supporting the goals of these interrelated initiatives through exhibitions, symposiums, publications and other public information and education activities.
The underlying theme of Ikeda's current peace proposal is the importance of dialogue as the core practice of "Buddhist humanism." Referencing Martin Buber's (1878-1965) inquiries into the dialogue process, Ikeda stresses the transformative power of dialogue based on respect and recognition of interconnectedness; he urges that a similar attitude to nature should be the basis for creating a sustainable global society.
Since 1983, Daisaku Ikeda has written an annual proposal on issues of peace and human security. These are released on January 26, commemorating the founding of the SGI in 1975. SGI presently has 12 million members in 190 countries and territories.