"Seeds of Change" Exhibition and Environment Lectures Held in Panama
“Seeds of Change: The Earth Charter and the Human Potential” exhibition opened on September 4, 2008, at the SGI-Panama Culture Center, with support from the Panama Education Ministry and various academic institutes and environmental organizations, including University of Panama, National Association for Nature Conservation (ANCON) and Nature Foundation. Some 130 attended the opening ceremony. Among those cutting the ribbon were ANCON Executive Director Alida Spadafora, Nature Foundation Executive Director Zuleika Pinzón, SGI-Panama General Director Gabriel Martínez Garcés and local children. The St. Marks Brass Quintet of Panama University performed.
At the opening, Ms. Spadafora introduced activities of ANCON, a non-profit organization founded in 1985 by Panamanian business people, scientists and community leaders to protect the country's biodiversity and natural resources. She also expressed her appreciation for SGI-Panama's hosting of the exhibition and commented, “The Earth Charter is a genuine constitution for the Earth. Education has an extremely important role to play. It is important to promote a culture of peace, because of the variety of religions, cultures, ways of living and thinking in our world.”
After viewing the exhibition, Dayana Avila, editor of Panamá América, one of the largest newspapers in Panama, stated he was impressed that the exhibition also featured drawings by Panamanian children. “I believe change really can start from children if we teach them from a young age.” Over 1,200 local residents, including many students, elementary through university level, visited the exhibition, which closed on September 27.
On September 24 at the exhibition venue, SGI-Panama hosted lectures by Ms. Pinzón and Dr. Stanley Heckadon, director of the Office of Communications and Public Programs at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. They both referred to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's environmental proposal in which he stressed the importance of education for sustainable development, and expressed their concurrence with the importance of an inner transformation of each individual.
[Adapted from a report from SGI-Panama and an article in the October 17, 2008 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGI-Panama]