Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
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From August to October, seminars and workshops on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2013 peace proposal, “Compassion, Wisdom and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence,” were held in India, Panama and Guatemala, in collaboration with local partners.
On August 17, the Indian Council of Gandhian Studies (ICGS) and Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) jointly hosted a seminar at the Gandhi Bhavan museum in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, southern India. Panelists included five BSG representatives and ICGS Chairman Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, renowned scholar of Gandhian studies.
On September 12, 500 people attended the peace proposal symposium held at Chinmaya Mission Auditorium in New Delhi, which featured speakers from the United Nations, the National Commission for Minorities and the Planning Commission of the Government of India. The exhibition “Seeds of hope: Visions of sustainability, steps towards change” jointly created by SGI and the Earth Charter International was also on display.
related article Restoring Our Humanity An exhibition jointly created by the SGI and the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network The Mumbai seminar, held at the Nehru Centre on September 28, was co-organized with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. One of the speakers at the event, Sheela Patel, founder and director of the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres, drew on her work with marginalized groups such as homeless women and juvenile offenders in Mumbai to discuss the importance of compassion emphasized in Mr. Ikeda’s proposal.
On September 29, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, father of India’s green revolution and Chairman of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, was the keynote speaker in a seminar held at the University of Madras, Chennai. In his speech, he concurred with the suggestion of the setting up of a Social Protection Floor to help those in poverty.
The Kolkata seminar, held on September 30 at the Saturday Club, featured keynote speaker Bharati Ray, a distinguished historian and former pro-vice chancellor of the University of Calcutta. Some 350 people attended.
On October 6, SGI-Panama held a peace proposal forum titled “Sharing Joy and Action for Peace” at its culture center in Panama City. Panelists from SGI-Panama and two non-profit organizations spoke on themes from Mr. Ikeda’s proposal.
Panelists were Ana Mireya Díaz of TECHO, a non-profit that mobilizes youth volunteers to fight extreme poverty in Latin America and Caribbean; Jennifer Valverde from Club Global Information Network; and SGI-Panama youth representatives Seimalek Stocel and Catherine Martínez. Some 360 people attended.
A lecture on Mr. Ikeda’s proposal was also held on September 4 at the University of Panama, and a workshop was held at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala in Guatemala City on October 11.
[Adapted from articles in the October and November 2013 issues of Value Creation, Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG), reports from SGI-Panama and an article in the October 26, 2013, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of BSG and SGI-Panama]
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