Other Peace Activities

SGI-USA Publishes Voices for a Culture of Peace

SGI-USA is publishing a compendium of lectures from its Culture of Peace Distinguished Speakers Series in a book titled "Voices for a Culture of Peace: Volume 1."

SGI-USA Publishes Voices for a Culture of Peace

The publication, initially proposed by former UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul Chowdhury, features 14 speakers. From scholars, practitioners and activists with diverse backgrounds—the book presents an array of thoughts on how to create and foster a global culture of peace. In particular, the book focuses on how to enhance understanding of topics such as personal empowerment, gender issues, conflict resolution, gang intervention and creating value through culture and education.

In 2005, SGI-USA established its first Culture of Peace Resource Center in support of the UN International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2000-2010). Currently, such resource centers exist in New York, Santa Monica, Honolulu, Chicago and Washington DC.

SGI-Bolivia Women Promote Peace and Women's Empowerment

First SGI-Bolivia Women's National Convention
First SGI-Bolivia Women's National
Convention

For almost a decade, SGI-Bolivia's Women's Peace Forum (WPF) has promoted community activities aimed at improving the status of Bolivian women and has regularly organized peace gatherings in cities throughout Bolivia.

On June 22, 2008, some 360 women gathered at the SGI-Bolivia Culture Center in Santa Cruz for the first SGI-Bolivia Women's National Convention. Sarah Mejía Gonzales, president of the Association of Women's Civic Committees of Santa Cruz Department (CCFP) and CCFP Senior President Piedades Justiniano de Oliva attended. The event included a film screening and the SGI-Bolivia White Lily Chorus performed.

"The End of Poverty" Author Professor Jeffrey Sachs Speaks at Culture of Peace Lecture Series in New York City

Dr. Sachs addressing a New York audience at a Culture of Peace Distinguished Speakers Series (Jan. 24, 2008)
Dr. Sachs addressing a New York
audience at a Culture of Peace
Distinguished Speakers Series
(Jan. 24, 2008)

On January 24, 2008, some 700 people attended SGI-USA's Culture of Peace Distinguished Speakers Series with Columbia University Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs at the SGI-USA New York Culture Center. Dr. Sachs is widely known for his bestselling book, The End of Poverty.

Dr. Sachs drew from history a compelling example to juxtapose with our current age, which he sees marked by pessimism and a "remarkable can't do spirit." He shared extensive excerpts from what he considers to be one of the greatest speeches in modern history given by John F. Kennedy on June 10, 1963, amid extreme Cold War tensions. When he heard the speech, Nikita Khrushchev, then leader of the Soviet Union, reached out to President Kennedy and their two governments were able to sign a landmark Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Referencing today's world, Dr. Sachs observed, "Today, people believe that solutions to other problems are also impossible. That poverty can't be solved, that climate change can't be addressed, that the environment can't be addressed...but as John Kennedy said, that is a dangerous, defeatist belief, it leads to the conclusion that we are doomed...If we overcome the fear, which is the greatest obstacle of all and understand the nature of the challenges and understand the power of the technologies that we have...it's inevitable in fact that we'll solve these problems."

Dr. Sachs outlined the extreme poverty of the 21st century in which children especially suffer, explaining that it is impossible for people to "climb out" of this poverty because they have absolutely nothing. But he said it doesn't take much in terms of monetary aid to move people out from under this poverty. He cited several technologies and organizations that are already having tremendous impact.

Dr. Sachs closed his lecture stating confidently that if enough people take the right action, there can be an end to poverty and "we can make the most important connection of all, across every racial divide, religious divide, linguistic divide or any other divide you think of...because the human-to-human contact is so powerful. It's so immediate, it is so persuasive. It is the essence, the path to peace on the planet."

SGI Organizations Support Haiti Relief Efforts

Bottles of water donated by SGI-Dominican Republic
Bottles of water donated
by SGI-Dominican Republic

On January 15, 2010, Soka Gakkai Vice President Kenji Yoshigo visited Jean Claude Bordes, Charge d'Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Haiti in Tokyo, Japan, to pledge a contribution of 3 million yen (US$32,900) toward government-organized relief activities for the earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday January 12, 2010.

In the Dominican Republic, SGI-Dominican Republic members have donated 2,400 bottles of water, canned food, powdered milk, and crackers to the NPO Socio Cultural Movement for Haitian Workers (MOSCTHA). Four of the members, including two doctors, have traveled to Haiti with MOSCTHA's team to assist with the provision of emergency medical assistance. SGI-Venezuela has also pledged a donation of foodstuffs, diapers and sanitary towels through the Venezuelan Red Cross.

In addition, SGI-USA has donated US$10,000 to the American Red Cross International Response Fund and held extended prayer sessions for the repose of the victims. On January 18, SGI-Hong Kong has also contributed HK$200,000 (US$25,750) to the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF in support of relief activities. Lastly, on January 22, Taiwan Soka Association donated 1 million Taiwanese dollars (US$31,420) for relief efforts through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which is responsible for humanitarian assistance.

SGI Organizations Support Haiti Relief Efforts

SGI Organizations Support Haiti Relief Efforts

On January 17, 2010, Singapore Soka Association (SSA), together with other faith-based organizations, participated in the annual recycling project, "Clean Up South West" at SSA's Soka Culture Center. The project, started by the South West Community Development Council (SWCDC) in 2006, aims to engage residents in a "trash-for-groceries" effort where items such as newspapers and clothing are redeemed for groceries. The food items are then donated to low-income families and individuals within the community.

Culture of Peace Distinguished Speaker series

SGI-USA has opened Culture of Peace Resource Centers in New York, Santa Monica, Chicago and Honolulu as part of its effort to promote a culture of peace. The centers in New York and Santa Monica launched the Culture of Peace Distinguished Speaker Series in 2007, and a similar Culture of Peace Resource Center has now been set up in the new SGI-USA Washington DC center. Speakers have included Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN; Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Betty Reardon of Teachers College Peace Education Center, former child soldier Ishmael Beah and Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams.

Events to commemorate 60th anniversary of the end of World War II

In 2005, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Young Women’s Peace Committee carried out a survey on attitudes to war and peace among different age groups in Japan. In July an Intergenerational Culture of Peace Forum sponsored by the Women’s Peace Committee of the Soka Gakkai was held in Yokohama where young people could hear experiences from those affected by war. Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, spoke on “The Status of Human Security: 60 Years After the Atomic Bombs” at the Hiroshima Ikeda Peace Center. A World Youth Peace Music Festival was held in Hiroshima’s Central Park, and a peace rally for Japanese and international students also took place.

“Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World”

The exhibition “Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World” was launched at the UN Headquarters in February 2004 where it was seen by 10,000 people, including many local schoolchildren. It has also been shown at Columbia and Harvard Universities, the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC., as well as in Canada, Switzerland, Spain, India, Malaysia, Jordan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Philippines, Luxembourg, Bolivia, and Panama. The exhibition illustrates the importance of building a culture of peace at all levels of society, highlighting the work of peace activists and showcasing essays and artwork of children, the inheritors of this task.

Manifesto 2000, SGI panel “Culture of Peace” at the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference 1999, Victory over Violence

Initiated during the International Year for a Culture of Peace in the year 2000, Manifesto 2000 was a grassroots international signature-collecting and awareness-raising campaign endorsed by all the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and UNESCO. It contained six pledges: Respect All Life, Reject Violence, Share with Others, Listen to Understand, Preserve the Planet and Rediscover Solidarity. SGI members in several countries actively participated in this campaign in gathering signatures for the petition.

“Linus Pauling and the Twentieth Century”

Started in 1998 in San Francisco, an exhibition introducing the life and achievements of this tireless campaigner for peace toured seven cities in the United States including Washington D.C. and five cities in Japan. In 2003, the exhibit was displayed at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and at the Palais des Nations in Geneva during the NPT PrepCom under the auspices of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). To date, it has been viewed by more than one million people.

“The Women and The Pacific War”

The exhibition featured the stories of women and wartime materials from the Pacific War with the message that such stories contain precious lessons for future generation that should not be forgotten if we are to construct peace. It was first shown in Tokyo in 1981, then toured Okinawa, Yokohama, and other locations in Japan, and was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people until 1987.

Participation in UN processes in cooperation with the NGO community

SGI participates in committees and networks and contributes to joint endeavors together with likeminded groups and individuals such as:

・ NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, New York
SGI has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2002.

・ NGO Committee for Disarmament, Geneva
SGI has been a member of the Committee over the years and a member of the International Bureau of the Committee since 2007.

・ NGO Committee on Peace, Vienna
SGI has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2007.

・ Global Action to Prevent War
The SGI is a member of the International Steering Committee of Global Action to Prevent War.

・ Geneva Forum
The Geneva Forum is a Geneva-based international network on disarmament facilitated by the Quaker UN Office, the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, and the Programme for Strategic and International Security Studies of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, which also involves the academic sector and governmental delegates. SGI has been participating in the NGO network of the Geneva Forum.

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