February 20-21, 2015
Blue Bells School, New Delhi
On 20th and 21st of February 2015, Bharat Soka Gakkai brought the ‘Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World’ exhibition to Bluebells School International. The two day long exhibition was a culmination of the desire of a teacher who wished to inculcate the importance of peace in her community beginning with her students.
The exhibition, which was attended by a number of students and parents, was inaugurated by chief guest Dr. Madhumita Chakraborty, PHD and assistant professor of English at Zakir Hussain College. The first day saw many students from classes 6 to 10 in attendance, who actively participated with the volunteers as they covered the spread 30 thought intriguing panels. The exhibition began with the lighting of a lamp, followed by a welcome address by two young students who introduced Dr. Daisaku Ikeda and his contributions to peace and education. The girls also shared self-composed poems on the importance of a peaceful world free from violence and intolerance.
This was followed by an address by Dr. Chakraboty wherein she shared her impressions of the exhibition. In her address, Dr. Chakraborty touched upon various important issues such as the fact that peace starts at home, and that the existence of a peaceful world would require a change in the attitudes of the people who have become too accustomed to violence and blood-shed as natural facts of life. Dr. Chakraborty further stressed that it is action that is important, emphasising that it is our responsibility to shape the world we wish to live in. She concluded her speech by urging students who attended the exhibition to think of how they could contribute to peace in practical ways, and become enablers to a better world. In her words, “The kind of society that we need, the kind of society that we desire, and aspire to, has to be made up of the individuals we wish to be.”
Further, the exhibition was made more lively by the presence of the young students who shared their inputs on how to create a peaceful world. They shared how change should start with oneself, and the need to foster a culture of tolerance, respect and sharing through dialogue and mediation. Some of them shared how they were inspired by the examples of leaders on the world stage who were fighting for peace. “If they can do it, then I can do it too” was what students took back with them.
Parents attended the second day of the exhibition and were very appreciative that it was being held in school. Some of them even talked about how their children had told them about the exhibition the previous day. They expressed the desire to have more such exhibitions, as well as classes for their children on action points to take forward. The parents seemed very impressed with the panels on ‘Religion and Peace’ as well as ‘Shared Visions for Peace’. They took many pictures of the panels with the intent to share it with others. The parents also touched upon their responsibility in shaping their children’s outlook and behavior and in promoting the values of peace, respect and harmony. The exhibition also sparked an interest in Soka Gakkai International, and many also inquired about the philosophy.
The exhibition proved to be a starting point in getting individuals of the community to think about the concept of peace in a very practical and non-abstract way. Students as well as parents and teachers left the exhibition with a renewed wanting to be active contributors to building a culture of peace, which is what the exhibition sought to do.