Seeds of Change exhibition at JBM Global School receives an enthusiastic response

April 15-18, 2015
JBM Global School, Noida-Expressway.
The three-day long ‘Seeds of Change’ exhibition held at JBM Global School, Noida-Expressway, on 15th, 16th and 18th May 2015, received a great reception and enthusiastic participation from one and all.

Speaking on the occasion, the administrative head of JBM Global School, Dr. (Mrs.) Seema Bhandari said, “The thought behind the panels is mystically very much in sync with our school’ endeavor of Greenofest that was conceptualized in 2008, and moves around sustainability and preservation of the Mother Nature.” She also emphasized on the fact that even if 10 percent of the children could change their heart and develop a clear understanding towards the theme of this exhibition then, “I will be very happy because that way, they will be taking home something for life.”

A senior citizen Mr. Jay Prakash admitted that “we have got tired of trying to reiterate the importance of interconnectedness. But this exhibition is simply and effectively driving home the point again. I am very happy to see this.” A student of the school felt very strongly about a need for preservation and said that he now feels more assured that “the action of one person can actually make a difference.” Mirroring his thought another student remarked that he will definitely try and do “my bit”. He agreed to one of the volunteer’s suggestion of looking after birds in his environment by creating small watering holes for them in his vicinity.

The students took active part in explaining each of the panels and went all out to explain the deep message of human interconnectedness and need for preservation.

The final day was marked by the presence of District Magistrate of Greater Noida, Mr. Nagendra Prasad Singh who appreciated this effort being made by Bharat Soka Gakkai and wished that the youth would be able to move towards “such positive thoughts.”

BSG Education Division Seminar on ‘Education for Nurturing Humanity’ at Jamia Millia Islamia

August 11, 2015
Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
At the invitation of the Department of Education of Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, BSG’s Education Division organised a symposium on Soka Education titled Education for Nurturing Humanity for their faculty, postgraduate and undergraduate students and research scholars on 11 August 2015.

The presentations and experiences shared by the six panelists, all graduates from Soka University America (SUA), were compelling evidence of how their time at the university forged their personalities, gave them a deeper understanding of their mission to work for humanity, and strengthened their bond with their mentor, President Ikeda.

After warmly welcoming the participants, Prof. Shoeb Abdullah, head of the Institutes of Advanced Studies in Education (IASEs) at Jamia Millia Islamia, drew on the commonalities between the philosophy of education bequeathed by the first three presidents of the Soka Gakkai, and the principles taught at Jamia’s Department of Teacher Training and Non-formal Education.

The speakers from BSG were Priyanka Sabarwal, Shivangi Khattar, Aishani Khurana, Hideko Piplani, Alankrita Chhikara and Daman Chhikara. They spoke on the varied topics on the goals of education as ‘The Happiness [and Empowerment] of the Learner’, ‘Dialogue’, ‘Human Relations’, ‘Building Character through Reading’, ‘Global Citizenship’ and on ‘Moving from a Self-Centred to an Altruistic Mode of Living’.

Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal confers Honorary Doctorate on President Daisaku Ikeda

November 28, 2015
New Delhi
Jagran Lakecity University (JLU), Bhopal, conferred the Honorary Doctorate Humane Letters (Humanity and Arts) to Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher and President, Soka Gakkai International (SGI).

The award was conferred in recognition of President Ikeda’s untiring pursuit of peace and love for humanity and accepted on his behalf by Soka Gakkai President, Minoru Harada.

The citation expressed appreciation for President Ikeda’s 2015 Peace Proposal and his emphasis on dialogue across differences for the sake of mutual co-existence as well as the self-directed transformation within the individual that leads to social transformation.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Anoop Swarup, the Vice Chancellor of JLU said, “The very ethos and central tenet of Ikeda’s thought, and of Buddhism, is the fundamental sanctity of life, a value which Ikeda sees as the key to lasting peace and human happiness.”

“Today in times of great global turmoil in the wake of terrorist attacks, be it Mumbai, New York, London or Paris and our retaliatory response to it, with no end in sight, Ikeda and his thought becomes ever so relevant.”

“In Ikeda’s view, global peace relies ultimately on a self-directed transformational change within the life of the individual, rather than on societal or structural reforms alone.”

He said that only iconic personalities such as Dr Daisaku Ikeda and the path of Buddha, Gandhi and (Martin Luther Jr) King will bring lasting change in this world of ours for our future generations to cherish.

The award was announced earlier at the university’s convocation ceremony that was held in the institution’s sprawling campus in Bhopal.

President Ikeda’s unceasing dedication to the cause of peace has gained him appreciation world over. He is a rare recipient of 363 honorary doctorates so far. The current honour will be the 14th academic honour from India. Earlier prestigious institutions from India that have given awards include the University of Delhi, Vishwabharati University and Himachal Pradesh University, to name a few.

In his acceptance speech as conveyed by Mr Harada at the event, President Ikeda conveyed his deep appreciation for this honour and said that it was a great privilege to be recognised by a distinguished institution of higher learning. He said, “Educational efforts grounded in a philosophy of respect for the dignity of life can be a source of enduring inspiration to people and create unfathomable value. Jagran Lakecity University continues to vibrantly extend the influence of human spiritual awakening and spread the message of peace.

“I am moved by your motto, ‘Igniting Minds, Changing Lives,’ and the ways in which you seek to concretise it….The state of Madhya Pradesh is known for its diamonds. I believe that the lives of young people are like diamonds in the rough. As humanity wrestles with the darkness of the times, the world yearns for the light that issues from young people imbued with indestructible hope.”

Echoing these thoughts, Mr Vishesh Gupta, Chairperson, Bharat Soka Gakkai (the Indian affiliate of the SGI) said, “Fixing his gaze on the distant future, President Ikeda is always focusing on taking action in the present moment. President Ikeda says: ‘Life is short. The most valuable thing we can devote our lives to is fostering people who will build a new age for the sake of tomorrow.’

“And, in exact accord with this belief, both Soka Gakkai and Jagran Lakecity University are engaging in fostering the new generation who will shoulder the responsibility for the future of humanity.”

In the vote of thanks, educator Ms. Vandana Jain said that President Ikeda believes that education is one of the most sacred and valuable tasks and he urges us to always ask: For what purpose should one cultivate wisdom? The true purpose of education he believes is to serve the people, remove suffering and protect humanity. So, as we leave today, let us respond to Mr. Ikeda’s expectations by reaffirming to bring in a new age of value creating education for the sake of peace and human happiness!

BSG participates in SACH Bharat Conference

December 23, 2015
New Delhi
Renewing its commitment to establish a value-based society, BSG chose to join the SACH Bharat Conference held in the Capital over December 22-23, 2015.

BSG Chairperson Vishesh Gupta was invited to speak on ‘Minimum Governance, Maximum Self-governance’ at this conference that focussed on spirituality and work. Organised by ASSOCHAM and supported by the SREI Foundation and the Times Foundation, the conference had Indian and international speakers from all walks of life.
Mr. Gupta first talked of spirituality and recalled Shakyamuni Buddha’s description of dharma as the fundamental path by which people should live. He went on to say that in our terms it is “to rely on one’s authentic self, the self that we can believe in and be proud of at all times by”. Referring to the Middle Way, Mr Gupta said it was not just avoiding extremes but to live by “constantly interrogating one’s own actions to ensure that they accord with the path of humanity and this is spirituality—the humane way of living one’s life.” An expansion of the inner realm of life, he said, “encourages empathy for others and strengthens the desire to contribute to society; it brings forth the ‘sun ‘ of wisdom and compassion from within the depths of one’s life.” The process of human revolution, “bringing forth this inner sun, is the motive force that can enhance solidarity among people, lead to the prosperity of society, and create peace for humankind”.

Talking of self-governance Mr Gupta spoke of President Makiguchi’s description of the perfect job as one combining “beauty, benefit and good”. He stressed that ‘good’ is the most vital for self-governance. “Do you live for yourself alone, or for a greater purpose and value? It is easy to live thinking only of oneself, but to live for a great ideal requires steadfast commitment and courage… A person’s attitude to their work reflects their attitude to life and to people; it reflects their beliefs about life’s purpose…. Whether one works only to earn a salary or rather to create value for oneself and others—this is the question?” How can one achieve this inner awakening and inner motivation?

“Inner motivation implies self-control” he said, “one acts in a correct and responsible manner not because one is forced to, but spontaneously and on one’s own volition.” Adding that Dr Daisaku Ikeda calls it “Soft Power”, he went on to say that the process of soft power unleashes the inner energies of the individual. But, without the support of a philosophical foundation to strengthen and mobilise the spiritual resources of the individual, the use of soft power would become nothing more than ‘fascism with a smile’.

Soft power requires the recognition of dependant origination – it also seeks the development of harmonious relationships based respect for the sanctity of life, seeking harmony as a deeper level, and here, dialogue hold the key. Giving instances where this can be applicable in daily life, he said its starts with saying “Hello” “Good morning,” or “thank you,” brightly and cheerfully. It doesn’t matter if your greeting isn’t returned. Taking the lead in greeting others is important. Those who can respect others will be respected in turn.

Mr Gupta ended with a poem by Emerson — “Friendship”:

O friend, my bosom said,
Through thee alone the sky is arched,
Through thee the rose is red,
All things through thee take nobler form
And look beyond the earth,
The mill-round of our fate appears
A sun-path in thy worth.
Me too thy nobleness has taught
To master my despair;
The fountains of my hidden life
Are through thy friendship fair.”

Barkatullah University Confers Honorary Doctorate on President Ikeda in Japan

January 22, 2016
Tokyo, Japan.
On 22 January 2016, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda was conferred the Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) by Bhopal’s Barkatullah University. The conferral took place at the Central Tower of Soka University in Japan. The award was conferred by the Vice Chancellor of Barkatullah University, Prof. M.D. Tiwari, who had come to Japan especially for this occasion.

The conferral of the honorary doctorate, announced earlier in September 2015, comes in recognition of President Ikeda’s outstanding contri­bution to world peace and the development of education and culture.
The conferral ceremony began with a rendition of the Indian national anthem. After the citation was read out by Prof. Tiwari, the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) was presented to Prof. Baba, President of Soka University, who received the award on behalf of President Ikeda and also read out President Ikeda’s acceptance speech.

The citation states: The central theme in Dr. Ikeda’s philosophy is that “human revolution”—inner-motivated change—within even a single individual can positively influence all humankind. Ranging from the protection of human rights to sustainability and the empowerment of women and youth, his concerns are all underpinned by Buddhist philosophy and respect for the dignity of life.

The central tenet of Dr. Ikeda’s thought is the fundamental sanctity of life, a value which he sees as the key to lasting peace and human happiness. Indeed, Dr. Ikeda’s unstinting commitment towards humanity makes him a gift to humanity.

Addressing those present at the conferral ceremony, Prof. Tiwari said, “It was my long cherished wish to honour Dr. Ikeda’s contribution. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to be able to confer the Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) from Barkatullah University upon Dr. Ikeda today.”

Earlier, Prof. Tiwari and his wife went to the Tagore Square where the statue of the great Indian poet Rabindranth Tagore seemed to be watching over the students. They then moved to the Central Tower of Soka University where the conferral ceremony was held. Here they were welcomed by Soka University student representatives as well as Indians studying there. The honoured guests were overwhelmed by the warm welcome they received and happily joined an informal interaction where those students who went overseas to study in India also joined in.

Prof. Tiwari seeks to develop an education environment that is contextual and centred round the students’ needs. Concerned about those who cannot afford to go in for higher education because of economic reasons, he has raised funds and instituted over 200 scholarships, ensuring that the university treats all equally. He said, “Those who have studied in our institution will spread their wings in society and start serving those who do not have the opportunity to go in for higher education. In this way we can eradicate the inequality that is founded on economic disparities.”

Encouraging the students, Prof. Tiwari said, “Dr. Ikeda who is the founder of your institute is the person whose name should be known all over the world. I am expecting you, who have studied in Soka University, a wonderful university, to fully explore your potential and be truly successful.”

“Seeds of Hope” Exhibition held in Don Bosco School, Panjim, Goa.

February 11-13, 2016
Don Bosco School, Panjim, Goa.
The Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps towards Change, exhibition was held from 11-13th February 2016 at Don Bosco School, Panjim, Goa.

The Panel of guests at the opening ceremony consisted of the Vice Chancellor of Goa University, Dr Satish Shetye, Chief Guest Professor Edgar Ribeiro (Head of Task force for Regional plan of Goa), Dr M. Srikanth (Associate Dean International Programs and Collaborations, BITS Pilani) and Dr Subodh Kerkar (Renowned Installation artist).

The inauguration was also attended by 60 young students of Auxilium school called the “Eco group”. The panels of guests were very impressed with the efforts of the Bharat Soka Gakkai in Goa and happy to be a part of an exhibition that was raising awareness.

Professor Edgar Ribeiro said, “He states the Buddha, that not by birth but by conduct does one become a person worthy of respect. A Buddha is one who brings the power and compassion of enlightenment from within oneself and therefore is at peace with its environment.”

BSG representative, Devika Punjabi in her vote of thanks appreciated the panelists for their insights. She also thanked Don Bosco School and BSG members for their tireless efforts.
The next two and half days saw 2267 visitors viewing the exhibition. The “I WILL” Panel of the exhibition was overflowing with post-it notes making pledges to make personal contributions in making a change for the world. One of the most heart warming notes written by a student was, “First I want to clean myself, then slowly I want to clean my country and then the whole world. I want to protect the environment!” Some of the visitors, especially the teachers, who wrote in the visitor book also expressed themselves with heartfelt thoughts such as “Thank you SGI for making our children aware of their responsibilities.”

One of the visitor said, “ The Exhibition was an eye-opener and encourages us to do something for our environment. To become a front-runner and not wait for the other person to take initiative. A good effort!”

The film “A Quiet Revolution” was also screened at the exhibition. The exhibition also received extensive coverage in the local newspapers.

“Gandhi, King, Ikeda: A Legacy Of Building Peace” Exhibition Held At Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal

February 26-27, 2016
Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal.
The two-day long exhibition titled “Gandhi, King, Ikeda: A Legacy of Building Peace” was inaugurated on 26th February 2016 at Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal. This exhibition was held in conjunction with an International Conference on Life Skills Education on 26th and 27th February 2016 held at the same venue. The exhibition received great reception and enthusiastic participation from one and all. The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr. Keith Falconer, Venture Capitalist, Hong Kong, along with Shri Hari Mohan Gupta, Chancellor of Jagran Lakecity University.
After viewing the exhibition, one visitor remarked, “This is a great presentation that captures the lives of three leaders of the world who are devoted to world peace”. Another visitor summed up the message saying, “This is the way we need to educate our society”.

Many educators and academicians viewed the exhibition and were deeply appreciative of the exhibition panels and by the passionate explanation by the volunteers. BSG members went all out to explain the deep message of ‘power of one’ as conveyed by the panels.

During the conclusion of the two-day conference, Prof. Anoop Swaroop, Vice-Chancellor of Jagran Lakecity University, spoke about the great influence of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Daisaku Ikeda had on our world and spoke about the need for Human Revolution as advocated by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda.

Gandhi, King, Ikeda Exhibition Held at the ASN School, New Delhi

April 21-23, 2016
New Delhi.
ASN School in Mayur Vihar-I, New Delhi hosted the Gandhi, King, Ikeda: Building a Legacy of Peace exhibition in association with Bharat Soka Gakkai, from 21-23 April. This is an international exhibition put together by the Morehouse College, USA.

Indian freedom fighter Mohandas K. Gandhi, American civil rights advocate Martin Luther King Jr., and Buddhist philosopher, educator and author Daisaku Ikeda — three men from three different cultures and continents, have followed a common path of profound dedication and achievement in improving the lives of all people. The exhibition conveys the ideals and principles that these giants of the 20th century, lived by and propagated.
Mr. Dinesh Kumar Bhawsar, Deputy Education Advisor, HRD, Govt. of India inaugurated the exhibition, which was also attended by the BSG Chairperson Mr. Vishesh Gupta. The event started with the two of them going through the inspiring panels featuring colourful photographs, inspiring quotes and factual information about the three personalities; beautifully explained by the school’s students. Next was a thought provoking cultural programme presented by class XI students of the school, comprising skits, songs, and quiz, on social and humanitarian issues.

The school’s Principal, Ms. Sonia Luthra in her speech said that the need of the hour is to ensure world peace and it is only possible if each individual especially the young generation feel it their responsibility and take action to spread it.

Addressing the audience, Mr. Bhawsar said that there are many friends of peace, such as courage, love, kindness, honesty, and if one inculcate these qualities then once can spread peace. Earlier he also left his comment after seeing the exhibition that “The school and BSG organised a thoughtful event to teach us and understand peace. Students of the school explained peace in a very simplified way.”

Mr. Gupta praised the school students and said the values they learn in the school will help them throughout their life. He further said that one individual can change the world for better by becoming a good human being. He also asked students to imbibe their school’s motto ‘Faith & Follow, Act & Achieve, Serve & Smile’, in their lives.

Students very enthusiastically explained the importance of panels to the visitors and some of them shared what they have learnt from it. Kaustubh Joshi from class XI said that he learnt more about Gandhi’s life and he will strive to imbibe his qualities. Divesh Khanagwal said that this is for the first time that he got to know so much about Martin Luther and he’ll try and make friends by changing himself.

More than 2700 visitors who saw the inspiring exhibition were all praise for it. Some in their comments wrote: “Beautiful idea. Wonderfully executed, children got to know the three personalities in detail, their hard life and their contributions to the mankind.” “Great efforts. Tried to make students understand about the significance of peace and harmony.” “The exhibition has been a wonderful eye opening effort, definitely for school children.” “Very informative and facts about Rosa Park and others really left positive impact on children.”

A very powerful documentary on the same theme titled Gandhi, King, Ikeda: Community Builders was also shown many times during the three-days event. On the second day, the school organised poster-making and slogan writing competitions on 22nd April on the same theme, in which the students unleashed their imagination.

Symposium on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2016 peace proposal held at Chennai

July 6, 2016
Chennai.
Bharat Soka Gakkai organised its first peace symposium of this year in Chennai on the 6th of July based on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s Peace Proposal for 2016, titled “Universal Respect for Human Dignity: The Great Path to Peace”.

The symposium was attended by over 600 guests & VIPs.

There were three speakers – Dr G.Viswanathan, Founder and Chancellor of VIT University, Dr D. Vishwanathan, Former Vice Chancellor of Anna University and Dr Lalitha Balakrishnan, Principal MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai.

All the three speakers were very appreciative of SGI President Ikeda and SGI and congratulated BSG for organizing a seminar on world peace which is a big step considering the present situation in our society where people do not care even for their neighbors.

The first speaker Dr D. Viswanathan spoke on the role of education in society and the responsibility of teachers shaping the future of the students and empowering them to follow the right path in life. He also shared few learnings from his mentor Dr Abdul Kalam (former President of India) who always stressed on the role of the youth in achieving world peace.

The second speaker Dr Lalitha Balakrsihnan emphasized on creating inner peace by becoming more positive person and also by creating harmonious families which will lead to peaceful societies and peaceful world. She echoed SGI President Ikeda’s Message of resolving conflict through dialogue and said “In any conflict, one should not react, but, respond”.
The Keynote Speaker Dr G Vishwanathan also emphasized on the role of education in shaping an individual and thereby society especially the role of youth. He mentioned he was very happy to learn that 50% of BSG membership is youth. He also supported President Ikeda’s views on Nuclear Disarmament.

The welcome address was given by BSG Chairperson Mr. Vishesh Gupta and vote of thanks by Director & Head – External Relations Ms. Rashi Ahuja.

The symposium was well covered by the media – both electronic and print.

Symposium on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2016 peace proposal held at Hyderabad

July 23, 2016
Hyderabad.
The second peace symposium of this year was held in Hyderabad on the 23rd of July based on SGI President Ikeda’s Peace Proposal for 2016.

This was the first time that a Peace Symposium was held in the city of Hyderabad.

The symposium was a huge success and was attended by over 200 members, guests & VIPs. The event was held in collaboration with Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (JNTU) and the Environment Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI).

The main points of the proposal were discussed by eminent speakers, Mr. B. Kalyan Chakravarthy, IAS, DG, EPTRI (Environment Protection Training and Research Institute), Padma Bhushan P. Gopichand, Arjun and Dronacharya awardee and Chief National Coach, Indian Badminton Team, Ms. Karuna Gopal, Thought Leader on Sustainability and Smart Cities and Ms. Shailaja Ramaiyer, IAS, Vice Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University.

All the speakers came from different backgrounds and offered a wide spectrum of views on the Peace proposal. They also congratulated BSG for organizing a such an event against the backdrop of mounting violence worldwide

The first speaker was Mr. B. Kalyan Chakravarthy, DG, EPTRI. Mr. Chakravarthy could not come for the symposium due to a last minute exigency. His speech was read by BSG representative. In his speech, he reflected on how the great philosophical truths nurtured in India in ancient times were absent today. He concluded that, “It’s a fascinating story of how a change in peoples’ philosophy can change the future of a state, a nation, and perhaps of a civilization…”. He commended BSG in trying to revive this.

The second speaker Padma Bhushan, Arjuna and Dronacharya awardee and Chief National Coach of the Indian Badminton Team, Pullela Gopichand traced his own spiritual journey. It was a knee injury that prevented him from playing. Pointing out that spiritual truths can come from varied sources, he recalled words of his coach that always ring in his ears, “It’s not how many times you fall but how quickly you get up”. He said that sport teaches respect towards opponent and excellence towards oneself. “No matter which path an individual chooses, respecting the other person is very important”, he concluded.

The third speaker, Ms. Karuna Gopal, Thought Leader on Sustainability and Smart Cities said that it is important to prioritise our goals. For example, if we work on a single goal like the empowerment of women, we would be able to solve so many related problems. “When a woman is empowered, wouldn’t she be able to lead people out of poverty, wouldn’t she be able to make wise decisions, prevent herself and others from communicable diseases? Ms. Gopal also talked about the importance of collaboration and urged the audience to believe in the power of the self, and to be visionaries who can light the path for others.

The keynote address was delivered by Ms Shailaja Ramaiyer who spoke about the role of inner transformation in bringing about global peace in a world torn by rage, anger, cruelty and war. She said that asking ourselves questions like what can I do to change this situation, what can I do to bring a change in my life and how can I contribute positively will help us bring about small changes in ourselves. That kind of change will automatically help us bring change in our neighbourhoods, communities, cities and countries. Speaking of the importance of respect, dignity, and positivity, she commended the peace proposal by President Ikeda and also the activities undertaken by BSG.

The welcome address was given by BSG Chairperson Mr. Vishesh Gupta and vote of thanks by Director & Head-External Relations, Ms. Rashi Ahuja.

The symposium was covered extensively by the national and local media. A few media clippings are attached.

“Building a Culture of Peace Exhibition” at Green Fields School, New Delhi

August 5-6, 2016
New Delhi.
Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) organized the exhibition, ‘Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World’ in collaboration with the Green Field School, Safdarjung Enclave, at latter’s premises on August 5-6, 2016.

The exhibition that has been shown in many countries over several years, has impactful panels such as ‘The United Nations and the Culture of Peace’, ‘Paths to Peace’, ‘Community’, ‘Disarmament’, ‘Heroes of Peace’, and many more. It brings together the ideas of thousands of people and organizations dedicated to finding a path to lasting peace in daily life.

Ms Mini Khanna, Principal, Green Field School, while inaugurating the exhibition, appreciated the efforts of BSG in the fields of peace, culture and education. The energy and dedication of the student volunteers explaining the exhibition panels was overwhelming and each one made an effort to know about the panel for which they were responsible.
The exhibition was very well received by the visiting students who enthusiastically viewed each panel. Many shared what they have learnt either by participating on visiting the exhibition. Students shared that they feel empowered by learning that even one individual can change the world, by changing one’s immediate environment.

A class seven student, said “I learned that we should consciously try to respect other people. Harmony can we achieved this way.” A lot of students shared that they have decided to write to the president of India, sharing with him about their ideas of spreading peace and happiness. The teachers who accompanied the students for viewing the exhibition, took the theme to their classes and discussed the theme “Peace” with the students.

The responses from the parents were also very encouraging. Few parents even took time to explain some of the panels to their children accompanying them. Many appreciated the initiative taken up by the school and communicated the importance of having such forums as the need of the hour. A visiting parent remarked that after seeing the exhibition he realised how important it is to inculcate these values in young children.

At the end of seeing the exhibition, each visitor was asked to write their remarks on peace-pigeon cut-outs, which were later pasted on huge posters to be given to the school for display.

Seeds of Hope Exhibition held in Conjunction with XUB Sustainability Summit – 2016

August 11-19, 2016
Bhubaneswar.
The Sustainability Summit is an annual event organized by the Xavier School of Sustainability (XUB). This year, the 2nd annual XUB Sustainability Summit – 2016 was held at XIMB campus and XUB Xavier City Jatni campus, during August 11-13, 2016. The theme of this year’s summit was Energy, Peace and Global Governance.

With 156 speakers and delegates, the 2nd Annual XSoS Sustainability Summit 2016 was inaugurated on 12th August, 2016, at Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. His Excellency Dr. S. C. Jamir, Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, inaugurated the summit and presided over the event as the Chief Guest. The other distinguished personalities who graced the occasion were Shri. Upendra Tripathy, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, Mr. Anup Sahay, Chief, Corporate Strategy & Planning, Tata Steel, Mr. P S Narayan, VP & Head, Sustainability, WIPRO and Ms. YumiBae, Chief, Field Office, UNICEF, Bhubaneswar.

International visitors from USA, Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar and Dubai participated in the Summit. Representatives from leading corporates, Government and Non-Government Organisations like UNGCI, GRI, & UNICEF also participated.

One of the highlights of the summit was the ” Seeds of Hope” Exhibition. Through its use of the powerful visual medium, the ‘Seeds of Hope’ exhibition – consists of a visual documentary on the importance of “Learn, Reflect and Empower”. The initiative comprises of an exhibition of 24 panels, each professing 24 ideals that inspire and proliferate sustainable living and sustainable development practices.
In her address to the students, Ms Vandana Jain, Head of Educators Division, Bharat Soka Gakkai expressed her hope that the exhibition touched chords with the enthusiastic students’ community. She appealed to the students to take the message forward, since the youth are the ones with the power to bring about much needed change in societal trajectories.

Vice Chancellor XUB & Director XIMB Prof. Dr. Fr. Paul Fernandes stressed on the importance of addressing ecological and sustainability concerns necessary for people to live extraordinary lives” Dean XSoS, Prof S Peppin said “We are humbled by the overwhelming response to this Summit and for development to be truly sustainable, we need a different global order that promotes peace and equitable consumption of energy and natural resources”.

Symposium on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2016 Peace Proposal Held at Kolkata

August 19, 2016
Kolkata.
The third peace symposium of this year was held in Kolkata on the 19th of August based on President Ikeda’s Peace Proposal for 2016.

The symposium was a huge success and was attended by around 400 members, guests & VIPs.

Discussing the main points of the proposal were eminent speakers: General Shankar Roy Choudhuri, PVSM, ADC, Former Chief of Army Staff, Ex Rajya Sabha Member, Mr Atri Bhattacharya, Principal Secretary, IAS, Departments of Information and Cultural Affairs, Government of West Bengal, Ms. Sujata Sen, CEO, Future Hope and Former Director, East India, British Council and Dr. Kunal Sarkar, Eminent Surgeon.

All the speakers came from different backgrounds and offered fresh perspectives on the Peace proposal. They also lauded BSG for organizing a such an event against the backdrop of violence and unrest worldwide.

In his inaugural address, Mr Atri Bhattacharya complimented President Ikeda on his belief that each human being is worthy of respect. He strongly supported the ideas put forward in the peace proposal. For instance, moves towards dialogue and creating an atmosphere of tolerance. Here Mr Bhattacharya felt that the best way to achieve this is through one’s exemplary behaviour. Finally, he spoke about the youth and strongly agreed with President Ikeda’s focus on the youth being the force for change.

The second speaker, Ms Sujata Sen said, “In an interconnected world it is not enough to recognise the good done by others, the responsibility to do good lies with all of us, because the failure to do good will produce an evil outcome.” President Ikeda’s belief that those who have experienced the greatest suffering have invaluable lessons and capacities to share was a thought she resonated with. She added another point from the peace proposal — that education is the key to taking any vision forward but added that education should be provided with love, care and individual attention to the total needs of a person.
In his special address, the eminent cardiologist, Dr Kunal Sarkar spoke of another aspect that related to respect for life – a new dimension to the dignity of human life – the right to health. A good health care system is what guarantees that a human being has the strength to live with dignity. Health, he said is a very neglected sector today. When a person is ill and suffers he does not have the life force to be compassionate. What is required he says, is a ‘healthcare revolution’ and the freedom to seek healthcare.

In his keynote address General Roy Choudhuri recalled his personal experience during the Bengal partition and said that the highest form of disrespecting human dignity is colonialism. Looking at all decisions through the prism of human dignity is very important he felt. Respecting human dignity is something that begins in our own home, in our own vicinity and not in some distant place, he said. Dignity is the divine right of every individual. He agreed with President Ikeda’s standpoints in the Peace Proposal and complimented and applauded the Bharat Soka Gakkai for taking such initiatives in bringing about a change in society.

The welcome address was given by BSG Chairperson Mr. Vishesh Gupta and vote of thanks by WD Chief Ms. Rashi Ahuja.

The symposium was covered by the national and local media. Please see the attached document for a couple of coverages.

Symposium on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2016 Peace Proposal Held At Mumbai

August 27, 2016
Mumbai.
The fourth peace symposium of this year was held in Mumbai on the 27th of August based on President Ikeda’s Peace Proposal for 2016.

The symposium which was held in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), was widely appreciated and was attended by around 450 members, guests & VIPs. There were also student guests from various leading educational institutions in attendance.

To discuss the main points, the eminent speakers were Mr. Prakash Shah, India’s Former Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Former Ambassador to Japan, Dr. Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist to the Aditya Birla Group, Ms. Shaheen Mistri, Founder and CEO, ‘Teach for India’ and Professor K.M. Parivelan, Chairperson and Associate Professor at the Nodal Centre for Human Rights Education, School for Legal Rights and Constitutional Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

In her address, Shaheen Mistri said, “The peace proposal had several points that I could connect with. For instance, that everyone has the right to be happy. I think it is important to touch the life of each person. We need to ask ourselves what is it that I can do in this single minute, day or night to help others. I truly related with the concept of the courage of application and the beauty of transformative leadership. Through concrete action, we can change the climate and contribute to the peace and happiness of each and every person.”
Mr. Prakash Shah started by sharing that he has met SGI President Daisaku Ikeda both in Delhi and in Tokyo and lauded his endeavours for Peace. Mr. Shah talked about the need to reduce the world’s stockpile of small arms and nuclear weapons. He further said, “As President Ikeda says, that while we cannot eliminate the problems the reduction itself is a process by which we can move towards elimination — whether it is poverty, suffering of children, HIV or the Ebola virus, the reduction is a step towards elimination. Our efforts in these areas will go a long way in implementing what Dr Ikeda writes in his proposals.”

Dr. Ajit Ranade said that no stone could be left unturned in the pursuit of peace. He added, “Where does peace come from? Peace actually comes from justice and justice comes from the idea of fairness, we all need to be treated fairly. Peace is not a matter of debate and there is no compromise. In India we are politically equal but social and economic inequality exists. We need to remove this contradiction between political equality and social and economic inequality.

Professor K.M. Parivelan found the peace proposal inspiring and profound. He felt, “The principle that we need to reach out to everyone and not leave anyone behind is very important. We need to truly respect and believe in the inherent dignity of all life. We all need to take this message of peace and practise it.”

This was followed by a brief panel discussion.

The welcome address was given by BSG Chairperson Mr. Vishesh Gupta and vote of thanks by WD Chief Ms. Rashi Ahuja.

The symposium was widely covered by both national and local media. A media clip is attached.

Symposium on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2016 Peace Proposal Held in New Delhi

September 9, 2016
New Delhi.
The fifth peace symposium of this year was held in New Delhi on the 9th September 2016 based on President Ikeda’s Peace Proposal for 2016.

The symposium was well received and was attended by around 450 members, guests & VIPs. There were also student guests from leading educational institutions in attendance.
To discuss the peace proposal, the eminent speakers at the symposium were Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Former Chief Justice of India and Former Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Mr. H.K. Dua, Former Chief Editor, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express and The Tribune, former Member of the Rajya Sabha and Padma Bhushan Awardee and Mr Nitin Desai, Former Under-Secretary General (Economic and Social Affairs), United Nations.

In his address, Mr. H.K. Dua said, “No war in the world has ever sorted out any problem. It only leads to another war of a different kind, fought in a different place with a different technology.” He also drew attention to the image of a poor Vietnamese girl set on fire by a Napalm bomb crying and running through a rice field and the image of the man carrying his wife’s body in Odisha’s Kalahandi district. He said the peace proposals submitted by Soka Gakkai International President Daisaku Ikeda to the United Nations every year offer a ray of hope in a world rife with conflict.

Speaking next, Mr. Nitin Desai said that the two images mentioned by Mr Dua bring to mind the purpose for which United Nations was designed – to end the scourge of war and poverty. “We have not succeeded in the task,” said Mr Nitin Desai. “People’s lives have still not been made secure with all the things that we are trying to do.” He added that the challenge “we face is we live in a more globalised world for which we need a global ethic.” Our challenge is to design a process that finds common ground,” added Mr Desai.

In his keynote address, Justice Balakrishnan said, “Human rights activities must focus on giving our voice, to those who are embedded in various difficulties but are not in our field of vision.” ..“I deeply hope that the United Nations passes and ratifies Mr Ikeda’s peace proposals as convention to be implemented by various countries. While countries are not strictly bound by UN conventions, they definitely can do so and form their municipal laws on basic ideas of UN conventions, of which bringing happiness to the greatest number of people is most essential,” he said.

He also noted that India as a country is not poor because it lacks resources but because there is no judicious use of it. Human rights activities must focus on giving voice to those who are stuck in various difficulties but whom we cannot see, he added.

The speeches were followed by a brief panel discussion.

The symposium began with a welcome address by BSG Chairperson Mr. Vishesh Gupta and concluded with presentation of mementos and vote of thanks by WD Chief Ms. Rashi Ahuja.

The symposium was widely covered by both national and local media. A few media clips are attached.

Symposium on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2016 Peace Proposal Held in Thiruvananthapuram

September 24, 2016
Thiruvananthapuram.
The sixth peace symposium of this year was held in Thiruvananthapuram on 24th September 2016 based on President Ikeda’s Peace Proposal for 2016.

The symposium was held in Gandhi Bhavan and was attended by around 85 members and guests.

To discuss the peace proposal, the eminent speakers at the symposium were Dr. T.P. Sreenivasan, Former Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy of India, Washington, United States of America, Prof. N. Radhakrishnan, Founder, Ikeda Center of Value Creation, Thiruvananthapuram, Advocate V. S. Hareendranath, Former Member of Public Service Commission, Prof. N. Gopalakrishnan Nair, Former Principal NSS College, Chertalai, & Chairman Kerala Harijan Sevak Sangh and Mr. N. Bhaskaran Nair, Chairman, Theosophical Society of India

In his inaugural address, Dr. T.P. Sreenivasan started by mentioning that it was on an official visit to Japan in 1969, that he met President Ikeda for the first time. He spoke highly of SGI and BSG and significant contributions made by the organization in all these years. He further added, “This year marks the 35th year since Soka Gakkai International began its activities in support of United Nations. Many NGOs are now promoting the ideals the UN advocates and SGI is one such. “A strong proponent of world peace, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, has tirelessly worked for over 60 years to spread the universal message of peaceful coexistence. This Peace Proposal examines ways and means to bridge different cultures and nationalities so as to actualize a better world where no one is left behind.”
In his presidential address, Prof. N. Radhakrishnan, noted Gandhian and Founder, Ikeda Centre of Value Creation, Thiruvananthapuram, said, “Through the Peace Proposals, President Ikeda has, with considerable success, been influencing many of the UN’s decisions. Each Peace Proposal submitted to the world body and world leaders has well-articulated suggestions and appeals for sustainable peace and human transformation.”

The speeches were followed by brief reflections from Advocate V.S. Hareendranath, Prof N. Gopalakrishnan Nair and Mr. N. Bhaskaran Nair. The theme presentation on the Peace Proposal was made by BSG Chairperson Mr. Vishesh Gupta and Hony. Deputy Chairperson Dr. Akash Ouchi.

The symposium concluded with presentation of photo albums (pictures taken by Dr Ikeda) to the speakers and a vote of thanks by Ms. Rashi Ahuja.

The members of Thiruvananthapuram and many others who traveled from Cochin and nearby cities worked earnestly to make the symposium a great success.

The symposium was widely covered by both national and local media. A few media clips are attached.

Symposium on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2016 Peace Proposal Held in Bengaluru

October 21, 2016
Bengaluru.
The last peace symposium of this year was held in Bengaluru on the 21st October 2016 based on President Ikeda’s Peace Proposal for 2016.

The symposium was held in collaboration with IIM-Bangalore and was attended by around 350 members and guests.

To discuss the peace proposal, the eminent speakers at the symposium were Dr. Smita Srinivas, Head, School of Economic Development at the Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Dr. Corinne Kumar, Founder, World Courts of Women, and Prof. Ramnath Narayanswamy , Professor, Economics and Social Sciences, IIM-Bangalore.

Speaking first, Prof. Ramnath Narayanswamy said, “The Buddha is not a person, it is a process. Real renunciation is ego renunciation; we are fascinated with the story of Gautam Buddha’s four encounters outside the palace gate because that is my story, your story and the human story at large. Unless nations are able to subdue their ego and desire to conquest and expand at all cost, we cannot have lasting peace. SGI President Ikeda extended this truth affirming that what is true of individuals is also true of nations. His emphasis on the cycle of dependence, independence and inter dependence illustrates precisely this continuum.”

Drawing a parallel from President Ikeda’s urge to bring forth the ‘courage of application’, Dr. Corinne Kumar said, “We live in times where human rights are preserved for the more privileged and powerful. We must spearhead in dialogue with those who are powerless, nameless, oppressed and marginalized and find new perspectives on the universality of human rights.” Sharing key takeaways from the Peace Symposium later that evening, Dr. Corrine Kumar said, “Dialogue! Dialogue! Dialogue! You must have dialogue with everybody.”

Complimenting SGI President Ikeda on his persistent engagement with the United Nations on secular and geo-political issues, Keynote speaker Dr. Smita Srinivas said, “I consider it my good fortune to be interacting with an organization that is thinking about global issues with such consistency. SGI President Ikeda has been writing peace dialogues since 1983, telling us clearly what his propositions are, and suggesting where we might act. I see this as remarkable persistence and courage to keep at a dialogue when the stake seems so high and the odds seem slim and yet here we all are, in one room, discussing something that has the momentum of several decades. However, the real challenge for us is to take what SGI President Ikeda has said and apply it in our professional lives.” Dr. Srinivas reiterated, “Dialogue without learning does nothing for us. We can learn but unless we are communicating it and hearing back what somebody else does, learning is also insufficient.”

The symposium concluded with presentation of mementos to the speakers.

The welcome address was given by BSG Chairperson Mr Vishesh Gupta and vote of thanks by Ms. Rashi Ahuja.

The detailed and advance preparation done by the volunteers and behind-the-scene group members and many members who traveled from nearby cities ensured that the Symposium was a great success.

The symposium was widely covered by both national and local media. A few media clips are attached.

The symposium was also covered by Radio Channels like Big FM and Fever 104 FM.

BSG participates in Workshop on ‘Celebrating Innovation in Health and Sustainable Development’

January 04, 2017
XIMB, Bhubaneshwar.
BSG participated in Workshop on ‘Celebrating Innovation in Health and Sustainable Development’ organized by Xavier Council of Innovation (XCI) and Xavier University Bhubaneswar (XUB) in Collaboration with Planning & Convergence Department Govt. of Odisha on January 04 – 05, 2017 at Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar (XIMB), Bhubaneshwar.

The workshop was organized to create a platform for celebrating innovation in the field of health and sustainable development and promote a culture of innovation at team, organizational and community level.

Professionals from Business corporations, Government Agencies, UN agencies, International and National NGOS, Academic and Research Institutions who are actively engaged in nurturing and promoting innovations in sustainable development participated in the workshop.

Shri.R.Balakrishnan, IAS, DC-Cum-ACS, Planning & Convergence Dept., Govt. of Odisha gave the inaugural address. The other distinguished speakers who graced the occasion were Dr. Ramakrishnan, CMO, Arvind Eye Hospital, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Prof. Dr. Fr. Paul Fernandes S.J., Vice Chancellor, XUB & Director, XIMB, Dr. N.K. Panda, Joint Director, Planning & Convergence Dept., Govt. of Odisha, Mrs. Arti Ahuja, IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism Department, Govt. of Odisha and Shri N.K.Nayak, IAS, OSD, Planning & Convergence Dept., Govt. of Odisha. Representatives from leading corporates, Government and Non-Government Organisations like UNFPA, GRI, & UNICEF also participated.

In her address to the audience, Ms. Sumita Mehta, Head of BSG Public Relations, Bharat Soka Gakkai, expressed the importance of fighting for peace, respect for others and the power of dialogue.

Prof.S.Peppin, Dean, Xavier School of Sustainability (XUB), thanked everyone for their enthusiasm and positive spirit and said that participants presence helped to make this workshop both productive and fun.

‘Seeds of Hope’ Exhibition inaugurated in Guwahati

February 3, 2017
Guwahati.

The first exhibition of this year, ‘Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps toward Change’, was inaugurated in Guwahati on the 3rd of February 2017. The exhibition was on display at 4 different venues till 12th February 2017. The venues were ITA, Machkhowa, Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, Khanapara, Rudra Singha Indoor Stadium, Lastgate, Dispur and Donbosco School.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, inaugurated the exhibition at ITA Pragjyota Centre For Performing Arts Machknowa on 3rd February 2017. Also present were Mr. V.K. Pepersenia; Chief Secretary, Govt of Assam and Dr. Dhruba J Saikia, Vice-Chancellor, Cotton College State University.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said, “Seeds of Hope’ intends to create a value-based society. In order to do so, we must devote every moment of our life to society. There are many challenges ahead and BSG members must come forward and lead the change. Life is very short and we must dedicate our life for the good of society. Only when we act can we achieve our goal.

“Youth is a powerhouse and has immense potential. They must realize it and utilize it. When we work hard for the cause of human society, revolutionary changes can be brought and youth can bring revolutionary changes in society. 65% of India’s population is below 35, making our country the youngest country in the world. India must become a land of youth-led development.”

Echoing these thoughts, Mr. V.K. Pepersenia said, “‘Seeds of Hope’ depicts the power of one. We are in the habit of complaining and commenting. But the power of one tells us that it is only “I” who is responsible. If it pinches me, I must act to correct it. If I don’t act, nobody will.”

Dr Dhrubajyoti Saikia believed that: “We must look to make life sustainable, better.” He added that human carelessness was endangering the Earth. After referring to the aquatic life being endangered due to discarded plastic bottles, he said, “It doesn’t take much trouble to carry back the plastic bottles that people discard on beaches. The change has to come from within us.”

“Gandhi reminded us of it, BSG is reminding us that we need to be the change. We must grow together. Only compassion and humanism will carry us forward. Youngsters are taking an active role in building the future and there are enough resources to do so. Each one of us must change to change the world.”

In his welcome address, BSG Chairperson Vishesh Gupta appreciated the Chief Minister’s constant involvement with environmental issues and sustainable development and said that these resonate with the goals of SGI, which stands for dignity of life.

The inauguration was covered extensively by the national and local media.

The exhibition saw a footfall of 6470 visitors.

‘Seeds of Hope’ Exhibition held in Lucknow

April 18, 2017

Lucknow.

The second exhibition of this year, ‘Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps toward Change’, was inaugurated at La Martiniere Girls College, Lucknow on the 18th of April 2017.Prof. S.K. Barik, Director CSIR – National Botanical Research Institute and Prof. Sushil Kumar, Head, Deptt of Business Sustainability, IIM Lucknow, inaugurated the exhibition.

In his keynote address Prof S.K. Barik, who was also the Chief Guest for the occasion, said, “Poverty is that crucial factor that blocks the spread of peace and social justice. Poverty alleviation is therefore the most important responsibility before us. Each of us should confront this misery head on in order to establish an interconnectedness with all life. This way we will ensure sustainable development and peaceful environment management. I see the Seeds of Hope Exhibition as very pertinent in the current context”. Prof Barik also mentioned that he was deeply moved to see the smiling faces of the of BSG members and praised the members for their efforts.

Prof Sushil Kumar, the Guest of Honour said, “I sincerely appreciate the effort Bharat Soka Gakkai has made in organising this exhibition which showcases individuals from around the world who have taken up the challenge to bring about change. The exhibition rightly emphasises that sustainability is not only about protecting the environment — it’s also about ensuring social justice and peace.

BSG Chairperson Mr. Vishesh Gupta gave the welcome address and presented the guests with mementos. In his address, he said, “The exhibition leaves a very powerful message to plant the seeds of hope in the hearts of all who view it, to recognise the potential each of us possess to take concrete action in our communities.”

The inaugural was attended by a total of 560 prominent people including members from Kanpur, Rae Baraeli and Agra. Mrs. Jyoti Lal, Dy. All India WD Chief, gave the vote of thanks.

The inauguration was covered extensively by the national and local media. Media Coverage – Lucknow

The painstaking and detailed preparation done by all the volunteers and leaders in Lucknow ensured that the inaugural function was a great success and they determined to spread the message of peace and hope in their respective communities.

The exhibition was on display at 7 other venues including the Regional Science Centre, City Montessori School, Mount Carmel College, G.D.Goenka School, Lucknow Public School and Sardar Patel Institute of Dental & Medical Sciences. The exhibition culminated at Ambedkar University on 1st May 2017.

The panels received a tremendous response from the people of Lucknow . Over 20,000 students and people from more than 75 institutions visited the different venues.