Symposium on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2018 Peace Proposal Held in Mumbai

August 24, 2018
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai

In celebration of the historic anniversary of President Ikeda’s joining the Soka Gakkai 71 years ago, the fourth peace symposium of this year based on President Ikeda’s 2018 peace proposal titled “Towards an Era of Human Rights: Building a People’s Movement”, was held at Mumbai on 24th August 2018.

The symposium was held in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) at their Convention Center and was attended by over 600 members and guests.

The main points of the proposal were discussed by eminent speakers, Mr. Rishabh Shah, Founder & President, Indian International Model United Nations, Ms. Aarti Wig, Co-founder and Country Director at Yunus Social Business India and Smt. Justice Roshan Dalvi, Retired Judge, Bombay High Court. The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Ishaat Hussain, Former Executive Director, Tata Sons

The first speaker was Mr. Rishabh Shah, the young dynamic Founder of Indian International Model United Nations. Rishabh said “If you give a man a fish, he will have food for a day. If you teach him how to fish, he will have food every day. This proposal teaches you how to ‘fish’. He further said, “It is not the fact that you reached the top of the mountain that matters, but how you reach the top that matters. In my opinion, the peace proposal 2018 shows not just a way to achieve world peace, but also to maintain it.”

The next speaker, Ms. Aarti Wig, a young leader who works to support social business creation in India spoke passionately about her journey of moving from a rewarding corporate career to working for a social cause. She said, “It is significant that we are discussing the proposal today which is the anniversary of Daisaku Ikeda’s joining the Soka Gakkai”. She concluded her thought-provoking speech by saying, “President Ikeda’s Peace Proposal is a beautiful example of a sort of Social Fiction that the world needs which offers practical examples to our biggest problems and putting spirituality where it belongs – at the center of our lives”

Speaking next, Justice Roshan Dalvi spoke passionately about her legal profession and emphasis on empathy in justice calling it “Sentipathy”. She narrated series of cases that she had handled highlighting variety of issues like child abuse etc. In course of her narrative, Justice Dalvi illustrated how the law of the land cannot account for the unique circumstances of each individual case. By doing so she stressed the importance of humanity in interpreting the law. “It is the little things that go a long way” she said in conclusion.

Mr. Ishaat Hussain started his key note address by saying that the timing of the proposal couldn’t have been more opportune considering how played out the existing paradigm looks and how fragile the political, economic, social and environmental situation appears today. He said, “The proposal argues firstly for a new era of humanity based on human rights for all. I underline ‘All’, and, secondly to achieve it through a peaceful and inclusivist movement” He concluded his speech by quoting from the peace proposal, “Every person who takes action for the sake of others while carrying the burden of personal hardship manifests their original essence and mission to illuminate society with the light of dignity”. He strongly applauded President Ikeda for submitting this proposal.

Dr Shalini Bharat, acting director of TISS, thanked BSG for bringing the symposium to their institute and praised the speakers for their inspiring words. She said, “I am so glad the BSG symposium is being held here. The theme of the symposium resonates with the mission of TISS.”

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 WD Chief Ms. Rashi Ahuja.

The symposium had a huge turn out with over 150 guests and media in attendance. One of the guests remarked, “The annual peace symposium is a milestone that we look forward to each year” and thanked BSG for the invitation to join in a wonderful symposium.

The symposium was widely covered by both national and local media (some media clips are attached).

The symposium had a huge turn out with over 150 guests and media in attendance. One of the guests remarked, “The annual peace symposium is a milestone that we look forward to each year” and thanked BSG for the invitation to join in a wonderful symposium.

Symposium on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2018 Peace Proposal Held in Ahmedabad

July 26, 2018
J.B. Auditorium, Ahmedabad

The third peace symposium of this year based on Ikeda Sensei’s 2018 peace proposal titled “Towards an Era of Human Rights: Building a People’s Movement”, was held in Ahmedabad on 26th July 2018.

The symposium was held in J.B. Auditorium, Ahmedabad Management Association and was attended by over 300 members and guests.

The main points of the proposal were discussed by eminent speakers – Professor Errol D’Souza, Director, IIM Ahmedabad, Dr. Bhushan Punani, Executive Secretary, Blind People’s Association and Dr. Preeti Shroff, Dean, MICA, School of Ideas. The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Kartikeya Sarabhai, Founder and Director, Centre for Environment Education.

Speaking first, Prof Errol D’Souza shared that one of his learnings from the Peace Proposal was that ‘If we really want to be human, we should know the consequences of our actions’. He pointed out a very specific human trait which we can call as ‘Foresight’. He said, “With foresight we can foresee the consequences of our actions and work backwards to see what we can do now to avoid some of the adverse consequences”. Prof D’Souza hailed President Ikeda as a visionary and reaffirmed that dialogue is the way forward to build hope for humanity.

The next speaker, Dr Bhushan Punani spoke passionately about his groundbreaking work for the welfare of the disabled. Referring to very touching stories of how his organization has helped many such individuals to completely transform their lives and become independent. Dr Punani stated that the 2018 peace proposal duly recognizes human rights of elderly, women empowerment, human right education, averting nuclear war and education for migrant children. In addition to these, he urged the audience to also advocate the rights for the disabled as 20% of people in the world have disability of some kind.

Speaking next, Dr Preeti Shroff thanked BSG for creating a classroom to take a break from our hectic lifestyles to pause and ponder about peace. She talked about a few points from the Peace Proposal that touched her life. She said, “the means you choose to achieve an end changes that end. So, if we choose violence, it will become the new normal for our society”. Dr Shroff further quoted the story of Yusra Mardini from the Peace Proposal who said, ‘Refugees are normal people like you, capable of extraordinary things if given a chance.’ Dr Shroff concluded by talking about women’s empowerment saying that women have the ability to create nurturing societies with their leadership.

Padma Shri, Kartikeya Sarabhai started his keynote address by saying that the movement of peace cannot come externally. Talking of the Peace Proposal he said “It’s a wonderful proposal and the people movements angle is very important”. He further added, “This kind of debate is the cornerstone of starting peace solutions.. Dialogue, as advocated by President Ikeda, is the foundation of Soka Gakkai and is the best way of beginning this work”. He concluded his speech by lauding the vibrancy and enthusiasm of the BSG members and said that he looked forward to more interactions in the future.

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 WD Chief Ms. Rashi Ahuja.

This was the first time BSG held a peace symposium in Ahmedabad, and the members responded with great enthusiasm and dedication. The symposium was attended by more than 150 guests out of which 66 were student guests. One of the guests remarked, “Thanks a lot for the invitation to join in a wonderful symposium. Right from the parking place the volunteers created a cheerful and positive atmosphere. I was overwhelmed by the politeness, dedication and commitment of the youngsters who volunteered”.

The united and painstaking efforts of all the volunteers ensured that the Symposium was a great success.

The symposium was widely covered by both national and local media (some media clips are attached).