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.

“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.

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.

“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.

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.”

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.”

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 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’.

Madurai Institute of Social Sciences confers Honorary Professorship on President Ikeda

April 18, 2015
Madurai Institute of Social Sciences, Madurai
The Madurai Institute of Social Sciences (MISS) awarded the title of Honorary Professor in Social Sciences to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, founder of Soka University, “for his outstanding and valuable contribution for the cause of world peace”, on 18 April 2015.

Prolonged applause and loud cheers followed the announcement of the award at the ceremony held in the Dharmalakshmi Auditorium cum Stadium on the MISS campus. Dr. Akash Ouchi, BSG’s honorary deputy chairperson, Ms. Bharati Ramachandran, BSG’s director and all-India deputy WD chief, and Mr. S. Seshadri, BSG’s general area chief of Tamil Nadu-Kerala General Area, accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Ikeda from Dr. (Capt) D.V.P. Raja, founder and chairman of MISS.

The conferral ceremony was held in conjunction with the 46th College Day celebrations and inauguration of the Centre for Thiruvalluvar Studies.

Also in attendance were Dr. M. Kannan, principal of MISS; Dr. G. Pankajam, former vice chancellor of the Gandhigram Rural Institute; Dr. M. Lakshmanan, well-known microbiologist and former vice chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University; Mr. N. Manimozhiyan, principal general secretary, Ulaga Thirukkural Peravai; faculty, staff and 600 students of MISS; and BSG members from Chennai, Salem, Coimbatore, Bengaluru and Madurai. After Dr. Raja read out the citation, the hall was again filled with great jubilation and warm applause.

The Madurai Institute of Social Sciences, established in 1969, is a multi faculty research centre affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University and the first college in South India to offer courses related to professional social work and human resources management.

In his acceptance message, Dr. Ikeda said, “Nothing would please me more than to share this great honour with my beloved and noble friends of Bharat Soka Gakkai and my fellow members of the Soka Gakkai International in 192 countries and territories, the men and women who are striving to advance peace, culture and education as civic-minded citizens and good neighbours. I will cherish this academic honour for the rest of my life.”

Ramachandran-Ikeda Award Conferred on Raha Naba Kumar in New Delhi

March 12, 2015
Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi
THE RAMACHANDRAN-IKEDA Award for 2014 was conferred on Mr. Raha Naba Kumar, director of the Gandhi Ashram Trust, Noakhali, Bangladesh, on 12 March 2015 at a lively award ceremony at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi. Mr. Naba Kumar is the seventh recipient of this award, which consists of Rs. 50,000 cash and a citation in recognition of his significant contributions in the areas of nonviolence, human rights, education, peace and social service.

Presenting the award, the chief guest, Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, former ambassador and currently secretary of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, quoted a popular Urdu sher by Majrooh Sultanpuri to emphasise that the courage of one individual can change the course of history: “Main akelaa hi chalaa tha jaanib-e-manzil, magar / log saath aate gaye aur kaarvan bantaa gayaa.”

Accepting the award, Mr. Naba Kumar said, “I am a practitioner, I work in the field, I’m not very interested in theory. I have seen the spirit of youth at work in different areas, different places.” Mr. Naba Kumar’s wife, Tandra, received sustained applause for standing by her husband when he decided to leave his well-paid job and work with the Trust.

Youth Division members of the BSG Choir roused the whole hall to sing the SGI song ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ along with them. Speakers at the event included Prof. Sankar Kumar Sanyal, chairman of the all-India Harijan Sevak Sangh; Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, chairman, Indian Council of Gandhian Studies, New Delhi; and Mr. N. Vasudevan, director of the Indian Council for Gandhian Studies.

Dr. Akash K. Ouchi, BSG honorary deputy chairperson, said the award was constituted to foster youth in the spirit of mentor and disciple and enable them to become capable leaders in the future. “We all need someone by whom we are inspired. Dr. Ramachandran was inspired by Gandhiji, and Ikeda Sensei by his mentor, Toda Sensei.”

In closing, Mr. Vishesh Gupta, BSG chairperson, said: “There is a lot in common between Dr. Ikeda and Gandhiji in their ideology, their aspirations for mankind and their struggles for peace. One thing that stands out is their love, hope and expectations from the youth.”

In his vote of thanks, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, “There have been umpteen awards in the name of Gandhi but this award is special for Raha who has admired from a distance the educational ideas and the value creating culture fostered by Dr. Ikeda.”