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. Media Coverage Bengaluru Symposium

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

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 SGI President 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. 2016 09 24 Media Coverage – Thiruvanthapuram Symposium

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. Media Coverage – Delhi Peace Symposium

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 SGI President 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.Media Coverage – Mumbai Peace

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. Media Coverage-Kolkata Peace Symposium

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. Media Coverage

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 Sensei’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. Media Coverage