Three eminent speakers – former Chief de Cabinet to the Secretary General of the United Nations Virendra Dayal; Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities Wajahat Habibullah; and Planning Commission Member Syeda Saiyidain Hameed – discussed the challenges and solutions to securing peace in a schismatic world at the Peace Seminar organized by BSG on September 12, 2013 in Chinmaya Mission Auditorium, New Delhi.The seminar, Compassion, Wisdom and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence, drew its title and theme from the peace proposal submitted by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda to the UN on 26 January 2013.
The 2013 peace proposal focuses on three goals to realize peace: 1) The determination to share the joys and sufferings of others; 2) Faith in the limitless possibilities of life; and 3) The vow to defend and celebrate diversity.
The keynote address by Mr Dayal dwelt on a complete rejection of communalism and divisive politics. He found the peace proposal a “profoundly compassionate and optimistic vision of the world.” Mr Dayal praised SGI President Ikeda’s contribution to the UN and his efforts to reduce hostilities among nations through dialogue and people-to-people contact. The more difficult the situation, the more important it is to engage in dialogue. Mr Dayal said what impressed him the most about the recommendations put forward by SGI President Ikeda was how he combined spirituality and sustainability. “His vision is both profound and optimistic.”
Mr Habibullah talked about ‘creative coexistence’ in society, where people don’t simply tolerate each other but work with each other to create a new world that benefits all. He spoke of the need to defend diversity: “Too often, diversity becomes a cause of conflict. You feel the concept of us and them; here, the concept that is promoted is we – we are a part of life; we work together in peaceful coexistence, not in competition, not simply tolerating the fact that there are differences, but in fact welcoming and celebrating those differences, because that is the richness of human life; that is the richness of all existence.”
Dr Hameed spoke of a childhood torn asunder by the horrors of Partition. She said SGI President Ikeda’s vision of peaceful coexistence offered a lot of hope. “So from that kind of displacement and from that trauma, when I read SGI President Ikeda’s words, for me, this is the world, this is the paradigm, this is what it ultimately is – this compassion, wisdom and courage in building a global society of peaceful and creative coexistence – isn’t this what human beings are today striving for?”