Symposium on Daisaku Ikeda's 2018 Peace Proposal witnesses massive participation
The peace proposal goes beyond diagnosing obstacles to peace and provides solutions that encompass attitudinal change and other concrete suggestions.
In order to steer the world away from conflict, and work towards building a humanistic society, dignitaries at a symposium on Friday, 24th August, discussed SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2018 peace proposal titled Towards an Era of Human Rights: Building a People's Movement organized by Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) together with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
Held at the TISS Convention Centre, in its new campus, the main points of the proposal were highlighted and discussed by eminent speakers: Rishabh Shah, Founder and President, Indian International Model United Nations, Aarti Wig, Co-Founder and Director, Yunus Social Business India and Roshan Dalvi, Retired Judge, Bombay High Court. The keynote address was given by Ishaat Hussain, Former Executive Director, Tata Sons.
Speaking of the message of the Peace Proposal, Ishaat Hussain said, "There is no doubt that every human being has the right to live with dignity. While Daisaku Ikeda asserts this based on Buddhism, it is in fact, a universal principle, common to all faiths. It is this premise that has enabled mankind to prosper over the millenia.
“I am fascinated by the spectrum of issues to which President Ikeda applies this principle –issues that ranging from the sustainable development goals to climate change and the refugee crises. Further, I have no doubt that these vast problems will yield only to peoples’ movements. After decades of industrial management, including in some of the least developed parts of India, I am personally committed to improved livelihood opportunities."
Aarti Wig too believes that the peace proposal “outlines a powerful vision and provides pragmatic steps to create a civilization based on the finest human values. In true Indian tradition, it is my strong belief that all beautiful philosophies have at their core, the same message. The message of the SGI Peace Proposal resonates strongly with my own work at the Yunus Social Business, where, inspired by Prof Muhammad Yunus, our mission is to embed the world’s economic engine ― business ― with the power of selflessness.”
For Rishabh Shah, “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 maintain it.”
“If you want Peace, work for Justice” ― this simple axiom that Justice Roshan Dalvi read in a church in Halifax, Canada, whenshe worked in the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, has remained in her mind ever since. She perceives the same message as the crux of the Peace Proposal.
Focusing on the 2018 peace proposal, Vishesh Gupta, Chairperson Bharat Soka Gakkai said, “When anyone sees others suffering, we should empathize and take compassionate action to encourage them out of a wish that they become happy. Broadening the understanding and support for this way of thinking and living is the key to building a solid grassroots movement for peace that can unite people around the world”.
In his proposal, President Ikeda cites how a UNICEF report titled "A child is a child” emphasizes that the rights and dignity of a child must be equally protected, regardless of whether they are refugees or minorities.
While technology and infrastructure have helped connectivity between people across geographical boundaries, Ikeda says a growing sense of isolationism and divide in human society can be bridged only by nurturing a different culture wherein communities and people joyously celebrate each other’s progress.
Toward building such an inclusive society, he has urged giving prime importance to women’s empowerment as that will not only be key to achieving all the sustainable development goals, but also imperative for peaceful resolution of conflicts or improving resilience in disaster preparations.
“Women’s empowerment cannot be an optional agenda: It is an urgent priority for many people in dire situations,” says Ikeda.
He has also urged fostering an environment to go beyond protecting the rights of the elderly and to be looked upon as an "irreplaceable source of spiritual support."
"The significance of such bonds remains unchanged even by grave illness or dependence on others for nursing care. Being surrounded by people who derive joy and happiness from your presence is itself a source of dignity," adds Ikeda. President Ikeda says it is through our efforts to awaken to and savor our own dignity as we cherish and care for those around us that our lives come to shine brilliantly. He further says "The challenge of creating the new reality of a global society where all may live in peace and dignity is not beyond our reach. And it is my firm belief that the solidarity of ordinary people will be the driving force for its realization." Only with such a humanistic approach will the world be able to shun horrors like nuclear weapons and focus on sustainable development goals aimed at everyone’s welfare, he adds.
Each year President Ikeda formulates a peace proposal that goes beyond diagnosing obstacles to peace and provides solutions that encompass attitudinal change and other concrete suggestions. The emphasis is always on tapping humanism, people-to-people contact and deeply caring for everyone. This is not a spiritual document but one that diagnoses problems at a fundamental level and offers concrete, pragmatic solutions.
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