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Organization: Soka Gakkai International
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
Posted: May 12 2005,09:54 If you wrote this report, you will find a button here that you may click
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

We have developed several educational programs to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence such as the "Building a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World" exhibition, the "Victory Over Violence" initiative, and several initiatives related to the theme of "Women and a Culture of Peace."

Our goal for implementing these programs is a shift of mindset of people at all levels toward a culture of peace and nonviolence. In that regard, we have seen keen interest and enthusiasm in those whom we reached out to through the programs.  Most encouraging is to see those who have become empowered and inspired to develop consistent and ongoing programs to promote a culture of peace.

Victory Over Violence (VOV) is a youth-sponsored initiative of SGI-USA which has been ongoing since 1999.  It aims to help young people identify and counteract the root causes of violence in their lives and communities. VOV is a peer-to-peer program whereby SGI-USA youth go into schools and act as facilitators for discussions on ways of counteracting violence. A resource kit including a video and information pack including practical resources for victims of violence has been created.

The "Building a Culture of Peace" exhibition has now been shown in many venues around the world, and often programs involving local schools and other groups are arranged around it. When it was first presented at the United Nations Headquarters in February 2004, SGI worked with the Renaissance Charter School in New York City, which created a group of 32 high school students who would serve as "peer hosts" to show people round and stimulate discussion and reflection.

The women of Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) initiated a Womens Peace Convention in October 2000 entitled "Women in the New Era: Leading the Way to a Culture of Peace."  The convention was based on the premise that though women have suffered the most due to war, violence and oppression, it has been women who have persevered in turning society in the direction of peace.  27 conventions on the same theme throughout Malaysia were organized in different languages during October and November 2001, attended by a total of 17,000 people. Four guidelines for establishing a culture of peace were introduced: Respect All Life, Win-Win Communication, Courage to Take Action and A Correct Perspective of Value.  

Then from April to October 2002, the women initiated a series of workshops on coping with change through self-reflection and self-reformation.

These workshops aimed to help women realize how their vision is bounded by their own concepts, beliefs and ideas.  Based on the theme

"Self-reflection and Self-reformation Lead to Spiritual Discovery," they aimed to help women realize the tremendous potential they possess as agents of change.

A total of 21 workshops was organized throughout Malaysia attended by 2,500 SGM women leaders.  The workshops were designed to challenge participants’ mindsets and encourage them to break away from self-imposed mental limitations.  In addition, the workshops also stimulated participants to reflect on their inhibitions and motivated them to overcome their fears.

In small group discussions they exchanged ideas on how to recognize and accept change, and how to understand each other better.  Many were surprised at the innovative ideas they could apply usefully in their daily life.  The participants realized the significance of unity and teamwork in advancing the larger cause of peace.  

In January 2003 a women’s peace forum focusing on environmental protection continued this ongoing series.

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

There is scope to further expand SGI organizations’ activities to promote a culture of peace, thereby reaching many more people.  One internal limiting factor is that each SGI organization is autonomous and therefore sets its own priorities for NGO activities. While information and materials can be provided on the theme of a culture of peace or protecting the environment, promoting human rights education etc., it is up to each national SGI organization to decide what activities to pursue during a given year.

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

(to be entered later)

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?

Last year the New York chapter of our organization worked together with six other community-based organizations and launched a week-long promotion of a culture of peace entitled "Living a Culture of Peace Week" from September 18 through 26 including the International Day of Peace. The designation of such a week by the General Assembly would help facilitate the promotion of a culture of peace in addition to the International Day of Peace.

It seems that more concrete efforts could be made globally to communicate the concept and interlinked elements which make up a culture of peace.  At present the concept is still probably very vague and nonspecific to many of the people who encounter the phrase "a culture of peace."

PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?


PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?


Postal address of organization

Soka Gakkai International
15-3 Samon-cho Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo, 160-0017, Japan

E-mail address of organization

sgiunny@att.net

Website address of organization

http://www.sgi.org

Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Education for a culture of peace

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace


Highest priority country of action (or international)

INTERNATIONAL

Second priority country of action (or international)

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Organization: Soka Gakkai International

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