- INVOLVE YOUTH IN GLOBAL PROGRAMS
How many people feel there’s nothing ordinary citizens can do in the face of the 15,000+ nuclear arms that exist on our planet ? If you fit into that large category I’d like to share another way of viewing Humanity’s current situation : In his peace proposal to the U.N., without one trace of pessimism, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda asserts we must first and foremost include youth — whom he calls the “critical agents of change who embody hope” — in finding and implementing international solutions, including the most intractable.
Many will be surprised to consider this concept, that the less-experienced among us are the best-placed for such ultimate responsibilities. But this realization is already making its way within the U.N. system and in hallways of governments. I hope after reading this piece, a few more people will be convinced there is a clear path forward for a safer world, which is also more just and harmonious.
Take this inspiring paragraph, for example: “It’s estimated there are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of ten and twenty-four living in our world today. If these young people, rather than resorting to conflict and violence, can come to uphold and protect the core values of human rights, I am positive that a path toward a « pluralist and inclusive society » — as articulated in the U.N. “Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training” — can be brought into being.”
Mr. Ikeda doesn’t hesitate to quote those who share his opinion, or to share information on activities of young people in SGI :
“SGI youth around the world are taking on the challenge of transforming reality in such fields as ecological integrity, human rights education and nonviolence. Some activities have specific linkages with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). For example, in November of last year the SGI cosponsored an event titled « Youth Boosting the Promotion and the Implementation of SDGs » at UN Headquarters.
Dr. David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, told participants:
‘…we have to make sure there’s space for young people everywhere to
be part of this movement for sustainable development. . . young
people want to work together with joy, they want to trust each other.’ “
On a similar note, Mr. Ikeda says :
“I was … very gratified when last year’s conference of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) affiliated with the UN’s Department of Public Information (DPI/NGO) Conference was held in South Korea under the theme « Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together. » Attended by many young people, the conference adopted the “Gyeongju Action Plan” committing participants to promoting education for global citizenship.”
Following are my updated reflections on this hefty Peace Proposal to the U.N., published Jan 26th 2017 by President of the Soka Gakkai Int’l Buddhist association, Daisaku Ikeda. First of all I’ll start with questions I hope will bring topics home into our daily lives and empower us to feel we too can make a difference. i.e. It is not necessary to work at the United Nations to change our world !
And then I’ll attempt to treat the major themes; nuclear weapons disarmament, refugees and xenophobia, new aid constructs and human rights education.
So to begin : Did you know the fact that 7,200 + cities in 162 countries and territories – including nuclear-weapon and nuclear-dependent states – are members of the “Mayors for Peace” organization which calls for the total abolition of nuclear weapons ?
Or just talking on the level of any of us, as individuals : Have you heard in 1996 as part of the “World Court Project,” a « Declaration of Public Conscience » was signed by some 4 million people in 40 languages ? This document was presented to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and it concluded by saying countries have an obligation to pursue and conclude negotiations, leading to complete nuclear disarmament !!
How are such enormous, global projects managed, you may ask? Particularly if we have never heard a peep about them in the media ! So let’s take heart that people like myself, the generation of 1950s babies, were not born with the connected world that subsequent generations have been. Youth now have infinitely more possibilities of connecting internationally than any previous generation in history. And for this reason, modern youth have more in common with each other because of social media and Internet. Subsequently, this has a direct impact on the acquisition of English and other common symbols of communication. That amazing world of hieroglyphic emoticons, for example. 😉
So yes, there is a powerful and positive side to Globalization, if we exploit it in the right way. And we must do that, by the way, because this new generation in extremist groups have developed it into a real, and unfortunately, very effective and dangerous artform…
You’ll find iron-clad convictions about the capacity of youth in the following paragraphs, which I hope will inspire you to take your own reflections and initiatives to another level.
- FOR ABOLISHING NUCLEAR WEAPONS LET’S FINISH WITH DETERENCE and EMPOWER GRASS-ROOTS INVOLVEMENT
There is a powerful case for “participative democracy” and transparence in this peace proposal. Mr. Ikeda encourages individuals and groups to publish statements indicating their commitment to a nuclear weapons-free world. Or to hold grass-roots events on the significance of a « people-driven international treaty, » in the spirit of the Einstein-Russell Manifesto of 1955 which he quotes : « We appeal as human beings to human beings : Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. » *
To demonstrate the SGI’s engagement and approach in this area, Mr. Ikeda shares an extract of what the SGI submitted to the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament and the UN General Assembly First Committee in 2016, which deals with disarmament and international security :
« (Nuclear Weapons) erode the meaning of human life and impede our ability to look to the future with hope… At the heart of the nuclear weapons issue is the radical negation of others — of their humanity and their equal right of happiness and life… The challenge of nuclear disarmament is not something that concerns only the nuclear-weapon States; it must be a truly global enterprise involving all States and fully engaging civil society. »
As complex as it is, I treat this section on nuclear disarmament somewhat in detail because it truly is the “Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of Humanity”, as Mr. Ikeda refers to it. Interestingly enough, in TIME magazine the same day Jan 26th, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev – probably the most instrumental person in bringing the world back from the brink of nuclear catastrophe decades earlier – published his own cry of alarm where he used the same metaphor. He stated that « freedom from fear is a fundamental human right”, and insisted that nuclear powers – and particularly the US and Russia holding 90 percent of all stockpiles world-wide – have the moral responsibility to take away this ever-present danger, and to give humanity back the possibility of living without fear of the future.
Mr. Ikeda urges ordinary citizens to promote the idea through NGOs and Civil Society that nuclear conflicts must never be fought. He urges working hard to include participation of U.N. treaty negotiations for prohibiting the existence of nuclear weapons, reminding us that Japan has a particular responsibility. Never losing his optimism, he nonetheless warns that nuclear states would need strong encouragement from their citizens in order to move toward this goal because of vested interests.
In this way Mr. Ikeda envisions the creation of a « people-driven international law. » – He says we must also amplify the results of the August 2015 International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition in Hiroshima, Japan. ( http://www.amplifyyouth.org ) Again, this should be inspired he adds, by the Russel-Einstein Manifesto from 1955 written by the world’s leading scientists and thinkers, in order to create « A People’s Declaration for a World Without Nuclear Weapons ».
As an aside, there is an interesting reference concerning the recent book by Ward Wilson titled “Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons.” Here is a NY Times review of the book : http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/books/review/five-myths-about-nuclear-weapons-and-more.html?mcubz=0
Recent conflict between the USA and North Korea has brought this problem of misplaced confidence in “deterrence” home, now more than ever. In this vein I’d like to quote extensively from the proposal, a description of how the historical Buddha helped resolve a serious military conflict 3 millennia ago :
“It is noteworthy how Shakyamuni observes the workings of the hearts of those facing a hostile confrontation: They did not take up arms in fear of the opponent, but rather were filled with fear the moment they took up arms. While they might have felt rage toward an adversary that was trying to take their water, they were not possessed by fear. But the moment they were armed, prepared to strike deadly blows against their adversaries, their hearts were filled with dread.
Mr. Ikeda tells us how longtime contributing editor to the Washington Post newspaper, David Emanuel Hoffman, eloquently depicted how such fear-driven psychology almost produced a particularly nightmarish scenario during the Cold War… He says that a nuclear retaliatory system that could not be stopped by human intervention was actually being planned near the end of the Cold War. He notes that although it never went beyond the conceptual stage, this ultimate form of deterrence embodies the deep-seated fear that comes from nuclear arms possession.
Similarly, he shared how former US Secretary of Defense William J. Perry recounted how utter catastrophe was narrowly avoided during the Carter Administration with a false alarm…
- FOR GIVING HOPE TO REFUGEES AND COMBATING XENOPHOBIA – INVOLVE THE YOUTH !
In terms of the seemingly endless refugee crises and the difficult problem of solidarity, Mr. Ikeda cites UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his statement from October 2016 : « I will do everything I can…for refugee protection to be assumed as a global responsibility, as it is. And it’s not only the refugee convention. It’s deeply rooted in all cultures and all religions everywhere in the world. You see in Islam, you see in Christianity, you see in Africa, in different religions, in Buddhism and Hinduism, there is a strong commitment to refugee protection. » – Reading this, I am deeply grateful to have such a humane person at the head of the United Nations organization at this time in history.
On a philosophical level I found particularly interesting Mr. Ikeda’s discussion on two major currents of thought existing in Shakyamuni Buddha. I’ll quote Mr. Ikeda : « …two currents of thought prevailed. One was a kind of fatalism that our present and our future are entirely determined by karma accumulated in the past. The other held that all things are a matter of chance and that nothing in our lives is the outcome of any particular cause or condition. — The fatalistic view engendered the resignation that no effort on our part can alter our destiny and our only choice is to accept our fate. This worked to rob people’s hearts of hope. The other view, by disassociating any action from its outcome, uprooted people’s sense of self-control, making them indifferent to the harm they inflicted on others. »
Do we not have a similar thinking today, one that saps our hope and our strength to challenge difficult circumstances ? At least here in France I can say there are many who fall into this category. And I ask myself if this is not one of the reasons for moroseness many French lament about when describing France in the 21st century. The kind of causality and « karma » Mr. Ikeda describes in terms of « cause and effect, » explains that the correct understanding of the Lotus Sutra is not the concept of karma which leads to passive acceptance. But rather, the realization that patterns of behavior we tend to repeat are absolutely in our power to change, by the choices we make every moment. Therefore in this way, the law of Cause and Effect is actually an empowering mechanism.
Regarding racism and hate speech, Mr. Ikeda encourages his readers to avoid simplistic solutions based on binary (good/evil) thinking, and exterior, superficial responses to problems – such as building walls – for counteracting xenophobic thinking. For this he explains the need for an education which develops “creative empathy” for others who are different, and education for global citizenship and human rights.
I quote : « Xenophobic thinking is propelled by a stark division of the world into good and evil. … In the same way, when the pursuit of economic rationality has no counterbalancing consideration of the human element, a psychology is unleashed that is ready to extract even the most extreme sacrifices from others. »
Such thinking as well as “hate speech,” divides the world into “us” versus “them”, which consequently translates into “good” versus “evil”, he advises. And Mr. Ikeda provides quotes from thinkers who have proposed antidotes to this all-too-human malady, starting with the late renowned British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, with whom he published a dialogue in the 1960s* :
“In my experience the solvent of traditional prejudice has been personal acquaintance. When one becomes personally acquainted with a fellow human being, of whatever religion, nationality, or race, one cannot fail to recognize that he is a human like oneself.”
At this point Mr. Ikeda shares a quote from the engaged American for social justice, Jane Addams, while recalling conversations with American scholars and former presidents of the John Dewey Society, Dr. Larry Hackman and Dr. Jim Garrison. When speaking about friends and neighbors in need, the founder of the famous HULL HOUSE Ms. Addams reportedly said; these people “can teach us what life really is. We can learn where our boasted civilization fails.” On a related note, here is one of my favorite quotes in the proposal :
“The world is not simply a collection of states, nor is it composed solely of religions and civilizations. Our living, breathing world is woven of the endeavors of countless human beings who may share particular backgrounds but no two of whom are the same.
To view and judge others only through the prism of religion or ethnicity distorts the rich reality we each possess as individuals. In contrast, when we develop a deep appreciation, through our individual friendships, of each other’s unique value, differences of ethnicity or religion are illuminated by the dignity and worth of that friend and shine as the value of diversity.
The magnetic field of friendship can enable the functioning of an inner compass when we have lost our sense of direction and help us right society when it seems to be veering off course” (end quote)
In a comment on “hope” and the human being’s capacity for this sentiment, Mr. Ikeda discussed the metaphor of the “phantom city” in the Lotus sutra and the “treasure land” in Nichiren’s Buddhism, which is based on this sutra. He quotes the Argentinian human rights activist Adolfo Péréz Esquivel to demonstrate it : “When people aim for a shared human goal, when they aspire to peace and freedom, they unleash extraordinary capabilities.”
- NEW ARCHITECT FOR AID : LINK HUMANITARIAN HELP with SDGs — THE “NEXUS” APPROACH and “VIRTUOUS CYCLES”
Concerning refugees, Mr. Ikeda proposes the UN initiate a « new aid structure » with better coordination between agencies that deal with this crisis, and between emergency and development work. In order to build partnerships for solving humanitarian challenges and protecting human dignity, he stresses the need for vocational training**. The objective would be to help displaced persons contribute to SDGs in host countries by the kind of work they would be trained to do.
In 2016, International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Guy Ryder called for a « New Deal » for refugees as he reiterated the importance of giving work opportunities to forcibly displaced persons. He also stated that a form of this could bring together humanitarian and development initiatives, with the U.N. and member states actively cooperating to create vocational training and skill acquisition programs related to the SDGs for refugees and asylum-seekers.
The SGI president points out that work is a crucial means of sustaining one’s livelihood; but at the same time, it also gives meaning to one’s life.
One refugee-related figure stood out in bold relief as I read the proposal : A full 86 percent of refugees receiving aid from UNHCR are welcomed, not by industrialized, but by developing countries ! And most of these countries are situated near conflict zones !! Therefore, such states are already facing numerous challenges like poverty, health and hygiene, so the burden is unbearable.
Before the official launch of the SDGs, a new approach of ‘virtuous cycles’ baptized “NEXUS,” was researched at the U.N. University and implemented in several regions. The concept comes from realizing that interrelated problems need an integrated approach.
Mr. Ikeda explains :
“For example, if progress is made in securing safe sources of water (Goal 6), this will lead to a reduction in the number of people suffering from infectious or other diseases (Goal 3). It will also reduce the burden on women, who had spent many hours each day providing water for their families, thus opening new employment opportunities for them (Goal 5), making it possible to escape extreme poverty (Goal 1) and enabling their children to attend school (Goal 4).” (end quote)
This approach aims to discover the interconnections among 169 targets across the 17 areas that comprise the SDGs, and to realize simultaneous progress toward their achievement.
I find the example in Tanzania he shares particularly inspiring. Quoting again from the proposal :
“Last year, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) highlighted examples of women who are promoting the realization of the SDGs by taking action for others, often in very challenging circumstances, under the theme « From where I stand. »
Among them is a solar engineer active in her village in Tanzania. Despite having a disability, she worked hard to develop her skills and continues to put her knowledge to use for her fellow villagers. At first, very few of the men respected her as an engineer, but when she installed solar equipment in their homes, bringing light to them, and repaired equipment when it was broken, she began to enjoy the respect of more and more men. – (Below is a quote from this woman engineer) –
‘Before our village used to be in darkness once the sun had set, but now
there is light. Just now two children came to take the solar lantern that I
fixed for them. They had big smiles on their faces. Tonight they will be
able to do their homework. ‘ (end quote)
According to Mr. Ikeda, this is an excellent example of a virtuous cycle advancing the SDGs as the people’s agenda. In other words, through the empowerment of one woman, not only was renewable energy made available to the people in a Tanzanian village, but attitudes also changed toward women. In addition, children gained access to study opportunities.
Mr. Ikeda likened this to what the philosopher Hannah Arendt spoke of in « weav[ing] our strand » and authentic humanity, in improving conditions in the place where you stand now. — (For me this is reminiscent of a book from modern French philosopher Abdennour Bidar. His “Les Tisserands” is not yet published in English. But we can see from the title, which might be translated as “The Weavers”, that he believes like he says, that the “Résistants” of the 21st century are in fact, those who “weave” connections between people by creating their own “strands”, in their engaged efforts for, and among wider society.)
Mr. Ikeda continues on this point, stressing that the ability to solve problems is not something reserved for special people. But rather, a path that opens before us when we face reality head-on, taking up some aspect of a difficult challenge, and acting with persistence.
“Our capacity to overcome difficulties is unleashed as we turn anguish and concern into determination and action”, he says. Mr. Ikeda is convinced that young people in particular have capacity for fresh sensitivity and a passionate seeking for ideals. Therefore he believes “their energy can catalyze chain reactions of positive change as they forge bonds of trust among people.”
Moving on to more on development, the proposal shares yet another positive example in Africa of the “Nexus” approach; a project that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing in Ethiopia.
The country has accepted more than 730,000 war-affected people from neighboring countries since 2016, as of January 2017. But it has also been suffering its worst drought in more than thirty years. All the while helping enhance local management of natural resources and supporting rehabilitation of community infrastructure, the UNDP project has reduced tensions between refugees and local populations through promoting peaceful coexistence efforts.
It is clear that stability and development of host societies is essential if displaced persons are to enjoy any stability in their lives, Ikeda notes.
And he adds that in terms of confronting SDG challenges, in the case of both developed and developing countries, precisely what will create work opportunities for many people, are efforts to promote sustainable agriculture and to prevent food shortages, to implement renewable energy infrastructure and to provide medical, healthcare and sanitation services.
More again on this subject of having work, and social justice. I quote from the proposal :
“Former Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation Dr. Stuart Rees, with whom I have recently published a dialogue*, maintains that securing employment is an imperative in realizing social justice. In our dialogue, he shared his conviction that as a growing number of people are losing work, they are « being denied the profound human sense of self-worth that comes from work; either in the sense of earning one’s keep, having the satisfaction of achieving something, or making a contribution to society. »
He further stated that this represents a fundamental threat to human dignity.
In our discussion, we reviewed the impact of the New Deal programs that US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) launched in response to the massive unemployment triggered by the Great Depression, which started in 1929. Under the New Deal, in addition to the building of dams and other infrastructure projects, the Civilian Conservation Corps was established to maintain and improve national parks and forests. More than three million young people participated in the program, and over
two billion trees were planted. Through these activities, participants were able to regain their self-esteem and the sense of being useful and contributing to other people and society. Further, to this day these national parks and forests continue to function to preserve biological diversity and ecological integrity while serving an important function in absorbing greenhouse gases.
Learning from such successful examples, I believe that it is time to devise a framework that will expand employment opportunities for refugees while serving to concretely advance the achievement of the SDGs.” (end quote)
In the proposal’s section dedicated to environment and climate agreements such as the CAP21 signed in Paris December 2015, as well as on refugee protection, Mr. Ikeda insists again on the role of young people in building solidarity between religions, cultures and states. He shares the instrument designed especially for this purpose, an application called “mapting.” www.mapting.org
– Also, please note that the SGI was deeply engaged in the Istanbul conference on refugees, called the “World Humanitarian Summit” of 2016 in Turkey.
- HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION : BUILDING A CULTURE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
In terms of Education, Mr. Ikeda proposes the promotion of a « Culture of Human Rights » by celebrating the 70th anniversary in 2018 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed in Paris in December 1948.
Grappling directly with the problem of terrorist attacks and the rise of violent extremism, Dr. Ikeda says youth who have lost hope for the future and a meaning in life are increasingly pulled into religious extremism. So he brings our attention to a November 2016 conference at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA, co-sponsored by the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, which met to explore peacebuilding in tension areas and underlying factors that drive extremism, as well as its prevention. – The SGI president believes the key element is promotion of Human Rights Education.
(The Toda Institute was founded by Dr. Ikeda 1996, in order to “perpetuate the legacy of Josei Toda and his vision of global citizenship and of a world free from nuclear weapons”, he says. The Iranian-born peace scholar Dr. Majid Tehranian (1937-2012), with whom he had a long-standing friendship, served as the institute’s first director.)
To finish with this important aspect of the proposal, I’d like to note Mr. Ikeda indicates that
the SGI, with cooperation of UN agencies and other partner organizations, has developed a new human rights education exhibit that was launched late February 2017, in conjunction with the convening of the Human Rights Council. He says through initiatives such as this, the SGI aims to inspire renewed commitment within civil society to generate a constantly-expanding solidarity in favor of a culture of human rights.
Furthermore, in collaboration with other NGOs his ultimate objective is to move global public
opinion toward the adoption of a legally binding convention on human rights education and training.
- FIGHTING FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS OPENS THE WAY FOR ALL HUMANS’ RIGHTS
On a related subject, Mr. Ikeda shares his convictions regarding placing the need for gender equality at the heart of Human Rights considerations. He believes only this will ensure the end to all discrimination. In other words, this is a vital priority for respecting the inherent dignity of each human being.
At this point in the document, the author describes a scene in the Lotus Sutra when the daughter of the metaphorical Dragon King attains enlightenment. Mr. Ikeda calls this the pivotal moment in Mahayana Buddhist teachings, proving the capacity of women to become Buddhas (“enlightened beings”).
On this subject, he calls for support of the movement dubbed “HeForShe,” launched by the U. N. Agency UN Women, in the hope of encouraging boy’s and men’s support for gender equality. http://www.heforshe.org/en
To conclude I’d like to cite Mr. Ikeda, but this time using a quote from his dialogue with the late Indonesian President Abdurrahan WAHID, titled “The Wisdom of Tolerance – A philosophy of generosity and peace” from its Chapter 5, “Cultural Exchange is the Source of Creativity” : “On his visit to our (Soka) university, Rector Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri (of the Univ. of Indonesia) said that young people around the world today share the same problems, as well as the responsibility to resolve them. This is a pivotal age, he continued, in which each individual needs to strive to build a civilization for all humanity, transcending race, national borders, and all other divides, and establish a world in peace.”
I feel this remark echoes well the spirit of this 2017 Peace Proposal. Underlying the concrete propositions there is an underlying call to involve youth on all levels of decision-making and problem-solving, including the most challenging ones, such as nuclear disarmament. I appears as an evident logic to me : Afterall, the Youth today will be the persons tomorrow, facing the effects of today’s decisions. Therefore, don’t we owe it to their generation to give them all our support, in order to leave no one behind ?
Praying for Peace, from Paris
Michèle de Gastyne
Link to full Peace Proposal : http://www.sgi.org/content/files/about-us/president-ikedas-proposals/2017-peace-proposal.pdf
** Here SGI President Ikeda is surely inspired by the founder of the Soka Gakkai and of Soka education pedagogy, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, who taught that preparing children for work which is « value-creative », is one of the foundations of a happy life.
*** WWW.MAPTING.ORG The Mapting App
The Mapting App (« mapping » and « acting ») is an application created to track and map activities that contribute to actualizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that was launched at the United Nations in November 2016. The app was developed jointly by the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and the Earth Charter International (ECI), who have cooperated for over 15 years in the creation of awareness-raising exhibitions that promote education for sustainable development. The app aims to engage youth in the challenge of making the 17 SDGs a reality by the target date of 2030 by allowing them to post photos or videos of any act, project or idea that promotes achievement of the SDGs and share these on a world map. The app acts as an educational tool and a vehicle for inspiring users to take action and share solutions, thus changing the focus from the problems we are facing to the solutions that exist.
To participate, visit: http://www.mapting.org
List of organizations mentioned in Proposal (and not necessarily found in the above article)
ICC – (CPI “Cour Penale Internationale”) – International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands
ICJ – International Court of Justice in The Hague
G7 (Group of Seven) G7= Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA + EUROPEAN COMMISSION
G8 (Group of Eight) G8= Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia (suspended since 2014), UK and USA + EUROPEAN COMMISSION
G20 (Group of Twenty) South Africa, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, South Korean, USA, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, UK, Russia, Turkey + EUROPEAN COMMISSION
UDHR – Universal Declaration of Human Rights
UN -United Nations
Security Council of the United Nations (UNSC)
UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNDP – United Nations Development Programme
NORAD – North American Aerospace Defense Command, (US and Canada) surveillance of North American air space, founded 12 May 1958.
OHCHR – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
List of living persons mentioned in Proposal
Daisaku IKEDA – current president of Soka Gakkai International, founder of Soka University and school system, Fuji art museum, Toda Institute, Ikeda Center for Peace in Boston, USA, author of countless books and poems, and author of this peace proposal to the United Nations his 35th annual proposal since 1983.
Antonio GUTERRES – current United Nations Secretary General
Adolfo Pérez ESQUIVEL – Argentinian 1980 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, architect, sculptor, painter and university professor
Franz VRANITSKY – former German Chancellor
Amartya SEN – Indian economist and Nobel Prize for Economy Laureate
Larry HICKMAN – former president of John DEWEY Society
Jim GARRISON – former president of John DEWEY Society
Dr David NABARRO, special advisor to the UN Sec General on “Agenda 2030.”
Vladimir PUTIN – current Russian president
Donald TRUMP – current US president
William J. PERRY – former US Defense Secretary
Ward WILSON – author of new book “Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons “
David Emanuel HOFFMAN – former long-time editorialist at the Washington Post newspaper.
Mikhail GORBACHEV – last leader of the Soviet Union (USSR)
Kate GILMORE – UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
Yusra MARDINI – Syrian swimmer, athlete in the Olympic team for refugees in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games
Sarah WILDER – former president of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society and specialist on women’s issues
Anwarul K. CHOWDHURY – former Undersecretary General of the United Nations
List of non-living persons mentioned in Proposal
Josei TODA – Second president of Soka Gakkai and disciple of Mr Makiguchi
Tsunesaburo MAKIGUCHI – Founder of Soka Pedagogy and first president of Soka Gakkai. (The forerunner he also founded, which was the association of educators who followed Soka Pedegogy, called Soka Kyoikugaku Gakkai)
Shakyamuni Buddha = translated as “Sage of the Shakyas” and “The Enlightened” (also known as SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA) born 566 B.C. in Lumbini, (INDIA). Thought of as the founder of Buddhism
Nichiren DAISHONIN (1222-1282) Buddhist monk in Japan, founder of a school of Buddhism based on the Mahayana interpretations of the Lotus Sutra of Shakyamuni Buddha
Karl JASPERS, German philosopher 1883-1969
Richard von WEIZSACKER 1920-2015, first president of reunified Germany
ASHOKA – Indian Emperor of the Maurya Dynasty circa 268-232 B.C. Responsible for transmitting Buddhism far and wide outside of India.
KAUTILYA – Principal advisor to the grandfather of King ASHOKA.
Arnold J. TOYNBEE – Well-known British historian, (1889-1975) known for his “History of the World” and his approach called “Challenge and Response.” His anthropological/journalistic reaction to the Greek invasion of Turkey served as a foundation for his life work.
Jane ADDAMS (1860-1935)- founder of the HULL HOUSE in Chicago which served immigrants and poorer communities.
Abdurrahman WAHID – (1940-2009) former president of Indonesia. Also formerly head of a large Muslim organization in his country, profoundly engaged in education of youth and promotion of inter-cultural dialogue.
Majid TEHRANIAN (1937-2012) – Professor/writer, and former head of Toda Peace Institute among many other accomplishments.
Hannah ARENDT – (1906-1975) Philosopher
John F. KENNEDY – former US president
Ronald REAGAN – former US President
List of other events in Proposal
Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in the former USSR in 1986
Some important dates mentioned in Proposal
8 Sept, 1957 – Josei TODA makes declaration against nuclear weapons in Yokohama, Japan’s Mitsuzawa Stadium, before 50 000 youth division members of Soka Gakkai
List of Treaties cited in Proposal
*Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015 December, and signed by representatives from 175 countries and territories, April 2016
*START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) START 1 :
List of Summits, Conferences or other official meetings mentioned in proposal :
*Summit of Reykjavik, 1986 between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan
*Eighth Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) Ministerial Meeting held in Hiroshima in April 2014, where foreign ministers of nuclear-dependent countries including Australia, Germany and the Netherlands were able to hear the testimony of hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors).
*November 2016, the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research cosponsored a two-day conference at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia to discuss approaches to prevent the spread of violent extremism.
* The first Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference held in Vienna last May. 2017
*66th UN DPI/NGO Conference : “Education for Global Citizenship : Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together” City of Gyeongju, Republic of Korea, 30 May – 1 June 2016
Important youth events in proposal :
http://www.un.org/youthenvoy/ UNITING FOR YOUTH
List of Institutions mentioned in proposal :
HULL HOUSE, Chicago, USA
TOYNBEE Hall, London, UK
TODA Peace Institute
Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia state, USA
SOKA University, Tokyo and Aliso Viejo, CA, USA
*WORLD COURT PROJECT (WCP) – Ground-breaking project of International Law in terms of nuclear weapons. History of the WCP can be found here : http://www.disarmsecure.org/publications/papers/the_world_court_project_history_and_consequences.php
*Millennium Campaign. 2014 : “We the Peoples : Celebrating 7 Million Voices”
*The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
*NEXUS- Developed with the United Nations University, an approach which finds interlinked solutions for Development programs, Humanitarian programs, and Environmental programs, etc.
*HRE 2020 (Human Rights Education) a global coalition of civil society organizations
*HeForShe – campaign launched by United Nations agency called UN Women.
*SDGs : Sustainable Development Goals, from 2015 up to 2030, including 17 large objectives, with 169 targets.
*MDGs/OMD (French) English : MDGs Millenium Development Goals. From 2000 up to 2015
START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. The treaty was signed on 31 July 1991 and entered into force on 5 December 1994. The treaty barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and bombers. START negotiated the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history, and its final implementation in late 2001 resulted in the removal of about 80 percent of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence. Proposed by United States PresidentRonald Reagan, it was renamed START I after negotiations began on the second START treaty.
The START I treaty expired 5 December 2009. On 8 April 2010, the replacement New START treaty was signed in Prague by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Following ratification by the U.S. Senate and the Federal Assembly of Russia, it went into force on 26 January 2011.
*NPT treaty (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons).
The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. On 11 May 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States. More countries have ratified the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the Treaty’s significance.
Other important documents listed in the text :
The Russell–Einstein Manifesto was issued in London on 9 July 1955 by Bertrand Russell in the midst of the Cold War. It highlighted the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and called for world leaders to seek peaceful resolutions to international conflict. The signatories included eleven pre-eminent intellectuals and scientists, including Albert Einstein, who signed it just days before his death on 18 April 1955. A few days after the release, philanthropist Cyrus S. Eaton offered to sponsor a conference—called for in the manifesto—in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Eaton’s birthplace. This conference was to be the first of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, held in July 1957.
List of Asian, and/or Buddhist sutras or terms mentioned in text :
LOTUS Sutra – The last great sutra of Shakyamuni Buddha, and the basic teaching of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, practiced by members of Soka Gakkai in Japan, and Soka Gakkai International (SGI) in 192 countries and territories.
VIMILAKIRTI Sutra – A significant Mahayana Buddhist teaching, which speaks of “the ideal lay believer”.
MAHAYANA Buddhism – Often referred to as the Buddhism of the “Greater Vehicle”
HINAYANA Buddhism – Often referred to as the Buddhism of the “Smaller Vehicle”
Niti – Sanskrit term meaning :
Nyaya – Sanskrit term meaning :
The MIDDLE WAY (Middle Path)
List of UN Resolutions mentioned in the text :
Resolution 2250 of UN Security Council
Resolution 1325 of October 1995 on Women, Peace and Security, by the UN Security Council
Significant Figures and Statistics mentioned in proposal :
*The number of displaced persons who don’t live in the country where they were born, has increased by 40 percent. Today the figure stands at about 244 million people.
*Number of nuclear warheads has gone up to more than 15 000
*There are currently around 1,800 nuclear weapons on “high alert”, which means they are ready to be launched at any moment
Other Concepts mentioned in proposal:
Sword of Damocles ** from ancient Greek myth
Hibakusha – Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs dropped by the USA on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
“Virtuous Circles” –
“Soka Global Action” Peace Campaign