Guam Hosts Fourth Latte Peace Festival
SGI Guam members celebrate peace, friendship and cultural exchange with the community.
by Kay Yoshikawa
TAMUNING, Guam, Jan. 23–24—Daisaku Ikeda established the Soka Gakkai International in Guam on Jan. 26, 1975, during the First World Peace Conference, a gathering of Soka Gakkai representatives from 51 countries and territories.
Guam was aptly chosen as the starting point of the SGI’s world peace movement due to the unspeakable atrocities committed on the native Chamorro people during WWII.
In conjunction with the celebration of the SGI’s 41st anniversary, more than 3,000 Guamanian citizens gathered Jan. 23–24 for the fourth annual Latte Peace Festival promoting peace, friendship and cultural exchange.
Judith T. Won Pat, speaker of the 34th Guam Legislature, presented two resolutions on behalf of the Guam Legislature—one signed by Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo, declaring Jan. 26, 2016, “Dr. Daisaku Ikeda and SGI Appreciation Day” and the other issued by Speaker Won Pat and Legislative Secretary Tina Rose Muña Barnes, which commends SGI President and Mrs. Ikeda’s “tireless efforts and dedication to promoting world peace.”
The annual festival is hosted by the Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon Mayor’s Office and held at Tamuning Park, located across from the former International Trade Center, where the SGI was established. This year, co-sponsors included such community partners as the SGI-USA, the International Committee of Artists for Peace, the Mayors’ Council of Guam and the Guam Visitors Bureau. Fourteen visiting mayors from the Philippines also attended.
The festivities began with a native blessing of the land, followed by the lighting ceremony of latte stones, a stronghold of the island culture (they are stone monoliths that ancient Chamorros carved from coral limestone and served as a foundation for their homes).
The SGI Isa Chorus, comprising women and future division members, contributed to the cultural exchange with their performance of the native hymn “Saina.”
In an interview afterward, the Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon Mayor Louise C. Rivera expressed her appreciation to the SGI and said she wished to send a message of peace to the world by holding the festival at the start of the year.