“Recast the World Map in our Hearts”

In his 2016 peace proposal titled “Universal Respect for Human Dignity,” SGI President Ikeda calls for respecting the dignity of all and protecting humanity’s most vulnerable.

Call for Peace—SGI-USA youth sign a petition calling for abolition of nuclear weapons, Santa Monica, Calif., March 2015. Photo by Daigo Otobe

TOKYO—SGI President Ikeda calls for intensified efforts to respond to the needs of humanity’s most vulnerable, including those displaced by conflict in Syria and elsewhere or by natural disasters, in his annual peace proposal titled “Universal Respect for Human Dignity: The Great Path to Peace.”

The proposal was released on Jan. 26, which is the founding day of the Soka Gakkai International.

In the proposal, President Ikeda said he welcomes the adoption of the United Nation’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their ambitious aim to leave no one behind. He applauded the fact that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly includes the protection of the dignity and fundamental human rights of displaced persons and international migrants.

He also urged renewed focus on the protection of children uprooted by conflict and their educational needs, as well as further support to countries that have taken in large numbers of people fleeing armed conflict and persecution.

President Ikeda stressed that dialogue is key to the genuine empathetic understanding that leads to action. Noting that “The irony of humanitarian crises is that the deeper the gravity of people’s plight, the less they are heard,” he encouraged us to listen to the voices of those affected, to focus on their inherent dignity and potential rather than their current dire status and to “recast the world map in our hearts.” He also highlights human rights education as a vital tool for overcoming racism and discrimination.

Further, President Ikeda calls for cooperation among China, Japan and Korea—which together account for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions—in reducing atmospheric pollution, tackling the problem of dust and sandstorms, and meeting their respective targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

Such cooperation could also defuse regional tensions and build “an invaluable heritage of friendship for the future.” He stressed that if cities, which account for 75 percent of global carbon emissions, initiate action regarding climate change, local citizens will become motivated and get involved.

“The irony of humanitarian crises is that the deeper the gravity of people’s plight, the less they are heard.”

President Ikeda reiterated the importance of education and learning as a way of empowering individuals to develop proactive responses to such seemingly overwhelming problems, tapping into what Soka Gakkai founder Tsunesaburo Makiguchi called “the courage of application.”

In the area of disarmament, he urged the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting, to be held in Hiroshima in April, to discuss the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons as well as nonproliferation and the denuclearization of Northeast Asia, in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear test.

President Ikeda also called for the strict regulation of the trade in conventional weapons, including small arms— de facto weapons of mass destruction—and proposes that the Arms Trade Treaty, which recently entered into force, be strengthened to this end.

He highlighted the contradictions of a world where commitments to positive targets for human well-being such as the SDGs are undermined by the possession of nuclear weapons. He stressed that even a “limited” nuclear exchange could “render meaningless in an instant all of humankind’s efforts to resolve global problems.”

President Ikeda called on those countries that have still failed to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to do so to allow it to finally enter into force, and offers proposals for the new Open-ended Working Group set up by the U.N. General Assembly to address concrete legal measures toward prohibition of nuclear weapons.

He also cited hopeful developments, including the fact that over 120 states have endorsed the Humanitarian Pledge, a commitment to “stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons” and growing calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons from civil society. He highlighted efforts involving faith-based organizations and youth that the SGI has supported, including the International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition held in Hiroshima in August 2015.

SGI President Ikeda has issued proposals since 1983 to the international community addressing global issues every year. Philosopher, author and peacebuilder, he has been president of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist association since 1975. His annual peace proposals are issued on Jan. 26 to commemorate the founding of the SGI. See www.daisakuikeda.org to access his proposals.