Guam Celebrates Peace Festival and SGI Day
Fifth Latte Peace Festival held in the spirit of peace, friendship and cultural exchange.
by Kay Yoshikawa
TAMUNING, Guam, Jan. 21–22—On the cusp of SGI Day, Jan. 26, over 3,000 Guamanian citizens gathered for the fifth Latte Peace Festival in the spirit of peace, friendship and cultural exchange.
The event, hosted by the Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon mayor’s office, is held every year at Tamuning Park, across from the former International Trade Center, where Daisaku Ikeda established the Soka Gakkai International on Jan. 26, 1975.
This year, co-sponsors included the SGI-USA, the International Committee of Artists for Peace, the Mayors’ Council of Guam and the Guam Visitors Bureau.
The festivities included the ceremony of lighting latte stones. A stronghold of the island culture, they are stone monoliths that ancient Chamorros carved from coral limestone and served as foundations for their homes. A wreath was then laid at the park’s Peace Monument, which was dedicated to the SGI’s founding.
Throughout the two-day event, held Jan. 21–22, attendees enjoyed performances by various cultural groups representing
the Polynesian, Micronesian and Mariana islands. The SGI Isa Chorus, comprising women and future division members, sang the Soka Gakkai song “Haha” (Mother) and the native hymn “Saina.”
On Jan. 23, Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo issued a proclamation declaring Jan. 23, 2017, SGI Appreciation Day. The award states that the peace festival not only promotes harmony and friendship throughout the island and the world, but also promotes the mission of Dr. Daisaku Ikeda and the SGI, “one that will continue to empower individuals toward positive change.”
On Jan. 28, Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz, on behalf of the 34th Guam Legislature, presented a proclamation that honors Dr. Daisaku and Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda for their tireless dedication to promoting world peace.
In an interview afterward, Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon Mayor Louise C. Rivera emphasized that the Latte Peace Festival is an “opportunity to bring different groups, denominations and cultures together, and to share the joy of working in unity, getting to know one another and making sure that dialogue, rather than violence, is the solution.”