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Dialogue Nights Return to In Person

by Mitch Bogen
Special to the Tribune

On July 29, after two years of virtual Dialogue Nights, nearly 30 Boston-area university students and young professionals returned to the Ikeda Center for an evening of engaging dialogue. 

In her introduction to the event, which was called “Revitalizing Our Relationships: What Does That Look Like Now?” Ikeda Center Program Manager Lillian I said that during the planning process, team members agreed that the pandemic has confirmed the value of relationships but also made them more difficult to maintain.

Their experiences, said Ms. I, echoed SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s conviction that “It may seem easier to remain closed off in our private world, but we will not grow as a person. Alone and isolated, our true potentiality cannot shine. Interaction with others enriches our lives.”

Connection —University students and young professionals gather at the Ikeda Center for Dialogue Nights, Cambridge, Mass., July 29, 2022.

The evening featured speakers Mary Schletzbaum and Jason Henriksen, who each discussed how they have been navigating relationship challenges during the pandemic. 

Describing a breakthrough, Ms. Schletzbaum said that her relationships with family members, whom she often disagreed with, improved greatly when she learned to consider the whole person instead of just “something they said.”

Mr. Henriksen also shared a victory, saying that by engaging in difficult “inner work” he learned “to be an active participant in social dynamics rather than a shadow waiting for permission to move.”  

During the small-group discussions, participants shared what revitalizing and building healthy relationships look like for them right now.

Kevin Maher closed by emphasizing that “at a time when the world can feel uncertain, it is through connection and our relationships that we continue to reignite our hope and joy.”

—Visit for in-depth coverage of the event. 

Trials Forge Our Lives

Q: As time passes and my contemporaries and loved ones pass away, I feel the weight of my own mortality. How can I live with hope and purpose?