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On the SGI’s Departure, Accolades From Guam

Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada accepts the commendation from the Guam Legislature in Hagåtña, Guam, Jan. 20, 2023. Photo by Yvonne Ng.

On Jan. 20, 2023, the day before the grand opening of the SGI Guam Ikeda Peace and Culture Center, the Soka Gakkai delegation attended a series of public events congratulating the SGI on its new departure.

At the Guam Congress Building in Hagåtña, the territory’s capital village, the Guam Legislature recognized the Soka Gakkai International on the 48th anniversary of its founding and commended SGI President Daisaku Ikeda and Kaneko Ikeda for their continued dedication to promoting world peace.

“Our island is a beautiful home to the new Peace and Culture Center, which aims to spread the spirit of tolerance, respect for human rights and a commitment to nonviolence, especially for us on Guam, where we suffered the atrocity of World War II and had a front-row seat to the development of nuclear weapons,” said Sen. Joe San Agustin, who read the commendation. “May we find peace within ourselves, our community and our island.”

Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada accepted the commendation from Speaker of the 37th Guam Legislature Therese M. Terlaje.

In brief remarks, President Harada relayed Sensei’s heartfelt gratitude to the Guam Legislature for the commendation, explaining that the SGI, which had members in 51 countries at its founding, now encompasses more than 11 million members in 192 countries and territories. “In order to respond to this commendation, each of us is determined to spread a message of peace,” he said.

SGI members rejoice at the Govenor’s proclamation signing ceremony in Hagåtña, Guam, Jan. 20, 2023. Photo by Yvonne Ng.

Later that day, the Office of the Governor held a proclamation-signing ceremony in recognition of the center grand opening as well as the SGI’s founding. Attending the event were Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio and former Speaker of the Guam Legislature Judi Won Pat.

The Governor’s compound was a fitting site for the signing, given its history as the seat of protracted Spanish occupation as well as a command post for the Japanese military in 1941. Three years into the Japanese occupation, the building was leveled by American forces in the Battle of Guam. Standing in the rebuilt compound, Lt. Gov Tenorio said of the island’s history: “There were many hardships that were incurred here. From here, the same place that served as post in war now serves as a very important place of peace.”

Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada (third from the right), Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero (third from the left), Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio (second from the right) and former Speaker of the Guam Legislature Judi Won Pat (far right) at the Office of the Governor in Hagåtña, Guam, Jan. 20, 2023. 

In 2010, the government erected the Latte of Freedom (see p. 12), an 80-foot-tall viewing tower first envisioned nearly 50 years ago as a bicentennial project by then Gov. Ricardo Bordallo, who met with Ikeda Sensei on his 1975 visit to the island.

The latte, a stone structure unique to the Marianas, consists of a pillar and capstone first used in ancient Guam to form the foundation of significant buildings in CHamoru society. The structures are designed to absorb the shock of earthquakes and do not decay like wooden or thatched structures. They have thus become an important symbol of the strength and endurance of the Mariana islands and people. The monument is considered Guam’s Statue of Liberty. 

Prepared by the World Tribune staff

Feb. 10, 2023, World Tribune, p. 4

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