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Leadership Theme Inspires Students

By Aman Ruprell, Vancouver

Discussion group at the High School and Student Group conference

August 16 marked the beginning of a summer ritual of attending the High School and Student Group Caledon conference for sixty-two youth from across the country. Upon arrival, students were greeted by the behind-the-scenes crew and the vibrant, exploding energy of everyone’s Caledon-Conference spirit! With full bellies and warm hearts, the conference kicked off with ice breakers that brought strangers across the nation together. This was the beginning of a strong ever-lasting friendship among everyone.         

The theme for this year’s conference was "Leadership."  The sessions were broken into three categories: leadership in our own lives, leadership in the community, and leadership in the world. We not only discussed what leadership is but also created actionable steps to realizing leadership in all areas of our lives. 

To deepen our understanding of leadership in the world, we looked at SGI President Ikeda’s 2018 Peace Proposal to the United Nations. We then created our own one-pager peace proposals that will eventually be bound into a book to create a robust and diverse proposal by youth from across Canada. This activity helped us understand how taking leadership in our own lives eventually translates to taking leadership in our community and on the global stage. 

Another highlight of the conference was some amazing questions on study and faith led by youth from Montreal with support from SGI Canada General Director Tony Meers. The Q&A really gave the youth insight on the SGI and its actions and efforts across the globe to support others in their happiness. 

The conference wrapped up with a spectacular culture night. It was filled with experiences showcasing victories and struggles. Lively performances included music, dance, singing, ukulele, piano and even a recorder performance. The night ended with a rousing performance of everyone singing together. 

The interaction between high school and university students was absolutely invaluable. Everyone was able to share their struggles and find inspiration in each other’s encouraging words of guidance. Every participant felt the importance and sincerity of President Ikeda’s message, “Become genuine leaders of society! Become genuine leaders of justice! Become genuine builders of peace!”