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Joint Appeal to Youth for Resilience and Hope

June 7, 2018

Tokyo, Jun 7, 2018: On June 5, in Rome, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda released an appeal to young people worldwide, calling for a new world built on justice and solidarity.

The appeal was presented by Dr. Pérez Esquivel and Ikeda’s son, Hiromasa, Vice President of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), at a press conference at Rome’s Foreign Press Association. Two youth representatives also voiced their determination to take up this challenge.

Citing the “vertiginous dynamic of change” and complex global issues facing humanity, in the appeal Esquivel and Ikeda stress the critical role of empowered young people in transforming history. They call on youth to unite to protect the dignity of life, fight injustice and eliminate misery in support of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its goal of “transforming our world.”

This initiative builds on a dialogue between Esquivel and Ikeda published in Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Chinese, titled “The Power of Hope.” The appeal states: “The two of us have lived through the storms of war and violence of the twentieth century. These experiences drive our insistent efforts to expand the bonds of friendship among peoples across ethnic and religious differences.”

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel speaking at the Youth Convention at Ex DoganaDr. Pérez Esquivel speaking at the Youth Convention

Together with five youth from different countries, Esquivel and Hiromasa Ikeda also presented the statement at a Youth Convention on the evening of June 6 at the popular Ex Dogana performance space. Organized by the Italian affiliate of SERPAJ and Soka Gakkai Italy, it was attended by 800 young people of diverse faiths including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Islam. Participants enjoyed music from a traditional Afghan group, the Soka Millennium Ensemble and DJ Massimiliano Mascaro.

Argentinian sculptor and architect Dr. Adolfo Pérez Esquivel became director of SERPAJ, the Latin American Peace and Justice Foundation based on Christianity and nonviolence, in 1974. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his human rights advocacy and activism.

Daisaku Ikeda is a Buddhist philosopher who promotes dialogue and inner-motivated change as ways to peace. He is president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist network and founder of the Toda Peace Institute and Soka education system.