Faith Affiliation: Buddhist
The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a community-based Buddhist organization that promotes peace, culture and education centered on respect for the dignity of life. SGI members uphold the humanistic philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism in 192 countries and territories around the world.
Individual SGI members strive to actualize their inherent potential while contributing as empowered global citizens to their local communities and responding to the shared issues facing humankind. The SGI’s efforts to help build a lasting culture of peace are based on a commitment to dialogue and nonviolence, and the understanding that individual happiness and the realization of a peaceful world are inextricably linked.
As a non-governmental organization with formal ties to the United Nations, the SGI also collaborates with other civil society organizations, intergovernmental agencies and faith groups in the fields of nuclear disarmament, human rights education, sustainable development and humanitarian relief.
What inspires SGI to do their work?
SGI’s work is inspired by Buddhist philosophy whose key elements include:
- Belief in the dignity of life
- The interconnectedness of all life
- Reflection, dialogue and nonviolence
The SGI was registered as a non-governmental organization (NGO) associated with the UN Department of Public Information in 1981 and was granted consultative status with the Economic and Social Council in 1983. SGI maintains offices in New York and Geneva.
- The SGI was an early proponent of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-14) and played an active role in the UN process for the realization of the World Programme for Human Rights Education which was launched in 2005 as a follow-up to the UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004).
- It launched the People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition initiative in 2007 to rouse public opinion and help create a global grassroots network of people on the issue.
- The SGI has been engaged in humanitarian relief activities over the years, including the continued relief efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, taking advantage of its unique strengths and capabilities as a faith-based organization (FBO).
- The SGI works to promote the SDGs and raise awareness among the people around the world. One such effort is the development of a mobile app called “Mapting”, co-produced with Earth Charter International.The app serves as an educational tool to engage users, particularly young people, in promoting sustainable actions and projects through sharing pictures and videos. It is designed to help understand what is needed to lead the transition toward more just, sustainable and peaceful societies in the face of global challenges such as environmental devastation, the massive extinction of species, injustice, poverty and violent conflicts.
Key SDGs addressed: Goal 4, 5, 11, and 16 and Key Programs
Goal 4 – Quality Education-
The SGI has developed non-formal education tools with the aim to encourage learning, reflection, empowerment and leadership at the grassroots level. The SGI is also conducting a project to evaluate the effectiveness of non-formal education tools in cooperation with Centre for Environment Education (CEE).
Goal 5 – Gender Equality
Together with other like-minded groups, the SGI organizes various events to support efforts to promote gender equality by supporting the activities of UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), with a particular focus on women’s leadership.
Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
The SGI’s local organizations have conducted relief activities in response to large-scale natural disasters. Some of the local organizations engage in dialogue with local authorities for joint disaster preparedness in line with the Sendai Framework.
Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
The SGI has promoted peace and justice through a wide range of activities. The SGI’s nuclear abolition efforts trace their roots back to 1957 when second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda made a public declaration calling for the elimination and prohibition of nuclear weapons. Since then, the SGI has been working toward realizing a world free of nuclear weapons and the creation of a culture of peace through a number of initiatives and events, including the exhibition “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons”. The SGI has also supported the UN efforts to promote Security Council Resolution 1325 (women, peace and security) and 2250 (youth, peace and security).
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