©Vatican Media

17th May 2024

Soka Gakkai President Meets Pope Francis in Shared Commitment to Foster Interfaith Cooperation and Peace

  • Peace
  • Disarmament
  • Nuclear Abolition

On 10 May 2024, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada met with Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. The meeting lasted for 30 minutes. Harada conveyed his hope that, in these tumultuous times, religions that seek peace can transcend their differences and work together based on a shared love for humanity. Pope Francis agreed and expressed his thanks.

Harada expressed his commitment to continue working together toward human happiness and world peace, and Pope Francis voiced his concern over current global challenges, stating that war signifies defeat and must be eradicated.

On the topic of the abolition of nuclear weapons, Harada introduced the initiatives of the Soka Gakkai toward this end under the leadership of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. Pope Francis voiced his strong criticism of nuclear weapons and commended these efforts.

©Vatican Media

Following his meeting with Pope Francis, Harada met with Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, president of the Fratelli tutti Foundation. Kimiko Nagaishi, Soka Gakkai women’s leader, and Hirotsugu Terasaki, SGI Director General for Peace and Global Issues, also joined the meeting.

Terasaki then attended the second World Meeting on Human Fraternity (WMHF) titled “#BeHuman,” organized by the Fratelli tutti Foundation on 10 and 11 May. Some 300 speakers and guests joined 12 round tables on various themes such as education, labor, agriculture and social media. Terasaki joined the round table on peace along with other participants including Nobel Peace Prize laureates Muhammad Yunus and Jody Williams, as well as representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. On 11 May, Pope Francis delivered a speech at the meeting.

The second World Meeting on Human Fraternity in Rome | © Seikyo Shimbun

On 9 May, the Soka Gakkai delegation also visited the Rome headquarters of the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic lay community that works for peace and in service of the poor in 70 countries around the world. They met with the community’s founder, Andrea Riccardi, Secretary General Cesare Zucconi, and Secretary General of Peoples and Religions Alberto Quattrucci. SGI has previously cooperated with the Community of Sant’Egidio in interfaith forums and efforts to promote the abolition of the death penalty in Japan. Riccardi shared his hope for continued cooperation with the Soka Gakkai to promote peace and dialogue.