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History of SGM

Soka Gakkai Malaysia is a Malaysian Buddhist organisation that promotes peace and harmony through individual transformation and contribution to the society.

1964 - 1977

Early Days

Cosmic Editorial Work, 1977
Cosmic Editorial Work, 1977
Buddhist Study Meeting, 1977

1970s

1970s

Nichiren Buddhism first arrived at Penang and Klang, Selangor in 1964. From these two places, it spread to other parts of the country. Practitioners in the various states began forming state-based registered organisations in the 1970s to carry out their activities. The members carried out grassroots activities such as discussion meetings, study meetings and sharing Buddhism with the people around them.

This period also saw the establishment of a national organ publication which harnessed the efforts of youth correspondents and editorial staff from several states. COSMIC first rolled off the press in January 1977.

1976

SGM established its first centre in August 1976, where a colonial style bungalow near Georgetown in Penang was remodelled to serve as an activities venue and gathering point mainly for practitioners in Penang. The centre still stands today and is now the Soka Peace Centre Malaysia.
1982 - 1989

Growing Movements

1982 - 1985

SGM’s membership grew, especially the ranks of its youth in the 1970s and 1980s. What also grew was the awareness of members to contribute to the peace and harmony of society. SGM began organising national- and state-level culture events, with youth taking the lead. The most notable of these events were the First and Second Nationwide Culture Festivals held in August 1982 and April 1985 in Kuala Lumpur.

1982 - 1985

Cultural Festival, 1982
Cultural Festival, 1985
Cultural Festival, 1985

1984

The desire to form a stronger, consolidated national organisation also grew during this period, and with the cooperation of the state-based organisation, the SGM national organisation was officially established on June 15, 1984. The late Mr Koe Teng Hong was appointed the first general director.

1988

SGM Culture Centre, 1988

1988

1988 was a historic year for SGM. In this year, the national headquarters, the SGM Culture Centre, was completed in January 1988. Several weeks later, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda made his maiden visit to Malaysia at the invitation of the Malaysian government.

During his visit, President Ikeda met with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and then University of Malaya vice-chancellor the late Royal Professor Ungku Aziz. On February 7, he visited the SGM Culture Centre for the first time.

1989

Sea Games, 1989
Sea Games, 1989
Sea Games, 1989

1989

In August 1989, a 4,400-strong SGM contingent performed human graphics and human formations at the opening ceremony of the 15th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at Stadium Merdeka. The vibrant, youthful performance captured the attention and praise of Malaysians and foreign guests. This was SGM’s first internationally-watched performance.

1990s

Further Expansion

The 1990s was yet another period of rapid expansion for SGM. A plan was put in place to establish culture centres in every state in Malaysia. This plan was realised by 2005, with the SGM Pahang Culture Centre being the last of these centres to be built in this phase (only Perlis does not have a culture centre).

1994

Tadika Seri Soka, 1994
Tadika Seri Soka, 1994

1994

In addition, a kindergarten, Tadika Seri Soka was established in 1994 as a first step in promoting Soka education in Malaysia. Since its establishment, over 3,000 students have graduated from its doors and many are now playing important roles in society.

1997

It was also during this decade that SGM stepped up its peacebuilding effort, with the launch of the SGM peace lectures. The inaugural lecture was held on June 22, 1997, with esteemed anti-nuclear weapons activist Dato’ Dr Ronald McCoy delivering a lecture titled “A World Without Nuclear Weapons” at the SGM Culture Centre. Since then, SGM has held many peace lectures covering themes such as education, peace, human rights and culture, with luminous speakers such as Royal Prof Ungku Aziz, Dr Arun Gandhi (the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi), Dr Lawrence Edward Carter (dean of the Martin Luther King, Jr, International Chapel at Morehouse College, USA) and Tan Sri Jemilah Mahmood, founder of MERCY Malaysia and renowned healthcare advocate.

1998

Commonwealth Games, 1998
Commonwealth Games, 1998
Commonwealth Games, 1998

1998

In September 1998, some 5,000 SGM members put up a human graphics performance at the opening ceremony of the 16th Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lumpur. This performance gained widespread acclaim from all who watched, from foreign dignitaries, heads of state and governments, local and international media, Malaysian leaders and members of the public. Then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad especially praised SGM at a televised event held to express the government’s appreciation to the Games volunteers.

Crystal Award, 1998

On November 6, 1998, SGM received the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM)’s Crystal Award under the “Voluntary Programmes” category. The award was presented in recognition of SGM’s human graphics performance during the opening ceremony of the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.

2000 - 2010

A New Age of Peace, Culture and Education

2000

The year 2000 was another significant year for SGM. On November 27, 2000, President Ikeda began his second visit to Malaysia. This time, he was here to receive an honorary doctorate of letters awarded by the university for his outstanding contributions to peace, culture and education. This was the first honorary doctorate awarded to the SGI leader from a Malaysian university.

It was also during this trip that the SGI leader, who is also the founder of Tadika Seri Soka (TSS), visited the kindergarten on December 1, which was followed by his second visit to the SGM Culture Centre for the second time. He encouraged TSS children and SGM members to become people who contribute to the wellbeing of society.

The 2000s also saw growing recognition of SGM’s efforts in creating a harmonious Malaysian society and for President Ikeda’s global peacebuilding efforts.

2001

WKSGM Opening, 2001

2001

The following year saw the opening of Wisma Kebudayaan SGM (WKSGM), a 12-storey centre for promoting peace through artistic, cultural and educational exchanges and events. The centre was officially opened on November 18, 2001 by Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Anuwar Ali, then vice-chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia). Since its establishment, WKSGM has held hundreds of events which saw the participation of hundreds of thousands of people from Malaysia and many other countries.

2003

Dialogue with Nature, 2003

2003

From April to June 2003, the National Art Gallery held the “Dialogue with Nature” exhibition showcasing the photographic works of President Ikeda. In the roughly seven weeks the exhibition was on display, some 95,000 people viewed the works presented, making it one of the most-visited exhibitions of the National Art Gallery.

2004

Arts Supporter Awards, 2004

2004

On February 27, 2004, SGM became the inaugural recipient of the Arts Supporter Awards (Anugerah Pendukung Seni) in the NGO category at the National Arts Awards 2004. In subsequent years, a few state branches also received similar recognition. The awards recognise outstanding contribution to the development of art and culture by individuals and organisations.

2005

The year 2005 saw the inaugural Run for Peace being held in Klang, Selangor. Run for Peace, a biennial event, aims to encourage youth and people from all walks of life to come together for the sake of peace whilst promoting personal and community health and to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

2006

Highest Cultural Award, 2006

2006

In March 2006, the Federation of Writers Association Malaysia (GAPENA) bestowed its Highest Cultural Award to the SGI leader.

2009

Open University Malaysia awarded an honorary doctorate of arts (humanities) to him in February 2009.

2010

Malaysia’s oldest university, the University of Malaysia awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities in August 2010.

2015 - Now

A Future of True Peace for Humanity

The second decade of the new millennium saw SGM strengthening its foundations for the future to become an organisation that contributes to humanity.

2015

"Everything You Treasure" exhibition opening, 2015

2015

SGM expanded its efforts in promoting the abolition of nuclear weapons, first with the “Everything You Treasure – For a World Free from Nuclear Weapons” exhibition, created by Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) that was launched locally in August 2015.

2016

SGI Asia Culture and Education Centre Opening, 2016

2016

In November 2016, the SGI Asia Culture and Education Centre was completed in Johor Bahru, Johor. This centre aims to be a focal point for SGI members in Asia to gather and work for the peace and happiness of the people in Asia.

2017

SGM representative participates in Wisma Putra Outreach Sessions on Nuclear Disarmament, 2017

2017

SGM also worked closely with various agencies, including the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs towards the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) that was adopted by the United Nations in July 2017.

2019

Run for Peace 2019

2019

Over the years Run for Peace gained popularity and in 2019 it was held in 28 locations and witnessed participation from 120,000 people. This event is the key activity of SGM’s September Month of Peace during which SGM members make special efforts to raise awareness that peace begins with the individual. Run for Peace is also supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

2020

SGM representatives at the Ratification of the TPNW Ceremony, September 30, 2020

2020

Rakan TPNW social media initiative was launched in February 2020.

On September 30, 2020, SGM’s efforts bore fruit when the Malaysian government became the 46th country to ratify the TPNW.

2021

Less than a month later, the 50 ratifications to make the law enter into force globally was achieved, and on January 22, 2021, this historic treaty that makes nuclear weapons illegal officially entered into force.

SGM’s efforts were praised by various party, including the Malaysian foreign minister and ICAN.

SGM will continue to strive to create value and play its part in creating a peaceful, global community from Malaysia.

Growing Movements
Growing Movements
Further Expansion
Further Expansion
A New Age of Peace, Culture and Education
A New Age of Peace, Culture and Education
A Future of True Peace for Humanity
A Future of True Peace for Humanity
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