Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Video: BW Tours Gandhi, King, Ikeda Exhibit at Boise State

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 3:38 PM

A “living legacy” exhibit—several years in the making and showcasing the global impacts of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Daisaku Ikeda—has opened to the general public at Boise State University's Student Union.

Boise Weekly took a tour of the exhibit, which runs through Sunday, Feb. 23, on the second floor of the Student Union.

The exhibit was created by Dr. Lawrence E. Carter of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.

“The year was 1999; I was sitting in my office,” Carter told BW. “I received a phone call from a pastor in San Francisco asking me how I was going to respond to the Columbine High School shooting.”

After some deliberation, Carter decided to merge different sectors of nonviolent philosophy and document the civil and human rights movement of the 20th century as the end of the millennium was approaching. Shortly after, Carter received another call from a Buddhist professor at Clark Atlanta University who was a member of Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist organization whose president is Daisaku Ikeda, and was interested in Carter's development in peace work. That professor introduced Carter to Ikeda.

“I was most amazed at how much the work of Dr. Ikeda and the Buddhists updated and paralleled and institutionalized the work of Gandhi and King,” Carter said. "This was the beginning of the partnership between the foundation and the SGI and the beginning of the GKI exhibit."

Three years ago, Stacie Dagres from the SGI community in Boise approached the Living Legacy Committee at Boise State and proposed the idea of hosting the GKI exhibit.

“We were very interested from the start,” Francisco Salinas, adviser of the Living Legacy Committee, told BW. “Logistically we had some challenges.”

The exhibit takes up 2,500 square feet. An even greater challenge was to fit the exhibit's visit to Boise with Carter’s schedule.

“A large exhibit like that always comes with Dr. Carter,” said Dagres.

The exhibit features large photographs and inspirational quotes from of Gandhi, King and Ikeda. Students from the Living Legacy Committee and volunteers from the SGI community helped to construct the exhibit, along with members from the GKI organization and students from the fine arts department.

Before coming to Boise State, this exhibit has traveled across the planet. Amman, Jordan, was particularly memorable for Carter, mainly because it coincided with the awarding of the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize.

“We wanted a way to encourage people to actually do peace work,” Carter said, “But we thought we needed to help teach the public what peace work looked like.”

The recipient was Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.

“That was a very high moment,” Carter said.

Ever since, when the exhibit travels to a new location, locals elect three persons to be considered for the same award. Among the nominated from Boise, Carter selected Boise Democratic State Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb to receive the Community Builders Prize. Buckner-Webb received the award at the Feb. 3 opening reception of the exhibit.

"We were looking for people who have distinguished themselves in the areas of peace, nonviolence, justice and building the love of the community,” Carter said.

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