SSA Welcomes Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. to Singapore

SSA Welcomes Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. to Singapore

After a span of 13 years, SSA welcomed Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr., Dean of the Martin Luther King Jr Internatonal Chapel to Singapore from 30 October to 4 November 2019. Some of the key highlights of Dr Carter’s trip included the Fifth Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture, SSA Interfaith Symposium and SSA Youth in Conversation.

During his short stay, he also called on friends of SSA including Professor Wang Gungwu, Professor Rohan Gunaratna, Imam Habib Hassan, to discuss topics of mutual interest. As part of the efforts to further understand Singapore’s interfaith scene, he also visited the Harmony in Diversity Gallery and Religious Rehabilitation Group Gallery.

Accompanying him on the trip was Mr Terry Ferrel Walker Sr., Director of Chapel Relations from the Morehouse College.

Fifth Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture

Upon the invitation of the Singapore Management University (SMU), Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. spoke on the topic “Happiness and Suffering – A Reconciliation between East and West” to some 800 people at the Fifth Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture held on 1 November 2019 at SMU.

At the lecture, Dr Carter, offered insights on how communities formed to help people aspire towards the divine can end up stifling “the internal and spontaneous powers of faith.” His lecture also looked at how communities of faith can speak more inclusively and compassionately to each other, and to help humanity experience the divine that exists in all human beings.

Following the lecture, Dr Carter launched his latest book “A Baptist Preacher’s Buddhist Teacher”, followed by a book autograph session. This book explores how his interfaith journey with Soka Gakkai International (SGI) President Daisaku Ikeda has made him a better Christian. To date, this book has earned high praises and received three gold awards; namely, the 2019 Nautilus Book Awards in the Religion/ Spirituality of Western Though category, the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Religion (Eastern/ Western) category; and the 2019 Illumination Book Awards in the Biography/ Memoir category.

About the Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture Series

The Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture is organised by the SMU Wee Kim Wee Centre and supported by the Singapore Soka Association. Named in honour of Soka Gakkai International President Dr Daisaku Ikeda, this five-year lecture series was inaugurated in 2015 and seeks to put into action President Ikeda’s untiring conviction that dialogue is the surest path to peace.

On 8 March 2019, SSA and SMU held a gift signing ceremony to mark the renewed partnership for an additional five years from year 2020 to 2024.

SSA Interfaith Symposium: “Peaceful and Harmonious Co-existence in Diversity”

With the recent proposed amendments made to the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act, discussion on the spread of hate speech and racism, and the upcoming United Nation’s International Day for Tolerance of 16 November, SSA initiated an Interfaith Symposium deliberating on the topic “Harmonious and Peaceful Co-existence in Diversity” on 2 November 2019 at the SSA Headquarters.

Guest-of-Honour for the event was Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources; Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs; Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC. More than 700 people attended the Symposium, with guests from various religious, community and grassroots organisations.

The distinguished panel of speakers included: Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr, Ambassador K Kesavapany, who sits on the council of the Inter-Religious Organisation in Singapore; Dr Mohammad Hannan Hassan, Vice-Dean of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) Academy; and SSA Vice-General Director Mr Michael Yap. The panel was moderated by Ambassador Mohammad Alami Musa, Head of the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

From left to right, Dr Mohammad Hannan Hassan, Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr., Ambassador Mohammad Alami Musa, Ambassador K Kesavapany, and Mr Michael Yap

A series of cross-cultural performances was put up by friends from the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society, Orkestra Sri Temasek and SSA Arts and Culture Groups. The event was covered by media including The Straits Times and local television news in Chinese and Malay over the weekend.

SSA Youth in Conversation with Dr Lawrence Carter

On 3 November, Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr held an engaging session on the topic “My Unforgettable Encounters with SGI President Ikeda”, with more than 300 SSA youth representatives gathered at the Soka Peace Centre.

Following his sharing on his encounters with President Ikeda, Dr Carter took questions from the floor and shared words of wisdom to further encourage the youth to be the courageous disciples of Dr Ikeda and strive to fulfil their respective mission in contributing to the happiness of humanity.

As a gesture of appreciation, the SSA youth presented Dr Carter with a hand-made gift containing their determinations towards peace.

About Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr.

Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. is an American historian and civil rights expert. He is Professor of Religion and Dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. Carter is the founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Assistants Pre-seminarians Program.

After graduating, Dr Carter served as Associate Dean of Daniel L. Marsh Chapel at Boston University. He later taught at Harvard University Divinity School and served as coordinator of African American studies at Simmons College.

At Morehouse, Dr Carter founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Assistants Pre-seminarians Program. He commissioned the Gandhi Ikeda King Hassan Institute for Ethics and Reconciliation in 1999, and created the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Community Builder’s Prize of Morehouse Chapel in 2001.

Dr Carter has received four honorary degrees from the following three schools: Lincoln University, Al al-Bayt University, and Soka University of Japan. He has also received the Seikyo Award for Highest Honor, the Trumpet Award for Spirituality, and been a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and a Fulbright-Hayes Scholar.

Dr Lawrence Carter last came to Singapore in October 2006 to promote the “Gandhi, King, Ikeda: A Legacy of Building Peace” international exhibition that was shown in more than 21 countries and seen by more than 350,000 people then.

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