To promote Human Values through Education & Culture

Poetic Heart 2013 - The Event

“The poet’s words can generate harmony and guide humanity towards a peaceful world in which the dignity of life is respected.” _ Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, Founding President of SGI

The glorious dawn of the second edition of the Poetic Heart: Connecting Humanity 2013 was welcomed with great enthusiasm and joy on 14th February 2013 at Dubai Knowledge Village, UAE. This passionate enterprise of Soka Gakkai International - Gulf (SGI-Gulf) was based on hope, faith and the belief that our poetic spirit is the precursor of the change in humanity. Poetry is a means of connecting hearts throughout the world. No matter what culture, language or religion, poetry has a magical way of bringing people together.

The auditorium was packed at 10.30am with people from different spheres of society sharing the common desire of creating heart to heart bonds with everyone around. The youth formed a prominent part of this event. At last count, the auditorium housed 367 people, who lent their ears to poetry in various languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, Japanese, Italian and Malayalam.

Rakesh Tharoor, General Director, SGI-Gulf shared SGI’s vision and spoke of the significance of the poetic spirit. He stated that – “The loss of this spirit, this sensitivity to life, describes the pathology of our ailing planet, the apparent withering of our humanity. To nurture the poetic spirit in our own lives is to nurture hope for the future.” He extended a warm welcome to each one present and applauded the huge attendance from the local schools and colleges. The total number of participating educational institutes stood at 20.   

SGI President Dr. Daisaku Ikeda conveyed his heartfelt congratulations through a message which was read by Dr. Akash Ouchi, SGI Representative for South Asia and Middle East. He appreciated the efforts of Dr. Ayoub Kazim and Dr. Shihab Ghanem “for the warm and invaluable support that has made this event possible.” The message very symbolically reflected the inspiring “humanistic quest for peace” of the great poet, Rabindranath Tagore and aptly stated, “The noble pride and spirit, wisdom and creativity underlying Arab culture has been nurtured, enriched, and passed on across the generations in the sublime and golden souls of your poets.”

Dr. Ikeda admired UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for being an “insightful and innovative leader as well as a poet himself.” He quoted from Sheikh Mohammed’s poem, “A Challenge” – 

“I ardently sing with joy as the challenge rises.

Hardship I am used to, it fervently feeds my fire.”

Dr. Ikeda shared his belief that – “The poet’s words can generate harmony and guide humanity towards a peaceful world in which the dignity of life is respected.” He saluted all poets and wished that this symposium would lead to “a further expansion of the solidarity of peace and friendship” “through awakening the poetic heart we all share.”

Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Executive Director, Dubai Knowledge Village & Dubai International Academic City; very beautifully elaborated the “symbiotic relationship between poetry, education and intellect which shapes humanity.” He spoke of the simplicity of words, of poetry and the new perspectives that poets bring. He appreciated Dr. Shihab Ghanem’s efforts and his winning the Tagore Peace Award. He highlighted the fact that events such as this are a “medium of encouragement to younger ones” and “culture, peace and humanity can change the world.”

Dr. Shihab Ghanem, Eminent Emarati poet, initiated the enthralling poetic morning. He was delighted at the large number of schools participating in the event. He believed that in a scenario where poetry is losing its “lustre” and events such as the ‘Poetic Heart’ will help foster poetry among the younger generation. For him, this was the most significant achievement of ‘Poetic Heart 2013’. Dr. Ghanem expressed “poetry as the soul of the nation.” He formally launched the ‘Poetic Heart’ event with the recitation of his poem titled ‘Bags’. The poem highlighted the poetic spirituality that ought to exist in humans.  

The poem ended in a thought provoking staccato manner with the lines:

“But people.

Are bankrupt.

Always running behind the bags”.

Before poets could start reciting their poems,Mr. Sami Yusuf, Popularly Named ‘The Islamic Rock Star’ addressed the audience, he expressed that through poetry one can know a nation truly. He stressed on the importance of pre-modern times, which had a sense of sanctity about it. He highlighted that in a world full of technology, it’s important to remember the higher things and cultivate the vast legacy of poetry. He believes that one singular metaphysical principal exists behind all reality. He concluded by applauding the role of ‘Poetic Heart’ in encouraging the youth of today.

The audience experienced an enchanting video titled – “Ala Bi Dhikrika (Your Remembrance)”based on the poetry of Dr. Shihab Ghanem sung in the ethereal voice of Sami Yusuf.

The following eminent poets; Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, Prof. Francesca Corrao, Dr. Qais Ghanem, Ms. Silvana Salmanpour, Mr. Talal Al Sabiri, Mr.Chemmanam Chacko, Dr. Shihab Ghanem respectively recited their poems in various languages, emphasising the message of Peace & Humanity.

An addition to the second edition of 'Poetic Hear't was to encourage the participation of the youth. Two students among many others who submitted their poetry were given the opportunity to share the stage with the eminent poets. Menatalla Hany Mohamed from Cambridge International School and Aditi Naik from Winchester School recited their poems on peace and the power to bring about change within our hearts through poetry.

The “Poetic Heart 2013” was concluded with Musical Performances by Dr. Nizar Ghanem and Mr. Jason Carter. Dr. Nizar Ghanem played the Oud and recited the poem “Ya Munan Nafsi” written by Dr. Qais Ghanem and “The Waves” by Dr. Shihab Ghanem. This was followed by a musical medley between Mr. Jason Carter and Dr. Nizar Ghanem. This unique musical question and answer exchange was a befitting conclusion.

Mr. Suresh Premkumar, Deputy Gen. Director SGI-Gulf, thanked and applauded the efforts of all the schools and universities that participated in the event. He appreciated the support and encouragement of Dr. Ayoub Kazim and Dr. Shihab Ghanem and all others who helped behind the scenes to make this event a success. Last but not the least; he thanked the efforts of all the volunteers of SGI-Gulf in their contribution in bringing this event to life. He also extended an invite to the next edition of ‘Poetic Heart’ in 2014.

The joyful closure of the event was captured with a commemorative photograph with all the esteemed guests, poets, musicians and the audience.