If there was a lesson to be gleaned from the powerful milestone Young Men’s and Young Women’s General Meetings held in July, it was this: Next year’s 50,000 youth gathering starts with treasuring the person right in front of you.

Thanks to the united efforts of SGI-USA members across the country to visit and encourage youth, over 9,500 young men and young women gathered for general meetings that served as powerful dress rehearsals toward next year’s “50,000 Lions of Justice: Ushering in an Era of Hope and Respect.”

Under the banner “Lions of Justice,” more than 4,160 young men connected via live simulcast on July 9 across 36 locations.

A week later, on July 15, over 5,330 young women held a meeting themed “Warriors of Jiyu,” broadcast across 50 sites.

In commemorative messages to both meetings (see p. 2 for full text), SGI President Ikeda declared that the general meetings heralded a new era of worldwide kosen-rufu.

To the young men, President Ikeda said: “I call on all of you, the incredibly precious individuals who shoulder the future of American kosen-rufu: Live a most glorious drama of victory during your youth! . . . What determines a person’s greatness? It is neither one’s wealth or authority; nor is it one’s fame. A person’s greatness is determined by the guiding philosophy he upholds and how he puts it into action.”

To the young women, he called on them to have absolute confidence that they themselves are Nammyoho- renge-kyo! President Ikeda asked that, armed with this conviction, they advance “cheerfully and harmoniously,” while declaring: “Today again I wasn’t defeated!” “I have won!” “The young women of the SGI-USA have won!”