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TOKYO, Nov 22: Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist association and founder of Soka University, was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the University of Massachusetts Boston at a ceremony held in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward on November 21.
This brings to 300 the total number of honorary doctorates, honorary professorships and equivalent titles conferred upon Mr. Ikeda by institutions of higher education in some 50 countries for his efforts to build peace and promote cultural exchange and humanistic education.
University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor Dr. J. Keith Motley headed a delegation including Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Winston E. Langley and Associate Provost and Director of International and Transnational Affairs Professor Eunsook Hyun which was visiting Japan to sign an academic exchange agreement with Soka University and present the honorary doctorate to Ikeda.
The University of Massachusetts Boston is part of the University of Massachusetts system. A research-intensive public university, it enrolls 11,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students.
In his citation, Dr. Motley introduced Ikeda as follows: "Inspiring Buddhist leader, peacebuilder, writer, educator, and global founder of institutes to better humanity," and lauded his advocacy of individual empowerment and social engagement.
Ikeda commented: "I am deeply honored. The academic honors I have accepted have all been on behalf of the members of SGI around the world. This is recognition of their multifaceted contributions. As a private citizen, I will redouble my efforts to promote peace, cultural exchange and education."
Ikeda and Dr. Motley agreed that, particularly in times of great turmoil and confusion, the role of education must be to foster people dedicated to the welfare of humankind.
related article Soka Gakkai Japan and Singapore Soka Association Contribute to Myanmar Cyclone Relief Soka Gakkai General Director Masaaki Masaki visited the Tokyo office of the UNHCR to make a donation of 3 million yen (US$28,800) in support of relief efforts following the cyclone in Myanmar. Ikeda received his first honorary doctorate in May 1975 from Moscow State University in recognition of his educational endeavors, efforts toward nuclear abolition and philosophical writings. He has since been awarded academic honors from a wide range of institutions including Tsinghua University, the University of Hong Kong, University of Denver, the University of Glasgow, the University of Delhi, the University of Sydney, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the University of Ghana.
Daisaku Ikeda (1928- ) was president of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist association from 1960 to 1979. In 1975, he became the founding president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) which now has 12 million members around the world. He is also founder of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, the Min-On Concert Association, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, the Soka education system from kindergarten to university level, the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research and the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue. He is the author of numerous works on Buddhist philosophy as well as over 50 published dialogues with leading thinkers from different cultures around the world.
Source: Soka Gakkai International
Contact: Joan Anderson
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