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Peace and Disarmament

Back to listMar 27, 2005

Singapore Soka Association Hosts Lecture by Toda Institute Director

Dr. Tehranian's lecture captivates audience

On March 20, Singapore Soka Association (SSA) sponsored its fifth Daisaku Ikeda Annual Lecture, chaired this year by Professor Amitav Archaya, deputy director of the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies. Among the 950 attendees were 70 guests, including His Excellencies Ambassador Jørgen Ørstrøm Møller and Ambassador Chalermphol Thanchitt, of the Royal Danish and Royal Thai Embassies in Singapore, respectively; scholars; and religious leaders. In a congratulatory message, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda urged humanity to foster a healthy spirituality and use dialogue to confront and break through the myriad challenges facing world society, including terrorism, war, poverty, environmental pollution and violence.

Dr. Tehranian makes a point during his lecture

Guest lecturer Dr. Majid Tehranian, professor of International Communication at the University of Hawaii and director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, spoke on "Cosmopolis: Civilization, Communication and Terror in the Global Village." Dr. Tehranian posed three key questions: "What is the current world system?", "Is it a civilized world system?" and "Is an alternate world system possible?" Dr. Tehranian introduced his perspective of civilizations as different stages of a combined human civilization--namely, nomadic, agrarian, commercial, industrial and digital--emphasizing that the journey is yet ongoing. His concept differs from the geopolitical approach of the Christian, Muslim, Roman, Chinese and Western concepts of civilizations that polarize peoples and cultures into "we, the civilized," and "they, the barbaric." Dr. Tehranian likened human civilization to a tree, with different civilizations being the branches and flowers. He underscored the importance of dialogue and the function of NGOs, including the SGI, as beacons of hope that light the way for humanity to avoid pitfalls in the journey of civilizations in the making.

At the occasion, Dr. Tehranian received the SSA Friendship Award from SSA General Director Ong Bon Chai.

[SSA instituted the Daisaku Ikeda Annual Lecture ("DIAL" for short) in 2000 in honor of Mr. Ikeda's contributions to humanity. DIAL seeks to provide a platform for distinguished individuals to speak on issues of peace, culture and education, which will serve as a foundation for sharing and exchanging views and ideas for the betterment of humanity.]