Peace and Disarmament

Back to listSep 13, 2009

Dewey Scholar Speaks at SGI-USA's Culture of Peace Distinguished Speaker's Lecture Series

090913x_usa_Dr.Hickman dewey.jpg Larry Hickman speaks with youth at the Chicago Culture Center

On September 13, 2009, Dr. Larry Hickman, professor of philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the director of the Center for Dewey Studies, spoke at the SGI-USA Chicago Culture Center as part of the ongoing Culture of Peace Distinguished Speakers Series. Dr. Hickman, a former president of the John Dewey Society—a leading American association of educators—spoke about the similarities between Dewey's philosophy and that of Soka education, which originated in the works of founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and has been put into practice by SGI President Ikeda in a school system spanning from kindergarten to university level. Approximately 500 people attended the event.

Dr. Hickman emphasized that Soka education can bridge the gap between Dewey's work and the urgent needs of today's educational system. Both educational philosophies, he said, are grounded in the belief that education should be humanistic and foster lifelong learners. He further stated that "The school is a laboratory for developing good citizens," and that "it needs to involve character training and moral education."

SGI President Ikeda is engaged in an ongoing dialogue with Dr. Hickman and Dr. Jim Garrison, president of the John Dewey Society and a professor at the School of Education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The SGI-USA Culture of Peace Distinguished speakers series, which aims to foster a culture that rejects violence and addresses the root causes of conflict through the power of dialogue, commenced in 2007 and focuses on the action areas defined by the 1999 U.N. Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace.

[Adapted from an article in the October 16, 2009, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photo courtesy of World Tribune]