Peace and Disarmament

Back to listNov 23, 2009

Toda Institute Holds International Conference on the Power of Dialogue

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From November 22-23, 2009, the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research held a conference on "The Power of Dialogue in a Time of Global Crisis" at Soka University in Hachioji, Tokyo. Scholars specializing in peace and environmental studies gathered to discuss how true intra- and inter-civilizational dialogue can serve as a force to create a global society of harmonious coexistence.

On November 22, during the morning session, Tadashige Takamura, representative director of the Toda Institute, introduced SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's message for the conference. Following this, Sarah Wider, professor of English and Women's Studies at Colgate University and former president of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, gave the keynote speech entitled "Peace Through Listening—Conversations Across Time and Space." Professor Nur Yalman from Harvard University, Professor Joseph Camilleri, director of Australia's La Trobe University Center for Dialogue, Dr. Yoichi Kawada, director of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, and Professor M'hamed Fantar from Tunis El Manar University presented reports on their respective research.

Professor Camilleri spoke about the rapid changes in global climate and the impact on human life and society, from a cultural context. He expressed the need for drawing forth wisdom from within society and promoting dialogue that transcends cultures, civilizations and religions. First Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi's concept of "humanitarian competition" was also discussed, as well as the importance of civil movements on a grassroots level.

On November 23, Professor Kevin Clements, secretary general of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, spoke about the altruistic spirit that derives from the family. He expressed his hope for the creation of a culture and society where people embody the spirit of compassion. Additionally, the institute's director, Dr. Olivier Urbain introduced Mr. Ikeda's philosophy of peace and dialogue.

[Adapted from articles in the November 23 and 27, 2009, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]