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University of Rizal System, the Philippines, Confers Honorary Doctor of Humanities on SGI President; Order of Knights of Rizal Presents Awards

Dr. De Leon (left) confers award upon Mr. Ikeda (2nd from left)

Dr. De Leon (left) confers award upon Mr. Ikeda (2nd from left)

On November 24, 2006, the University of Rizal System (URS) in Rizal Province, the Philippines, conferred an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in recognition of his leadership for peace. URS President Olivia F. De Leon conferred the award in a ceremony at the Seikyo Shimbun Building in Shinanomachi, Tokyo. Accompanying Dr. De Leon from the Philippines were URS Vice President Araceli M. Bobadilla and Professor Virgilio R. Esguerra, as well as Sir Rogelio M. Quiambao, former supreme commander of the Order of the Knights of Rizal, and Philippines Supreme Court Chief Judicial Staff Officer Danilo C. Pablo.

The University of Rizal System is named in tribute to José Rizal (1861-96), the physician, philosopher, author, and champion of human rights revered in the Philippines as a national hero. URS was established in 2001 as a unified administration of a number of the province's schools and colleges. URS currently supports 18,000 students enrolled in a wide variety of programs and courses beginning with kindergarten and continuing through post-graduate levels. Environmental sustainability and technological development are two major focuses.

Mr. Ikeda (right) greets Knights of Rizal officers

Mr. Ikeda (right) greets Knights of Rizal officers

On the same occasion, Sir Rogelio presented Mr. Ikeda with two awards from his organization: the Excellence on Peace and Justice Award, for championing international understanding and harmony, and the Golden Harvest Award, for his promotion of education for youth. The Order of the Knights of Rizal is a civic organization established in 1916 to perpetuate Rizal's ideals and legacy. With chapters in the Philippines and other countries, the Order's activities benefit young people and the community at large.

Expressing his heartfelt appreciation for the honors, Mr. Ikeda commended URS for its commitment to environmental protection.

Following the ceremony, Mr. Ikeda met with Dr. De Leon and the other members of the Philippine delegation for discussions touching on the role of education in building the foundations of peace, Rizal's enduring legacy, and the importance of promoting spiritual values to create a truly prosperous society.

[Adapted from an article in the November 25, 2006, Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]