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Shanxi Normal University, Xian, China, Honors Soka University Founder and Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda

Professor Fang (right) presents the certificate to Mr. Ikeda (left)

On October 6, 2007, Shanxi Normal University (SNU), a leading teachers' training institute in Xian, China, presented honorary professorships to Soka University founder Daisaku Ikeda and Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda in recognition of their meritorious endeavors for the spiritual reformation of humanity and for their lives of dedicated contribution. President Fang Yu and other SNU delegates attended the conferral ceremony held at Soka University, Hachioji, Japan. The conferral, the 220th academic honor presented to Mr. Ikeda and the 10th to Mrs. Ikeda, coincided with the opening of the Soka University and Soka Women's College students' annual festival. Present for the ceremony were a delegation from the All-China Women's Federation, Dr. Margarita Vorobyova-Desyatovskaya of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Science, Director Sakae Tsunoyama of Sakai City Museum in Osaka and overseas professors currently teaching at Soka University as well as faculty and staff.

In his citation, SNU President Fang expressed his deep joy at conferring the honorary professorships on the 35th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations as well as during the Sino-Japanese Culture and Sports Exchange Year. He also extended his respect for the ideals of internationalism, pacifism and humanism upheld and implemented by the Soka University founder and referred to Mr. Ikeda's repeated calls for Sino-Japanese friendship since 1968. Explaining that SNU is the only Chinese university with a Women's Culture Museum that researches issues of contemporary women including gender development, Professor Fang commended Mrs. Ikeda as an exemplary model for the modern woman in the twenty-first century. Professor Fang also expressed his wishes for continued exchange and cooperation between SNU and Soka University. Together with a certificate and faculty pin, he presented Mr. Ikeda with a Chinese calligraphy of a poem by Du Fu, a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty, created by a renowned Shanxi calligrapher, and Mrs. Ikeda with a painting of a peony by a renowned Shanxi artist.

Professor Fang remarked that he had been impressed after reading Kaneko's Story, a biographical account of Mrs. Ikeda's life, prior to coming to Japan

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Ikeda expressed appreciation on behalf of himself and his wife for the distinguished honor. Quoting both Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and SNU President Fang, he stressed the importance of education, educators' work and the fostering of human life which is essential for the development of any university or organization. He concluded his speech with his wish and expectation for the students to open a new silk road of lasting peace and value creation for humanity.

Shanxi Normal University, which focuses on various aspects of teacher training, is one of the five oldest universities in Shanxi Province. It has 16 colleges and departments and is comprised of nine major disciplines: literature, law, history, education, economics, management, science, engineering and agriculture. The university has 15,000 full-time undergraduate students, 900 full-time master degree students, seven doctoral degree students and more than 20,000 continuing education students. The university is active in improving standards of instruction and educational research and has graduated ninety thousand students who are now active members of Chinese society.

[Adapted from an article in the October 7, 2007, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]