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University of Southeastern Philippines, Mindanao, Honors Soka University Founder

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On September 13, 2007, the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP), conferred an honorary doctorate in education upon Soka University founder Daisaku Ikeda, in recognition of his longstanding promotion of peace and justice. Outgoing USEP President Dr. Julieta I. Ortiz, incoming USEP President Perfecto A. Alibin and Board Secretary Susan F. Labutap attended the conferral ceremony held at the Soka University Central Tower in Hachioji, Tokyo. Soka University President Hideo Yamamoto received the award on behalf of Mr. Ikeda.

Founded in 1978 through the integration of various institutes, USEP currently has five campuses, with its main campus located in Davao City on Mindanao, the second-largest island in the Philippine archipelago. A total of 12,000 students are enrolled in 12 faculties spread over the five campuses. USEP provides scholarships and financial aid to underprivileged students and also actively promotes adult education.

At the ceremony, Dr. Ortiz stated that Mr. Ikeda, as a genuine global citizen, has inspired countless people through his activities as a writer, philosopher and educator. She remarked that USEP has been committed to building an equitable society grounded on progressive values with respect for all people irrespective of economic or social standing, aims which Mr. Ikeda and the SGI also share with USEP. Dr. Ortiz said she looks forward to working together with the SGI to further peace and justice in the world.

In a message read by Soka University Associate Vice President Tadashige Takamura, Mr. Ikeda expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the honor bestowed upon him. Referring to an excerpt written by Filipino independence hero José Rizal (1861-1896), Mr. Ikeda emphasized the important mission of humanistic education as the inexhaustible fount of wisdom and the source of unshakable conviction. He affirmed that education gives rise to genuine hope that enables an individual to break through any deadlock. Paying tribute to USEP's noble ideals and dedication to enlightening and enriching people through education, he reconfirmed his personal commitment to advancing lifelong humanistic education that fosters global citizens.

[Adapted from an article in the September 14, 2007, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]