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Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo Confers Honorary Doctorate

From left to right: Mr. Ikeda, UASD Rector Reyna, UASD Vice Rector Pichardo, UASD Dean Díaz and Consul General Cepeda

On January 19, 2008, the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) of the Dominican Republic conferred an honorary doctorate degree upon SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in recognition of his contributions to promoting a culture of peace and for developing humanistic, student-centered education. The ceremony was held at the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji, Tokyo.

The UASD delegation comprised: Rector Roberto A. Reyna Tejada; Professor Alejandro Pichardo, vice rector in charge of the teaching faculty; Department of Humanities Dean Rafael Guillermo Díaz; and Carlos Cepeda, Consul General of the Dominican Republic in Tokyo. SGI-Dominican Republic members participating in an SGI seminar in Japan also attended the conferral. This was the second accolade Mr. Ikeda received from UASD following an honorary professorship in 1987.

Professor Díaz explained that the university board of trustees and the university senate unanimously agreed to confer the honorary doctorate upon Mr. Ikeda for his longstanding social contributions grounded in a lofty vision of the betterment of humanity. He stated that Mr. Ikeda has continued to take action to restore positive values that inspire beauty and greatness in human beings.

Rector Reyna delivered a congratulatory address saying his university was honored to present the accolade to Mr. Ikeda, who has established academic institutions throughout the world based on the philosophy of education for the sake of students' happiness. He lauded Mr. Ikeda for his efforts to encourage the development of youth who can creatively and positively transform their environment. Rector Reyna concurred with Mr. Ikeda's belief that human education begins by appreciating the inestimable worth and boundless potential of each individual. He also said Mr. Ikeda was being recognized for underscoring the social responsibilities of institutions of higher education and for his belief that the triumph of education reflects as a triumph of the human being.

Mr. Ikeda expressed his profound gratitude to the UASD delegation for traveling the long distance to present the honorary doctorate and said he shared the honor with the SGI-Dominican Republic men and women in the audience, who have prevailed over adversities and continue to contribute to their society. Quoting from the work of Salomé Ureña de Henriquez (1850-97), a revered poet and founder of the first institution of higher learning for women in the Dominican Republic, Mr. Ikeda called on the young people in the audience to take up her call to battle injustice bred of ignorance and arrogance with courage, perseverance and unity.

Founded in 1538 in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, UASD counts among its graduates Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández, the current vice president, a Supreme Court justice and the minister of education. Some 170,000 undergraduate and graduate students study at its 13 campuses around the country, including its main campus in Santo Domingo.

[Adapted from an article in the January 20, 2008, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]