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October 9, 2010

University of Southern Mindanao Presents Honorary Doctorate of Humanities

On October 9, 2010, Daisaku Ikeda, Soka University founder and SGI president, accepted by proxy an honorary doctorate of humanities from the University of Southern Mindanao of the Philippines for his longstanding efforts to root out "the fundamental causes of human conflict." USM President Jesus Antonio G. Derije presented the academic honor to SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda, who accepted the citation on behalf of his father.

The main USM campus is located in Kabacan, North Cotabato, on Mindanao, the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. A state institution, USM provides instruction and professional training mainly in the fields of science and technology, with an emphasis on agriculture and industry. It was founded in 1954 by Madam Bai Hadja Fatima Matabay Plang, an educator who survived the horrific Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II. Her goal, she wrote, was to "provide quality and relevant education among the many ethnicities . . . so that peace and development will prevail."

In a message read by proxy, Mr. Ikeda thanked USM for the honorary doctorate and praised the university for its commitment to scholastic excellence, as well as its tradition of serving local communities. He dedicated the academic honor to his two mentors in life--Soka education founder Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and his protégé, Josei Toda--for waging "a life of epic struggle" against Japanese militarism and prevailing over "every conceivable persecution."

Mr. Ikeda further stated, "The highest goal of scholarship lies in its service to common citizens. True wisdom will shine in our lives when we devote ourselves to learning with the passion to promote human happiness, compelled by the desire to see society flourish and for the world to live in peace."

University of Southern Mindanao

USM President Derije (5th from right) entrusts honorary doctorate certificate to Hiromasa Ikeda (5th from left). Other USM delegates: Director Ariel V. Garcia of the USM Business Development Center (4th from right); and former President of Pampanga Agricultural College, Dr. Zosimo M. Battad, and his wife, Dr. Liza Battad (3rd and 2nd from right)

[Adapted from an article in the October 10, 2010, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]