Since 1983, Daisaku Ikeda has published an annual peace proposal in which he surveys core global challenges and proposes steps to address them. These have explored a wide variety of issues—from peacebuilding and nuclear disarmament to sustainable development, education for global citizenship and youth empowerment to human rights and gender inequality. Central to Ikeda’s perspective here is the importance of the United Nations and how it can be strengthened to effectively nurture peace and social justice.
In A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda’s Proposals to the UN, Olivier Urbain brings together excerpts from the proposals up to 2013. These are usefully arranged by theme and organized into chapters, each of which looks at an aspect of the general mandate of the UN.
Chapter 1, “A UN Living Up to Its Mission,” for example, includes the theme “A Parliament of Humanity,” exploring Ikeda’s ideas regarding the role and mission of the UN. Other themes examine his thoughts on such issues as enhancing the participation of civil society and structural reforms to bolster the UN’s capacity for peacebuilding.
The second chapter explores themes such as poverty and human development, human rights and a culture of peace. Themes in Chapter 3, “A UN for a World Without War,” are related to various aspects of disarmament and weapons control. Also included in the volume are the full texts of three separate proposals specifically exploring UN reform, Education for Sustainable Development and Nuclear Weapons Abolition, respectively.
It is the structure of the content that makes this book especially valuable. Ikeda’s Peace Proposals can be considered a vital and unique component of his vast output. The organization of the material here, very clearly laid out in the table of contents, enables one to quickly identify and examine over a hundred themes and ideas from his proposals. This alone makes the work an essential resource for anyone interested in Ikeda as a peacebuilder. This substantial volume likewise helps to outline the magnitude of Ikeda’s contributions to peacebuilding—the extent to which he has grappled with the structural as well as philosophical problems of peace.
This is echoed in the foreword by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN between 2002 and 2007, who writes, with respect to Ikeda’s engagement with the UN, “I know of no one who has highlighted the role and responsibility of the world body so consistently, relentlessly and substantively for such a long period of time. Some UN functionaries and scholars have addressed similar issues, but none for as long and consistently as he has done.” A Forum for Peace substantiates such a claim.
Olivier Urbain, editor of this book, was director of the Toda Institute for Global Policy Research from 2008 to 2017. Presently he is director of the Min-On Music Research Institute. He is the author of Daisaku Ikeda’s Philosophy of Peace: Dialogue, Transformation and Global Citizenship (2010), and the editor of Music and Conflict transformation: Harmonies and Dissonances in Geopolitics (2008) and of Daisaku Ikeda and Dialogue for Peace (2013).