November 30, 2006
IAEA Director General Meets with SGI President
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei (foreground, center) and his party welcomed by SGI President Ikeda (foreground, right) and staff
On November 30, 2006, Nobel Peace Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an inter-governmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations, met with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in Tokyo. Dr. ElBaradei and his wife, Aida Elkachef, received a warm welcome from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda and his wife, Kaneko Ikeda, together with representative Soka Gakkai staff, at the Seikyo Press building in Shinanomachi, Shinjuku Ward. During their meeting, Dr. ElBaradei and Mr. Ikeda discussed steps toward securing a nuclear-weapon-free global society. As the head of the IAEA, Dr. ElBaradei has wholeheartedly dedicated himself to advancing nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, and the use of atomic energy exclusively for peaceful purposes. In 2005, he was recognized for his exceptional leadership and shared the Nobel Peace Prize for that year with the IAEA for efforts to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation.
Mr. Ikeda lauded the IAEA director general for initiating dialogues toward the realization of disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Underscoring the nuclear threat that casts a shadow on all life as one of humanity's gravest worries, Mr. Ikeda expressed admiration for Dr. ElBaradei's tenacious efforts to break through thorny and intractable nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation issues.
Dr. ElBaradei responded that he is an ordinary man, guided through life by his conscience and common sense. He expressed his belief that world peace will only be possible when all people are accorded the same respect; achieving an egalitarian global society is the only path to humanity's survival.
Dr. ElBaradei (center) wearing cap and gown following honorary doctorate conferral from Soka University
During the meeting, Director General ElBaradei received an honorary doctorate from Soka University. De. Elbaradei said he wholeheartedly concurs with Soka University founder Ikeda's affirmation that religion exists to support human beings. Dr. ElBaradei stressed that each one of us must become aware of our interconnectedness--we are all a part of humanity. United in solidarity, humans can harness and manifest their power and strength. However, before that happens, we must create an environment in which all people are treated with respect and empowered. Dr. Elbaradei pointed out that there are 85 million people in the world who are starving and 25% of the world's population lives on less than US$2 per day. If we are to create genuine peace and security, we are responsible for helping to achieve a global society in which all people can live as true human beings, and for creating an environment of respect, freedom and harmony. With this common ground of human values and understanding, then conflicts and wars will no longer be necessary. What is important is for each one of us to act with the awareness that we are all part of the same human race.
Also present at the meeting were Tomihiro Taniguchi, IAEA deputy director general and head, Department of the Nuclear Safety and Security; Geoffrey Shaw, special policy advisor to the director general; Laban La Mar Coblentz, head, Division of Public Information; Yasuyoshi Komizo, director, International Nuclear Energy Cooperation Division, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada; Soka University President Masami Wakae; and Soka Women's College President Katsuhiko Fukushima.
[Adapted from an article in the December 1, 2006, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]