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April 2, 2007

Brazilian Academy of Philosophy Honors SGI President

Dr. Moderno (foreground, right) presents the certificate of honorary doctorate to Mr. Ikeda

On April 2, 2007, the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, conferred an honorary doctorate upon Soka University founder Daisaku Ikeda. Founded in 1989 by 40 eminent Brazilian scholars and thinkers with the purpose of elevating, preserving and promulgating Brazilian philosophy and culture, the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy is the first philosophical academy established in Latin America. Academy President João Ricardo Moderno and Director Ronaldo Rogério de Freitas Mourão traveled to Japan to present the award during a combined entrance ceremony for Soka University and Soka Women's College at the Soka University Auditorium in Hachioji, Tokyo. Among the guests were Dr. Zhang Kaiyuan, former president of Huazhong Normal University in China, and Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, former director of the Gandhi Smriti and Samiti Darshan in New Delhi.

In his citation, President Moderno explained that the academy decided to present its first honorary doctorate to Mr. Ikeda to honor him as a philosopher who actively engages in the promotion of peace, culture and education with "Socratic" courage. The academy also recognized Mr. Ikeda's invaluable contributions to humanity in the fields of morality, ethics, culture and education.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Ikeda expressed his profound appreciation for the commendation and stated that he would like to dedicate it to his mentor Josei Toda, the second president of Soka Gakkai. Praising Dr. Moderno for his personal philosophy of always creating something fresh and following through to the end with tenacity of purpose, he encouraged the entering students to likewise challenge their goals without giving up. For the students' benefit, he explained that "philosophy" comes from the Greek words philos (love) and sophia (wisdom). In this sense, Mr. Ikeda stated that the genuine meaning of philosophy is to perpetually seek the truth with "love of wisdom." He also asserted that because true philosophy upholds peace and respect for the sanctity of life, genuine learning arises from the pursuit of such philosophy.

[Adapted from an article in the April 3, 2007, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]