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April 18, 2007

Harbin Engineering University, China, Confers its First Honorary Professorship on Soka University Founder

HEU Vice President Gao Wanxin (4th from left) entrusts the certificate to Soka University President Hideo Yamamoto (4th from right)

HEU Vice President Gao Wanxin (4th from left) entrusts the certificate to Soka University President Hideo Yamamoto (4th from right)

Harbin Engineering University (HEU), China, conferred its first honorary professorship upon Soka University founder Daisaku Ikeda on April 18, 2007. Mr. Ikeda was recognized for fostering Sino-Japanese friendship through his dialogues with Chinese leaders and his unparalleled efforts to promote peace, culture and education on a global scale. Traveling from China for the conferral were HEU Vice President Gao Wanxin, Dean Zhang Milin, Personnel Director Li Yuguang and Dr. Shen Xiande of HEU's College of Material Science.

Located in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China, HEU has been designated as one of the country's 100 leading universities by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Some 25,000 students are enrolled in a wide range of disciplines in more than 90 graduate and 50 undergraduate courses. The university is well known for its work in robotics research and its efforts to develop treatments for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and other highly infectious diseases.

HEU Vice President Gao conferred the award at a ceremony held at Soka University's Central Tower in Hachioji, Tokyo. Professor Gao explained that the university had sought a most worthy individual to be a recipient of its first honorary professorship. Mr. Ikeda had been nominated in recognition of his worldwide stature and dedication to strengthening Sino-Japanese relations. In his conferral speech, Professor Gao noted that the Chinese have embraced Mr. Ikeda as a friend for his longstanding contributions to bilateral friendship, referring to Mr. Ikeda's recent meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Tokyo. He said the HEU faculty is greatly inspired by the principle of humanistic education--with students' happiness as its primary purpose--embodied in the value-creating pedagogy advocated and developed by the first, second and third presidents of the Soka Gakkai. Professor Gao also expressed his hopes for a strengthening of bilateral academic exchanges toward increasing trust and friendship between China and Japan.

Newly appointed Soka University President Hideo Yamamoto accepted the accolade on behalf of Mr. Ikeda, who sent a message expressing his heartfelt appreciation for the honor. The Soka University founder relayed the promise he made to Premier Wen during their recent meeting to further promote bilateral exchanges between young people. Commenting on the late premier Zhou Enlai's expectations of HEU, Mr. Ikeda congratulated HEU for its successful pioneering efforts in engineering and robotics. Mr. Ikeda reaffirmed his commitment to communicating a correct view of history to future generations. In particular, he referred to the Japanese military's invasion and occupation of China during the first half of the 20th century and atrocities such as the notorious biological warfare experiments carried out by the Japanese army's Unit 731 near Harbin during World War II. Mr. Ikeda also pledged to continue working to create an age of peace and friendship in Asia and the entire world.

[Adapted from an article in the April 19, 2007, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]