April 9, 2008
Former UN Under-Secretary General Anwarul K. Chowdhury and Daisaku Ikeda Collaborate on Dialogue
Ambassador Chowdhury (right) and Mr. Ikeda (August 2006, at Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall, Hachioji)
A dialogue between former UN Under-Secretary General Anwarul K. Chowdhury and Daisaku Ikeda, SGI president, will be serialized in Ushio, a Japanese literary magazine, beginning May 2008. In the first installment, Ambassador Chowdhury, who was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, shares episodes from his youth in his native land, "Bengal of gold," as eulogized by the great poet Rabindranath Tagore. A broad range of topics will be covered in future installments under themes such as "A Culture of Peace," "The United Nations, a People's Assembly" and "The Humanism of Tagore." Referring to the dialogue, Ambassador Chowdhury says he appreciates the opportunity to personally become acquainted with Mr. Ikeda's thought as well as communicate to a wide audience their views on critical issues facing humanity.
Ambassador Chowdhury and Mr. Ikeda first met in March 2003 when the Under-Secretary General spoke at a combined commencement ceremony for Soka University and Soka Women's College in Hachioji, Tokyo. When the two met again in August 2006, Mr. Ikeda presented Ambassador Chowdhury with a proposal for the UN titled "Fulfilling the Mission: Empowering the UN to Live Up to the World's Expectations," which urges a return to the fundamental purpose of the UN as a forum for dialogue to avert war. Emphasizing the core challenge of building a culture of peace, a concept that Ambassador Chowdhury has long championed within the UN system, the proposal focuses on the development and enhancement of the UN's "soft power" capacities of dialogue and diplomacy, to avoid the organization being drawn into reactive approaches that resort to military force. The proposal also urges greater proactive involvement in the UN by the world's citizens, particularly youth, and suggests frameworks to achieve this. It emphasizes three themes: a shared sense of purpose, a shared sense of responsibility and shared arenas of action.
[Adapted from an article in the April 9, 2008 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]