March 30, 2008
Dialogue with Ukrainian Educator Serialized in Japanese Education Magazine
Dr. Michael Zgurovsky (center) and Mr. Ikeda (right) meeting in Tokyo (April 2006). Ambassador to Japan Yuriy V. Kostenko (left) was also present.
A dialogue between National Technical University of Ukraine (NTUU) Rector Dr. Michael Zgurovsky and Daisaku Ikeda will be serialized in the monthly education magazine Todai from May 2008. The serialization is titled "Ukraine-Japan Friendship--Toward an Age of Hope, Toward an Age of Life" (tentative translation).
Dr. Zgurovsky is a well-known scientist in the field of mathematics and cybernetics, the interdisciplinary study of the structure of complex systems, and has published over 20 books on these subjects. In 1991, following Ukraine's independence, Dr. Zgurovsky was appointed rector of NTUU, also known as Kiev Polytechnic Institute, one of the world's oldest and largest institutes of its kind. From 1994 through 1999, he also served as Ukraine's Education Minister.
In the first installment of the dialogue, the Ukrainian professor and Mr. Ikeda discuss the rich history and culture of Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe and an important center of power during medieval times. Mr. Ikeda recalls how he first developed an interest in Ukraine in his youth after reading Taras Bulba, a short novel by Nikolai Gogol, at the encouragement of his mentor Josei Toda.
Dr. Zgurovsky and Mr. Ikeda met in Tokyo in April 2006 when Mr. Ikeda received an honorary doctorate from NTUU. The idea of publishing a dialogue grew out of their discussions at that time.
During recent years, Mr. Ikeda has contributed to exchanges between Japan and Ukraine through various institutes he has founded. In May 2003, Soka University and Kiev National University of Trade and Economics, Ukraine, established a formal academic exchange agreement; the Min-On Concert Association has sponsored tours by Ukrainian dance troupes; and in May 2003, an exhibition of Mr. Ikeda's photographs, "Dialogue with Nature," opened at the National Museum of Ukrainian Folk and Decorative Art in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
[Adapted from an article in the March 30, 2008, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]