October 25, 2008
A Passage to Peace--Dialogue with Nur Yalman Released
Mr. Ikeda and Professor Yalman meeting at the professor's home (September 1993, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)
A dialogue between Daisaku Ikeda and Nur Yalman, professor of social anthropology and Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University, has been released in English by I. B. Tauris of London under the title A Passage to Peace: Global Solutions from East and West.
Professor Yalman was born in 1931 in Istanbul, Turkey, a city that symbolizes the meeting of East and West. He was professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago and director of its Center for Middle Eastern Studies before taking up his current post at Harvard. Prof. Yalman's work spans religion and politics in South Asian, Central Asian, Middle Eastern and other Muslim societies. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an internationally recognized scholar, he has sought to bring his understanding of cultural dynamics to bear on the challenges of our contemporary globalizing society.
The dialogue between Mr. Ikeda and Prof. Yalman is an exploration of cross-cultural encounter, with particular focus on the cultures of Turkey and Japan--two countries at opposite ends of the historical Silk Road trading route. The central concern for both men is how conflict arising from cultural differences can be averted or overcome based on an awareness of our deeper commonalities. The authors explore a range of topics including interreligious dialogue, terrorism and extremism, education and the natural environment.
Prof. Yalman and Mr. Ikeda first met in March 1992 in Tokyo. The following year, the two met again when Mr. Ikeda lectured at Harvard University, where Prof. Yalman was teaching. The Harvard professor also has been involved in the International Commission for Security and Cooperation in West Asia, part of the Soka Gakkai-affiliated Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research's Human Security and Global Governance project, and has given keynote speeches at the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century, another Soka Gakkai-affiliated organization.
Mr. Ikeda has held dialogues with international leaders and scholars that covers a spectrum of subjects such as religion, politics, economics, science and the arts. He has collaborated on over 50 books to date, and these have been translated into 33 languages. Beginning autumn 2007, I. B. Tauris, which publishes new work in the humanities and social sciences in addition to general nonfiction, undertook the publication in English of a 12-volume collection of selected dialogues between Daisaku Ikeda and world figures. The dialogue with Prof. Yalman is sixth in the series. Richard L. Gage is the translator of the Japanese text in this volume.
[Adapted from an article in the October 25, 2008, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]