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December 15, 2012

Harding-Ikeda Dialogue Published in Japan

Education for Hope and Progress toward Peace

Japanese edition of a dialogue between Dr. Vincent Harding and Daisaku Ikeda

TOKYO, Japan: Publisher Daisanbunmei-sha has released Kibo no kyoiku, heiwa no koshin--kingu hakase no yume to tomo ni (working title: Education for Hope and Progress toward Peace), a dialogue between Vincent Harding, professor emeritus of religion and social transformation at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, USA, and Daisaku Ikeda. The work was originally serialized in Daisanbunmei, a monthly commentary magazine, from February 2010 to May 2011.

In their dialogue, the authors examine the vision of democracy and the principles of nonviolence that were championed by American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr.; the ideals and objectives of democracy; and the role and responsibility of education in the achievement of a truly democratic society.

Prof. Harding was Martin Luther King Jr.'s friend, confidant and fellow activist and drafted speeches for him during "the movement to expand democracy," as the professor terms what is commonly refered to as the "civil rights movement." In Prof. Harding's view, the democratic ideals of freedom and equality carried sufficient moral and spiritual force to mobilize African-Americans to, at great personal risk, insist on difficult personal, social and political changes. In November 2010, speaking at the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, he made the following observation: "What could be more noble than the experiment that says that those who were brought by force to this country as slaves determined to become its greatest teachers of freedom?"

Prof. Harding and Mr. Ikeda first met in January 1994 in Tokyo. The idea of publishing a dialogue grew out of discussions they held at the time and pursued through subsequent correspondence.

[Adapted from an article in the December 15, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]