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December 8, 2016

Clements–Ikeda Dialogue Published in Japan


Dr. Clements and Mr. Ikeda meet at the Soka International Friendship Hall (July 1996, Sendagaya, Tokyo)

TOKYO, Japan: Ushio Publishing Co. will soon release Heiwa no seiki e—minshu no chosen (working title: Toward a Century of Peace: A Dialogue on the Role of Civil Society in Peacebuilding), a dialogue between Daisaku Ikeda and Dr. Kevin Clements, foundation chair of Peace and Conflict Studies and director of the New Zealand Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago. In this work, the authors explore wide-ranging topics such as nuclear disarmament, the refugee crisis, fostering a culture of human rights, and natural disasters and the recovery process. Their dialogue, in pursuit of new paths to peace toward an era of harmonious coexistence absent war—revised and augmented for the book—was originally serialized in Ushio, a monthly Japanese literary magazine, from October 2013 to October 2014.


Japanese edition of Clements–Ikeda dialogue

Dr. Clements is a renowned peace scholar who has previously served as consultant to various non-governmental, governmental and intergovernmental organizations and institutions on conflict resolution and peacebuilding, including secretary general of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) and director of Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) at George Mason University. He also currently serves as secretary general of the Toda Institute for Peace and Policy Research, which was founded by Mr. Ikeda.

Dr. Clements and Mr. Ikeda first met in July 1996 in Tokyo. The idea for publishing a dialogue grew out of discussions they held at that time and pursued through subsequent correspondence.

When discussing the key to overcoming the vicious cycle of violence and hatred, Dr. Clements asserts that although it takes courage and sensitivity to seek the trust of those one has harmed in the past, this is a necessary and integral process for building lasting peace in a place once embroiled in violence and conflict. Mr. Ikeda adds that we must learn to empathize with others based on the realization that we are not the only victims—that all parties suffer from the loss of children and beloved family members.

[Adapted from an article in the December 8, 2016, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]