August 21, 2019
The Federal University of Amazonas Confers Honorary Doctorate
On August 21, 2019, the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM) in Manaus, Brazil, conferred an honorary doctorate upon Soka University founder Daisaku Ikeda for his contributions to education. At the ceremony held at the UFAM campus, Soka University President Yoshihisa Baba accepted the award on Mr. Ikeda’s behalf.
On the same day, the two universities signed an academic exchange agreement. At the signing, UFAM Rector Sylvio Mário Puga Ferreira spoke about the University’s mission to protect the Amazon rainforest, raise capable people who can contribute to the happiness of those living in the community and advance the development of society. He explained that Mr. Ikeda’s ideals and actions aligned perfectly with UFAM’s principles, goals and mission, which is why an honorary doctorate was being conferred upon him.
Located in the Amazon rainforest, UFAM was founded in 1909 as the Free University School of Manáos and is considered the oldest educational institution in Brazil. Some 20,000 students study in its 18 departments. Due to its location, the university is surrounded by a diverse variety of flora and fauna. Today, 98% of the rainforest is being protected, thanks to the school’s efforts in cooperation with several institutions in the area, such as the Soka Institute Amazon Environment Research Center founded by Mr. Ikeda.
In his conferral speech, Rector Puga spoke about the Soka Institute Amazon Environment Research Center’s ecological contributions to the municipality of Humaitá and the signing of the Humaitá Charter, an agreement between the Institute, Brazil SGI and several public organizations, to implement measures to promote environmental harmony and social equity and justice by raising awareness among the people living in Humaitá as a model case. He concluded his speech by reconfirming the UFAM’s commitment to promoting peace through working for the happiness and empowering individuals.
In his acceptance speech read by President Baba, Mr. Ikeda pointed to the significance of the ceremony taking place on the 110th anniversary of the University’s founding. He then shared three points about leadership. First, he called on the youth present at the ceremony to become value-creating individuals committed to protecting various world heritages, which include the great natural environment of the Amazon. The youth, he said, should help create a society that embraces diversity and works to improve the quality of life of all people. Secondly, he asked the youth to become pioneers in promoting dialogue that unifies the people of the world. He stated that the way to do this was through continuing dialogue while respecting differences, working for the happiness of people and global peace and creating a groundswell of solidarity across the globe. Lastly, he urged the youth to challenge obstacles with an indomitable spirit.
Federal University of Amazonas Rector Puga (foreground, left) entrusts the certificate of honorary doctorate to Soka University President Baba (to his right)
[Adapted from articles in the August 24, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]