October 31, 2019
National University of Uzbekistan Confers Honorary Doctorate
On October 31, 2019, the National University of Uzbekistan (NUUz) conferred an honorary doctorate upon Soka University founder Daisaku Ikeda for his longstanding contributions to peace and the development of youth. The conferral ceremony took place at the Soka University campus in Hachioji, Tokyo. Soka University President Yoshihisa Baba received the award on Mr. Ikeda’s behalf.
The delegation from Uzbekistan included NUUz Rector Avazjon R. Marakhimov; his wife, Zamirakhon Marakhimova; former Uzbek Minister of Culture and Sports Kuziev Tursunali Karimovich; and nationally acclaimed Uzbek writer Erkin A’Zam.
The National University of Uzbekistan, located in Tashkent, celebrated its centennial in 2018. It is the oldest university in Central Asia and currently enrolls some 12,000 students who study in 14 departments.
In 2004, the Republic of Uzbekistan gifted Soka University with a statue of the Uzbek poet Alisher Navoi (also Ali-Shir Nava’i) (1441–1501). Prior to the conferral ceremony, Rector Marakhimov placed flowers at the base of the statue and shared that he came to know about Mr. Ikeda through Uzbekistan’s presentation of the statue, featured by the media at the time. Deeply moved that Mr. Ikeda had been sharing the words and poetry of Navoi with youth, he began reading Mr. Ikeda’s writings. He remarked that Mr. Ikeda, who advocates the importance of fostering the spirit of respect for others, is a great role model for the Uzbek people who live in a multi-ethnic society.
In February 2018, NUUz was the venue for “Dialogue with Nature,” an exhibition of Mr. Ikeda’s photography, as well as for the launch of The World is Yours to Change, a collection of his essays, in November 2018.
In his conferral speech, Rector Marakhimov spoke about the deep respect and kinship the Uzbek people have for the Japanese people, especially for their sense of values, traditions, principles, rich culture and patriotism, traits shared by both countries. He said that seeing the statue of Navoi at Soka University—which he considered to be a symbol of inter-cultural dialogue between the people of Japan and Uzbekistan—filled his heart with inspiration and pride for his county. He further remarked that reading Mr. Ikeda’s writings continuously provides him with fresh perspectives, and he expressed his best wishes for the dynamic development and growth of Soka University, founded by Mr. Ikeda.
In a message, Mr. Ikeda expressed his deep appreciation to NUUz for the accolade and encouraged the university in its efforts to help create a future illuminated by the light of vibrant and creative intelligence. He discussed the achievements of the brilliant astronomer and mathematician Ulugh Beg (1394–1449) after whom the university is named in Uzbek. The university, he said, possesses the mission to help build a future of courage and hope and a future of harmonious peace built on trust and friendship. The source of hope, he stressed, lies in the wisdom and prayers of women, who are the nurturers of life. Sharing an Uzbek maxim that “virtuous women are like the spring,” he encouraged everyone to treasure women and mothers in order to bring about a “springtime” of peace on Earth.
Following the conferral ceremony, Soka University and NUUz signed an academic exchange agreement.
National University of Uzbekitan Rector Marakhimov (5th from left) entrusts the certificate of appointment to Soka University President (5th from right)
[Adapted from articles in the November 1, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]