February 27, 2020
Central Mindanao University in the Philippines Presents Honorary Doctorate
On February 27, 2020, Central Mindanao University (CMU) in the Republic of the Philippines conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration, honoris causa, upon Soka University founder and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in recognition of his contributions to advance global peace through education. The ceremony, held at the convention center on the CMU campus, was attended by CMU President Jesus Antonio G. Derije, faculty members and students. SGI-Philippines General Director Hisako Alcantara accepted the award on Mr. Ikeda’s behalf. Mr. Ikeda became the first person outside the Philippines to receive an honorary doctorate from CMU.
Located on the second largest island in the Philippines, Mindanao, in the province of Bukidnon, CMU was founded in 1910 as an industrial school and after several transformations was later established as a university in 1965.
CMU President Derije visited Soka University in Japan in 2010 as then president of the University of Southern Mindanao to present an honorary doctorate of humanities to Mr. Ikeda. At the time, President Derije described being inspired by Mr. Ikeda’s example of dedicating himself to the promotion of peace and to fostering the youth. A decade later, he expressed his joy at being able to honor Mr. Ikeda once again from his present university. In his welcoming remarks at the conferral ceremony, he commended Mr. Ikeda for his lifelong achievements and his leadership, which he believes have the power to greatly inspire youth.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Ikeda conveyed his heartfelt gratitude for the honor, which coincided with the 120th anniversary of his mentor Josei Toda’s birth. Referring to the CMU emblem, which portrays Mt. Musuan, he recalled a Japanese adage about mountains fostering people, beckoning them to greater heights, and lauded CMU for carrying out such an endeavor. Discussing the pivotal role of universities in resolving the challenges confronting humankind, he emphasized that the capacity to trust and inspire youth is a source of hope that can effect meaningful change in our future. He praised President Derije for his efforts in this regard, expressing his wish that this virtuous cycle of hope that occurs in humanistic education be further strengthened and expanded. The SGI President also discussed the power of optimism and the power engendered by universities when they unite in common cause as two further important sources of hope for generating positive change for the future. It was his commitment, he declared, to advance together with CMU in the effort to establish a century guided by principles that uphold humanity and are founded on harmonious coexistence.
CMU President Derije (4th from left) entrusts the certificate of honorary doctorate for Mr. Ikeda to SGI-Philippines General Director Alcantara (center)
[Adapted from an article in the March 2, 2020, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]