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March 21, 2009

Denmark's University College South Awards Daisaku Ikeda His 250th Academic Honor

Rector Søren Vang Rasmussen (center) presents a commemorative medal to Mr. Ikeda; looking on are Dr. Alexander von Oettingen, Head of Department for Development and Applied Research, (left) and Assistant Professor Iben Benedikte Valentin Jensen of University College South

On March 21, 2009, at a graduation ceremony at Soka University in Hachioji, Tokyo, University College South of Denmark conferred an honorary doctorate upon Daisaku Ikeda, founder of Soka University and president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI). This is the 250th academic honor that Mr. Ikeda has received (see full list of honors and institutions here.)

University College South Rector Søren Vang Rasmussen conferred the degree in recognition of Mr. Ikeda's "long service and valuable contribution to research and practice toward the development of Education for Life," explaining that Soka education has much in common with the strong Danish tradition of "education for life" inspired by N.S.F. Grundtvig, father of the Danish folk high school tradition, and author and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

In his speech at the ceremony, Mr. Ikeda stressed the role of education in preventing war, stating that while war separates people, education brings them together. He also expressed his expectations for progress toward nuclear disarmament at talks between the USA and Russia expected during the G20 Summit in London in April. He proposed the establishment of an intergovernmental panel on nuclear abolition to pool the wisdom of the world's scientists and disarmament experts under a framework similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and urged that the world's people raise their voices in order to realize a world without nuclear weapons.

Jim Garrison, president of the John Dewey Society and professor of the philosophy of education at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, also spoke, underlining the commonalities between Soka education, which focuses on fostering creative thinking and social contribution, and the ideas of pioneering American educator John Dewey.

Congratulatory messages were sent by Óscar Arias Sánchez, President of Costa Rica, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Danish Minister of Education Bertel Haarder among others.

250 Academic Awards

Daisaku Ikeda received the first of his 250 academic awards, an honorary doctorate from Moscow State University, in May 1975. Since then, universities and academic institutions from around the world have recognized his varied contributions to peace and education, including Peking University, the University of Bologna, the University of Denver, Ankara University, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the University of Delhi, the University of the Philippines, the University of Sydney and the University of Ghana. Of the 250 honors, 129 are honorary doctorates, 118 are honorary professorships and 3 are honorary presidencies.

[Adapted from a March 23, 2009, SGI Office of Public Information press release.]

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