University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
November 24, 2000--Honorary Doctorate of Letters
Dr. Judith Kinnear, Deputy Vice-Chancellor
From a country and culture which had been isolated, it would have been easy for Daisaku Ikeda to have been concerned only with Japanese issues and with the success of the Soka Gakkai movement. But he is an internationalist. He became President of Soka Gakkai International in 1975 and has been given the honorary citizenship of over 90 cities1. Within Japan he has created the Soka school system based on respect for human dignity, for the environment and for diverse cultures and traditions. Soka University, founded in 1971, enjoys exchange agreements with fifty institutions of higher learning worldwide2. Daisaku Ikeda has also founded peace and cultural institutions including the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century3 , the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum and the Hawaii-based Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research. That unique Institute has fostered dialogue around the world on issues such as food security, nuclear disarmament, globalization and full employment and communication between civilizations. The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney has greatly benefited from the intellectual challenge and the collegial support of the Toda Institute.
In his leadership of Soka Gakkai international and in his writings about human fulfillment Daisaku Ikeda has shown the significance of the visual arts, the performing arts and poetry. In addition to his work with Arnold Toynbee, other joint books have included Lifelong Quest for Peace with Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, Human Values in a Changing World with Bryan Wilson and Choose Peace with the Norwegian scholar Johann Galtung. In these and many other books and pamphlets he explains profound Buddhist concepts in inspiring and accessible terms. Each year for the past seventeen years he has published a peace proposal which explores the interrelation between core Buddhist concepts and the challenges which global society faces in the struggle to realize nuclear disarmament and human security.
In a life which has been given wide international acclaim, it would be easy to overlook Daisaku Ikeda's promotion of other people's interests. His insight into the human condition is apparent in his humour, in his photography, in his poetry and in face-to-face communication. He has associated with Presidents and Princes but still makes a deep commitment to ordinary citizens, to schoolchildren and to students from all parts of the globe. His promotion of international dialogue and his own Soka Gakkai's fostering of international friendship are a gift to humanity. He is a unique world citizen.