The founder of Soka University firmly believes in the value of education and importance of educational and international exchange. Consequently, he has tirelessly devoted his life to promoting peace, culture, and education by establishing a variety of educational and cultural institutions and by traveling to over 50 countries throughout the world to achieve this goal.
The educational institutions founded by Mr. Ikeda reflect and adhere to the educational principles espoused by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, the first and second presidents of the Soka Gakkai, who dedicated their lives to education. Educational institutions founded by Mr. Ikeda include: Institute of Oriental Philosophy,1962; Soka Junior and Senior High Schools, 1968; Soka University, 1971; Kansai Soka Junior and Senior High Schools, 1973; Sapporo Soka Kindergarten, 1976; Tokyo Soka Elementary School, 1978; Kansai Elementary School, 1982; Soka Women's Junior College, in 1985; Hong Kong Soka Kindergarten, 1992; Singapore Soka Kindergarten, 1993; and Malaysia Soka Kindergarten, 1994. Mr. Ikeda established the Min-On Concert Association in 1963, Fuji Art Museum in 1973, and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum in 1983 to foster cultural exchange throughout the world. Indeed, each of these cultural institutions is currently actively engaged in international exchange in their respective fields of music and art.
Mr. Ikeda has delivered addresses at numerous universities abroad in his pursuit to promote educatonal exchange. He has spoken at such diverse universities and institutions like Beijing and Fudan Universities (China); Claremont MaKenna College, Harvard University, and UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) (U.S.A.); Sofia University (Bulgaria), Moscow State University (Russia); Macau University (Macau); University of Bucharest (Rumania); Guadalajara University (Mexico); Institute of France (France); Gandhi Memorial Hall (India); and Brazilian Academy of Letters (Brazil).
Mr. Ikeda's firmly held conviction that person-to-person dialogue constitutes the first step toward lasting world peace motivated the scores of meetings which he has held over the years with world-reknown political, cultural, and educational figures. Among the diversity of people with whom he has met are: Arnold J. Toynbee, English historian, 1972; Chou En-Lai, late premier of The People's Republic of China, 1974; Andre Malraux, French writer and statesman, 1974; Henry A. Kissinger, former U.S.A. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Laureate, 1975; Aurelio Peccei, founder of the Club of Rome, 1981; Antaoli A. Logunov, former rector of Moscow State University, 1981; Linus C. Pauling, U.S.A. chemist and Nobel Laureate in both chemistry and peace, 1987; Javier Perez de Cuellar, former United Nations Secretary General, 1985; Karan Singh, Indian religionist, 1988 Chingiz T. Aitmatov, Russian author and diplomat, 1988; Francois M. Mitterand, President of France, 1989; Mikhail S. Gorbachev, former U.S.S.R. President, 1990; Corazon Aquino, former Philippines President, 1991; and John Majors, Great Britian's Prime Minister, 1991. Many of these meetings have produced a continued exchange of views which have resulted in published dialogues appearing in over ten different languages.
Mr. Ikeda's political efforts have reflected his uniquely held Buddhist views. Contrary to existing international policies at the time, he strongly advocated renormalization of Sino-Japanese relations beginning in 1968. Besides calling for an end to antagonistic relations between China and Japan, Mr. Ikeda urged the United Nations to admit China as a member. Beginning with the First Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Disarmament in 1973, he has written proposals in areas ranging from disarmament to the environment. In particular, during the Cold War Era, he continually urged the United States and U.S.S.R. to discuss their differences at summit meetings. Mr. Ikeda has guided the Soka Gakkai International's peace efforts in the world resulting in exhibitions like "Nuclear Arms: Threat in Our World" or "War and Peace," which showed throughout the globe, as well as refugee-relief activities. The Soka Gakkai International supported recent U.N. efforts in the Cambodian elections by distributing radios throughout the populace so that accurate and current information could be attained by the Cambodian citizenery.
In recognition of Mr. Ikeda's contributions toward peace, he was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal in 1983. Universities and countries world-wide have conferred numerous honorary degrees and professorships upon him recognizing his efforts toward cultural-educational exchange and peace. Some interesting awards include Poet Laureate Award of the World Poets Association, Honourable Friend of the Bodleian Library for Life, and Kenya Oral Literature Association Award. Mr. Ikeda's published works range from Buddhist studies, novels, and poetry to essays and travel diaries. A partial list of honors, awards, and works translated into English appear below.
Modified on October 7, 1994, by Wong Yau Why and Sari Wilde