Daisaku Ikeda is the president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Buddhist association of more than 12 million members in 192 countries and territories.
On May 3, 1960, Ikeda succeeded Josei Toda as third president of the Soka Gakkai, a position he held until 1979. In 1975, he became the first president of the SGI, an umbrella body for the independent constituent Soka Gakkai organizations in each country. Ikeda has tirelessly worked to spread the peaceful and compassionate teachings of Nichiren Buddhism throughout the world for more than 60 years. Ikeda is a staunch proponent of dialogue as the foundation of peace. He has travelled to more than 50 countries, meeting and holding dialogue with people, including political and intellectual leaders, with absolute conviction that international understanding and the realization of peace begins with people-to-people dialogue. The United Nations conferred the Peace Award in 1983 on Ikeda recognising his tireless and unflagging efforts for world peace.
As president of SGI, he has devoted himself to wide-ranging efforts for peace and individual empowerment, and has founded cultural, educational and peace research institutions around the world. These include Soka University in Japan and Soka University of America, Soka schools from kindergarten to high school levels, the Min-On Concert Association, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, the Victor Hugo House of Literature and the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue.In addition, he has submitted peace proposals to the United Nations every year since 1983, with the aim of finding creative solutions to the world’s problems like disarmament, human rights and the environment.
Ikeda has received 351 honorary degrees from institutions and universities around the world. In India, he has been the recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Delhi, Vishva Bharati, Himachal Pradesh University, Bharathidasan University among several others.
He is a prolific writer and a poet, and is recognized as one of the leading interpreters of Buddhism, bringing its timeless wisdom to bear on the many contemporary issues confronting humanity. As an author of more than 200 books, some of the diverse issues covered by him in books are Choose Life – A Dialogue with Arnold Toynbee, Moral Lessons of the Twentieth Century on Buddhism and Communism with Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev, Choose Hope with David Krieger, A Lifelong Quest for Peace with Dr Linus Pauling and Global Civilisation: A Buddhist Islamic Dialogue with Dr Majid Tehranian.
From the time of his initial dialogue up to now, Daisaku Ikeda has participated in over 1600 dialogues with world leaders and thinkers. Among the world leaders met are former Soviet president Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev, French president Francois Mitterand, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, South African president Nelson Mandela, Mr. Fidel Castro, the Cuban president and the late Indian prime minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, to name a few.