November 28, 2015 New Delhi

Jagran Lakecity University (JLU), Bhopal, conferred the Honorary Doctorate Humane Letters (Humanity and Arts) to Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher and President, Soka Gakkai International (SGI). The award was conferred in recognition of President Ikeda’s untiring pursuit of peace and love for humanity and accepted on his behalf by Soka Gakkai President, Minoru Harada. The citation expressed appreciation for President Ikeda’s 2015 Peace Proposal and his emphasis on dialogue across differences for the sake of mutual co-existence as well as the self-directed transformation within the individual that leads to social transformation. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Anoop Swarup, the Vice Chancellor of JLU said, “The very ethos and central tenet of Ikeda’s thought, and of Buddhism, is the fundamental sanctity of life, a value which Ikeda sees as the key to lasting peace and human happiness.” “Today in times of great global turmoil in the wake of terrorist attacks, be it Mumbai, New York, London or Paris and our retaliatory response to it, with no end in sight, Ikeda and his thought becomes ever so relevant.” “In Ikeda’s view, global peace relies ultimately on a self-directed transformational change within the life of the individual, rather than on societal or structural reforms alone.” He said that only iconic personalities such as Dr Daisaku Ikeda and the path of Buddha, Gandhi and (Martin Luther Jr) King will bring lasting change in this world of ours for our future generations to cherish. The award was announced earlier at the university’s convocation ceremony that was held in the institution’s sprawling campus in Bhopal. President Ikeda’s unceasing dedication to the cause of peace has gained him appreciation world over. He is a rare recipient of 363 honorary doctorates so far. The current honour will be the 14th academic honour from India. Earlier prestigious institutions from India that have given awards include the University of Delhi, Vishwabharati University and Himachal Pradesh University, to name a few.

In his acceptance speech as conveyed by Mr Harada at the event, President Ikeda conveyed his deep appreciation for this honour and said that it was a great privilege to be recognised by a distinguished institution of higher learning. He said, “Educational efforts grounded in a philosophy of respect for the dignity of life can be a source of enduring inspiration to people and create unfathomable value. Jagran Lakecity University continues to vibrantly extend the influence of human spiritual awakening and spread the message of peace. “I am moved by your motto, ‘Igniting Minds, Changing Lives,’ and the ways in which you seek to concretise it….The state of Madhya Pradesh is known for its diamonds. I believe that the lives of young people are like diamonds in the rough. As humanity wrestles with the darkness of the times, the world yearns for the light that issues from young people imbued with indestructible hope.” Echoing these thoughts, Mr Vishesh Gupta, Chairperson, Bharat Soka Gakkai (the Indian affiliate of the SGI) said, “Fixing his gaze on the distant future, President Ikeda is always focusing on taking action in the present moment. President Ikeda says: ‘Life is short. The most valuable thing we can devote our lives to is fostering people who will build a new age for the sake of tomorrow.’ “And, in exact accord with this belief, both Soka Gakkai and Jagran Lakecity University are engaging in fostering the new generation who will shoulder the responsibility for the future of humanity.” In the vote of thanks, educator Ms. Vandana Jain said that President Ikeda believes that education is one of the most sacred and valuable tasks and he urges us to always ask: For what purpose should one cultivate wisdom? The true purpose of education he believes is to serve the people, remove suffering and protect humanity. So, as we leave today, let us respond to Mr. Ikeda’s expectations by reaffirming to bring in a new age of value creating education for the sake of peace and human happiness!