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October 14, 2021

Book Event at Harvard University Celebrates Hope and Joy in Education

Participants at virtual book event for HOPE AND JOY IN EDUCATIO
Some of the presenters at the virtual event

On October 14, 2021, a virtual book talk event was held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Gutman Library celebrating the publication of Hope and Joy in Education: Engaging Daisaku Ikeda Across Curriculum and Context, developed by the Ikeda Center and published by Teachers College Press of Columbia University.

The book contains 18 papers written by researchers specializing in pedagogy and discusses how Daisaku Ikeda’s philosophy is promoting transformative change in a wide range of fields, including human rights education and peace studies. The book’s release in April 2021 marked 25 years since President Ikeda delivered the lecture “Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship” at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

The book event itself comes thirty years after Ikeda’s first lecture at Harvard University in September 1991.

Around 175 people in 17 countries participated in the virtual event. Editors Isabel Nuñez, professor and director of the School of Education at Purdue University Fort Wayne, and Jason Goulah, associate professor of Bilingual-Bicultural Education and director of the Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies in Education at DePaul University in Chicago, reflected on how the book came to be and what they learned in the development process.

Hope and Joy in Education--Engaging Daisaku Ikeda Across Curriculum and Context
Hope and Joy in Education, the theme of the virtual book event (© NS)

Dr. Goulah began by introducing Daisaku Ikeda’s life’s work as a Buddhist leader and school founder and highlighted key aspects of Ikeda’s educational philosophy, such as commitments to dialogue, global citizenship, value creation, and creative coexistence.

In her remarks, Professor Nuñez discussed aspects of what it means for hope and joy to thrive in education. Said Nuñez, all teachers enter the profession with a sense of vocation. “The act of teaching itself” is fueled by the faith and hope that “the students we touch will go out and flourish and thrive.”

During a question-and-answer session, when asked about the relationship between hope, joy, and education, Prof. Nuñez stated that teachers should themselves find joy in the act of teaching, and by modeling joy for the students, they can inspire them to enjoy learning and manifest what they assimilate in their adult lives.

When asked about how their commitment to dialogue has impacted them each, Prof. Nuñez says in her teaching and leadership roles she has “striven to be explicitly and honestly open with others.” Dialogue, she said, is how we can truly learn from “a diversity of perspectives.” Prof. Goulah said he agrees with Ikeda’s view that “we are fundamentally interdependent.” This makes dialogue absolutely necessary, since we have to “engage with this interdependence in all its forms to develop the self.” The moment you “close down dialogue” out of a belief you don’t have anything “to learn from ‘those’ people,” you’re “closing down some fundamental aspect of yourself. You’re limiting the fullness of yourself from being realized.” In dialogue, all parties are “elevated,” Goulah said. This is one of the reasons he says that “the truest sense of activism” is realized in dialogue.

 [Adapted from an October 2021 article by Mitch Bogen featured on the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue website and an article in the October 27, 2021, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]

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