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May 20, 2023

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Confers Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy upon Daisaku Ikeda

Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree certificate conferred upon Daisaku Ikeda by Hunkuk University of Foreign Studies
Certificate of the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy conferred upon Daisaku Ikeda

On May 20, 2023, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Seoul, one of South Korea’s top private universities, conferred an honorary doctorate of philosophy upon Daisaku Ikeda in recognition of his commitment to the ideals of peace founded on human dignity, the cultivation of the ethics of global citizenship and the promotion of friendship between Japan and South Korea.

The conferral ceremony was attended by HUFS President Park Jeong-woon, Graduate School Dean Roh Taek Seon, who read the recommendation, and former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Soo-sung, who delivered a congratulatory address. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada accepted the award for Mr. Ikeda and read an acceptance message on his behalf.

The conferral took place in the university’s Obama Hall, named in commemoration of a speech given there by the American president in 2012.

In his conferral address, President Park listed several of Mr. Ikeda’s laudable accomplishments and stated that the primary reason he has come to respect Mr. Ikeda is for the courage he has displayed in acting on his convictions. He spoke particularly of Mr. Ikeda’s efforts to confront the legacy of Japan’s colonial past and build friendship with the countries it had occupied.

About 400 people attended the conferral ceremony at Hankuk University’s Obama Hall
About 400 people attended the conferral ceremony at Hankuk University’s Obama Hall

Former Prime Minister Lee similarly spoke of the efforts of Mr. Ikeda, as well as those of his predecessor second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, to build ties of peace and friendship with South Korea.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Ikeda recalled the deep emotion he had felt on learning of the struggles Dr. Kim Heung-bae, the university’s founder, underwent to establish an educational institution that could help restore the country following the devastation of the Korean War. The university became the cradle of foreign language education in South Korea and, today, has some 2,500 international students from 108 countries and carries out exchange programs with over 600 educational institutions around the world.

Referring to the words of the writer Edith Wharton, “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it,” Mr. Ikeda remarked that when we bring the light of wisdom, courage and compassion to shine in our lives, it will be reflected by others around us, causing the “great light of value creation” to spread limitlessly.

The honorary doctorate from HUFS is the 20th academic honor Mr. Ikeda has received from a South Korean university.

SGI President receives honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
HUFS President Park Jeong-woon (3rd from right) entrusts the degree certificate to Soka Gakkai President Harada

 [Adapted from an article in the May 21, 2023, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]                                     

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