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June 9, 2023

National University of Misiones Confers Honorary Doctorate upon Daisaku Ikeda

University of Misiones in Argentina confers an honorary doctorate upon Daisaku Ikeda
UNaM Vice Rector Katogui (center left) entrusts the degree certificate to SGI Vice President Tanigawa (center right)

On June 9, 2023, the National University of Misiones (UNaM) in Posadas, Argentina, conferred an honorary doctorate upon Daisaku Ikeda in recognition of his contributions to promoting sustainable development and environmental conservation. The ceremony was held at the SGI-Argentina (SGIAR) Peace Auditorium in Buenos Aires and attended by UNaM Vice Rector Sergio Edgardo Katogui, Faculty of Forest Sciences Dean Héctor Fabián Romero, Supreme Council Secretary Jorge López, and an SGI delegation from Japan led by SGI Vice President Yoshiki Tanigawa. Among the guests was the former rector of the National University of Tucumán, Alicia Bardón. The conferral ceremony followed the SGIAR national leaders meeting that was held in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Mr. Ikeda’s visit to Argentina.

SGI Vice President Tanigawa read Mr. Ikeda’s acceptance message that lauded UNaM for its contributions to environmental sustainability through education. Mr. Ikeda recalled his dialogue with British historian Arnold Toynbee in which the latter concurred that individual transformation is the key to addressing various global crises, including environmental destruction. In this regard, Mr. Ikeda described the importance of three innate human qualities: the wisdom to control one’s desires, the compassion to feel the pain of others and the courage to look into the future and turn any adversity into advantage. He expressed his conviction that environmental education and education for global citizenship, together with a commitment to dialogue that resists violence and surmounts differences, have the ability to draw forth these qualities from individuals.               

Certificate of the honorary doctorate conferred by UNaM upon Daisaku Ikeda
Certificate of the honorary doctorate conferred upon Daisaku Ikeda

Misiones Province, where UNaM is located, is in the northeast of Argentina, a heavily forested area of rich biodiversity that is home to the Iguazú Falls, one of the three largest waterfalls in the world.

“Mr. Ikeda’s philosophy that gives first priority to the dignity of life is key to conserving this beautiful global environment for the future,” stated Dean Romero, who described how protecting biodiversity has been a responsibility upheld by UNaM since the university’s founding in 1973.

Dean Romero, whose faculty proposed Mr. Ikeda for the honorary degree, first learned about the Soka University founder from his colleagues and had been deeply impressed by his 2012 environmental proposal issued on the occasion of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). “Fundamentally, the solution to the environmental problems lies not in how we achieve numerical targets, but in the inner transformation of human beings,” he said, expressing the deep accord between Mr. Ikeda’s philosophy and that of the university.

 [Adapted from an article in the June 13, 2023, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]

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