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February 16, 2024

Daisaku Ikeda Honored at Academic Conference held in Termez, Uzbekistan

Daisaku Ikeda was honored at an academic conference in Termez, Uzbekistan
The first day of the academic conference at the held at the Termez Archeological Museum

On February 15-16, 2024, at an academic conference held at the Termez Archeological Museum, Termez City, the Republic of Uzbekistan, Daisaku Ikeda, founder of Soka University and President of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), was honored for his contributions to friendship and cultural exchanges between Uzbekistan and Japan.

The conference marked the 35th anniversary of collaborations between Uzbekistan and Japan on archeological projects and the preservation of Uzbek cultural heritage, and the 33rd anniversary of the publication of the catalog Antiquities of Southern Uzbekistan. It was attended by national and local government representatives, academics and diplomatic staff, as well as experts from overseas. Opening speeches were given by Turayev Jurabek Abdullayevich, the deputy governor of Surkhandarya Province, and Kuziev Tursunali Karimovich, former minister of Culture and Sports and first deputy director of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Speaking on behalf of Termez State University, Vice Rector Turaev Rasul Nortozhievich reflected on the “Dialogue with Nature” exhibition of scenic photos taken by Mr. Ikeda that was held between 2017 and 2018 in seven locations across Uzbekistan, including at the university. In 2011, Termez State University awarded Mr. Ikeda an honorary doctorate.

Soka University President Masashi Suzuki, attending the conference online, spoke about the history of Uzbek-Japan joint archaeological research. In August 1989, Soka University dispatched its Silk Road academic research team, created in response to a proposal by Mr. Ikeda, to Uzbekistan to conduct joint excavation surveys, towards what would become the first archeological collaboration between the two countries. The first joint excavation survey took place over a six-year period, during which numerous significant artifacts were discovered at the Dalverzin-Tepe Second Buddhist Temple site near Termez.

Mr. Suzuki shared how, on many occasions, Mr. Ikeda had emphasized the importance of research into the Silk Road, a bridge between Eastern and Western civilizations and the path of the eastern transmission of Buddhism, believing that such research had much to contribute to the cultural heritage of humanity and wisdom that would be the cornerstone of peace in the twenty-first century.

SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda sent a message to the conference in which he expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the government officials and academics who contributed to organizing the event. He recalled the encounter his father, Daisaku Ikeda, had with Mr. Kuziev in Japan in February 2002. He stated that the dialogue the two had on that occasion, one of the four times they met, had opened the way for further educational and cultural exchanges between the two countries. He also conveyed his hope that these exchanges would continue to be passed down to future generations.

A short documentary about Mr. Ikeda’s life was also shown during the first day of conference, and on February 16, the “Dialogue with Nature” exhibition opened at the museum, with many citizens of Termez and experts from various sectors attending.

[Adapted from an article in the February 20, 2024, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]                              

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