News & Blog

During our 20th anniversary year, friends of the Center are contributing reflections connecting their work with our core convictions. Former dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government Joseph Nye offers thoughts on our first conviction: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding Are Inseparable and Needed More Than Ever. Professor Nye tells us:

"In the past, I have written about the importance of soft power, the ability to get what one wants through attraction and persuasion than coercion or payment. Soft power is a 'two way...

MLK, Jr.

[Posted by M. Bogen: 8-30] In our previous post, we cited Vincent Harding's belief that the "true significance" of Dr. King's dream was that "he held on to it in the midst of harsh opposition." A few examples of the nature of this opposition can help us grasp how great the triumph of the movement truly was.

1) Last Sunday (8-25), "Meet the Press" rebroadcast the interview they did with with Dr. King and NAACP executive secretary Roy Wilkins just a few days before the March, now among the most...

King at March

Enshrined in American history, the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was not as broadly supported then as now we might imagine. In the chapter in America Will Be! devoted to the March, Professor Vincent Harding clarifies the context for King's remarks that day; a context showing that the brotherhood and sisterhood of King's dream was not something to be achieved independently of the economic and social challenges that black and other Americans faced then, and which so many Americans still face today. Dr. Harding reminds us:

"King spent a significant amount...

Janine Benyus

From Helen Marie Casey's report on Janne Benyus's 2004 talk exploring the concept of biomimicry:

Life thrives, the author reminded her audience, in surprising ways. If we are diligent students of Nature, we can learn to clean without detergents, to color without dyes, and to operate pumps, fans, propellers, mixers, and turbines without friction. We can learn to make objects adhere without glue, and we can learn what the abalone has to teach us so that we can make ceramics as tough as the mother-of-pearl of the abalone. We can learn to make fiber optics that self-assemble. If we...

Gloria White-Hammond

“There comes a time when you hit a wall in life and you decide you’ve got to make a choice about whether you’re going to go forward and make a difference, or be still.”

Today's quote is from the Reverend Gloria White-Hammond's January 2005 talk called "I Am My Sister's Keeper." Delivered as the Harriet Tubman Lecture on Human Rights, it was part of the Women of Courage Lecture Series, cosponsored by the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century (now the Ikeda Center) and the Wellesley...

Vito Perrone: "What if our children and young people learn to read and write but don't like to and don't? What if they don't read the newspapers and magazines, or can't find beauty in a poem or love story? What if they don't go as adults to artistic events, don't listen to a broad range of music, aren't optimistic about the world and their place in it, don't notice the trees and the sunset, are indifferent to older citizens, don't participate in politics or community life, and are physically and psychologically abusive to themselves?

"And what if they leave us intolerant, lacking in...

Elise Boulding

"One other very important point I want to make here is that war is not inherent in human beings. We learn war and we learn peace. The culture of peace is something which is learned, just as violence is learned and war culture is learned. So we are engaged in an enormous learning process for the whole planet. The new community-based ways of teaching and learning which draw on the people of the community to teach and have the children moving in and out of a school room and into the community, learning to appreciate all the resources of that community — that's the start of a peace culture....

Nelson Mandela

[Posted by M. Bogen, 7-23-13] In a 2005 tribute to Nelson Mandela, Daisaku Ikeda shared this insight from the great human rights leader, whose 95th birthday we joyfully celebrate along with the rest of the world.

"It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred; he is locked behind...

[Posted by M. Bogen, 7-17-13] Restorative justice, a profound concept which we explored in a 2003 seminar series, can play out and be practiced in many settings. A recent New York Times article (April 2013) shows how the principles of restorative justice are being applied in the Oakland, California public school system. School leaders there are trying to reduce reliance on on punitive measures such as suspension while proactively creating conditions for a more peaceful, just, and compassionate...

Juan Somavia

Ambassador Juan Somavia, who, at the time of this interview in 1997, represented Chile at the Security Council of the United Nations, was the chairman of the 1995 World Summit on Social Development held in Copenhagen. From 1999 to 2012, he served as Director-General of the International Labor Organization.

BRC: To what do you trace your deep commitments to social justice and human rights?

JS: It is the central belief in the dignity of the human being: there is nothing more sacred in the world than the respect for human dignity. If that exists, you can organize...

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