News & Blog

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...

The Secular City book cover

[Posted by M. Bogen, 5-31-13] When Daisaku Ikeda spoke at Harvard in 1993, delivering the address that would become our "founding lecture"—"Mahayana Buddhism and 21st Century Civilization"—he did so at the invitation of professors John Kenneth Galbraith, Nur Yalman, and Harvey Cox. To help celebrate our 20th anniversary, I thought it would be fun to talk a bit about these three men who figure so vitally in our history. In this post I'll talk about Professor Cox and his seminal work of 1965, The Secular City.

Dr. Cox is presently Hollis Research...

Dessima Williams

Ambassador Williams was an Honorary Chair of the Massachusetts Conference on Women: Bringing Beijing Home, held September 1996 in Boston. She met with the Center’s staff several weeks before that conference to share her views on social change, women’s leadership, and grassroots movements. This excerpt from the interview considers women as problem-solvers.

What leadership roles do you foresee women taking in these social change efforts in this decade and into the next century?

Women must take leadership through analyzing the present historical moment and determining...

Tu Weiming was professor of Chinese history and philosophy at Harvard University until 2010, when he became Lifetime Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University. This 1994 interview is called "The Dialogue of Civilizations."

The first question for Professor Tu was: Why is the “dialogue of civilizations” important, and what is your own interest in this subject? Tu Weiming responded: "We are now confronted with two seemingly contradictory forces, both of which define the human condition for the twentieth century. The first is...

Fred Rogers

[Posted by M. Bogen, 5-15-13] By now we should know better than to be surprised by the wisdom of Fred Rogers, AKA Mr. Rogers, who died ten years ago but still maintains the power to inspire. We recently came across a link on Twitter to a lovely interview with Mr. Rogers conducted by Karen Herman in 1999. The following quote really illuminates the meaning of value creation.

“The major dramas in life are never center stage. And they’re rarely under the bright lights," said Rogers. "They’re always happening off-camera. The best things of life are, are way...

Robert Thurman

[New, from our archives, 5-9-13] Columbia University’s Robert Thurman served as a commentator on Center founder Daisaku Ikeda’s lecture, “Peace and Human Security: A Buddhist Perspective for the Twenty-first Century,” delivered at the East-West Center in Honolulu on January 26, 1995. At that time, Professor Thurman met with the Center’s staff to share these views on education, human freedom, and UN reform.

How do you view the role of education in society, and what influenced your thinking on the subject?

RT: I think the question should...

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