Education Fellows Program

Background and Program Information

I. Background on Soka Education

Soka education is a student-centered educational approach based on the pedagogy of Japanese educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944) and his successor, Josei Toda (1900-1958). As a schoolteacher and principal, Makiguchi devoted his life to developing a theory of humanistic education centered on the lifelong development and growth of each student. During World War II, Makiguchi was arrested for his opposition to Japanese military authorities and died in prison, unable to see his educational ideas to fruition. Toda carried forward these ideas; and Toda's successor, Ikeda, implemented this humanistic vision by establishing an educational system that focuses on the happiness of each student as its core objective.

For more on Ikeda's educational philosophy visit the education section of the Daisaku Ikeda website.

II. Mission of the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue

Since 1993, the Center (originally the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century) has engaged diverse scholars, activists, and social innovators in the search for the ideas and solutions that will assist in the peaceful evolution of humanity. Founded by Buddhist thinker and leader Daisaku Ikeda, the mission of the Center is to build cultures of peace through learning and dialogue. Center programs include public forums and scholarly seminars that are organized collaboratively and offer a range of perspectives on key issues in global ethics. The Center's educational and dialogue books have been used in more than 900 college and university courses.

III. Focus of research

The Ikeda Center Education Fellows Program supports doctoral dissertations on any aspect of the philosophy and practice of Soka education, including its relation to the philosophy and practice of education more generally. (Go here to view a bibliographic guide to relevant English-language sources on Soka education.)

The Ikeda Center invites a wide range of approaches, including dissertation research that:

  • compares and contrasts contemporary Soka education with other systems of education carried out anywhere in the world; or
  • focuses entirely on the philosophy and/or practice of Soka education; or
  • examines Soka-influenced educational efforts in K-16 non-Soka settings.

IV. Awards and Conditions:

Up to two Ikeda Center Education Fellows will be selected by an Advisory Council of leading scholars of educational philosophy. Fellows will be eligible for two years of funding at $10,000 per year, with the second year contingent on proof of progress. Successful applicants will be expected to submit a final written statement along with their dissertation and abstract upon completion. In addition to the basic stipend, each fellowship also covers costs of attendance at a one-day, annual seminar in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which fellows will be expected to attend.

In addition, successful candidates would be willing to participate whenever feasible in future networking activities to advance research on Soka education. Examples include:

  • presenting research results at regional and national education conferences;
  • interacting with past and current fellows as well as advisers as needed; and
  • participating in seminars and public conferences on Soka education at the Ikeda Center in Cambridge, MA.

V. Eligibility

1. Applicants must be candidates for a doctoral degree and must confirm via the application that they will have completed all qualifying exams. Accepting applications from December 1, 2017 to March 1, 2018.

2. Applicants must be living in the United States or Canada during the fellowship period.

3. All materials must be submitted in English. 

Application instructions are here


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