UP welcomed top officials of Soka University with ceremonies that celebrated the multifaceted connection between the universities and between their people.
The visit by Soka University Board of Trustees Chair Yasunori Tashiro, Office of International Affairs Director Hiroki Shimoide, and International Program Coordinator Emmie Miyagawa on September 24, 2019 included: a tour of the Balay Kalinaw and of a donation to the complex of eight photographs taken by their university’s founder; and, the opening of the “Seeds of Hope” exhibit of an international Buddhist network at the Palma Hall Lobby.
Tashiro, Shimoide, and Miyagawa were met by: esteemed personalities of the University, led by former UP President Jose Abueva and UP Diliman (UPD) Chancellor Michael Tan; members of the Buddhist network, Soka Gakkai International (SGI), in the Philippines; and, alumni and visiting students of Soka University in the Philippines.
Soka University was founded by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, the donor of UP Diliman’s Balay Kalinaw and after whom the hall was alternately named. Ikeda also happens to be the founding president of SGI.
“Balay Kalinaw is a symbol of our friendship of over 30 years with the University of the Philippines,” Tashiro said, after visiting the complex.
He relayed Ikeda’s message where he recalled the inauguration of the Balay Kalinaw on May 11, 1993, when Ikeda quoted Jose Rizal’s poem on dying without seeing the dawn. In one essay about that occasion, Ikeda narrated an emotional connection with Abueva, whose family was a casualty of the last world war. Ikeda had spoken of his own family’s sufferings from the war, and that he, like Abueva, became committed to world peace as a result.
Ikeda first met Abueva in 1990, after which they corresponded regularly with each other. Ikeda officially visited UP in 1991 to attend the graduation ceremonies. Their discussions, both face-to-face and written, formed the framework of a recently published work.
The Balay Kalinaw became a major project of the Abueva presidency. Named with the Visayan word for “peace”, the structure offers spaces for many academic and related events, social gatherings, offices, and housing.
“We are convinced that Dr. Ikeda’s photos will warmly watch over the people who come to visit this place in search of peace,” Tashiro said.
“We are gathered here tonight to receive a new set of memories that will further bond us together: Soka [University] and UP Diliman,” Program Development Associate Gilda Uy of the UPD Office of International Linkages added at the donation ceremony for the photographs.
“I sincerely wish today’s conferral [of photographs] ceremony will lead to further development and exchange between the two universities,” Ikeda was quoted by Tashiro. Tashiro narrated how Ikeda once again alluded to Jose Rizal in saying:”Educational exchange is the soil in which the seeds of peace will sprout and grow.”
According to UP Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Gil Jacinto, he would like to see not just more student exchange between the two universities but also more interaction between the two faculties, especially for research.
On the exhibit, “Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps Toward Change”, which has gone around the world since 2010, UP Vice President Elena Pernia read the message of UP President Danilo Concepcion: “We in UP welcome its vision of our interconnectedness as human beings in the greater community of life. We welcome its message that we need to widen our circle of compassion and love to encompass more than just our tribes, but the entirety of nature as well.”
The exhibit is mounted by SGI, a community-based Buddhist network linking 12 million members in 192 countries and territories around the world in promoting peace, culture and education. It has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The ceremonies were accompanied by music and dance performed by the Kontemporaryong Gamelang Pilipino.