UP welcomes Soka University officials

| Written by Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc

(From left to right) Soka University Board of Trustees Chair Yasunori Tashiro, International Program Coordinator Emmie Miyagawa, Office of International Affairs Director Hiroki Shimoide, Former UP President Jose Abueva, and Soka Gakkai International Philippines General Director Hisako Alcantara in a quiet conversation on a Balay Kalinaw balcony. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

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.

 

UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan welcomes Soka University Board of Trustees Chair Yasunori Tashiro, International Program Coordinator Emmie Miyagawa, and Office of International Affairs Director Hiroki Shimoide on the Palma Hall steps. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

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.

 

A photograph of Dr. Daisaku Ikeda downloaded from his full profile at https://www.daisakuikeda.org

 

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.

 

The facade of Balay Kalinaw along Dagohoy Street, UP Diliman. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

“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.

 

A souvenir photo on the Palma Hall steps of: Former UP President Jose Abueva with visiting officials, students, and alumni of Soka University; members of the Soka Gakkai International Philippines; and, UP System and UP Diliman officials and staff members, including Prof. Mary Ann Espina who was the lead architect of Balay Kalinaw. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

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.

 

Reproduction of photos of flowers and Soka University taken by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda now on display at Balay Kalinaw. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

“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.

 

The ceremonial turnover of photographs from Soka University officials to UP officials. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

“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.

 

Program Development Associate Gilda Uy of the UP Diliman Office of International Linkages introduces speakers and performers in the Palma Hall lobby program. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

“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.”

 

UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, and Soka University Board of Trustees Chair Yasunori Tashiro exchange tokens of appreciation and icons of their universities. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

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.

 

A deed of donation for Dr. Daisaku Ikeda’s photographs is signed by Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia on behalf of UP President Danilo Concepcion, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan; and Soka University Board of Trustees Chair Yasunori Tashiro and Office of International Affairs Director Hiroki Shimoide. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

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.”

 

General Director Hisako Alcantara of Sokka Gakkai International Philippines introduces the “Seeds of Hope” exhibit and the philosophy of her organization that was founded by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

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.

 

Soka University Board of Trustees Chair Yasunori Tashiro, General Director Hisako Alcantara of Soka Gakkai International Philippines, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, and UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia cut the ribbon to inaugurate the “Seeds of Hope” exhibit in the Palma Hall lobby. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.

 

The ceremonies were accompanied by music and dance performed by the Kontemporaryong Gamelang Pilipino.

 

UP Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Gil Jacinto, who is also the director of the System Office of International Linkages , wrapping up his closing remarks, finds a photography philosophy in common with Dr. Daisaku Ikeda’s. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.
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