International recognition for work of UNE Peace Studies

Published 21 April 2011

warejohnsAn international organisation promoting peace through education and cultural exchange has donated books to the University of New England in recognition of the work of UNE’s Peace Studies discipline.

Greg Johns, the General Director of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Australia, visited the University last month to present the books, and to meet staff members and students of UNE Peace Studies and members of local SGI groups.

The seven books, published by I.B. Tauris in London and New York, contain dialogues with the Buddhist philosopher, educator and writer Dr Daisaku Ikeda, the President of SGI. They offer perspectives – grounded in Buddhist humanism – on the challenges facing both individuals in their daily lives and humanity as a whole.

Mr Johns explained that Soka Gakkai (literally translated as “value creation society”), founded in Japan in 1930 as a study group of reformist educators, now had an international membership of 12 million people in 192 countries and territories, and was the largest non-government organisation in the United Nations.

SGI enjoys close friendships with leading Australian universities, peace research institutes and community organisations. Mr Johns commended Professor Helen Ware and her colleagues in Peace Studies at UNE for “working so hard for peace” – including  their contribution to the 23rd Biennial Conference of the International Peace Research Association at the University of Sydney in July last year.

“The links between SGI and Peace Studies at UNE are just one example of ways in which a common interest in the scientific study of the conditions necessary for building peace can bring together very diverse groups from around the world,” Professor Ware said. “If conditions permit, next year’s world peace research conference will be held in Hiroshima and UNE’s contributions will include our work on peace building in Africa, environmental aspects of peace, and the use of art in community building.”

THE PHOTOGRAPH of Professor Helen Ware and Mr Greg Johns displayed here was taken at the book presentation.