1993 - 1996 Activities

Activities during this period range from the founding of the Boston Research Center (BRC) for the 21st Century (now the Ikeda Center) on September 24, 1993, to the 2nd Annual Global Citizen Awards Ceremony held in late 1996. Among the Center's early activities was a luncheon seminar series that brought Boston-area scholars together for cross-institution and cross-discipline dialogues on selected topics in global ethics. The majority of Center conferences conducted during 1995 and 1996 focused on strengthening the UN. The Center also cosponsored two significant lectures by Daisaku Ikeda during this period: one at the East-West Center in Hawaii (January 1995) and one at Teachers College, Columbia University (June 1996). The BRC moved to its current Harvard Street location during the spring of 1995.

1993

September 24, 1993
Daisaku Ikeda gives lecture at Harvard-Yenching Institute entitled, “Mahayana Buddhism and Twenty-first Century Civilization.”

September 24, 1993
Mr. Ikeda founds Boston Research Center for the 21st Century.

November 1993
The Center launches, coordinates, and records nationwide a series of events, entitled "Dialogue Series on Nonviolence — The Human Dilemma: Is Nonviolence Possible in a Violent World?" Two were held locally in the Boston area. The first event in the series, on November 10, was a lecture by Tufts University English Professor Martin Green called "Violence-Nonviolence: Our Fundamental Ambivalence," with commentary by Boston Globe columnist James Carroll. This was the first Center-sponsored event. A week later at Tufts, English professor Michael True of Assumption College gave a talk entitled  “The American Tradition of Nonviolence,” with commentary by Roger Powers of the Albert Einstein Institution. Cosponsor: Tufts University Peace & Justice Studies Program.

November 12, 1993
Center conducts symposium at JFK School, Harvard University, entitled, “The Human Dilemma: Is Nonviolence Possible in a Violent World?” Cosponsor: Harvard International Relations Council

Panelists:
Theodore Macdonald, Director, Cultural Survival Research Center, and Research Associate at Peabody Museum, Harvard University
Douglas Bond, Director, Program on Nonviolent Sanctions, Center for International Affairs, Harvard
Gail Thomas, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Race and Ethnic Studies Research Institute, Texas A&M University, and Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education
Vito Perrone, director of Teacher Education and Chair of Teaching, Curriculum and Learning Environments, Harvard University.

Commentator:
John Berthrong, Associate Dean and Assistant Professor of Comparative Theology, Boston University School of Theology.

December 14, 1993
Center issues first publication, a booklet containing Ikeda lecture at Harvard and Center’s mission statement.

1994

January 11, 1994
BRC convenes the first in a series of seven luncheon seminars that were held at the Center's original office in Harvard Square during 2004. The seminars created a place for Boston-area scholars to engage in cross-institution and cross-discipline dialogue on selected themes in global ethics. BRC director Virginia Straus Benson moderated all the seminars. The first seminar was called “Intercultural Understanding: New Paradigms?”

Participants:
Seyla Benhabib, Professor of Political Philosophy, Harvard University
David Maybury-Lewis, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University
Benjamin Schwartz, Professor of History and Political Science Emeritus, Harvard University
Tu Weiming, Professor of History and Philosophy, Harvard University

February 8, 1994
BRC cosponsors event at Emory University in Atlanta entitled “Is America Possible? Exploring the Black Religious Quest for Democratic Renewal." Organized by Thee Smith, Professor, Religion Department, Emory University.

Lecture by Vincent Harding, Professor of Religion and Social Transformation, The Iliff School of Theology
Performance by actress Yolanda King

February 24, 1994
Luncheon seminar at the Center entitled “Politics and Religion in Intercultural Conflict”

Participants:
Stojan Cerovic, Nieman Fellow, Harvard University
Harvey Cox, Professor of Religion, Harvard Divinity School
Stanley Tambiah, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University

March 10, 1994
Luncheon seminar at the Center entitled “Strengthening the UN’s Role in a Rapidly Changing World”

Participants:
Nazli Choucri, Professor of Political Science, MIT
John Kenneth Galbraith, Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University
Andrew Gebert, SGI Deputy Representative to the UN
Paul Joseph, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University
Jeffrey Laurenti, Director of Multilateral Studies, United Nations Association of the USA
Eugene Skolnikoff, Professor of Political Science, MIT
Thomas Weiss, Associate Director of the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies, Brown University

April 12, 1994
Luncheon seminar at the Center entitled “Concepts of Human Rights in the Context of Cultural and Religious Pluralism.” Professor Sharma of McGill served as advisor for this event, in addition to participating as a discussant.

Participants:
K. Anthony Appiah, Professor of Afro-American Studies and Philosophy, Harvard University
Harvey Cox, Professor of Divinity, Harvard University
Christopher Queen, Dean of Students, Division of Continuing Education, and Lecturer on Religion, Harvard University
Arvind Sharma, Professor of Comparative Religion, McGill University
Nur Yalman, Professor of Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University

April 18, 1994
Center publishes first newsletter.

May 16, 1994
Luncheon seminar at the Center entitled “Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism (Continued),” with Professor Sharma again advising.

Participants:
John D. Montgomery, Professor Emeritus of International Studies, Harvard University
Arvind Sharma, Professor of Comparative Religion, McGill University
Karen Turner, Professor of History, College of the Holy Cross
Ruth Wisse, Professor of Yiddish and Comparative Literature, Harvard University

June 22, 1994
Luncheon seminar at the Center entitled “UN Reform”

Participants:
Abram Chayes, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Nazli Choucri, Professor of Political Science, MIT
J. Bryan Hehir, Professor of Practice in Religion and Society, Harvard Divinity School
Paul Joseph, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University
Lisa L. Martin, Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University
Ernest Richard May, Professor of History, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

August 9, 1994:
Mr. Ikeda creates motto in response to request by Center staff: “Be the heart of a network of global citizens. Be a bridge for dialogue between civilizations. Be a beacon lighting the way to a century of life.”

October 7, 1994
Center cosponsors conference at Columbia University entitled “The United Nations and the World’s Religions: Prospects for a Global Ethic.” Cosponsors: School of International and Public Affairs and Department of Religion, Columbia University. Organizer: Barbara Gombach, Southern Asian Institute

Speakers:
Peter Awn, Department of Religions, Columbia University
Sissela Bok, Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University
Harvey Cox, Divinity School, Harvard University
Fr. Luis M. Dolan, UN Representative, Temple of Understanding
Richard Falk, Center for International Studies, Princeton University
Louis Henkin, School of Law, Columbia University
Mark Juergensmeyer, Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sallie B. King, Department of Philosophy and Religion, James Madison University
Rebequa Getahoun Murphy, UN Representative, Baha’is of the US
Virginia Straus, Boston Research Center
Robert Thurman, Department of Religion, Columbia University

November 7, 1994
Luncheon seminar at the Center entitled “Modernity and Its Discontents”

Participants:
Peter Berger, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture, Boston University
Katharine Kia Tehranian, Professor of American Studies, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University
Majid Tehranian, Professor of International Communication, University of Hawai’i at Manoa; Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions and Research Affiliate of the Program in Information Resources Policy, Harvard University
Tu Weiming, Professor of Chinese History and Philosophy, Harvard University
Nur Yalman, Professor of Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University

1995

January 26, 1995
Daisaku Ikeda gives a lecture, coordinated by the Center, entitled “Peace and Human Security: A Buddhist Perspective for the 21st Century” at the East-West Center in Hawaii, with two commentators—Tu Weiming, professor of Chinese philosophy, Harvard University, and Robert Thurman, professor of Buddhism at Columbia University.

February 1995
Center publishes four luncheon seminar booklets, edited by Nancy Hodes, containing edited transcripts of January 1994 “new paradigms” seminar, February “cultural conflict” seminar, and the “human rights and cultural pluralism” seminars held in April and in May of 1994.

April 1995
Center office moves from University Place, Cambridge, to newly renovated building at 396 Harvard Street, Cambridge.

May 12, 1995
Center hosts Opening Ceremony at 396 Harvard Street, including ribbon-cutting and talks by:

Kathleen Cloud, Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College
Harvey Cox, Professor of Divinity, Harvard University
Randall Forsberg, Director of the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies
Arvind Sharma, McGill University

May 13, 1995
Center hosts day-long forum entitled “United Nations Renaissance Conference: A Response to the Report of the Commission on Global Governance” cosponsored by Coalition for a Strong United Nations. Mr. Ikeda sends message for opening conference, saying, Center’s objectives “go beyond the simple pursuit of knowledge.” It is inspired in the context of “a vaster human project; to find out the ideas that can bring hope and happiness to people in the coming century, to seek routes to a world of peace and coexistence.”

Presenters:
Olara Otunnu, President, International Peace Academy, New York and member, Commission on Global Governance
Dessima Williams, Professor of Sociology, Brandeis University
Robert F. Meagher, Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Betty Reardon, Director, Peace Education Program, Teachers College, Columbia University
Magne Barth, Deputy Director, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo
Jacques Baudot, Coordinator, World Summit for Social Development
Seyom Brown, Professor of International Cooperation, Brandeis University
Winston Langley, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, University of Massachusetts-Boston
Eric Hauber, Permanent Representative of the SGI to the UN and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Fairleigh Dickinson University

May 25, 1995
Center hosts second forum of Global Neighborhood series, an evening event entitled “Reforming the United Nations: What is Ahead for Our Global Neighborhood?” and cosponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston.

Presenters:
Barber Conable, Former President, World Bank, member of the Commission on Global Governance
Anthony Lewis, New York Times columnist and two-time winner of Pulitzer Prize
Dan Partan, Professor, Boston University Law School, Director of UNA of Greater Boston
Richard Parker, Senior Fellow, Shorenstein Center for the Press and Politics, Kennedy School, Harvard University
Dan Cheever, Chairman, United Nations Association of Greater Boston

July 10, 1995
Center hosts luncheon seminar entitled “A Women’s Response to Our Global Neighborhood” to solicit views of women on Commission’s report.

Participants:
Barbara Sundberg Baudot, Professor of Sociology, Saint Anselm College, former UN economist
Helen Caldicott, MD, Cofounder, Physicians for Social Responsibility and best-selling author
Betty Reardon, Director, Peace Education Program, Teachers College, Columbia University
Sayre Sheldon, Professor of Women’s Studies, Boston University, Cofounder of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

July 22, 1995
Center hosts full-day conference at Columbia University in New York City, entitled “United Nations Renaissance Conference: Creating a Civil Society in Our Global Neighborhood—A Response to the Commission on Global Governance," cosponsored by SGI-USA, UNA-USA, IPPNW, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Presenters:
Shridath Ramphal, Co-Chair of the Commission on Global Governance and former Secretary General of the Commonwealth
Helen Caldicott, MD, Cofounder of Physicians for Social Responsibility and best-selling author
Stephen P. Marks, Senior Lecturer in International Law, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, President of International Service for Human Rights USA
Gururaj (Raj) Mutalik, MD, Director of Program and Policy, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)
Nancy B. Roof, Psychologist, Center for Psychology and Social Change, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and UN Representative
Virginia Straus, Executive Director, Boston Research Center

Moderator:
Eric Hauber, Permanent Representative of the SGI to the UN and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Farleigh Dickinson University

August 16, 1995
Center hosts lecture by John D. Montgomery, Professor of International Studies, Harvard University. He addressed a US-Japan Cultural Exchange Delegation.

September 21, 1995
Center hosts first of two sessions entitled "Voices from Beijing: Experiences from the Fourth World Conference on Women: Equality, Development, and Peace," cosponsored by UNA of Greater Boston and UNICEF Committee of Greater Boston, with Kay Welch Mosby serving as consultant.

Speakers:
Athena Mutua, Harvard University Law School, Coordinator of International Women’s Law Group at Beijing Conference
Sayre Sheldon, Adjunct Professor of Women’s Studies, Boston University, and founding president of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
Susan Weld, Research Fellow, East Asian Legal Studies, Harvard Law School
Dessima Williams, Professor of Sociology, Brandeis University

September 27, 1995
Center holds second and final session of "Voices from Beijing."

Speakers:
Fauzia Ahmed, South Asia Regional Coordinator for Oxfam America
Judith Bograd-Gordon, Convener, Working Group on Education and Research on the Status of Women, NGO Committee at the UN
Phuntsog Dolma Meston, Tibetan Women’s Delegate to Beijing Conference
Robin Melavalin, Instructor of Sociology and Anthropology, Bridgewater State College

October 12, 1995
Luncheon hosted by the Center was held at UN to mark the official release of Center’s first published book, entitled A People’s Response to Our Global Neighborhood: Dialogues on the Report of the Commission on Global Governance, edited proceedings of three public forums and one seminar on proposals regarding UN reform. Forty-five NGO representatives and UN officials attended this two-part event.

Speakers at book presentation portion of the gathering were:

Gillian Sorenson, UN Under-Secretary, who accepted report on behalf of Secretary General
Nabil A. Elaraby, Ambassador to the UN from Egypt
Colin Keating, Ambassador to the UN from New Zealand
Nafis Sadik, Executive Director, UN Population Fund
Allan Boesak, member of Commission on Global Governance and a leader of South African anti-apartheid movement, who gave keynote address.
(President Ikeda sent a message to be read at this gathering.)

The discussion portion, introduced by Lucy Webster, program coordinator of Global Education Associates, and moderated by Bill Pace, executive director of the World Federalist Movement, focused on the Commission on Global Governance’s proposal to create a Civil Society Forum as an entry point for the views of international civil society into the deliberations of the UN. Participants in this discussion included:

Esmerelda Brown, Co-chair for the South of the Commission on Sustainable Development NGO Steering Committee
Barbara Crossette, The New York Times
Susan Davis, Women’s Environment and Development Organization
Claire Gaudiani, President, Connecticut College
Inge Kaul, Director, UNDP Office of Development Studies
Clovis Maksoud, Director, Center for the Study of the Global South, American University
Betty Reardon, Columbia University Teachers College

A summary of the proceedings of this event was compiled by Center staff with the help of Lucy Webster and distributed to participants. The first of a series of two publications, it was entitled, “The United Nations and Civil Society, Dialogue #1.”

October 21, 1995
Center director presents a copy of A People’s Response to each Commission member at final meeting of the Commission on Global Governance in New York City.

November 3, 1995
Center hosts First Annual Global Citizen Awards Ceremony.

Recipients:
John D.Montgomery, Professor of International Studies, Emeritus, Harvard University, gave a talk entitled “Banishing the Disillusionments of the 20th Century.”
Elise Boulding, Professor of Sociology, Emerita, Dartmouth College, gave a talk entitled “Toward a Culture of Peace in the 21st Century.”

Introducers:
Albert Carnesale, Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Provost, Harvard University
Kevin Clements, Director of the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

November 14, 1995
Center hosts “21st Century World City Seminar” at the request of Harvey Cox, Professor of Divinity, Harvard University, on proposal for a World City in Seoul, Korea, by Dr. Younghoon Kwaak, Chair and CEO, Environmental Studies and Policy Research Institute (ESPRI), Seoul, Korea. Moderated by Virginia Straus, the seminar included the following participants:

Gar Alperovitz, President, National Center for Economic Alternatives
Christine Cousineau, Urban and Environmental Planning and Design Instructor, Tufts University
Roy U.T. Kim, President, Stanton Asian Development Company, Stanton Group, Inc.
William Lindemulder, Urban Manager and Chief Urban Designer, Wallace, Floyd Associates, Inc., for the Massachusetts Highway Department Central Artery/Tunnel Project
John D. Montgomery, Professor Emeritus of International Studies, Harvard University
Rick Reinhard, Loeb Fellow, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Edward Robbins, Professor, Harvard Universitgy Graduate School of Design
Lloyd Rodwin, Professor Emeritus, MIT
Bill Saunders, Assistant Dean for External Relations, Harvard Univesity Graduate School of Design
Jim Stockard, consultant in public housing
Katherine Kia Tehranian, professor of American Studies, University of Hawaii
Raymond Vernon, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
Eldin Villafane, Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Tim Weiskel, Director, Harvard University Seminar on Environmental Values

Mid-November 1995
Center publishes book entitled The United Nations and the World’s Religions, containing the edited proceedings of conference at Columbia University in October 1994 exploring feasibility of a global ethic. Michael Hayes was editor.

November 21, 1995
Center co-hosts with the World Federalist Movement a follow-up seminar at the UN Plaza in New York City to explore the possibility of creating a UN Forum of Civil Society Organizations. Several of the participants in the BRC-hosted book release luncheon at the UN held on October 12, 1995, attended this session, along with other interested NGO representatives (18 people in all). An edited transcript of the proceedings of this second discussion, entitled “The United Nations and Civil Society: Dialogue #2,” was compiled by the Center and distributed to participants.

1996

February 28, 1996
Center holds opening luncheon seminar of Spring Lecture Series on "Religion and Transnational Civil Society." Cosponsors of lecture series are Institute for Dialogue Among Religious Traditions of Boston University School of Theology (INDART) and The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP).

Seminar participants:
Ali Asani, Professor of the Practices of Indo-Muslim Languages and Cultures, Harvard University
Peter L. Berger, Professor of Sociology, Director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture, Boston University
John Berthrong, Associate Dean, Boston University School of Theology, and Director, Institute for Dialogue Among Religious Traditions
Michael Hays, former Professor of Comparative Literature, Columbia University, and of Cultural Studies, Cornell University
Kusumita Pedersen, Chair and Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, St. Francis College
Jay Rock, Co-Director, Interfaith Relations Commission, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
Margaret O. Thomas, Coordinator for Interfaith Relations, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Mary Evelyn Tucker, Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, and Associate Professor of Religions, Bucknell University

Moderated by Virginia Straus, BRC

March 11, 1996
Center hosts lecture entitled “Cultural China and the ‘Third Epoch’ of Confucian Humanism” by Tu Weiming, Director, Harvard-Yenching Institute. This is the first lecture of the spring series on "Religion and Transnational Society."

March 20, 1996
Center hosts lecture entitled “Grassroots Globalism and the Search for Earth Ethics” by syndicated columnist and futurist Hazel Henderson with commentary by Jay Demerath, professor of sociology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

April 10, 1996
Continuing its spring series, Center hosts lectures on “Public Religion: Bane or Blessing?” by Ronald Thiemann, Dean, Harvard Divinity School, and Bryan Wilson, All Souls  College, Oxford University. Bryan Wilson co-authored with Daisaku Ikeda the book Human Values in a Changing World: A Dialogue on the Social Role of Religion (1987). During Bryan Wilson’s visit to Boston, Center coordinates his participation in several local events: a talk hosted by Harvey Cox at the Harvard Faculty Club, a lecture hosted by David Eckel at Boston University, and a roundtable discussion hosted by Chaplain Scotty McLennan at Tufts University.

April 26, 1996
Center hosts lecture entitled “Martin Luther King and the Future of America” by Vincent Harding, Iliff School of Theology, with commentary by Claire Gaudiani, President, Connecticut College.

May 2, 1996
Center hosts lecture entitled “Islam and Civil Society in the 21st Century" by Nur Yalman, Harvard University, with commentary by Seyla Benhabib, Harvard University.

June 13, 1996
Center cosponsors with the Peace Education Program of Teachers College a lecture entitled “Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship” by Center founder Daisaku Ikeda held at Teachers College, Columbia University. Moderated by the BRC's Virginia Straus, the panel of commentators were:

Maxine Greene, Teachers College
Arthur Levine, President, Teachers College
Vito Perrone, Harvard University
Betty Reardon, Teachers College
Frances Schoonmaker, Teachers College

July 27-August 3, 1996
Center cosponsors conference entitled “Socially Engaged Buddhism and Christianity” held at DePaul University by the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies. Center organizes panel on “Uniting Buddhist Peace Movements with Global Civil Society.”

Panelists:
David Chappell, University of Hawaii
Sallie King, James Madison University
Donald Mitchell, Purdue University
Virginia Straus, Boston Research Center

Moderator: Karen Nardella, BRC

October 2, 1996
Center hosts lecture entitled “The US and the UN: Can This Marriage be Saved?” by UN Under-Secretary-General Gillian Sorensen. Cosponsor is Cambridge Forum.

October 16, 1996
Center hosts lecture by Dr. N. Radhakrishnan on “Gandhi and the Future of Nonviolence” and a slide show by Professor Michael True entitled “The Story of Non-Violence since 1989.”

November 2, 1996
Center hosts Global Citizen Awards Ceremony.

Recipients:
Adolfo Perez Esquivel, President, Latin American Peace and Justice Service Council and 1980 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, gave a talk entitled “Building Society in the Face of New Challenges in Latin America.”
Hazel Henderson, author and futurist-economist, gave a talk entitled “Globalization: A Summons to Social Renewal in the 21st Century.”

Introducers:
Ambassador Juan Somavia, Permanent Representative of Chile to the UN
Reverend William Wipfler, Former Director, Human Rights Office of the National Council of Churches. 

Moderator: Karen Nardella, BRC

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