Timeline of Major Ikeda Center Activities

This section presents achievements and milestones since our founding in 1993. The summaries are presented in four-year periods.

1993 - 1996

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.

1997 - 2000

After opening with a conference focused on religion and ecology, this period saw major consultations and conferences focused on supporting the creation of the Earth Charter. During this process, the Center worked closely with scholar Steven Rockefeller, who chaired the international Earth Charter Drafting Committee. Also participating in the Center’s Earth Charter initiatives was peace scholar Elise Boulding. During this period, Dr. Boulding also co-convened, with Randall Forsberg, a “Conditions for Abolishing War” seminar series, which formed the basis of the Center’s self-published book Abolishing War (1998). Later, the Center held an ambitious three-part conference series entitled “From War Culture to Cultures of Peace: Challenges for Civil Society.” This period also saw the publication of two BRC-developed books released in collaboration with established publishers: Subverting Hatred: The Challenge of Nonviolence in Religious Traditions, edited by Daniel Smith-Christopher and published by Orbis Books, and Buddhist Peacework: Creating Cultures of Peace, edited by David W. Chappell and published by Wisdom Publications.

2001 - 2004

During the first months of 2001 the Center hosted a four-part event series exploring the multiple dimensions of economic justice and well-being, a timely issue that soon gave way to the shock of 9/11. In response to 9/11, the Center held a dialogue on “redefining power,” and created an active website feature called “Perspectives on Terrorism and Nonviolence.” During 2002, the Center launched a lecture series exploring “women and human values” (later called the “Women of Courage” series), a seminar series on John Dewey’s legacy, and the start of a seminar series on restorative justice. In 2002, the Center published another title in collaboration with Orbis Books, Subverting Greed: Religious Perspectives on the Global Economy, edited by Paul Knitter and Chandra Muzaffar. The Center celebrated its 10th anniversary in September 2003 with a conference, “Re-imagining Self, Other, and the Natural World.” The first annual Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue, which focused on Thoreau’s Walden, was held in October 2004.

2005 - 2008

In 2005, the Center continued and concluded its “Women of Courage” lecture series. This period also saw the continuation of the annual Ikeda Forum for intercultural Dialogue, held each fall. In 2005, the Center published its first multi-author education book, Educating Citizens for Global Awareness, which was edited by Nel Noddings and published in collaboration with Teachers College Press. In April 2007, Teachers College Press published Ethical Visions of Education, which was edited by David T. Hansen. That fall, Orbis Books published the 10th anniversary edition of Subverting Hatred: The Challenge of Nonviolence in Religious Traditions, edited by Daniel Smith-Chrisopher. During 2008, the Center held a series of events on the topic, “Understanding Death, Appreciating Life.” Participating scholars included Harvey Cox, Nur Yalman, Mary Catherine Bateson, Tu Weiming, Vincent Harding, and many more.

2009 - 2012

On July 3, 2009, the Boston Research Center became—at the request of Center leadership, and approved by Daisaku Ikeda—the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue, a name chosen to more clearly communicate the Center’s mission. This period also saw the continuation of the annual Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue, with themes including the quest for a new humanism (2009), the democratic spirit (2010), cultivating the greater self (2011), and interdependence (2012). The Center’s new publishing imprint, Dialogue Path Press, published three books featuring Daisaku Ikeda in conversation with prominent scholars: 1) Creating Waldens: An East-West Conversation on the American Renaissance (with Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson, 2009); 2) Into Full Flower: Making Peace Cultures Happen (with Elise Boulding, 2010); and 3) The Inner Philosopher: Conversations on Philosophy’s Transformative Power (with Lou Marinoff, 2012).

2013 - 2016

In September 2013 the Center celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its founding by Daisaku Ikeda in 1993. Many scholarly friends from the Center’s extensive network were in attendance. During 2013 to 2016 Dialogue Path Press published five Ikeda dialogues: America Will Be! Conversations on Hope, Freedom, and Democracy (with Vincent Harding, 2013), The Art of True Relations: Conversations on the Heart of Human Possibility (with Sarah Wider, February 2014), Living As Learning: John Dewey in the 20th Century (with Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman, October 2014), Our World To Make: Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Rise of Global Civil Society (with Ved Nanda, 2015), and Knowing Our Worth: Conversations on Energy and Sustainability (with Ernst Ulrich von Weizsacker, 2016). The annual Ikeda Forum continued, featuring Vinent Harding discussing community and the power of dreams in 2013; exploring the nature and practice of dignity in 2014 and 2015, respectively; and celebrating democracy, inclusion, and community in 2016. The student/youth seminar series continued, exploring topics such as dialogue, militarism, creativity, and conflict resolution. The Center also co-sponsored a panel discussion at the University of San Francisco on peace education in international contexts.

2017 - 2020

In 2017 the Ikeda Center launched its Dialogue Nights event series as a way to promote more dialogical engagement among Boston-area university students and young professionals on topics ranging from the loneliness epidemic to newly arising gender-related issues. As of August 2019, thirteen Dialogue Nights had been held. After a break in 2017, the Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue returned in 2018, exploring the practice of dialogue with attention to human rights and justice. The 2019 Forum featured young people reporting on their experiences engaging in sustained intergenerational dialogue with scholars in the Ikeda Center network. In 2017 and 2018, Betty Reardon and Zeena Zakharia led university students in a seminar series and project devoted to creative approaches to nuclear abolition. The final two Dialogue Path Press publications were released during this time. Shaping a New Society: Conversations on Economics, Education, and Peace, co-authored by Daisaku Ikeda and the esteemed economist Lawrence J. Lau, as published September 2017. Peace, Justice, and the Poetic Mind, by Mr. Ikeda and the Australian peace scholar Stuart Rees was published September 2018. In late 2018, the Center published, in collaboration with George Mason University Press, the multi-author volume, Peacebuilding Through Dialogue: Education, Human Transformation, and Conflict Resolution. Various events related to this book occurred throughout 2019. When the COVID pandemic hit in March 2020, the Center suspended live events and held four virtual dialogues over the rest of the year. They explored such topics as re-imagining a better future and cultivating the poetic spirit.

2021 to Present

In early 2021 the Ikeda center published its latest multi-author volume, Hope and Joy in Education: Engaging Daisaku Ikeda Across Context and Curriculum. Edited by Jason Goulah and Isabel Nunez and published by Teachers College Press, the book featured contributions from 23 leading education scholars. Due to the COVID pandemic, Dialogue Nights suspended in-person activities and six events held online from March 2021 to May 2022. Topics included countering burnout, embracing vulnerability, and “unpacking” COVID-19. Since July 2022, Dialogue Nights has returned as an in-person event. During 2023, topics for all Center events were drawn from Daisaku Ikeda’s 1993 Harvard lecture, “Mahayana Buddhism and 21st Century Civilization.” Highlights included an Ikeda Forum inspired by Daisaku Ikeda’s devotion to literature’s transformative power. In 2021, the Center launched The Dialogue Studio podcast series. Hosted by Lillian I, it features members of the Ikeda Center discussing the practice of dialogue in everyday life. The December 2023 podcast with Dr. Donna Hicks was the 21st episode in the series. Other innovations during this period include the hosting of the Global Citizens seminar series, featuring the participation of doctoral students representing a variety of disciplines, and the launch of the Indigo Talks speaker series in which scholars engage with with some of Daisaku Ikeda’s most essential teachings. Additionally, during 2023 and 2024, the Center has picked up on the nuclear disarmament work begun before the pandemic, hosting representatives of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War for events, including a special dialogue session with students from Soka University of America who are engaged with disarmament issues and strategies.