Daisaku Ikeda Named Poet of Peace in Dubai

Awards and Honors

Global capital—Dubai has emerged as a global city and business hub of the Middle East. It has also become iconic for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Photo: © ISTOCKPHOTO / TEMPURA

DUBAI, Feb. 22—It was an unforgettable scene. In a rooftop ceremony, adorned by the sweeping views of Dubai’s skyline at sunset, SGI President Ikeda and three other poets were honored with the title of International Poet of Peace.

SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda accepted the honor for the SGI president and also read an acceptance speech on his behalf.

The award acknowledges the role of poets in advancing intercultural dialogues, as well as uniting people against extremist and radical ideologies by promoting a culture of hope and solidarity.

The accolade is part of the Mohammad Bin Rashid World Peace Award, an initiative launched by Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, and emir of Dubai.

The conferral ceremony took place at the first International Day for Poets of Peace event, attended by 500 people. His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Dubai’s minister of culture, youth and community development, presented the awards. “We reinforce the idea that poetry, and literature in general, are a universal language that plays an important role in spreading the message of peace in the world,” Sheikh Nahyan said, adding that “poetry had and continues to have an important place in Arabic culture by helping to preserve and spread its history.”

The other recipients are Emirati poet Kholoud Al Mulla, contemporary Indian poet K. Satchidanandan and Egyptian journalist and poet Farouq Gouida.

The World Is Yours to Change is the first of SGI President Ikeda’s books to be translated into Arabic.
The World Is Yours to Change is the first of SGI President Ikeda’s books to be translated into Arabic.

In 2011, the Arab world received its major introduction to President Ikeda’s works through the first Arabic-English edition of the book The World Is Yours to Change, a collection of his essays on peace. In 2014, President Ikeda’s second book in Arabic was published under the title Fighting for Peace, a collection of five poems outlining the need for world peace and harmony. Dr. Shihab Ghanem, a renowned UAE poet, led the translation of both works into Arabic.

In his acceptance speech, President Ikeda referred to Dubai as the capital of global citizens and expressed his hopes for the city to become a star of peace, brimming with life, beauty and brightness in the world.

President Ikeda also recalled Aug. 15, 1945, the day when Japan conceded defeat in WWII. The young Daisaku was 17 years old. Having experienced firsthand the horrors of war as a youth, President Ikeda emphasized that “it was poetry and the poetic spirit that I took comfort in and found the support that enabled me to discover hope for the future.” Since that tumultuous time, President Ikeda said he has continued to passionately write poetry—at times, refuting the horrors of war and the great workings of evil that try to separate humanity, and at other times, writing about the nobility of peace and how words of compassion and love have brought people together as friends throughout the world.

As a recipient of the International Poet of Peace award, President Ikeda vowed to convey the great poetic heart of Arabic culture to the youth of the world and use the power of poetry to further contribute to world peace. Today, his poetic works total more than 140,000.

During the Feb. 22 ceremony, the participants honored President Ikeda with a reading of his poem “August 15: The Dawn of a New Day,” which includes these lines:

All the people of the world
Are equal as human beings.
If we focus on that reality,
That principle,
It becomes clear that there is
No distinction between us
And no reason for conflict.
The task facing the 21st century
Is to firmly embrace
And widely spread
This fundamental
Philosophy of humanism.