Ikeda Center

“A Time to Reflect & Reimagine”

Ikeda Center Special Report

Participants of the first virtual dialogue hosted by the Ikeda Center commemorate a fresh start. This photo was captured after presentations and small group discussions about the topic of global citizenship and its importance today.


by Lillian I
Special to The Tribune

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 16—In its first virtual dialogue, the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue hosted “A Time to Reflect & Reimagine: Creating a Better Future Now.”

To open the event, Jason Goulah, the center’s executive advisor, explained that since the 1960s, Ikeda Center Founder Daisaku Ikeda has been advocating for an ethic and identity of global citizenship to help us awaken to our shared humanity. The characteristics of global citizenship that Mr. Ikeda considers fundamental are:

  • The wisdom to perceive the interconnectedness of all life and living.

  • The courage not to fear or deny difference, but to respect and strive to understand people of different cultures and to grow from encounters with them.

  • The compassion to maintain an imaginative empathy that reaches beyond one’s immediate surroundings and extends to those suffering in distant places. (My Dear Friends in America, third edition, p. 444)

These qualities, Mr. Goulah said, create a perfect lens for us to think about the current moment and what kind of value and meaning we can create.

Youth panelists then reflected on the relevance of the elements of global citizenship, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelist Jonathan Romero shared that when we strive to become global citizens, it becomes nearly impossible not to imagine a better future. “Right now, we have the time to really pause and reflect on what we want to change and how we want to move forward,” he said. “I think these three qualities are a good way to shape a better future for ourselves and others.”

Following virtual small group discussions, Ikeda Center Executive Director Ginny Benson offered concluding thoughts drawn from Mr. Ikeda’s 2003 essay “Our Power for Peace,” emphasizing that the power of imagination “frees us from the mistaken notion that what exists now is all that will ever exist” (daisakuikeda.org).