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Harvard Talk on Education

Ikeda Center celebrates the publication of Hope and Joy in Education on Oct. 14, 2021.
Celebration—Ikeda Center celebrates the publication of Hope and Joy in Education on Oct. 14, 2021.

by Mitch Bogen
Special to the Tribune

On Oct. 14, Gutman Library at the Harvard Graduate School of Education hosted a book talk celebrating the publication of Hope and Joy in Education: Engaging Daisaku Ikeda Across Curriculum and Context, developed by the Ikeda Center and published this year by Teachers College Press.

More than 175 people from 17 countries gathered virtually to hear editors Isabel Nuñez and Jason Goulah reflect on key themes from this multiauthored volume.

Dr. Goulah explained that Daisaku Ikeda advocates “human education,” which seeks to enhance our humanity. For Ikeda, “this idea of becoming fully human cannot be overemphasized” for it “defines his approach to education in the fullest sense.”

In her opening thoughts, Dr. Nuñez said that despite the pressures facing educators, “the act of teaching itself ” is fueled by the faith and hope that “the students we touch will go out and flourish and thrive.”

During Q&A, Dr. Goulah emphasized that the value-creating orientation to life championed by Mr. Ikeda enables us to develop an “existential joy” that results from seeing even the most frustrating of situations “as pregnant with possibility.”

Among other key points, Dr. Nuñez observed that teachers can promote hope and joy only by prioritizing self-care. “If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you aren’t going to be able to help others,” she said.

Ikeda Center Executive Director Kevin Maher concluded by quoting from Mr. Ikeda’s 1991 Harvard University address, “The Age of Soft Power.”[1] In it, Mr. Ikeda called us to “restore and rejuvenate endangered feelings including friendship, trust and love, for without them there can be no rewarding and meaningful bonds between people.”[2]

The Age of Soft Power

Thirty years ago on Sept. 26, 1991, Ikeda Sensei delivered the first of his two lectures at Harvard University, titled “The Age of Soft Power.” Click here to access the full speech.

Joe Daniel Price / Getty Images


  1. See the box below. ↩︎
  2. A New Way Forward, p. 23. ↩︎

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