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Global Perspective

To the Parliament of Humankind

Exploring the legacy of Ikeda Sensei’s annual proposals to secure the peace of the world

United Nations Building and East Side of Manhattan
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Thai schoolchildren engaging in their local communities, Hamburg’s educational institutions rallying to combat climate change, sustainability curriculum being integrated into all levels of Finnish education[1]—these were some of the results of the “U.N. Decade of Education for Sustainable Development” (2005–14), an initiative born from one of Ikeda Sensei’s proposals in 2002.[2]

Every year since 1983, Sensei has written annual peace proposals that have been widely read by world leaders, diplomats and leading thinkers, including United Nations officials. Now numbering 40, these proposals contain vital ideas and concrete steps the world can take toward peace. Education, nuclear abolition, environmental protection and sustainable development are the highest priority.

“Some U.N. functionaries and scholars have addressed similar issues, but none for as long and as consistently as he has done,” says former U.N. Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury of Sensei’s efforts.[3] To mark his 40th annual peace proposal, let’s explore the enduring legacy of Sensei’s peacebuilding efforts.

On Securing the Peace of the World

The spirit behind Sensei’s peace proposals can be traced back to the tumultuous times of 13th-century Japan, when Nichiren Daishonin submitted to the nation’s rulers “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land.” In this treatise, Nichiren admonished the authorities for promoting erroneous teachings that devalued the individual, and he urged them to bring about peace by reforming the tenets in their hearts.[4]

This initial remonstration with the authorities marked the beginning of the Daishonin’s great battle to secure the peace of the land.[5]

First and second Soka Gakkai presidents Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda inherited Nichiren’s spirit, refusing to forsake their beliefs when imprisoned by Japan’s militarist authorities during World War II. This ultimately cost Mr. Makiguchi his life. After the war, Mr. Toda sought to avenge his mentor’s death by eliminating “all misery and suffering from the face of the earth.”[6]

To secure the foundation for peace in his native country, he built the Soka Gakkai from a fledgling religious group to a people’s coalition 750,000 strong. Toward the future, Mr. Toda advocated “global citizenship” and the importance of bolstering the U.N., and he called for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. He entrusted his young disciple Daisaku Ikeda to take the lead in actualizing his vision.

Securing the peace of the land on a global scale—this is the grand mission Sensei inherited from his mentor and has worked tirelessly to fulfill. And each of his peace proposals shine light on the fundamental causes of world problems and offer solutions.

A Half-Century of Ceaseless Effort

During his first overseas trip in October 1960, Sensei visited the U.N. Headquarters in New York and viewed committee and plenary proceedings of the 15th U.N. General Assembly. Scenes aired from these events included then-Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev pounding the table, exchanging heated condemnations with the nations of the Western bloc. Prioritizing national interests over the good of humanity is a tendency Sensei highlights throughout his proposals as a roadblock that must be overcome on the path to peace. He has emphasized that, though the U.N. has its limitations, “it is the only standing forum for dialogue about global issues in which virtually all countries on Earth participate.”[7]

Since that visit, Sensei has remained firm in promoting the U.N. system as the “parliament of humankind.”

Sensei’s proposals could be said to have started in 1966, when in a speech he called for an immediate cease-fire in the Vietnam War. Then came his Proposal for the Normalization of Sino-Japanese Relations in 1968. Over the next two decades, Sensei submitted several other proposals, including two to the first and second U.N. Special Sessions on Disarmament in 1978 and 1982 that featured 10-step plans toward nuclear abolition.[8]

Opportunities gradually increased for private citizens to offer suggestions to the U.N.’s leaders as greater emphasis was placed on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which appeal to universal ideals rather than national agendas. In 1983, the SGI was accredited as an NGO with consultative status with the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council, and Sensei began to issue a new proposal annually.

In his most recent 2022 proposal, titled “Transforming Human History: The Light of Peace and Dignity,” Sensei explores ideas for tackling the climate crisis, achieving inclusive education and nuclear disarmament. Regarding humanity’s response to COVID-19, he emphasizes the need to address the inequalities the pandemic has exposed, highlighting gender equality and women’s empowerment as key to overcoming the crisis and building a global society that sustains human dignity.[9]

At 94, Sensei continues to stand by his convictions, issuing proposals that delve into the complexities of the world’s present crises to offer solutions.

Sparking the Flames of Peace

What are the objectives of his proposals? In a March 2008 interview, the Inter Press News Agency asked this very question. In response, Sensei outlined three points regarding what he hopes will come about from the proposals.

First, he seeks to fulfill his mentor’s wish to eliminate suffering from the world, empowering those afflicted by war, poverty and environmental destruction “to transform and overcome the suffering in their lives.”[10]

Second, he issues his proposals not as an expert but as a “private citizen,” hoping they can deepen discussions on crucial issues and “aid the search for a way out of our present quandary.”[11] Some of Sensei’s ideas have led to the development of new U.N. initiatives such as the “U.N. Decade of Education for Sustainable Development” and “World Programme for Human Rights Education.”[12]

The first treaty to reduce nuclear weapons, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, was signed in 1987 following Sensei’s recommendations.[13]

The third and primary objective of his proposals, Sensei says, is to inspire the initiative of young people. He said, “In writing these proposals, my greatest hope, my determination and commitment, is to sow the seeds of change in young people’s hearts.”[14]

Mr. Toda once said to Sensei: “You need not only make concrete proposals for the peace of humankind, but to take the lead in working toward their implementation. Even when such proposals are not fully or immediately accepted, they can serve as a ‘spark’ from which a movement for peace will eventually spread like wildfire.”[15]

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff


  1. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 2014 Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) Final Monitoring and Evaluation Report. Paris, FR: UNESCO, 2014, pp. 58, 59, 72. ↩︎
  2. See A Forum for Peace, p. 558. ↩︎
  3. Ibid., p. xii. ↩︎
  4. See “On Establishing the Correct Teaching,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, pp. 8–25. ↩︎
  5. See “The Great Battle,” WND-2, 465. ↩︎
  6. Oct. 16, 2009, World Tribune, p. 4. ↩︎
  7. Feb. 12, 2016, World Tribune, p. 7. ↩︎
  8. See A Forum for Peace, p. 554. ↩︎
  9. Adapted from a press release of the Soka Gakkai International Office of Public Information. The full text of the 2022 Peace Proposal will be available around mid-February 2022 at ↩︎
  10. Feb. 12, 2016, World Tribune, p. 7. ↩︎
  11. Ibid. ↩︎
  12. A Forum for Peace, p. 558. ↩︎
  13. Ibid. ↩︎
  14. Feb. 12, 2016, World Tribune, p. 7. ↩︎
  15. 2012-peace-proposal.html <accessed Feb. 9, 2022>. ↩︎

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