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Saturday, November 6, 2010
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

“This Noble Experiment”:
Developing the Democratic Spirit
7th Annual Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue


*** Read a feature story on the event here! ***
(Posted 12-01-10)


"Democracy is a way of life,” said Center founder Daisaku Ikeda, “whose purpose is to enable people to achieve spiritual autonomy, live in mutual respect, and enjoy happiness. It can also be understood as an expression of human wisdom deployed toward the goal of harmonious coexistence.”

Taking these words as a guide, this year’s Ikeda Forum will explore democracy not as form of government or thing to be exported, but rather as a complex set of values, attitudes, and commitments that call and inspire us to live together in a richly creative manner.      

Through presentations and discussion we will consider and celebrate together the democratic spirit, with special emphasis on how we can develop its educational, cultural, philosophical, and dialogical dimensions. As with past Ikeda Forums, we will draw inspiration from influential figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Dewey, and Martin Luther King Jr. We will also draw parallels and make connections with the philosophy of Daisaku Ikeda, a steadfast advocate of the democratic spirit in our contemporary world.  


Speakers (full bios here)

Vincent Harding, Professor Emeritus, Religion and Social Transformation, Iliff School of Theology

Anita Patterson, Associate Professor of English, Boston University

Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor, International Education, and Director, International Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Sarah Wider, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Colgate University

Virginia Benson, Senior Research Fellow, Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue

LR Berger, New England Associate, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Poet, Educator, Psychotherapist and Advocate for victims of violence


Daisaku Ikeda on the “noble experiment” of democracy
“The continuous effort to accomplish democracy was identified by Dewey as ‘the greatest experiment of humanity.’ The work of pursuing and carrying out this noble experiment is the daily task of education. This is because a genuinely democratic society cannot be realized by authority or force applied from without. The proper path involves drawing forth and unleashing the capacities inherent in people, which are then directed with autonomy and spontaneity toward the construction of a democratic society.”

Click here for articles and essays on "the democratic spirit"


Background on the Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue
The annual Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue explores connections between life philosophies deriving from literary, cultural, and educational traditions in the East and West. It is named after Center founder, Daisaku Ikeda, in honor of his untiring commitment to dialogue as the surest path to peace. Since the 1970’s Mr. Ikeda has traveled widely and held dialogues with leading thinkers, policymakers, and scholars in more than 50 countries around the world. Many of these dialogues have been published in book form, including conversations with Arnold Toynbee, Elise Boulding, Rene Huyghe, Joseph Rotblat, and Mikhail Gorbachev. Inspired by his example, the Center is committed to hosting this annual series inviting like-minded scholars and participants to engage in openhearted dialogue to cultivate a holistic vision of peace for the 21st century.




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The Ikeda Center
396 Harvard Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Phone: (617) 491.1090 Fax: (617) 491.1169

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