On February 27, 2020, the 27th academic honor from the Philippines, Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration (honoris causa), was conferred upon SGI President Daisaku Ikeda by Central Mindanao University, a state university located in Bukidnon, Mindanao. SGI-Philippines General Director Hisako Alcantara, Vice General Director Eduardo Tan, Men’s Division National Vice Chief Jonathan Taneo, and Young Men’s Division Chief Just Mark Figuracion and other SGI-Philippines members from Mindanao General Headquarters and Southern Mindanao General Headquarters attended the ceremony.
The conferral ceremony began with the Philippine National Anthem solemnly sung by the CMU Music Society, followed by the welcome address by the Central Mindanao University president Jesus Antonio Derije. In his address, President Derije expressed his high esteem towards SGI President Ikeda especially for his efforts and contributions to fostering young people. President Derije has known SGI President since the time when he was the president of the University of Southern Mindanao, located in Cotabato. He presented an honorary degree upon the SGI President at Soka University in October 2010. On a personal note, President Derije often finds time in his busy schedule to attend SGI meetings especially at the Davao Culture Center in Davao City.
General Director Alcantara read the acceptance speech of SGI President Ikeda in which he expressed his deep appreciation to Central Mindanao University for conferring this honor on the 120th anniversary of his mentor Josei Toda, the second Soka Gakkai president. SGI President Ikeda also emphasized the “three sources of hope” to combat the shared trials around the world; (1) our capacity to trust and inspire youth, (2) the creative energy born from unshakable optimism, and (3) the power engendered by universities of the world when they unite in a common cause.
The conferral was marked by the unveiling ceremony of the Soka University and Central Mindanao University Friendship Park held afterwards at a fountain park in front of the university library.
It was a very short stay in Central Mindanao University, but President Derije and other university officials expressed their high hopes and anticipation for the future collaboration with Soka University as well as SGI-Philippines.