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Ikeda Lecture

The annual Ikeda Lecture features a renowned intellectual whose work honors, intersects with, and/or responds to themes present in Daisaku Ikeda’s six decades of efforts in the fields of peace, culture, and education. 

2021 Lecture Flyer

Join Us for the 2021 (Virtual) Ikeda Lecture

Black Feminism and Society for Education

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
6:00 - 7:30 pm CDT (Virtual Event)

The DePaul University Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies in Education is pleased to welcome Cynthia B. Dillard to give the 2021 Ikeda Lecture, “Black Feminism and Society for Education.” The Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Georgia, Dr. Dillard is an internationally renowned author and educator. Her scholarship on critical education, spirituality, endarkened feminism, and African and African American studies in education has been recognized with multiple prestigious awards, including two Critics Choice Book Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Educational Studies Association, the Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research and the Henry T. Trueba Awards from the American Educational Research Association, among others. She also holds the distinct honor of being enstooled as Queen Mother of Development (Nkosua Ohemaa) for the village of Mpeasem in the Central Region of Ghana, West Africa, an esteemed lifetime leadership position within the community.

In this presentation, Dr. Dillard develops themes present in her foreword to Hope and Joy in Education: Engaging Daisaku Ikeda across Curriculum and Context, bringing her work and perspectives into dialogue with Ikeda’s 2000 proposal for a paradigm shift from education that serves society’s interests to society serving the essential needs of education.

This event is free and open to the public. Please register for the link and share event details with colleagues, students, and friends who may be interested.

Past Events

McDowell speaking at podium

On October 1st, the DePaul University Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies in Education welcomed Dr. Ceasar McDowell to deliver the 2019 Ikeda Lecture, “Dialogue in Demographic Complexity: Overcoming Our Discriminatory Consciousness.” McDowell is a Professor of the Practice of Community Development at MIT, and centers his work on voice and the power of dialogue in developing knowledge systems and civic engagement amidst the complex realities of local communities. The lecture was attended by more than 300 students, faculty, educators and members of the DePaul community.

In the lecture, describing the complexity of today’s society, McDowell stated that this complexity is our challenge as well as the source of our effort for more equity. He argued that the current effort for democracy is not set up for the whole complexity and called for a system where “the fundamental premise is inclusion.”

Audience applauding at lecture

Introducing the words of Shakyamuni from Ikeda’s 1993 Harvard lecture, “I perceived the single invisible arrow piercing the hearts of people,” McDowell stated that our discriminatory consciousness lies in our unreasonable emphasis on difference. He stressed the importance of engaging in empathetic dialogue “to recognize the wounds by the piercing discriminatory arrows” and asserted that “we can only heal those wounds with compassion.”

McDowell said the first step to bringing this kind of compassion to our dialogue is to be gentle to each other. The obstacles in this time of transition seem to be the perceived structural flaws. But McDowell encouraged us to reflect on what we value and take the first step based on our core vision.

For a full event summary, please visit our blog.

Crowd at lecture
On May 16th, the DePaul University Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies in Education welcomed Awad Ibrahim to give the 2017 Ikeda Lecture, “Re-mixing Borders: Education & the Global Solidarity of Hip-Hop.” The lecture was included in the DePaul President's Series on Race and Free Speech. Ibrahim is an award-winning author and education theorist specializing in cultural studies, Hip-Hop, youth and Black popular culture, social justice, diasporic and continental African identities, and applied linguistics. Four hundred students, faculty, public school teachers, and community members attended the event. 

The evening began with opening remarks by Jason Goulah, Institute director and associate professor of Bilingual-Bicultural Education in the College of Education. Goulah shared the purpose of the Institute and announced the new online master’s program in Value-Creating Education for Global Citizenship, as well as DePaul’s conferral of an honorary doctorate on Daisaku Ikeda last December. Introducing the keynote speaker and this year’s lecture theme, Goulah stated, “For Ibrahim, as for Ikeda, confronting the forces that seek to separate us lies in the dialogic power of music—and especially Hip-Hop—that speaks directly to the heart. This response, this echo within the heart of youth, is proof that human hearts can transcend the barriers of difference, enabling people to overcome mistrust and prejudice and build peace.” He concluded his opening remarks by sharing the following passage from Ikeda’s recently published dialogue with jazz musicians Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter: “Youth is a time of pioneering. It is a time of challenge, a time of creativity. And music has the power to rouse the courage to pursue these things. Music overcomes inertia and stagnation, invigorating our beings with its reverberations.”

In his lecture, Ibrahim first showed the impact of Hip-Hop at a global level: from instigating the Arab Spring revolution and addressing racial injustice at the center of public discourse in Brazil to introducing rhymes into Japanese language and changing the perception of Cantonese in Hong Kong. Ibrahim argued, “Hip-Hop is who we are,” and Hip-Hoppers do not imitate, but “translate the global locally.” He connected this to his notion of Hip-Hop’s critical “ill-literacies,” or the sociocultural and political literacies that are intimate, lived, and liberatory, and which have limitless creativity for people to tell their own stories. 

Speaker at podium
Ibrahim asserted that it is in such creativity and empowerment where Hip-Hop and soka, or value-creating, education intersect. Citing Ikeda, Ibrahim explained that the purpose of education is “to ensure that knowledge serves to further the cause of human happiness and peace” and to cultivate in students “the capacity to find meaning, to enhance one’s own existence and contribute to the well-being of others.” He also drew connections between Hip-Hop and the type of engaged community studies advanced by soka progenitor, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, championing the local community as the starting point of teaching and learning and of understanding the larger world. Drawing on the Buddhist notion of a bodhisattva, or “one who puts knowledge into practice to unleash creativity, positive potential, and goodness in one’s self and in others,” Ibrahim declared that the bodhisattva’s practice is at the heart of Hip-Hop to create global youth solidarity.

He concluded the lecture with a video of Obasi Davis, a black male high school student, at the Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam in 2012 ( As he played the video, Ibrahim posed the following question to the audience: “What does this video mean in terms of curriculum, in terms of policy, in terms of assessment, in terms of teaching and learning, and ultimately in terms of what is the overall objective and outcome of education?”

During Q&A, in response to one participant’s question of whether Hip-Hop was for the underprivileged and whether privileged people fit in the space of Hip-Hop culture, Ibrahim answered that Hip-Hop is ultimately about telling stories from realities and that what Hip-Hop teaches—compassion, courage, and the human connection—cannot be divided into privileged and underprivileged. He added that Hip-Hop is a social entity that needs to be critiqued, revamped, theorized, and re-theorized. By so doing, we can analyze and assess whether what has been produced is creating value and contributing “good” in society. 

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Crowd at Lecture

On Tuesday, March 29th, the DePaul University Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies in Education welcomed Kwame Anthony Appiah to give the 2016 Ikeda Lecture titled, “Education for Global Citizenship and The Crisis Facing Black America.” Appiah is an internationally renowned philosopher, cultural theorist, and the “Ethicist” for The New York Times Magazine. The event, attended by nearly 600 people, occurred at DePaul’s largest venue, the main auditorium in the Student Center. DePaul students and faculty, members from the community, and educators from universities in Chicago and as far away as Michigan, Missouri, Massachusetts, and the University of Ottawa attended the event.

The lecture started with College of Education Dean Paul Zionts’ opening remarks. He shared the Institute’s many activities since opening last year, including his visit to Soka University and Tokyo Soka High School last winter. He said that Daisaku Ikeda’s ideals and DePaul’s Vincentian Mission are one and the same and that DePaul is extremely proud to house the Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies. He also proudly announced that DePaul will soon begin its online master’s degree in Value-Creating Education for Global Citizenship.

Thereafter, Jason Goulah, Director of the Institute, explained that the lecture theme both commemorated the 20thanniversary of Ikeda’s 1996 talk on education for global citizenship at Columbia University and brought his perspective therein to bear on the crisis facing black America. Goulah noted that in Ikeda’s autobiographical novel, The New Human Revolution, where Ikeda recalls witnessing an act of racism against a young African American boy in Chicago, he invokes the ethic of global citizenship as the means to ameliorate racial injustice.

Kwame Anthony Appiah
Photo credit: Jamie Moncrief

In his lecture, Appiah situated Ikeda’s Eastern, Buddhist idea of global citizenship in the Western historical context of Aristotle and Diogenes, stating that Ikeda’s perspective parallels (and can stand alongside) history’s oldest and most enduring understanding of cosmopolitanism. One thing about Ikeda’s perspective that stood out for Appiah was Ikeda’s emphasis on “all life and living,” including the environment. He noted the qualities of wisdom, courage, and compassion that Ikeda advocates as essential for global citizenship and reiterated Ikeda’s curricular practice of global citizenship through:  “Peace education, environmental education, developmental education, and human rights education.” Appiah defined global citizenship, or cosmopolitanism, as universalism plus difference. The spirit of cosmopolitanism is rooted in the global concern for each other and in the respect and tolerance for different values and ways of life. Like Ikeda, Appiah asserted that such a spirit is cultivated through dialogue across difference. He cautioned that the goal of dialogue is not to reach agreement but to foster understanding, and he concluded that peaceful coexistence is rooted in practice, not theory. 

This was more than evident in his own dialogic engagements with attendees during Q&A and after the event. During Q&A, one young man asked how to end racism that is rampant on his own college campus. Appiah encouraged this young man, speaking to his heart, that this is an opportunity for him, in his own way, to engage history, to make history.

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Drs. Hickman and Garrison
Photo credit: Bob Nardi

Internationally renowned John Dewey scholars Larry Hickman and Jim Garrison gave the inaugural lecture at the opening of DePaul University’s Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies in Education.

Over 200 students, faculty, and community members filled Cortelyou Commons on January 14, 2015, to hear Drs. Hickman and Garrison discuss their recently published dialogue with Dr. Ikeda, Living as Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century (2014, Dialogue Path Press).

College of Education Dean Paul Zionts shared opening remarks, welcoming guests from as far away as Université Laval (Quebec, Canada) and noting that the institute’s opening coincided with the 40th anniversary of Ikeda’s second visit to Chicago.

Jason Goulah, institute director and associate professor of bilingual-bicultural education in the department of Leadership, Language and Curriculum, read a message from Dr. Ikeda. In his message Dr. Ikeda stated:

It is truly humbling that the institute for studies in education established at this university  should bear my name, and I offer my most heartfelt congratulations on this newly created arena for academic exchange that transcends the boundaries of East and West in pursuit of global citizen education for the twenty-first century…DePaul University is highly regarded as a pioneering university that has put into practice global citizen education and expanded its global network. Moreover, your university, as a prestigious institution of higher learning that has inherited the noble spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, who devoted himself to serving the socially underprivileged, has produced numerous individuals who have made great contributions to society.

Crowd at Lecture
Photo credit: Bob Nardi

There are roughly 40 university-affiliated Ikeda research centers in Asia, Latin America and Europe, but DePaul’s institute is the first in North America, and the first in the Anglophone academy worldwide.

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