Good afternoon and congratulations on Soka University’s second anniversary of Dedication Day!
My mentor David Krieger, the founder and President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation asked me to join the celebration here today and relay his best wishes for continued growth as an institution, family, and positive force in society.
I am the Youth Outreach Coordinator with the Foundation. By your presence here today, I imagine that many of you share our vision for a world at peace, free from the threat of war and free of weapons of mass destruction. It is evident now more than ever that we must make this vision a reality.
Soka models what is right in higher education. In emphasizing world citizenship, Soka stands in direct contrast to the so-called top institutions of this country which partner with defense contractors to develop missile guidance systems. These institutions seek Pentagon dollars to develop bombs, investing in mass destruction over mass education. The increasing militarization of America’s universities has a negative impact on the availability of faculty positions, selection of majors open to students, surrounding physical environments, and the core integrity of the learning experience. This increasing militarization has international repercussions.
When you talk with the people involved in weapons research. They believe they are performing a community service. They’ll tell you that historical momentum justifies their work. They’ll say, “Many of these contracts date back to the 1940’s. How could time be wrong?” They believe their work is prestigious. Select students within these universities recognize what is at stake and do not accept such flawed logic. These students have organized in opposition to the militarization trend. They need our help.
I ask that the Soka community stand side-by-side with these students at UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, University of Arizona, University of Texas, and elsewhere. Stand with them and hold true to the values of world citizenship, nonviolence, and equality. Project the good energy we feel here today to the backward corners of the world where humanity hangs by a thread and freedom fighters are suppressed.
At the Peace Foundation, our motto is waging peace. There are 3 steps to waging peace: educate yourself, take action, and educate others. Waging peace is maintaining an awareness of US foreign policy, joining an organization working for peace, and communicating with our elected officials toward holding them accountable for their actions. Those are 3 simple things we can all do today: educate yourself, take action, and educate others.
Congratulations and thank you Soka for all you do!