Kennesaw State presents second annual international awards

Daisaku Ikeda accepts the Global Public Service Award.  At left is AT&T's Ralph de la Vega, keynote speaker.

World peace leader, faculty member and alumni recognized for global contributions KENNESAW, Ga….

Georgia (Mar 31, 2015)

World peace leader, faculty member and alumni recognized for global contributions

KENNESAW, Ga.  (March 31, 2015) — The founder of the world’s largest and most diverse international lay Buddhist organization promoting peace through social engagement was among five individuals honored at Kennesaw State University’s second annual International Achievement Awards ceremony March 26.

Daisaku Ikeda, founding president of Soka Gakkai International, received the 2015 Kennesaw State University Global Public Service Prize, an award that honors an international figure who has made important contributions to public service in the country/region featured during the University’s “Year of” annual country study (2013-14 was the “Year of Japan”). The award also recognizes the commitment of support for international academic exchange between Kennesaw State and the country/region for the “Year of” country program.

Ikeda joined three other recipients honored for outstanding global contributions, including the endowed Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth awards presented to a distinguished, globally engaged Kennesaw State University faculty member and alumni, and a special award recognizing a Kennesaw State global community partnership. A student also received the first study abroad scholarship presented during the annual awards ceremony. 

Speaking through an interpreter, Ikeda said he was “deeply honored,” and he praised the University’s efforts to internationalize education for its students.

“These awards epitomize [Kennesaw State’s] commitment to helping young people connect with the world,” said Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher, peace builder, educator, author and poet, who founded the Soka (value-creation) schools, a nondenominational school system based on an ideal of fostering each student's unique creative potential and cultivating an ethic of peace, social contribution and global consciousness.

In presenting the Global Public Service award to Ikeda, AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions President and CEO Ralph de la Vega, the invited keynote speaker, cited the important work of Ikeda and Soka Gakkai in fostering global peace and understanding. “I am a strong believer in dialogue,” he said, noting that he has dealt with “revolutions, attempted coups, guerillas blowing up cell towers and worse in his international business career.

During his remarks, de la Vega called Kennesaw State’s goal of global learning for engaged citizenship “a very noble goal.” 

“It achieves the multiplier effect that Jag [educator and marketing scholar Jagdish Sheth] spoke about in describing the importance of education that extends to the infinite; that is what Kennesaw State is doing,” de la Vega said, quoting a long-time friend he “deeply respects and admires.” “What you are doing here will produce a generation of graduates that will help us become the most globally competitive. It’s the kind of education that, like AT&T, all global Fortune companies are going to value.”

In addition to Ikeda, Kennesaw State’s 2015 International Awards recipients are:  


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit