Full Mission Statement

Our Mission: A New Kind of Institute for a New Kind of World

The Toda Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to the pursuit of peace through dialogue. In cooperation with other peace organizations, the institute aims to maximize the efforts of people of all backgrounds and creeds. We offer opportunities to experts in peace studies to interact, research and publish in a global context, giving a voice to humankind as a whole about its most pressing issues.

Our motto, "Dialogue of Civilizations for Global Citizenship,” encapsulates the vision of Josei Toda (1900-1958), a Japanese educator and philosopher who was imprisoned together with his mentor Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944) for upholding the belief in the dignity of life despite persecution by the Japanese military government during World War II. Makiguchi died in prison but Toda was able to survive the ordeal, devoting the rest of his life to the development of a grassroots peace movement in post-war Japan.

The Toda Institute was established on 11 February 1996 by Toda’s main disciple Daisaku Ikeda (1928 -), the President of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a worldwide movement for peace, culture and education based on Buddhist Humanism. Ikeda is a prolific writer, poet and photographer who has published more than 50 volumes of dialogues with prominent world figures. He established the Toda Institute to implement Toda’s vision of a world free of nuclear weapons where global citizens interact with each other based on trust and friendship. Ikeda expanded this vision in order to create a new civilizational platform characterized by respect for life, interconnectedness, understanding and cooperation.

Goals and Activities of the Toda Institute

Our main activities, for the promotion of peace research, are the organization of conferences, the publication of books, and of the yearly journal Peace & Policy. Following Toda, Ikeda asserts that all institutions should first and foremost serve people. Like his mentor, he also believes in dialogue and nonviolence as the proper tools to achieve goals. Inspired by their common vision, the Toda Institute will focus on three main themes:

  • Human Security and Human Rights
  • Dialogue and Nonviolent Conflict Transformation
  • Global Governance and World Citizenship

These three themes will be explored in order to find concrete solutions to three main issues:

  • Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
  • UN Reform, to ensure a more collaborative world
  • Sustainable Peace through Environmental Integrity and Social Justice

On 8 September 1957, Josei Toda made a declaration against nuclear weapons for an audience of 50,000 people in Yokohama, Japan and made a rousing appeal to the youth. He declared that the willingness to use these weapons was an expression of the devilish nature lurking within human beings, leading them to control and dominate others through fear and threats rather than choosing dialogue and collaboration. Based on Toda's declaration, Ikeda has outlined his vision for a peaceful global civilization in numerous proposals, and inspired by these, the Toda Institute will focus on the three main global security issues mentioned above.

The role of each individual in the building of this future global civilization can take the form of a narrative. The starting point of any endeavor for peace is the personal transformation of an individual human being. Our institute wants to place world peace firmly into the hands of real people, and this is actualized as a focus on Human Security and Human Rights. Next, people with an elevated consciousness need to have meaningful dialogues about the future of the world, and about how to solve the numerous problems affecting humanity. This translates into Dialogue and Nonviolent Conflict Transformation. Finally, through dialogue, people with a heightened awareness can design the best systems to tackle humanity's challenges, and this can be achieved through Global Governance and World Citizenship. The most important global issue for Toda was the abolition of nuclear weapons, and Ikeda has added support for the UN, inspired by Makiguchi's concept of Humanitarian Competition. Finally, if Toda were alive today, he would certainly be very concerned about the environment, as much as he was about nuclear weapons in 1957. Ikeda made proposals that helped establish the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development which started in 2005. This narrative is at the origin of the three themes and three issues which form the framework of the Toda Institute's activities.