The 2021 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) was held virtually on April 8-12, 2021. During the conference, AERA’s Curriculum Studies Division awarded Daisaku Ikeda the Ella Baker/Septima Clark Human Rights Award. The award, honoring the legacies of Baker and Clark as pioneers of the black freedom movement, recognized Ikeda’s commitment to a human rights-focused approach to resolving global issues and his unwavering belief in the unlimited power of civil society, youth, and women to pioneer a better age.

The annual meeting program also included multiple sessions and presentations relating to Ikeda/Soka Studies in Education. In a symposium titled “Difference, Social Engagement, and Responsibility: Perspectives from the Dewey-Soka Heritage,” presenters addressed the question of educational responsibility grounded in the commitment that a creative response to enduring structures of injustice must include transformative engagements across difference. Institute director Jason Goulah chaired the session and provided introductory remarks. Presenters included Ruthanne Kurth-Schai (Macalester College), Melissa Riley Bradford (DePaul University), Julie Nagashima (North Central College), Isabel Nuñez (Purdue University Fort Wayne), Nozomi Inukai (DePaul University), Alexandra I. Cruz (Loyola Academy), Gonzalo Obelleiro (DePaul University), Michio Okamura (Chicago Public Schools), Ming Fang He (Georgia Southern University), William H. Schubert (University of Illinois at Chicago). Jim Garrison (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) served as discussant.

Other presentations in Ikeda/Soka Studies included:

  • English Learners and the Anthropocene: Climate Migration as Curriculum and Pedagogy in ESL
    Jason Goulah, DePaul University

  • Rethinking Teacher Education’s Responsibility to Prepare “Good” Teachers Based on Soka Approaches to Education
    Nozomi Inukai, DePaul University

  • Exploring Absolute Happiness Through Experiential Education
    Nai-Cheng Kuo, Augusta University
    Tomohiro Kawaguchi, Allen University

  • Community-Based Teacher Education: A Case Study of Soka Education in Action in Brazil
    Alankrita Chhikara, Purdue University
    Vicki G Mokuria, Stephen F. Austin State University