Press Releases: Eminent activist scholar delivers thoughts on the historic Toynbee-Ikeda Dialogue

Sep 23, 2012 ◄ Back to list

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World, will deliver a talk entitled “Impressions on the Toynbee-Ikeda Dialogue and its Significance in the 21st Century” on 23 September 2012 (Sunday), 11am at Wisma Kebudayaan SGM, No. 243, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur. The talk is hosted by Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM).

The talk will be based on a dialogue which took place in 1972 and 1973, totalling some 40 hours over a period of 10 days in London, between British historian, Dr. Arnold Toynbee and Soka Gakkai International President Daisaku Ikeda. The dialogue between these two men continued in the form of written exchanges following their meetings. It is this dialogue that form the basis of the book Choose Life: A Dialogue, published in English in 1976 and now available in 28 languages.

Toynbee is known for his view of history that highlighted the role of religions, in particular their power to motivate people to respond to challenges, and he viewed Buddhism as a philosophy suitable to the context of contemporary civilization and its problems. He invited Ikeda to London for a discussion on approaches to such problems confronting humanity’s existence. From the personal to the international and the political to the philosophical, every sphere of human nature and interaction was vigorously discussed by these two men, who, though of different cultures and traditions, shared the same commitment to the value of human life and the biosphere that sustains it. While their exchanges occurred in London in the 1970s, the insights they offer are timeless and relevant, providing both a panorama and a vital framework for understanding the choices and interlinked issues facing humanity in the 21st century.

SGM is pleased that Dr. Chandra Muzaffar has agreed to present his thoughts on this dialogue and its relevance in the 21st century. Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, an academic and social activist, is  also the Noordin Sopiee Professor of Global Studies at the Science University of Malaysia (USM) in Penang and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the 1Malaysia Foundation. Dr. Chandra has published extensively on civilizational dialogue, international politics, religion, human rights and Malaysian society.

Prof. Dr. Christopher Boey, Deputy President of SGM and Deputy Dean of  the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya will chair the talk which will be conducted in English. There will be a video screening entitled "Another way of seeing things" at 10.40am, before the lecture. Admission is free. However, participants are required to register with Ms. Katherine Chui at 03-9075 6876 or at