Message from the Office of DEI

Members and Friends of the Soka Community,

Thank you for visiting the webpage for the newly formed Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This page will continue to evolve as new initiatives develop and programs get underway, and it will serve as a central location for sharing campus developments relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

At this important juncture in the history of the university, we also face a turning point in our world. Now, more than ever, we see the tremendous need for the steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life that Soka aims to foster.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion as defined by Soka’s mission and values are rooted in a systems-way of thinking, where each person polishes and advances the “other,” where each individual and the “other” foster mutual growth, from which is born a true respect and compassion for each other. The work will be about building our humanity and character individually and collectively, and collaborating to ensure that community practices and policies align with our mission.

One of the immediate focuses of the office will be rolling out more comprehensive training and educational opportunities for the community.

The Office of DEI will serve as the central body carrying out and supporting SUA’s ongoing efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will work closely with the DEI Strategic Planning Committee—responsible for short and long-range planning and assessment—and the Unity and Diversity Council (UDC)—responsible for offering guidance and advice to the office. The below links will contain ongoing updates from each body.

I am sincerely looking forward to connecting with you and engaging in this important and transformative work together.

In Community,
Maya

Manager for Diversity Initiatives and Community Building
Maya Gunaseharan

Our Mission

The mission of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is to support and foster individuals who embody the characteristics of a global citizen and ensure that the university community continues its ever-evolving development, which is grounded in the dignity and respect of each individual and their contributions to our community.

Characteristics of a Global Citizen

The work of the Office of DEI will be anchored in these elements as articulated by our university founder, Daisaku Ikeda, based on our belief that they are the foundation for creating a campus and society that truly upholds the dignity of all.

  • The wisdom to perceive the interconnectedness of all life and living.
  • The courage not to fear or deny difference, but to respect and strive to understand people of different cultures, and to grow from encounters with them.
  • The compassion to maintain an imaginative empathy that reaches beyond one’s immediate surroundings and extends to those suffering in distant places.
Poster promoting MLK discussion
Full video: Ambassador Andrew J. Young and Dr. Hortense J. Spillers, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Our Commitment to DEI

Recognizing that this work cannot be done in isolation by one or a few individuals, the Office of DEI will work in conjunction with different areas of the university, to carry out our commitment.

Diversity

We commit to enhancing SUA’s diversity, which is expressed in many forms, including and not limited to, national or ethnic origin, race, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, family structure, socioeconomic status, dis(ability) status, language, culture, religion, age, and political perspective. We value and uphold the equal dignity of all members of our ever-evolving community.

Equity

We commit to challenging and responding to bias incidents. As a university, we are committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, religious creed, sex or gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status, status as a disabled veteran, marital status, medical condition, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law.

Inclusion

We commit to making intentional efforts, in partnership with members of our university community, to ensure that SUA is an environment where each individual feels a genuine sense of belonging and inclusion.


“SUA is a microcosm of a future world in which outstanding intellects from many different cultural backgrounds will gather in friendship and harmonious coexistence. Our university is the hope of the human race, fostering great leaders who will unite the world with the treasure of humanity, transcending all barriers of nationality, ethnicity, and cultural background.”

—Daisaku Ikeda