A Message on Ukraine From President Feasel

February 25, 2022
Central values of Soka University, Wisdom, Courage, and Compassion displayed on a wall in front of clouds and silhouetted mountains in the background

Dear Soka Community,

Over the last two days, the Russian military buildup on the border escalated to a full-scale invasion of its neighbor, Ukraine. Just as many of you have expressed, I am also shocked and angered by this unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation. War is diametrically opposed to Soka’s proud pacifist heritage and our commitment to peace.

It is ordinary people who suffer the most during war—mothers, children, the elderly, non-combatant citizens—and thus I strongly reiterate the international community’s calls for de-escalation and an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops.

This unprovoked invasion comes at a time when so many people around the world are still dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our mission as a university to foster global citizens imbued with wisdom, courage, and compassion is more urgent than ever. Rather than give in to the despair wrought by war, let’s deepen our commitment to our purpose at Soka to become people capable of transforming the roots of conflict and injustice in our world. Let’s continue to pursue our shared commitment to work across boundaries and divides and shift society away from selfish competition, exploitation, and war toward humanistic competition, collaboration, and peace.

In his 40th annual Peace Proposal to the United Nations published earlier this month, our university founder Daisaku Ikeda encouraged the global community to reject division and use the shared challenge of the global pandemic to create a “consciousness of solidarity that extends to the entire world.” We don’t have to be diplomats or world leaders to engage in this critical grassroots work. Each of us can strengthen the consciousness of solidarity with each other on campus as we work to become role models of fostering peace in our community.

I recognize that students, faculty, and staff may be affected by this conflict, as some of us have friends and family living in Russia and Ukraine. Other members of our community may have traumatic personal and familial experiences of war, conflict, and displacement. Watching war unfold, even from thousands of miles away, may evoke painful feelings and memories.

The Soka community is here to support you. If you see friends who are struggling, encourage them to seek support. Students can receive counseling support on campus by making an appointment via counseling@soka.edu, off campus by emailing noblelmft@gmail.com or get immediate support by contacting a counselor 24 hours a day at My SSP.  Students should also feel free to reach out to our Dean of Students, Hyon Moon, for assistance.  

For faculty and staff who would like support, we have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Aetna Resources of Living. The EAP has short-term counseling available. Employees can call to speak to someone directly. For additional information please feel free to contact our Vice President for Human Resources and Risk Management, Katherine King. 

Fundamentally, war is a violation of the sanctity of life. Let us always treasure each member of our community: at SUA, in our city and county, nation, and globally. And let us continue to uphold and share this value now and in the future across the globe.

Please take care,

Ed Feasel

Note: A version of this message was delivered to the Soka community via email on February 25, 2022