Review by Frank K. Kelly

Fostering Hope for Humanity's Future


Choose Peace. Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age

By Daisaku Ikeda and David Krieger

Middleway Press, 2002


In their new book, Choose Hope, two men with far-ranging visions for humanity's future David Krieger and Daisaku Ikeda illuminate ways for people everywhere to take part in the creation of a better world a world of peace and universal prosperity, with liberty and justice for all.

Ikeda, a leader of the Soka Gakkai movement in Japan, points out that many people today have lost confidence in their power to bring about constructive changes. He emphasizes the importance of getting people to have a renewed sense of their abilities to have constructive impacts in many fields. 

Krieger, the founder and president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, shares Ikeda's belief that people everywhere need to see the reasons for genuine hope to become fully aware of the strength they can exert.

Ikeda cites the irony of the fact that "as the world becomes increasingly borderless, people's awareness remains largely constrained within their national borders."

"Most people are still conditioned to give their loyalty to a nation in a time when such loyalty often impedes action for the good of humanity as a whole," Krieger observes.

Saying that we have entered an age in which everybody‚s actions strongly influence everybody else, Ikeda declares: "When we realize this, we can then alter our mindset and strive to build a global society of mutual coexistence and mutual prosperity. The key to the solution is, in your terms, the imagination to care for others. Its is the empathizing heart, or what Buddhists refer to when they talk about mercy."

Krieger asserts: "Encouraging people to act and demanding change are not easy tasks and may have to be carried out person-to-person. Such activities may be disheartening at times and certainly demand perseverance. A strong will, together with hope driven by a powerful spirit are supremely important."

The book is divided into four sections "The Power of the Individual," "Personal Motivations for Peace Activism," "Transcending the Nuclear Age," and "The Challenge of the Future." Each section contains positive suggestions for individual actions to help humanity move from "a war culture to a peace culture." Ikeda describes some of the activities undertaken by Soka Gakkai young people to initiate dialogue and develop respect for nonviolence. Krieger focuses attention on projects of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, including efforts to educate young people on human rights and responsibilities.

"I am convinced that the highway to peace can be opened by repeated dialogue," Ikeda reiterates. "I have worked to expand a network of good people throughout the world by conversing and making friends with everyone, regardless of nationality and race."

"Through dialogue we can engage in reasoned discourse with people of diverse perspectives and experience," Krieger says. "Even when dialogues don't provide direct answers, they promote mutual understanding by shedding light on difficult problems."

At the inception of the Soka Gakkai International in 1975, Ikeda recalled that he had urged the members to "devote their lives less to personal success than to sowing seeds of peace all over the world."

"That is a way to give greater meaning to one's life," Krieger agrees. "Finding satisfaction in the work itself and in struggling to overcome obstacles is imperative for people dedicated to building a better, more peaceful world."

Every page of this valuable book radiates optimism and a deep trust in the power of the people.

In the final chapter, Ikeda and Krieger express their firm faith in the essential value of education based upon global values.

"Enlightening young people is the key to strengthening people power for the future," Krieger concludes, "I would like young people to join hands across borders and insist that their elders do so, too. In short, I would like young people to choose hope."

"Whether we can make the new century one of symbiosis and hope depends on the extent to which citizens awaken to the needs of the whole human race, expand the circle of global solidarity and work actively within that circle," Ikeda reminds us in his closing statement.

In a world threatened by tremendous dangers, the voices of courageous leaders are urgently needed. This book can encourage active people everywhere to take the vital steps necessary to sustain hope in this generation and all the generations to come.

I hope that the publisher will promote it vigorously and make it available for the millions of readers who could benefit from it.


Frank K. Kelly
- was a speechwriter for President Harry S. Truman. He has written many books, including Your Freedoms, Your Laws, The Martyred Presidents, and Court of Reason: Robert Hutchins and the Fund for the Republic. A noted journalist, he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and served also as a professor of communication at Boston University. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, New Republic, Atlantic Monthly, and many other publications.