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UofGH’s Dr. Paul Sherman Appointed to SGI Canada Board of Directors

Dr. Paul Sherman

I’ve been involved with the organization for 35 years, and for them to think highly enough of my background and my involvement with Soka education at UofGH means a lot to me.

Dr. Paul Sherman, Program Head of Family and Community Social Services (FCSS) at the University of Guelph-Humber, has been named to the Soka Gakkai International Canada (“SGI Canada”) Board of Directors.

Founded in 1930 in Japan, Soka Gakkai means “Society for the Creation of Value.” SGI’s mandate is to contribute to peace, culture, and education based on the Buddhist philosophy of 13th century Buddhist reformer Nichiren Daishonin. SGI’s guiding principles are also concerned with global citizenship, being good citizens, respecting freedom of religion and religious expression, promoting Nichiren Buddhism, and protecting nature and the environment.

SGI now has 13 million members with 192 affiliates around the world, and SGI Canada has over 10,000 members from across the country. Dr. Sherman has been a member of SGI Canada since 1984, and has been a leader in the organization for many years.

Dr. Sherman says he was asked to be on the Board of Directors due to his long history with the organization, his extensive background as an Executive Director and board member in the non-profit sector, and his role at UofGH, where he researches Soka (or value-creating) education and global citizenship.

As a Board member, Dr. Sherman will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s operations per Canadian registered charities laws. “I am honoured to be asked to be on the SGI Canada Board of Directors,” he says. “I’ve been involved with the organization for 35 years, and for them to think highly enough of my background and my involvement with Soka education at UofGH means a lot to me.”

“We are very pleased to have Dr. Paul Sherman on the board of SGI Canada,” says Harry Miyazaki, Chair of the SGI Canada Board. “Paul brings much appreciated experience as an executive manager in the community non-profit and education sectors, and as a leader in a variety of important positions in our organization. And we hold Paul in the highest esteem as a person.”

Soka education at UofGH

Soka education was founded by reformist Japanese educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi around the idea that the purpose of education is the happiness of the student. Dr. Sherman leads the Soka Education Research Initiative on Global Citizenship (SERI-GC) at UofGH – a five-year research project that allows UofGH students and faculty to study the philosophy and practices of Soka education, and how it connects to global citizenship. Each year, a group of UofGH students work with Dr. Sherman on this research, which includes a visit to Soka University of America in California. “SGI is very much aligned with global citizenship, and so being a member of SGI Canada and its Board of Directors definitely ties into my research interests,” says Dr. Sherman. SGI Canada also creates a variety of exhibitions that focus on peace, culture, and education. Each year, Dr. Sherman brings a display to campus and mounts it in the UofGH atrium.

UofGH also offers an annual study-abroad trip to Japan that focuses on Soka education and the pursuit of happiness, and includes classes at Soka University of Japan.