Shinnyo-en and the University of Southern California Announce a New Partnership for Education and Global Understanding

March 15, 2014
Tokyo, Japan

Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head Priest of Shinnyo-en today signed an agreement withProfessor Steve Kay, Dean of the University of Southern California (USC) Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences for the development of new partnerships in the study of Japanese culture and religion.

In gratitude for the support of Shinnyo-en in these new endeavors, USC will rename its center of Japanese studies to become the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. Professor Duncan Ryuken Williams, chair of the USC Dornsife School of Religion and director of the new USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture said, "With the support of Shinnyo-en, we will continue to deepen the understanding between the peoples of Japan and America by promoting study of Japan, study in Japan, and study with Japan. And, in its work, the center hopes to bring to the world the wisdom and the compassion that Her Holiness Shinso Ito teaches."

Also participating in the ceremony for the signing of the USC-Shinnyo-en agreement, Reverend Minoru Shitara, director of Shinnyo-en's international affairs department, said: "Shinnyo-en deeply appreciates the commitment of USC for its deep and senstitive explorations of many aspects of Japanese culture through the study of international relations, society, the arts, media, and religion. Shinnyo-en views our support of the USC Shinso Ito Center as an expression of our common purpose with USC to educate people from diverse backgrounds to become effective agents for understanding, peace, and harmony in the world."

The USC Shinso Ito Center will be one of the most active centers for Japan studies in the United States, hosting weekly events and seminars to bring scholars from Japan and around the world, in dialogue with students, thought leaders and the general public. Current research directed by the center focuses on various aspects of Japanese religions and cultures while functioning like a think tank.

The new initiative with USC continues a long-standing commitment by Shinnyo-en to support institutions of higher education in the U.S.A. that serve a global community of scholars and students of religion, culture, and international affairs. Shinnyo-en has previously created the Shinnyo-en Visiting Professorship at the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, Stanford University, the Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair in Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Berkeley Shinjo Ito Postdoctoral Fellowship in Japanese Buddhism.  The U.S.-based Shinnyo-en Foundation, through the Shinnyo Fellows Program, also directly supports individual students from leading universities across the U.S.A. who demonstrate leadership in peacebuilding-through-service projects in local, national, and global communities.

USC is one of the world's leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international trade, USC enrolls more international students than any other U.S. university and offers extensive opportunities for internships and study throughout the world. With a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education, USC fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge. The largest, oldest and most academically diverse of USC's schools, the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is home to approximately 10,000 students and nearly 800 faculty members within more than 30 academic departments and dozens of research centers and institutes, including the School of Religion and the newly named USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.