Austregesilo de Athayde, President of the Brazilian Academy of Letters for 34 years until his death in September 1993, is perhaps best remembered as one of the most prominent and effective champions of human rights in South America. As Brazilian representative to the third General Assembly of the United Nations, Athayde played a major role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN in December 1948. This wide-ranging dialogue with Daisaku Ikeda begins with a discussion of some of the great modern espousers of human rights, including Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Athayde then recounts how the UN declaration came into being and describes his crucial role in the process. Ikeda, meanwhile, explores the Buddhist ideas of mercy, freedom and equality, and discusses their potential to enrich the human rights movement. Other topics discussed include: the symbiosis of nature and humanity; the right to aspire to and live in peace; freedom of the spirit; and dignity for all life. The dialogue as a whole represents a provocative and continually thoughtful introduction to the compassionate thought of two leading proponents of social justice.
Human Rights in the Twenty-first Century