Soka University of America is located in Aliso Viejo, California. Founded in 1987 as an independent, non-profit organization, Soka University of America dedicated its first campus in Calabasas, California. It acquired a 103-acre site in Aliso Viejo in 1995, and started a new four-year liberal arts college in August 2001. The Calabasas campus was later upgraded as the university graduate school. The university was founded by educator and philosopher Daisaku Ikeda, president of Soka Gakkai International. Soka is a Japanese expression meaning to "create value.” The university's mission is to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to live a contributive life. As a Japanese institution based on the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life, Soka University of America offers higher education to students irrespective of their beliefs and nationalities. Soka University of America focuses on student-centered education to promote peace and human rights, by fostering a global humanistic vision of the world. In an increasingly diverse and dynamic world, the university is committed to providing quality education for students from all walks of life. The university is dedicated to preparing students to work in the present global scenario. The university offers a comparative study of Eastern and Western perspectives incorporated in a traditional liberal arts curriculum. In addition, the university’s core curriculum concentrates mainly on the principles of peace, human rights, and the creative co-existence of nature and humanity. The core curriculum is a series of two sequential courses taken by all Soka students. All students concentrate on a foreign language and culture, and participate in a semester of study abroad during their junior year. It currently offers graduate courses in liberal arts, with specializations in the humanities, international studies, and social/behavioral sciences. Soka University’s Calabasas center offers master's degrees in second- and foreign-language education, and English-as-a-second-language classes for students from Japan. In addition, the university provides students a library with a 225,000-volume capacity, reading rooms, and electronic and paper resources. Students are assisted by computers in the classrooms, residence halls, and outside gathering areas. The university is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The university aims to be a center for the study and expression of various Pan-Pacific cultures and a focal point of learning that links East and West.