IGLP Director David Kennedy delivered a speech at the First Annual Meeting of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC) “Valuing Diversity, Privileging Diplomacy and Pursuing Peace” on November 11-12, 2013 in Putrajaya, Malaysia.  Mr. Kennedy joined the APRC On September 5, 2012.

As Asia grows in industry, many social issues still plague the region. Distribution of wealth, poverty, as well as conflict and violence between religious factions are top concerns.

Mr. Kennedy analyzed the political limitations of national development strategies in a global economy.   He emphasized the tendency of national strategies targeting winners to exacerbate global asymmetries, sparking political backlash in a potentially vicious cycle heightening inequalities and deepening the divide between leading and lagging economic sectors and populations.

In his keynote address, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak stressed diversity is a critical factor in building a strong nation when the underlying principles of accepting differences, embracing dialogue, and defending the right to co-exist are used to promote peaceful co-existence.

Mr. Najib stressed that Malaysians of all ethnicities and religions should be bound together by a respect and celebrate their differences. “The path is not always smooth” said Najib, “We must continually reassert our commitment not just to co-existence, but to share prosperity. It is a positive sign that the discourse is shifting from a question of ‘tolerance’ to one of ‘respect’.”

Also present at the dialogue was former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, APRC chairman Dr Surakiart Sathirathai, APRC executive board chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar and ISIS Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan.

See the full story from The New Straits Times

The Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC) is a non-governmental organization, launched in Bangkok September 5, 2012 by a gathering of distinguished former national leaders, ministers, and well-known academics from around the world who share a keen interest in Asian affairs. For more information see the APRC website (www.aprcasia.com)