Bangkok: Cradle of 'Peace Culture'?

The Nation - Thursday, April 10, 2003

It was a journey of peace when HSH Prince Alfred of Liechtenstein and HSH Princess Raffaella visited Thailand recently.
Prince Alfred is chairman of the board of advisers for the Vienna-based International Peace Foundation, under the patronage of the 21 Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The foundation will play host to a series of events, collectively called "The Dialogue Towards a Culture of Peace" starting in Bangkok in November this year.

The event stands in the same tradition as the Peace Summits held in Potsdam and Vienna since 1993.

No sooner had the royal couple landed in Bangkok than US president George W Bush announced America's intention to wage war on Iraq, with or without UN approval.

At a reception to welcome the royal couple, former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun called the decision "a sad day for the world". Prince Alfred commented that, in disregarding UN sanctions, the Bush administration has triggered the beginning of the end of international law and order.

The proposed dialogue will see Nobel laureates for Peace, Physics, Chemistry, Medicine and Economics and other important people in the field of international politics, economy, science, culture, religion and the media joining hands to establish creative solutions to stop conflicts amidst the growing threat of war and international terrorism.

Among the prominent personalities involved are Oscar Arias, The XIV Dalai Lama, Henry Kissinger, Woody Allen, Franz Beckenbauer, Phil Collins, Elton John, and Paul McCartney, to name only a few.

According to the foundation, under the wisdom and spiritual leadership of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Thai nation and its people with their self-confidence, open mindedness and tolerance have provided a creative pathway towards peace which could serve as an inspiring role model for the prevention, mediation and solution of conflicts.

During the visit, the royal couple met with Thai dignitaries and politicians including former prime minister Anand, former foreign minister Thanat Khoman, Supreme Commander Gen Surayud Chulanont, Prof. Noranit Setabutr, Uthai Pimchaichon, president of the National Assembly, and Prof. Kriengsak Charoenwongsak from the National Economic and Social Advisory Commission.

With the International Peace Foundation doing its work here, can we expect to see Bangkok become a true center for peace in the world? It's a calming thought in these times of turmoil

Cora Sukhyanga, The Nation