International Peace Dialogues Set

What’s On & Expat, March 8-14, 2007

IN AN EFFORT TO FOSTER "a culture of peace" the International Peace Foundation (IPF) is continuously organizing a series of talks throughout Southeast Asia. Entitled "Bridges: Dialogues Towards A Culture of Peace" the program brings together a number of Nobel Laureates to share their thoughts and expertise in the fields of politics, economy, science, culture and the media as well as highlight the challenges of globalization and regionalism and their impact on development and international cooperation.

Following the success of its first run in Thailand conducted from November 2003 up to April 2005 where topics such as "Air Pollution in Asia and its Impact on Regional and Global Climate" and "Conflict Resolution and Humanitarian Intervention in Response to Genocide" were discussed, IPF is set to line-up another series of 50 major events, this time here in the Philippines.

From November 2007 to April 2008 "Bridges" will be conducting lectures, seminars and dialogues in participating institutions such as the Asian Institute of Management, Angeles University, Ateneo de Manila and de Davao Universities, De La Salle University, Mapua Institute of Technology, the University of the Philippines, the University of San Carlos and the University of Santo Tomas. Over a course of six months the organization hopes to achieve a strengthened international understanding and to build a relationship that would lead to research projects and other long-lasting forms of cooperation.

The Nobel Laureates who are confirmed to come here for the said dialogue: Prof. Finn Kydland who will talk on “Peace and Development in the Age of Globalization”, Prof. Robert Mundell, Prof. David Gross on Physics, Prof. Aaron Ciechanover on Chemistry and Prof. David Baltimore on “Gene Therapy as a Mode of Treating Cancer and AIDS”.

“Dialogue is the key to peace because if you stop to talk, achieving peace is impossible,” explains Prince Alfred of Liechtenstein, chairperson of the IPF Advisory Board of the project’s rationale. Uwe Morawetz, chairperson of the IPF Board of Directors adds, "we cannot offer a specific solution to peace, but we can be one step ahead with a dialogue." The organization believes that the malaise of this world cannot be solved by one group nor by one cure-all plan but "by cooperation" .

Two of the proposals the organization is submitting to the Philippines are the strengthening of education and the hope that the Philippines would be on the Science and Technology map at par with Japan and China. "We're facilitators here, bringing in speakers to create a possibility and we hope that through this series of dialogues we would be able to establish a culture which the Philippine institutions will pick up," says Morawetz when asked what would happen after the six-month time frame. He adds that it is as much of the Philippine responsibility as it is theirs to change the status quo. "We're not just coming here to talk, but also to listen," he relates.

After the Philippines "Bridges" would move to Malaysia, then Cambodia, followed by Vietnam. According to Morawetz, they are eyeing 2015 as the target to finish the whole program around the region, which by that time there should have been "more understanding among the Asean countries". "Bridges" is IPF's independent contribution to the United Nations' Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence (2001-2010) which is a UN effort to bring about peace as more than just an absence of war but that of an enduring commitment to pursue equality to all. .

"Bridges" is supported by the Dusit Hotel Nikko, the Asia Foundation, the British Embassy and the Yuchengco Group of Companies among others.

~ Jacqueline L. Ong