Nobel laureates coming; concern for Suu Kyi aired

BusinessMirror, October 25, 2007

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Philippine Chairman of the "Bridges" project, and Washington Sycip, honorary chairman, grace the press conference launching the six month speaking tour that will bring Nobel laureates for economics, peace, physics, chemistry and medicine to the Philippines and Thailand.

The Vienna-based International Peace Foundation (IPF) that will bring Nobel laureates to the member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) for a series of dialogues for peace has expressed concern on the worsening situation in military-ruled Burma and the continued detention of Nobel Peace laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The IPF launched the "Bridges" program on Wednesday, a six-month series of dialogues to promote a culture of peace, with Nobel laureates visiting the Philippines and Thailand.

Uwe Morawetz, IPF Chairman, said at the formal launch at the Dusit Nikko Hotel: "We are saddened and not happy at all [with the situation in Burma and continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi]. But we hope in the course of these events, through dialogues for peace, something will change and Burma will be able to participate in the program."

He said the program to bring Nobel laureates to Burma/Myanmar, one of the member-countries of Asean, has been turned down by the military junta.

Filipino businessmen Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman and chief operating office of Ayala Corp., and Washington Sycip, founding chairman of the SGV Group as well as the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), are supporting the dialogues for peace or the "Bridges" program of the IPF. The dialogues for peace will be held from November 2007 to April 2008 in key schools in the Philippines and Thailand.

Nobel laureates set to attend the dialogues for peace in the Philippines include Professor Robert Alexander Mundell, who won the 1999 Nobel for economics, Mundell prepared the first plan for a common currency in Europe and is known as the father of the theory of optimum currency areas.

James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank from 1995 to 2005, was well-known for his initiatives on debt reduction, environmental sustainability and AID's prevention programs.