Business and Society - Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Thailand was chosen as the host country for the event series "Bridges - Dialogues towards a Culture of Peace" initiated by the International Peace Foundation (IPF). The second round of activities will be organized from December 2004 till April 2005.
H.E. Anand Panyarachun former Prime Minister of Thailand, Honorary Chairman, and Privy Councillor Surayud Chulanont, new Chairman of the Thai advisory Board of IPF welcome participants to an enormous variety of speeches and dialogues. Speakers include Nobel Prize Laureates Shirin Ebadi (lawyer in Iran), Bishop Belo (East Timor) and John Hume (Northern Ireland); as well as high profile diplomats Hans Blix (head of the UN Weapons Inspection Commission in Iraq) and Boutros Boutros-Ghali (former UN Secretary General, Egypt).
Of special interest to the business sector - many sponsor the IPF events - are the meetings with Prof. Clive W. Granger ("the economics of Peace" - December 7 in Siam University; December 8 in Bangkok University) and fellow Nobel Laureates for Economics Prof. James J. Heckman (January 17, 2005) and Prof. Douglass C. North (March 1-4, 2005).
However, what will happen after the last event will be held with Boutros Boutros-Ghali on "The Reform of the United Nations" in April 2005?
This question was discussed during a recent International Peace Foundation meeting at the Dusit Thani library in Bangkok with Jakob von Uexkuell, one of the invited speakers and founder of the Right Livelihood award foundation; member of the Council of Governance of Transparency International.
There is an urgent need for continuous dialogue and training in the field of conflict resolution, prevention and peace building in Asia. Oppression can no longer be taken for granted as conflicts tend to become more and more violent and linked with global unrest.
The government of Thailand in recent years has demonstrated aspirations to be a Peace broker in Asia. Its own violent conflicts tend to internationalize. However a vision on ethical business and non-violence, practiced by groups in civil society, are needed to shape realistic responses to conflicts in the region based on real understanding.
Jakob von Uexkull nurtures a new initiative called the World Future Council: an attempt to bring wisdom elders, scientists, ethical business leaders and Peace promoters together in one interactive structure. The aim is to give direction to global transformation. Could a permanent cooperative organism in Asia linked to the world Future Council, and drawing on the accumulated experiences of the International Peace Foundation be the right response to the need for an ongoing shared learning process towards a Culture of Peace? And could this organism find its roots in Thai soil?