Peace and Disarmament
Eighth Daisaku Ikeda Annual Lecture Hosted by Singapore Soka Association
Will peace reign in Asia in the next 25 years? What can be done to ensure sustainable growth in Southeast Asia? These and other challenging issues facing the Asia region were addressed at the Eighth Daisaku Ikeda Annual Lecture (DIAL VIII) held on June 29, 2008, at the Singapore Soka Association Headquarters.
The speaker, Professor JÃ¸rgen Ã˜rstrÃ¸m MÃ¸ller, visiting senior research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and adjunct professor at Singapore Management University, shared his insights during a lecture titled "Securing Peace in Asia for the Next 25 Years" to an audience of some 700. Among the attendees were Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Belen Fule-Anota, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, guests from various educational, religious and community organizations and Dr. Gwee Hee Hean, chair of the DIAL Committee.
Dr. MÃ¸ller began by expressing how encouraged he was to see so many young people present in the audience. Remarking that youth are endowed with the awesome responsibility of ensuring peace in Asia over the next quarter century, he asked them to "be ambitious on behalf of peace, human dignity and a civilized mindset."
After giving a brief historical perspective of Asian civilizations in terms of research, technology and innovation, he then outlined how Asia can open its doors to a better future as a newcomer experiencing phenomenal growth in the current age of economic globalization. He suggested approaches such as distributing benefits in an equitable manner; burden-sharing based on mutual trust and infusion of social capital; and fostering stakeholders in the global system as a bastion against war and armed conflict. Dr. MÃ¸ller concluded by affirming that Asia's greatest asset is its people, and expressing his belief in Asia's ability "to rise to the challenge."
Following the event, Sister Janet Wang of St. Anthony's Canossian Convent, a member of the Board of Directors for Inter-Religious Organization, Singapore, and Mercy Relief, stated: "The afternoon certainly filled me with hope for the future! It is most important to forge mutual understanding to foster peace. It is a matter of speaking and taking actions from the heart, reaching out in cooperative, nonviolent ways. Congratulations SSA!"
In his message for the event, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda emphasized that it is through the spirit of compassion and offering mutual encouragement as true friends to overcome life's challenges that we will create peace amidst the harsh realities of society, and stressed the importance of "human revolution"--the inner transformation of individual lives which creates waves of positive change in the world.
[Adapted from an article in the July 23, 2008 issue of the SSA Times, Singapore Soka Association (SSA); photos courtesy of SSA]