The Rohingyas - a Glimmer of Hope

By Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), May 22, 2015

It is commendable that the Malaysian government has undertaken a systematic Search and Rescue (SAR) operation in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal aimed at saving the lives of thousands of stranded Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. The right to life is the highest human right and all the governments in ASEAN should have committed themselves to this sacred principle at the very outset of the present crisis.

Civil society organizations in the region should also assist in whatever way they can. In this regard, the effort of Malaysian philanthropist, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, is praiseworthy. He was not only among the first to appeal to the Malaysian government to launch a humanitarian mission on behalf of the stranded Rohingyas and Bangladeshis but has also on his own sent aid in the form of medicines, food and water to the Malaysian Navy and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to be distributed to the refugees and migrants in rickety boats at sea.
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World Order and National Interest

A Keynote Speech by Hans Köchler, President of the International Progress Organization, delivered at the 15th International Scientific Likhachev Conference “Contemporary Global Challenges and National Interests”, May 14, 2015

When the so-called “cold war” ended at the beginning of the 1990s, expectations were running high for the emergence of a new and peaceful world order. It was widely hoped that the rivalry between that era’s two superpowers, which was commonly characterized as “East-West conflict,” would be transformed into a stable system of co-operation among all states at an equal level and on the basis of common goals.

The prophesied golden age of “liberal democracy” and “peace,” however, quickly turned out to be a Fata Morgana when it became clear that one party to the erstwhile confrontation – that saw itself as the winner in the global struggle for power – insisted on a monopoly of definition of the basic principles of world order, including human rights and the rule of law. In the years that followed, the majority of United Nations member states nonetheless challenged the remaining superpower’s claim to political and ideological supremacy. Francis Fukuyama’s initial proclamation of the “end of history,” implying global acceptance of the supposedly victorious doctrine, was quickly proven premature.

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‘It is Now India’s Turn to Sustain Asia’s Success’

Edited excerpts from India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address at the Asian Leadership Forum in Seoul, May 19, 2015

Business Standard, May 23, 2015

Asia must not have two faces - one of hope and prosperity; the other of want and despair. It must not be a continent of nations on the rise and others in decline; of regions with stability and others with broken institutions.
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Rhodes Forum Scientific Marathon

Rhodes Forum Scientific Marathon – 2015 (Call for Papers)

The Executive Committee of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” (WPFDC) is happy to announce the Rhodes Forum Scientific Marathon – 2015. Every year starting from 2002, the Forum has been attracting experts from all over the world, bringing concepts and ideas generated in different spheres of scientific and public interest to a focal point, where they can be discussed freely and independently.
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Obama’s Strategic Shift

By Robert Parry, Consortiumnews, May 21, 2015

It’s finally dawning on President Barack Obama the grave dangers that have been created for the American Republic by decades of neoconservative dominance of U.S. foreign policy, but his moves in response to this dire threat remain hesitant and indecisive.
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Vatican Cardinal: Christians, Muslims ‘Still Don’t Know Each Other Well Enough’

By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, May 21, 2015

“Despite 50 years of ‘Nostra Aetate,'” the Second Vatican Council’s document on interreligious relations, “we still don’t know each other well enough,” said French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Speaking May 19 about Catholic-Muslim relations, Cardinal Tauran added, “Most of the problems we face are problems of ignorance.”
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The Secret Corporate Takeover

By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Project Syndicate, May 13, 2015

The United States and the world are engaged in a great debate about new trade agreements. Such pacts used to be called “free-trade agreements”; in fact, they were managed trade agreements, tailored to corporate interests, largely in the US and the European Union. Today, such deals are more often referred to as “partnerships,”as in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But they are not partnerships of equals: the US effectively dictates the terms. Fortunately, America’s “partners” are becoming increasingly resistant.
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World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

“In a diverse world, the destruction of cultures is a crime, and uniformity is a dead-end: our aim must be to enhance, in one movement, the diversity that enriches us and the human rights that bring us together.”
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 57/249, declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.

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