Third Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture on Creating Interfaith Dialogue and Understanding in a Multicultural World
Thursday Nov 30,2017
The Wee Kim Wee Centre (WKWC) held the third Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture on Creating Interfaith Dialogue and Understanding in a Multicultural World on 20 November 2017 at the Singapore Management University (SMU).
The lecture was part of a five-year seminar series supported by the Singapore Soka Association (SSA) and set up under the custodianship of the Wee Kim Wee Centre in honour of Dr Daisaku Ikeda, President of the Soka Gakkai International. “Soka” refers to “value creation” in Japanese. Aimed at creating a deeper understanding of peace, increasing interfaith dialogue and augmenting research and collaborations, the lecture was the second in a series of five sessions that will discuss ways to transform threat and difficulty into challenge, cooperation and growth.
Helming the lecture this year was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a noted humanitarian and an ambassador of peace. He has played a key role in conflict resolution and spreads his vision of non-violence at public forums world-wide. Gurudev has received particular credit for bringing opposing parties to the negotiating table in Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Kashmir, Bihar and Colombia.
A firm believer of education as an effective instrument of peace, especially for children in conflict zones, Gurudev has started 435 schools in India offering free education to the underprivileged. During the lecture, he discussed the importance of multicultural education as the remedy for fanaticism and radicalism to achieve sustainable peace in the world.
Gurudev also highlighted the importance of reinforcing human values, in terms of furthering universal respect for humanity through interfaith and intercultural dialogues. He has championed these values with the Art of Living, an international non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization that he founded, which offers educational and self-developmental programmes to help individuals to eliminate stress and foster a sense of well-being. Appealing not only to a specific population, these practices have proven effective globally and at all levels of society.
SMU’s WKWC held the second Annual Ikeda Peace & Harmony Lecture in November 2016, where the late Dr Leticia Ramos-Shahani, a former Philippine Senator, spoke on “RE-THINKING ASEAN: The Problems and Prospects for Regional Peace”. As Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs as well as Assistant Secretary General for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations previously among numerous roles, Dr Ramos-Shahini provided rich insights on ASEAN’s history, challenges and opportunities and her views on preserving peace.
In November 2015, His Excellency (HE) Professor Dr Surakiart Sathirathai, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, and current Chairman of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC), delivered a lecture on “The Continuing Challenges to Peace” at SMU, inaugurating the five-year Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture series.
Featured photo: (L-R) Associate Professor Kwok Kian Chow, Director of Wee Kim Wee Centre, Mr Michael Yap, Singapore Soka Association Chairman, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ms Ruth Kuok and Kuok Khoon Ean, Chairman of Kuok (Singapore) Limited.