(Remarks of Former Speaker Atty. Jose de Venecia Jr., at the Special Video Conference of the ICAPP Asian Cultural Council (ACC), March 19, 2021)
Every aspect of our ordinary life is being challenged: Our security by extremist terrorism; conventional economics by the unintended consequences of globalization; accustomed politics by a great wave of populist rebellion; familiar environment by climate change; and most recently, our health and well-being by a deadly global plague.
Peace in the world is also our universal longing – and our most shared, yet elusive goal.
Our need for a renewed sense of community
We, however, refuse to believe that we have lost the will – the spirit – the ability – to forge a renewed sense of community that will enable us – together – to deal authoritatively with our collective problems.
We believe brotherhood, understanding, and cooperation have a place in global society – just as they have in our face-to-face communities.
And we see the building blocks of a new world order in the institutions of global civil society – like the ACC – already at work on most international issues and challenges, especially in erecting an edifice of peace, through economic, political, and cultural exchanges and cooperation; and in creating a better world for the next generation.
Building a global community
What can we do to help speed up the building of a global community?
What contributions can we make in the building of a road map for peace in the Asia-Pacific Region and in the world?
Revive the Interfaith Dialogue
We urge our grouping in this conference to devote time and effort to help revive and start off a new series of dialogue among the great religions, great cultures, and great civilizations – the “Interfaith Dialogues” – that we initiated in the United Nations system in 2004, as a way of helping resolve politico-religious conflicts, strengthening the religious moderates, and isolating those who advocate terrorism and violent extremism in the name of religion.
The Interfaith Dialogue upholds a global culture of peace and mutual understanding.
Community is the wave of the future
Over this last decade, the Asia-Pacific groupings clustered around ASEAN have contributed to reducing tensions in our home regions. But, looking forward to the next 15 to 20 years, the Asia-Pacific still seems the hemisphere with the greatest risk of major armed conflict.
The only real solution – the only lasting solution – to these tensions is to embed all our countries in a network of economic, political, cultural, and moral relationships – in an Asia-Pacific community of consent and through a sustained dialogue among the great religions, great cultures, and great civilizations of Asia and the world. This is perhaps the formula for building regional and global peace that will endure.
Community, then, seems the wave of the future – not only for ASEAN but for the whole of East Asia, the Asia-Pacific, and indeed the world.
And it will be our generation’s burden – and glory – to lay the foundations on which these communal and moral structures are to be erected, so that those who come after us can then turn without distraction to the work of delivering our people from their bondage to poverty, ignorance, ill-health; to the ever-increasing threats of conflict, war, terrorism and extremism; and the new frightening challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.
Thank you and good day.