This year I attended my eighth Rhodes Forum. I cannot begin to express how inspiring and rewarding our Rhodes Forum 2011 has been for me and all other participants and delegates. We all left the Forum much energized and hopeful for a better future for our troubled world. We engaged with each other and debated many issues and challenges and we all discovered how the WPFDC is so well placed to provide the solutions needed to guide us to a better world. Of course the icing on the cake for me was when our good friend, Prof. Fred Dallmayr, addressed us all as the new Co-Chairman of the WPFDC.
This year’s Forum was very special for me. I was very much blessed to be involved with the Forum in different ways and capacity, wearing my different hats. One, I was there as the member of the WPFDC International Coordinating Committee (ICC). Two, I was the co-convener of the Panel 5 (Education) along with my learned friend and colleague, Prof. Nur Kirabaev. I thank all our panellists and participants for making our panel such a resounding success.
Then, I was invited to make a presentation on the economics of family values and the recent riots in England at the Family Roundtable. This was followed by the invitation to make a presentation on globalisation, education and the role of civil societies at the German-Russian Forum, as well as my presentation at the Concluding Plenary Panel on Sunday. Then, on Tuesday I was invited by Rhodes Youth Forum to reflect together on the current global challenges and the possible path to move forward to build a better world.
These presentations gave me a great opportunity to discuss, first-hand, with many participants. One thing became very clear to me: we are all searching for the values that are so destructively missing from our world. The values that their absence has brought us all such a bitter harvest. Everywhere I went, everybody I spoke with, told me how worried and concern they are that there is no sense of the value of anything or anyone beyond price, profit, earnings and bonuses.
In all these meetings I heard the anger and concerns of a great number of people, on issues such as corporate greed, corruption, dishonesty, lack of trust and integrity, the youth unemployment, job insecurity, environmental degradation, wars, terrorism, education, healthcare, housing which have all become more and more inaccessible. I heard the concerns about our common future, the failure of globalisation, the failings of our political, economic, business, banking and educational leadership, as well as the demise of traditional and trusted family values and principles.
All whom I met and I engaged with want to see a life of meaning, a life of respect, trust and dialogue. They want to see a world guided by moral compass, kindness, generosity, giving, sharing, sympathy, empathy, humility, peace and justice. They want a life that is for the common good and a life of dialogue of civilisations. And most importantly they all saw that the WPFDC is giving them hope, is providing the necessary and needed vision and mission, so that together we may build a world that is just, progressive and prosperous for all.
The WPFDC’s vision and direction is the correct and the right path. This is so, as hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, employed and unemployed, black and white, man and woman, they all came together in a continuing global dialogue of civilisations on Saturday 15 October 2011, in thousand cities, 82 countries and six continents demanding a better, kinder and more humane world, the very same values that the WPFDC has been championing from the very first day.
I am sure we are all eagerly looking forward to our Rhodes Forum 2012, celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Forum, our contributions and achievements.
With each passing day, it is also increasingly evident in every corner of our world that great change is upon us and that by standing together in mutual respect, honour and dignity for one another, we will answer this call with creative, viable and sustainable solutions.
We must take the necessary steps now to reach out to our fellow humans and extend our hand in forgiveness, acceptance and genuine friendship. Our choices shall be made from compassion while embracing the richness of our amazing diversity. The love and acceptance we have for ourselves will be the source of our strength to assist others. Together we can and will make a difference through dialogue and the common good.