- Posted September 2, 2013 by
Thailand: Uniting for the Future
The Honorable Tony Blair and the Honorable Martti Athisari, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I wish to extend a warm welcome to all of you to the first of the Special Lecture Series on “Uniting for the Future: Learning from Each Other’s Experiences”. The Royal Thai government would like to express our sincere appreciation to the distinguished speakers who have given us their valuable time to share their experiences with us today. I would also like to thank the Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of Security and International Studies of Chulalongkorn University for hosting this important event.
The intention of this lecture series is to provide an open platform for all to participate in sharing experiences, ideas, and even personal stories, so we can learn from each other to create unity for peace and prosperity of our citizens.
I believe this first lecture and future forums will contribute to develop developing an understanding of the issues concerned. More importantly, I hope that it will also provide a basis towards practical approaches that can be implemented. Sharing views on ideologies is important but in the end we must be able to put words into practice for the solutions to be long lasting.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We live in a time when democracy is at a crossroad. There are still some attempts to suppress the people’s freedom in many places all over the world. Many of you here believe in democracy and have worked hard to protect and defend the principles.
Democracy guarantees the rights and liberties of the common individual. Democracy encourages individual talent to flourish, allowing equal economic opportunities to take root. And democracy respects diversity and allows any differences to be resolved in a peaceful manner.
And we care deeply about the importance of unity for achieving long lasting peace and stability. This is because stability provides the basis for all nations and regions to ensure sustainable economic and social development.
The challenge for our generation is to build a future that provides our children with the kind of stability where there are less conflicts and ensure an environment where all are given equal opportunities to prosper. The key is for us to work towards a future built around a secure foundation of democracy.
And when I talk about democracy, I do not just mean a system where the majority is the government and the minority the opposition. I mean a culture where all citizens respect each another’s views and where the rule of law is enforced and respected by all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is for the next generation that we are here today. We need to learn from each other and I believe that all Thais can benefit from international experience.
In particular, on how others have resolved political conflict and promoted the development of democracy. Also, on how they have encouraged all sides to set aside differences and work together for a secure democratic future. Of course, we want to hear about the successes but we also want to learn from the failures as well. Especially on what happens when unity cannot be achieved; and on the consequences of political conflict when there is no reconciliation.
I hope that the lessons learnt from case studies of other countries will inspire all of us to reflect more on what is best for our country. This will allow us to take steps forward together in a democratic manner as we seek to unite for the future of the next generation.