Second Annual Ikeda Peace & Harmony Lecture: “RE-THINKING ASEAN: The Problems and Prospects for Regional Peace”

29 Nov 2016
  • Former Philippine Senator Dr Leticia Ramos-Shahani on ASEAN’s history, challenges and opportunities
  • Lecture on 4 November 2016 marked the late Dr Wee Kim Wee’s 101st birthday
  • SMU’s Wee Kim Wee Centre successfully concluded the second of five lectures supported by Singapore Soka Association

The Singapore Management University (SMU) proudly presented its Second Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture by former Philippine Senator Dr Leticia Ramos-Shahani on 4 November 2016. 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 was more than qualified to address the topic of the lecture.

Entitled “RE-THINKING ASEAN: The Problems and Prospects for Regional Peace”, the event presented by the Wee Kim Wee Centre drew a 300-strong audience at SMU’s Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium. The distinguished guests included His Excellency (HE) Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio A. Morales and officials of the Philippine Embassy; and Assistant Secretary Lila Ramos-Shahani, Secretary General of the Philippine National Commission for UNESCO, who is Dr Ramos-Shahani’s daughter.

[Photo (left to right): Dr Leticia Ramos-Shahani sharing candidly with the audience at the engaging question-and-answer session, moderated by SMU President Prof Arnoud De Meyer.]

SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer noted in his welcome remarks that 4 November 2016 marked the 101st birthday anniversary of the late Dr Wee Kim Wee, Singapore’s fourth President. The lecture was timely to celebrate his extraordinary life and mission, and to pay tribute to a leader whom the Wee Kim Wee Centre is named after. Dr Wee had always maintained that if Singapore as a small nation in turbulent waters did not have peace and harmony, it would not have survived. 

In her lecture, 87-year-old Dr Ramos-Shahani, younger sister of 12th Philippine President Fidel Ramos, spoke on the history of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and also analysed its successes and challenges.

Established in 1967, ASEAN has over 600 million residents with diverse languages, cultures and religions. Dr Ramos-Shahini’s late father, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Philippines Narciso Ramos, had signed ASEAN’s founding document – the Bangkok Declaration – for the Philippines.

As ASEAN approaches 50 years of existence next year, Dr Ramos-Shahini highlighted ASEAN’s relative success thus far and how current government leaders continue to bring peace and prosperity to this region that is one of the most diverse and challenging in the world. ASEAN offers valuable lessons for many other regions and people to learn from.  

After the lecture, the audience enjoyed a lively question-and-answer session with Dr Ramos-Shahini, moderated by Prof De Meyer. Her insightful responses, along with the candid exchange with Prof De Meyer and the audience, garnered much applause.

The annual lecture series, supported by the Singapore Soka Association for five years, was set up in honour of Dr Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International. It is aimed at fulfilling Dr. Ikeda’s untiring commitment of promoting peace through dialogue. The lectures address and discuss ways in which we can transform threat and difficulty into challenge, cooperation and growth.

The first lecture was delivered by HE Professor Dr Surakiart Sathirathai on 6 November 2015, who spoke on “The Continuing Challenges to Peace”.

[Photo: Dr Leticia’s lecture held at SMU’s Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium was well received by the 300-strong audience.]

[Featured photo (right to left): SMU President Prof Arnoud De Meyer, Singapore Soka Association Chairman Mr Michael Yap, and SMU Wee Kim Wee Centre Director Assoc Prof Kirpal Singh thanked Dr Leticia Ramos-Shahani (second from right) on the successful conclusion of an insightful lecture.]

Last updated on 4 Apr 2017.

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