9th Forum 2000 Conference: “Our Global Co-Existence: Challenges and Hopes for the 21st Century”

Prague, Czech Republic

The Forum 2000 Conferences have been held with great success for the past eight years under the preeminent leadership of President Havel. As you know, this forum was first established to provide a place where intellectuals and leaders could come together to share their wisdom and experience. Here, they have developed concrete measures towards the common goal of world peace. Globalization has been a central topic throughout the series of forums.

The first five years of the forum were dedicated to the formulation of broad philosophies on globalization. The past three years, on the other hand, have consisted of more advanced and specialized discussions, aimed at the development of codes of conduct based on these shared philosophies. In other words, we have worked on the development of a new paradigm for social change. And now, as President Havel has said, the time has come to put these plans into action.

The Shared Concern Initiative, a brainchild of the forum, lead by President Havel, has already begun to put various plans into action. The Initiative is composed of a number of forum participants, including myself. It issues joint statements, with the aim of addressing and resolving the important challenges of today’s world. It is a significant initiative aimed at putting ideas into action.

The theme of this year’s forum is Global Co-existence: Challenges and Hopes for the 21st century. When we think about the challenges we face for global co-existence, I can not help but always feel that the current globalization process falls short in terms of humanity and ethics. I believe that we need to return to the basics and create a new kind of globalization. One with a human face.

Last winter, I received a Christmas Card from Prague, with the one-line message: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to you.” That message is very similar to the message that I had been trying to convey, using various expressions, at the beginning of every forum. “Do not do to others what you do not want done to you,” is a philosophy shared by various religions in Asia including Hinduism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. I also believe that it is the basic law of peaceful human coexistence. You could even say that this idea lies at the foundation of human ethics. I would be very pleased if we could say that this Asian notion is gaining wider recognition and understanding, for I believe that acceptance and patience for different views and ideas lie at the core of human nature.

Looking around at this year’s participants, I feel very encouraged. We are fortunate to have many delegates who are most qualified and eager to discuss the issue of global co-existence, its challenges and hopes.

This is exactly the direction that this forum has been heading, from the very beginning. The diversity of participants here is evidence that we are on the right track—that we are well on our way to realizing our goal: to provide a platform, where a diversity of values can interact and promote greater understanding and tolerance. I would like to welcome all of you gathered here. I look forward very much to a lively and constructive exchange of views on our common concerns.

In closing, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the organizers of the forum for their hard work in organizing such a wonderful forum.