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Symposium: "Intercivilisational Dialogue towards Peace, Harmonious Coexistence and Sustainability"

On October 23 and 24, 2012, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) and the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue (CCDUM) at University of Malaya (UM) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, co-organized a symposium titled "Intercivilisational Dialogue towards Peace, Harmonious Coexistence and Sustainability" held at the university's Academy of Islamic Studies.
This was the first joint symposium held in an Islamic country, and it contributed to advance further inter-civilizational and interfaith dialogue with Islam, which IOP founder Daisaku Ikeda has conducted with leading thinkers, including Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, Süleyman Demirel, former President of Turkey and Nur Yalman, Research Professor of Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.

On October 23, Prof. Dr. Mohd Hamdi Bin Abd Shukor, Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya delivered his congratulatory speech and former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad presented a special lecture.

Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad, who announced the “Look East Policy” in 1982 and built a foundation of economic development in Malaysia, met SGI President Ikeda in 1988 and 2000 and engaged in dialogue on Malaysia and the world in the twenty-first century.
In his lecture, Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad touched upon the importance of peace, coexistence and sustainability and noted that one day there will be peace and harmonious coexistence between people of different races from different countries. He expressed his hope that this symposium will be a step forward towards creating an era where wars will be forbidden.  
In one of the sessions on the environment, Former Director of CCDUM Prof. Datin Dr. Azizan Baharuddin spoke on a sustainable future and the role of dialogue. Deputy Vice Chancellor of INTI-Laureate International Universities Prof. Dato’ Dr. Ibrahim Bajunid, the IOP senior research Fellow Dr. Shuichi Yamamoto and IOP Research Fellow Dr. Hideyuki Matsumori also introduced their views on the “environment” and “coexistence.”

Prof. Datin Dr. Azizan BaharuddinProf. Dato’ Dr. Ibrahim Bajunid

On the second day, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Zaleha Kamaruddin, Rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) spoke on “The Real Image of Women in Islam” in the same session on “Gender.” IOP Senior Research Fellow Dr. Toshie Kurihara also gave a speech on “Buddhism and Women: From the View Point of Soka Gakkai International” In the final session, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Syed Alatas of the National University of Singapore and IOP Director Dr. Yoichi Kawada spoke on “peace.”
The signing of an MOU between IOP and CCDUMLastly, Dr. Raihanah Abdullah, Director of CCDUM presented a summary report of the symposium and congratulated on its great success. Utusan Malaysia (Malay language newspaper) and New Straits Times (English language newspaper) of Malaysia also carried articles on the symposium, which resonated with many readers.

 A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering academic cooperation between the IOP and the CCDUM was signed by Dr. Kawada and Associate Professor Dr. Raihanah Abdullah, director of CCDUM. Tun Dr. Mahathir witnessed the signing ceremony.

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