I.P.O. Information Service

New World Order -- Ideals of Dialogue and Delusions of Power

I.P.O. President delivers keynote speech at National Defence University of Pakistan

Islamabad/Lahore/Vienna, 2 April 2017/26411c-is

The “New World Order,” solemnly proclaimed upon the end of the Cold War, has proven to be a short-lived illusion of those who saw themselves as the winners of that era’s power struggle, said the President of the Vienna-based International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Köchler, in a keynote speech at an international conference on “Islam and Modernity in an Age of Transition” at the National Defence University (NDU) in Islamabad. He further stated that the international community has lost the moral compass, which guided the founders of the United Nations Organization in the spirit of dialogue and mutual respect among all nations after the catstrophe of World War II. In the quarter century since the collapse of the global power balance at the end of the Cold War, the unipolar ambition of the new hegemon has profoundly destabilized the international order and undermined the efforts at a global dialogue among civilizations.

However, armed interventions in the name of “humanity,” while endangering peace at the worldwide level, have also triggered a process of self-assertion by peoples and countries subjected to the policies of the dominant global power. The prematurely declared “End of History,” described as victory of the Western model of society, has proven to be a false eschatology, Dr. Köchler continued: “No one, not even the most powerful and glorious ruler, can arrest history.” What we are witnessing instead is the end of the unipolar vision of the world and the gradual transformation of international relations to a new, and more complex, multipolar system. Concluding his speech on “Moral Philosophy and the Coming World Order: A Dialogue of Civilizations to Counter Global Hegemony,” the President of the I.P.O. said that dialogue is only possible in such a situation where a balance of power exists: “How humane and peaceful the transition will be, depends on each and every one of us.”

On the sidelines of the conference, Dr. Köchler met with the President and Commandant of the National Defence University, Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar, Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) (2014-2016); Senator Mujahid Husain, former Minister of Information of Pakistan; and with the co-organizer of the conference, Dr. Ejaz Akram, Professor of Religion & World Politics and Advisor to the President of the NDU. In programmatic remarks at the opening of the conference, General Akhtar outlined the geostrategic vision of Pakistan in the emerging multipolar order, referring, inter alia, to the project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The conference at the National Defence University (NDU) in Islamabad followed a series of debates at a three-day meeting in Lahore, the capital of Punjab, on the theme “Building Bridges: Discovering the Foundations for Interreligious Harmony.” Co-sponsored by University of Management and Technology (UMT) (Lahore), Intersections International (New York), and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs of Georgetown University (Washington, DC), this was the sixth in a series of annual conferences initiated by the US-Pakistan Interreligious Consortium (UPIC). In addition to researchers and religious leaders representing Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities from the United States and Pakistan, speakers from Austria, Australia, Canada, Indonesia and Malaysia were among the 60 delegates attending the conference. The Consul General of the United States, Mr. Yuriy Fedkiw, and the Minister of Higher Education of Punjab, Mr. Raza Ali Gillani, delivered statements at the opening session. Mr. Shamshad Ahmad, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, chaired Plenary Panel One on “Interreligious Harmony in the Global Context.” In two of the thematic plenary sessions of the conference, the President of the I.P.O., Dr. Hans Köchler, lectured on “A Realistic Perspective of Interreligious Harmony” and “From War on Terror to Politics of Populism and Nationalism.” In the course of the conference, he met, among others, with the President of the University of Management and Technology, Dr. Hasan Sohaib Murad.

In connection with the meetings in Lahore, delegates from the United States and other countries attended the lowering of the flags ceremony at the Wagah border crossing between India and Pakistan, a daily military practice that the Border Security Force (India) and Pakistan Rangers have jointly followed since 1959.

  • The Nation, Lahore

  • Text of keynote speech


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