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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

February 2018
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Speeches

We need to take into account the full dimension of human beings, particularly the religious dimension—which is not fully integrated into debates at the international institutions or at the national levels. Despite that, we can say there is hope, because in national conflicts, especially in Africa, the belligerents and peacemakers find it impossible to reach an acceptable solution without integrating the religious leaders and traditional leaders in the peace process.

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Media, with its access to the vast realm of information technology, should take on a responsible role in expressing opinions in a fair, ethical and responsible manner; concise and compact versions of opinions expressed by journalists contribute to the formation of public opinion, since people are generally too busy for copious reading. Opinions so formed influence social, national and international decisions. Such is the importance of the media and journalists that the media has now been dubbed the Fourth Estate coming after the legislature, executive and the judiciary.

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Not only has poverty been feminized but so have wars. Efforts to support peacemaking and peacebuilding for women must be hailed. Women must not be merely the victims but also the victors.

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Palauan culture has traditionally been characterized by our strong family and extended family relationships, the central role of religion and spirituality, and our system of traditional leaders and chiefs which has historically formed the basis of our social organization, governance and system of justice.

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Good governance has become an important issue in national and global politics. It has gained importance with the demise of the Cold War and the resurgence of democratic ideals. The emergence of global threats and challenges has further accentuated its importance. According to Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, good governance must go beyond national interests, national boundaries and legal obligations to embrace interreligious values in order to establish lasting peace.

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I appreciate the opportunity to offer a few remarks at this important World Russian Forum. Russia and America, once dire enemies and both such important nations in the world, can now pursue a path of cooperation and partnership. We want to consider issues related to the part of the world where the US and Russia are in fact neighbors.

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Muslim thinkers have recognized the importance of morals and ethics in guiding human development and have been cautious about aimless progress. For example, both al-Ghazali and Ibn Khaldun argued that the pursuit of knowledge, particularly scientific development, must never be divorced from ethics and values. While reason and knowledge, and indeed economy, have an important place in the development of human societies, they ought to be subservient to ethics.

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In talking about ilm (knowledge and education), I want to focus on two main areas: (1) imbuing our students with the necessary skills so they can lead useful lives, and (2) inculcating values to guide Muslims in lifestyles that will prepare them for this dunya (world) and the hereafter, and in the direct process honor the raison d’etre of being mu’min (true believer).

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Thomas Friedman, the well-known columnist for the New York Times, wrote a memo in the New York Times addressed to King Fahd, asking him to totally reorganize and restructure the education curriculum in Saudi Arabia that produces terrorists. I suggested to him, “Why don’t you write another letter to Tony Blair, asking him to restructure the education system of the London School of Economics, which produced another terrorist?”

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I would like to draw your attention to this issue of educational integration. Especially as we are facing the globalization of the dominant culture, we should take into account the cultural, historical, and educational aspects of education. We have very deep and very strong values of peace. So, how do we develop the curricula and the textbooks and reform the educational institution to meet the needs of our multicultural, multi-faith, and multi-ethnic society?

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At the end of a Religious Youth Service project in Hungary, a Jewish participant told me, "When I see a Muslim I think they want to kill me. But somehow, you have shown me that not all Muslims want to kill Jews. If you ever come to Israel, you are welcome to my house.” That statement changed my life.

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The world has witnessed numerous ideologies, including colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, and communism. All of these systems have failed to bring true harmony among people of all faiths, simply because they were made to do away with religion. Governments isolated religion from society, and people were told to keep their religion inside their place of worship.  We ended up with two Gods: one inside the place of worship, and the other god is government.

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