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Business Leaders Address COVID-19 Impact at ILC2020—Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific—The International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED) hosted Session Nine of the ILC2020—Asia Pacific program, which took place on September 13, 2020. Eight speakers from different economic sectors of the United States, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan and the Marshall Islands presented their perspectives on the theme, “The Role of Business Leaders in the Post-Covid Era.” Specifically, the speakers discussed the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and offered recommendations

Mr. Thomas P. McDevitt is the chairman of The Washington Times. He described the IAED as a new innovative global effort to leverage the strengths of business leadership to pursue lasting peace, prosperity and human flourishing. At the World Summit 2020 in South Korea, which was attended by more than 6,000 delegates, UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, launched six initiatives, including the IAED. Mr. McDevitt also spoke about the mission and vision of the IAED as it moves forward.

Mr. Seog Byung Kim is the chairman of the HJ Magnolia Global Foundation, Korea. He said the pandemic has accelerated interactions between consumers and the providers of goods and services.  Businesses are developing a more customer-centered approach to their operations, which requires establishing trust with customers. He also noted that "[UPF’s] founder has called on us to act as parents in our work…Parents would never neglect their corporate social responsibility for employees, partners or the world." In closing, he encouraged business leaders to take this crisis as an opportunity to strengthen relationships of trust with their business partners and customers.

Mr. Jim Philippo, acting general manager of Tobolar Copra Processing Authority, a government-owned enterprise in the Marshall Islands, expressed his concern that although the island is COVID-19-free, due to the pandemic, it is experiencing economic instability because it is economically dependent on large and rich donor nations. He urged the major economies to strengthen cooperation with one another and involve small nations in dialogues to bring about prosperity and sustainability.

Mr. Henry Lee is the honorary consul of Malaysia in Toronto, Canada. He emphasized that a new leadership type that promotes corporate social responsibility ideals is essential in today's environment. He spoke about Chinese traditional values, especially the concept of harmony, and how some of these values could be relevant in the current crisis. Leaders should be aware that harmony promotes co-existence and co-prosperity by complementing and supporting each other. Current leaders should pursue co-development by seeking commonalities while preserving their differences. Mr. Lee concluded by sharing that he thinks the world may face another crisis in the future, due to climate change or another epidemic, which could threaten the very existence of the human race. But, if people treat each other as members of one big family, as brothers and sisters, and unite and work together, the world will overcome it.

Mr. Hirofumi Sato, chairman of the International Highway Foundation, Japan, agreed on the need for a new philosophy of civilization centered on interdependence, which he defined as an economic philosophy; mutual prosperity, as a political philosophy; and universal values, as a religious philosophy. In addition, he introduced the International Highway Project (IHP) as a project to realize a world of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values. The IHP, which would be formed by high-standard, high-speed transportation networks, embodies the possibilities to realize economic, political, religious, ideological and cultural unification. He further explained that its "synergetic effects" will be expansive and help foster the formation of regional economic zones which can spur rapid economic growth, achieving equalization as a result.

Hon. Danai Ishemkulov is the head of the legal department of UTI International LLC, secretary-general for the Eurasian Council for International Cooperation and Security, and the plenipotentiary representative of legal support of the Kyrgyz Republic. He emphasized that the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic demonstrate the importance of global cooperation, a world order based on mutual trust, mutual support and mutual assistance. It also demonstrates the need to create institutions that can mobilize all forces in times of crisis and take the necessary measures before national governments come to their senses. He also believes that for the first time since the 1998 financial crisis, the social agenda has become, today, more important than the economic one. Isolation, the closure of hundreds of thousands of enterprises and the rise in unemployment has led to a focus on the social dimension and reassessment of moral values.

Prof. Dato Dr. GP Doraisamy Govindasamy is a senior board advisor of the International Business Academy of Switzerland and a senior education business consultant of Bright Newstar, Malaysia. He said the pandemic has strained relations between countries. He suggested that business partners and rivals cooperate rather than compete and added that technology plays a vital role in a business's survival in this new millennium era. He then mentioned the urgent need to reinvent and renovate facilities and amenities for demand to meet the supply of products and services. He concluded his remarks by encouraging business leaders to adopt, adapt and modulate suitable training for their workforce and digitize business concepts to have a successful business in this post-COVID era.

Dr. Tan Monivann is the vice-chairman of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, Cambodia. He called on governments to effectively implement recommendations by the private sector. Based on his observation, other forums or conferences have produced resourceful outcomes, but some of these outcomes have not been thoroughly put into effect. He also encouraged all stakeholders to share best practices on overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and called on countries capable of responding to the pandemic to provide support to those countries in need.

To go back to the executive summary for the Asia Pacific ILC, click here.

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