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C. Kullavanijaya: Towards an Era of Interfaith Cooperation and Peace

Address to the International Leadership Conference, Seoul, Korea, January 2012

The national power of a country may be considered to have tangible and intangible aspects. Tangible powers include the population size, sovereignty, leadership and Chief of State, natural resources, administration and governance, freedom, economy, politics, national defense, human security, science, technology, energy, ecology, and the environment. Intangible powers include languages, history, faiths and religions, customs, rites, traditions, identity, and national prestige.

The population of a country may include people of many tribes, languages, religions, and faiths. What they all want is security, peace, justice, equality, freedom, and the right to property, honor, and progress.

I hope you would all agree with me that the ultimate need of human beings is not only wealth, property, health, or security. We really do need friends. I'm not referring to sexual desire. The fact is that wherever human beings exist, they want others to be there with them. Nobody likes to remain alone. Human existence teaches us how to give and take, lose and gain, be a friend or foe, love or hate, cooperate or compete. Hence, someone who has a lot of good friends is considered more fortunate than someone who has fewer. Good friends and good companions, with their sincere counsel, advice, and assistance, will always be welcomed. Through cooperation, we can live together, share our thoughts, do things together, and help one another. During happy and unhappy times, friendships are maintained.

What, then, are the obstacles to living together in peace?

  • High technology in both communications and transportation make the world smaller.
  • Displacement of people, especially in the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) community, may increase.
  • As people age, they often need more health care, while young people tend to have fewer children, spend more money on food and leisure, and show less interest in traditions and religious rites.
  • As people pay attention to the more distant world, they may be inclined to believe information they receive without developing the wisdom and good judgment to evaluate it; therefore, misunderstandings, conflicts, and radicalization may result.
  • Segmentation of society and regionalism may accentuate differences among people, resulting in inequality and injustice.

A case study of Pattani in southern Thailand

The Pattani region on southern Thailand's east coast was a wealthy seaport some 800 years ago. It became a sovereign state under Siam during the Sukhothai period (1238-1583), in which Hinduism and Buddhism were the main religions, and the rulers were Buddhists. During the Ayutthaya era (1350 to 1767) Pattani was a self-governing principality paying tribute to a king in what is now northern Thailand. The chiefs of Pattani became Muslims in 1405, influenced by the spread of Islam brought by Indian and Arab traders. After a trade route was established in Malacca (on the west coast of what is now Malaysia) in 1567, the Pattani state often rebelled against Ayuddthaya; this continued until western colonization around 1893. Under British rule, part of the Pattani  region remained with Thailand and part became Malaya.

The Pattani legacy as an Islamic state separate from the Thai government to the north lives on in religion, language, and tradition. Issues of injustice, unfairness, poverty, and differences in tradition, language, and faith are listed as causes to separate.

With people of various religions and faiths living in southern Thailand, cooperation can be facilitated by religious leaders based on religious principles. The participation of local people in administration and logistics should be promoted as a way of peacebuilding.

His Majesty the King, as the Chief of State, clearly understands that the problems in the region are not rooted in differences in faith. His advice is for all the people to cooperate peacefully. Getting rid of drugs, crimes, and illegal trade in both merchandise and human beings should be expedited. He encourages the strategy of "approaching and developing."

“Sufficiency Economy” is also the philosophy that has been promoted by H.M. the King over the past three decades; it emphasizes a “middle path” at all levels, from the family and communities up to the nation. “Sufficiency” means moderation, reasonableness, and protection from negative impacts due to internal and external changes. 

Background note contributed by UPF-Thailand: The insurgencies in the southeastern tip of Thailand started more than 50 years ago. There are religious, language, and cultural differences between people in the southern region and other parts of Thailand; there are many conservative Muslims, and people have felt that government officials, including police and soldiers, did not respect them but rather looked down on them. The Krue Se Mosque and Tak Bai incidents in 2004 and 2005 strengthened extremist elements and escalated a separatist campaign. Heavy weapons have been imported with the support of extremist elements from outside Thailand, and there have been hundreds of cases of bombings and shootings. Many people criticized former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for his way of dealing with the violence, including kidnapping the head of the Muslim lawyers association of Thailand who lived in that area. A military junta deposed Prime Minister Thaksin, and later coalition governments have attempted to deal with the insurgency, but without success.

Toward an Era of Interfaith Co-peration

And Universal Peace


Charan Kullavanijaya



Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

            I should like to extend my sincere thanks to the President and the Secretary General of the Universal Peace Federation, Dr.Thomas G. Walsh and Mr. Taj Hamed in inviting me and the UPF-Thailand group to join in this International Leadership Conference (ILC). In which we shall have a good chance to visit the Peace Palace to celebrate the birthdays of the UPF’s Founders during this conference. Please accept our sincere appreciation and gratitude for this very kind hospitality.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

            National power of one country may be considered tangible and intangible. Those tangible powers include number of population, sovereignty, leadership and Chief of State, natural resources, administration and governance, freedom, dependency, economy, politics, national defence and people security, science, techonology, energy, ecology and environment.

While those intangible include languages, history, faith and religious, custom, rite, tradition, indentity and national prestige.


            In a country people may consists of many tribes, languages, religious and faith. What they all want is security, peace, justice, equality, freedom and right to include properity, honour and progressiveness.


            I hope, you would all agree with me that the utmost need of human being is not only wealth, properity, health or security, but we really do need friends, the same human kind. This is not a sexual desire but the fact is where ever human beings exist, people would like to be there with them. No body would like to stay alone. Existing of human kind teaches us how to give and to take, loss or gain, friend or foe, love or hate, co-operation or competition. Hence, one who has a lot of good friends seems to be luckier than those who have lesser. However, good friends and good companions, with their sincere counsel, advise or assistances shall always be welcomed. Through co-operation, we can live together, think together, do things all together and helping each other. The products may be a happy or unhappy solution but friendship shall have to be retained.


            What is then the obstacle of living together in peace of to-day society?

1.      High technology in communications both modes of travelling, and frequency network make the world smaller.

2.      Displace of people world widely shall also be easier especially in the ASEAN Community in the forth coming 2015.

3.      Increasing of the age people might need more health care while the youngs shall have smaller family who spend more money for food and leisure, paying lesser attention and interest in old tradition and rite while spending more time and interest in world information far away from themselves through new technology mechanism, easily believe in what they learn without proper consideration and judgement and may cause more misunderstandings, conflicts and radicalism. Segmentation, Grouping Partisan and regionalism may also agitate more differences among people through the point of unjust and inequality.







A Case Study of Interfaith Co-operation for peace in the 3 provinces of Thailand is

that : The vicinity of Pattani province was, in the past, a wealthy seaport some 800 years ago. Pattani became a suzerain state under Siam since Sukhothai period while the chief of that state were Buddhists and through Ayuddhaya and Bangkok while the chief of state became Muslim in 1405. After the Persian trade road through Malacca, there have been many riots of Pattani state against Ayuddhaya since 1567 and there after until western colonization arrived in Malaysia around 1893.With this colonialism, Malaysia and Thailand became the 2 countries in this area while Pattani and the vicinity is in Thailand and some area in Malaysia. Those heridity of Pattani family’s strategy in separation from Thailand as an islamic state clings to differences in religion, languages and tradition by deviating religion as their instrument to fight. Raising the point of unjust, unfair, poverty and different in tradition language and faith as the cause to separate.


            With various religions and faiths in Southern Thailand, co-operation needs to be conducted are principles of leadership through their religions. Participation of local population in administration and logistics should strongly be promoted peacefully.


            His Majesty, the King, as the Chief of State clearly understands that the problem is not caused by different in faith and others mentioned. His advice is to co-operate with all population peacefully. Getting rid of drugs, crimes, illegal trading both merchandise and human being shall have to be done promptly. The Principle of “To understand, to approach and development” is a strategy to be conducted.


            “Sufficiency Economy” is also philosophy bestowed by H.M. the King over the past 3 decades stressing the “Middle path” to be conducted at all levels, families, communities up to the nation. “Sufficiency” means moderation, reasonableness and the need of self-immunity for sufficient protection from impact arising from internal and external changes. This philosophy is adopted by over 140 countries around the world.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

            I should end up now. Thank you very much for your kind attention and wishing you all the best for the Lunar New Year in this beautiful country. Sincere thank the host for the very kind hospitality. Thank you so much.