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K. Chanawongse: Address to World Summit 2020

Address to World Summit 2020, Seoul, Korea, February 3-8, 2020


It is a great honour for me to be invited here today to give my views on Toward Peace, Security, and Human Development, which is quite compatible with the three pillars of the UN’s mandate – human rights, peace and security, and development. This mandate focuses on the equity of the human condition in avoiding, mitigating, and coping with threats to sustainable peace in human relationships, and security of freedom from fear and want, when seeking realistic, sustainable human achievement and development opportunities.

Fostering sustainable peace and attainable, secure human achievement and development can moderate poverty, avoid conflict, and deliver a healthier business environment.

The balance of power (technological/financial/economical/political – hard and soft) are shifting and the world is becoming more Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA).

Most contemporary education institutions are not contending well with the education and workplace needs of our VUCA world, due to being mired in the old industrial education paradigms. The 21st century has radically changed the way we interact with one another, live, work, and educate our children. These paradigm changes are facilitated by smart technologies: artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality, blockchain, the Internet of Things, automation, and more.


Peace can be described as tranquillity, or freedom from disturbance. Peace can also include personal unity, righteousness, political justice, and prosperity. National sustainable peace also includes the prospect of using cooperation, dialogue, and/or collaborative problem-solving to promote social justice.

Peace and security are essential factors of human life and are critical to every society, shaping all facets of economic and social development in a country, and to the attainment of human rights.


National government and political leaders commonly talk about eight issues related to human security; economic, education, food, health, environment, personal, community, and political.

Human security involves the creation of authentic opportunities for people’s safety, livelihood and dignity, which must be the global objective for governmental policies around the world.

Security threats can include chronic and persistent poverty, ethnic violence, human trafficking, climate change, health pandemics, international terrorism, and sudden economic and financial downturns.

Human Achievement and Development

Development is usually described as a sustainable process that creates growth, progress, positive change, or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social, and demographic components.

It is well accepted that the human progress and development success of any nation is predicated on the education level of its citizens.

Traditional education instilled the social mores expected in a society of a former industrial era, and along with that came economic transformation, the growth of nation states, and the nationalization of education.

Nationalization of education has often been seen in the West, and Asia, as an important system to maintain national, cultural, and linguistic unity. It has also been beneficial in raising education and research standards, aimed at preparing our children for the new industrial workforce, so the nation states could take advantage of those economic transformations – which translated into political power and national wealth. Living in larger nationally oriented societies, however, also developed and perpetuated national pride (along with xenophobia and national hubris). The national higher-education institutions were the silos for the nations’ information, knowledge, and skills base, along with the professional craft silos (medical, nursing, law, engineering…), and the research hubs for the nation’s scientific and industrial innovation.

As the rapid transformative technological era takes over from the industrial era, we are entering a period of accelerated technological transformation and rapid globalization, which is changing the human achievement, economic, and social landscapes, as well as the environmental landscape. This techno-globalization era is characterized by frequent, rapid, and sometimes unpredictable change, brought on by myriad interdependent events.

Globalization, supported by rapid technological achievements, increases the speed of change, as more competitors from more places produce disruptions. Previously, the global system was treated as a group of self-sustaining silos of power and wealth creation and not as highly interdependent subsystems that make up the biosphere (system) of planet earth.

Like most human-related problems, the answer to solving development problems/questions, including globalizing development, appears to reside in effective education and leadership. This is especially an issue in Thailand during this time of transforming regionalization (ASEAN Economic Community) (AEC).

If all Thais play their part in peace, security, and caring, effective human achievement development for the common good, as good AEC and world citizens, while at the same time retaining the most appropriate uniqueness of being Thai, educational reform will come about.

What must be understood while we embark on contemplating education reform to 21st century education are: the inevitability of change, global trends and drivers of change, future works skills, globalization versus internationalization, transformation of higher education institutions, internationalization of Thai higher education, and good governance.

These are not new phenomena in human history, mostly involving worldwide cross-border interactions – economic, political, cultural, and social connections between people, made possible largely by advances in communication, transportation, and infrastructure.

Worldwide openness will promote the inherent wealth of all nations. It involves the opening of local and nationalistic perspectives to a broader point of view of an interconnected and interdependent world with free transfer of capital, goods, and services across national frontiers.

In general, people mainly focus on economic globalization when discussing globalization, which does not necessarily incorporate unimpeded movement of labour which could be detrimental to smaller or fragile economies when applied arbitrarily.

Often left out of the globalization debate are two offspring on the dark side of globalizing that are being facilitated to bypass legality where there is a weakening or absence of government control, legal system, and morality in relation to cross-border interactions. The first of these offspring is underground globalization: The illegal flow of goods, services, people, finance, and nature – run by criminal cartels. The second, dark-side offspring of globalization is the growth in globalized terrorism, which focuses on political and cultural globalization.

The extent of globalization can be measured by many variables, each with its own paradigm related to many globalization aspects: economics (trade, finance, FDI, portfolio investment, incomes...); political; social; cultural… This process has interrelated effects on the environment, culture, political systems, economic development, prosperity, security, and on human well-being in societies around the world.

Globalization is deeply controversial, with proponents of globalization arguing that it allows poor countries and their citizens to develop economically and raise their standards of living, while the opponents maintain that the conception of an unregulated international free market has only benefited multinational corporations in the Western world at the expense of indigenous ventures, local cultures, and common people.

The consequences of globalization are not predestined; thus an awareness of the potential pros and cons arising from the globalizing process is crucial to shaping the preferred outcome for the people, cultures, traditions, and societies.


I would like to finish by telling you the four major lessons I have learned about change throughout my life:

  • First: Continuous change is the natural order of the universe and thus, inevitable
  • Second: Change presents both risks and opportunities
  • Third: Responding to the threats and opportunities presented by change requires new thinking and applying new approaches, so that new opportunities for progress are perceived and put into action, and detrimental consequences of threats are eliminated, or at least the negative effects of inevitable change are mitigated

Fourth: One must be prepared to accept change and plan for its potential consequences as a new challenging opportunity for progress.



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