Singapore set to convene first International Conference on Cohesive Societies to drive global collective action for peace and harmony, with King Abdullah II of Jordan delivering the keynote address
Thursday 25 April 2019
Time: 16:00hrs Singapore Standard Time (GMT +8)
Singapore, 25 April 2019. Singapore will host the International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS)from 19 to 21 June 2019, drawing on the diverse expertise of about 700 international delegates across academia, government, religious groups, and civil society to help shape the future of cohesive societies.
His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will deliver the Keynote Address at the ICCS, bringing his substantial experience as a global leader in promoting interfaith understanding and dialogue across religious communities. His Majesty has led a number of important international initiatives aimed at promoting tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Among these critical interventions are the Amman Message, the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, and the Common Word Initiative. His Majesty King Abdullah will be received by Madam Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore, at the three-day conference. Both heads of state will be addressing the conference, which has been convened at an especially urgent time for dialogue, understanding and collaboration.
Stressing the importance of interfaith efforts, His Majesty King Abdullah II had said,
“A dialogue of respect is the rock-bed of all societies. Attacking and excluding others, insulting other peoples and their faiths and convictions – this is no way forward. The future lies in unity and respect, not division and stereotypes.”
Under the theme “Many Communities, One Shared Future”, the ICCS will serve as a platform for dialogue on the complex challenges that are widening divides within societies across the globe, and encourage collective action to bridge these gaps. Organised by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, the ICCS will be held at Singapore’s Raffles City Convention Centre.
Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS said:
“In this age of global disruption and turmoil from technological change and identity politics, there is a constant need for more dialogue and mutual understanding across communities. Improving social cohesion is critical to addressing many global challenges. RSIS wants to enrich this dialogue process and contribute to the forward thinking on how nations can realise peaceful co-existence and harmony in diversity.”
Peaceful and prosperous communities are built on strong social cohesion. However, building trust and understanding between religiously and culturally diverse communities must be an ongoing collective effort by all. Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth said:
“Building social cohesion is a shared responsibility, and all of us must do our part. Dialogue is especially important for us to learn from the experiences of others and strengthen ties between communities. With deeper mutual understanding, we can work side-by-side towards a shared harmonious, peaceful, and better future. This is a continual effort – through the conference, we hope to learn how others bridged social divides, even as we share Singapore’s experience.”
The Conference, comprising three plenary sessions and six breakout workshops, will explore issues related to faith, identity, and cohesion in a global context. It will examine the role of inter-religious relations in preserving social harmony; the interplay of religion, ethnicity, and culture in the development of a common identity; and the strengthening of societal bonds by countering extremist narratives and promoting shared values across communities. Each plenary session features a panel of renowned speakers, experts in their respective fields, who will facilitate active discussion with the aim of generating new, practical solutions. The breakout workshops will allow delegates to explore issues in greater detail.
The ICCS also aims to harness the ideas and energy of youth, being preceded by a two-day Young Leaders’ Programme from 18 to 19 June 2019. This programme provides a platform for the next generation of young leaders from around the world to address pressing social challenges and share ideas with like-minded collaborators. Held as an “UnConference” where participants shape the mode and topics for discussion, the Young Leaders’ Programme takes on an innovative and dynamic format to empower youth to take charge of tomorrow’s challenges.
President Halimah, who has championed continuous efforts in building cohesive societies, as well as the sharing of ideas on how to do so, said:
“The ICCS will be a platform to facilitate mutual learning among our communities internationally. The purpose of the Conference is clear – to address the challenges to social harmony and ensure that we continue to strengthen the cohesion within our societies. We live in a world increasingly fraught with conflict and danger. The social fabric of many communities is stressed by extremism, exclusivism and polarisation. It is therefore important for us to grow trust across communities. This will always be a work in progress, so it is an effort we must constantly invest in. I thank His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for accepting my invitation to deliver the keynote address at the ICCS.”
Click here to read the official media release from ICCS.
Last updated on 25/04/2019