Harmony and Respect for Cultural Diversity Vital for Peaceful Coexistence

Phnom Penh, January 15, 2019 –Harmony and respect for cultural diversity are fundamental factors for peace, stability, progress and prosperity in the culturally diverse Asian region.

“[…] It is only by adhering to those principles that we can hope to forge a culture of peace and to put an end to the scourges of war and insecurity, which are still erupting in some places in Asia,” said His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, in a royal message on the occasion of the official launching of the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) in Siem Reap provincial city this morning.

“My Kingdom, for its part, has had our share of bitter suffering a few decades ago until 1998 when we have finally earned our hard-won peace, restored security and brought prosperity to our people throughout the country,” added the Cambodian monarch.

For her part, H.E. Ms. Khuon Sudary, ACC Chairperson, also highlighted the power of culture.  “I believe that building unity in diversity is of paramount importance to peace and development. As Asia is home to diverse culture and tradition, we should embrace this diversity so that we promote intercultural understanding and tolerance, and mutual respect, which, in my view, are absolutely necessary for unity, peaceful coexistence, and preserving peace and stability,” she said in her opening remarks.

The ACC chairperson also laid stress on cross cultural connectivity which is very useful to foster international and community relations as well as to usher innovation through intercultural competencies. “Cultural transmission to future generations is as much vital to nurture the evolution of mankind. I hope to see the ACC also engaging in the development and application of science, innovation and artificial intelligence in cultural transmission in the preservation of cultural heritages,” she continued.

“Fostering religious harmony is another critical focus of culture. […] current conflicts such as in the Middle East and some countries of Asia are partly caused by religious reasons. Religious harmony is fundamental for peace, progress and prosperity in multi-religious Asia. This is where I see another value of the ACC in devoting its efforts to strengthen religious harmony through interfaith dialogues, and  mutual understanding,” she said.

The official launching of ACC took place at Sokha Siem Reap Resort & Convention Centre, with the participation of national and international guests from 26 countries across Asia.

National and international panelists will attend the four round table discussions including topics such as; the Emerging Multi-Conceptual World and Asian Identity, Connecting Culture and Sustainable Development, Harnessing Technology for Civilisation Connectivity, and Building a Community for Common Destiny in Asia.

The ACC meeting will issue a Siem Reap Declaration concerning its work after the discussions which will be read by H.E. Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Vice-Chairman and Special Rapporteur of the ICAPP (Pakistan). This will be followed by closing remarks from the Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Bin Chhin, Minister in Charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Organising the Official Launching of ACC.

Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, who is the honorary founding chairman of the ACC, will deliver his remarks in the late afternoon of Jan. 15 to mark the official launching of the ACC, and he will then host a gala dinner at the Elephant Terrace, Angkor.

The ACC was established in 2018 by the International Conference of Asia Political Parties (ICAPP) and has representation from more than 350 political parties from 52 countries across the region.

The Council is recognised by UNESCO after the tripartite agreement – between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), ICAPP, and ACC—was signed on the Dec. 4, 2018 in Siem Reap.

By C. Nika