Kishore Mahbubani: Modernity in the Islamic World
Kishore Mahbubani was appointed Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on 16 August 2004 after having served 33 years in the Singapore Foreign Service (with postings in Cambodia, Malaysia, Washington DC and twice as Ambassador to the UN, during which he also served as President of the Security Council). He was the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry from 1993-1998.
He is the author of Can Asians Think? published in Singapore, Canada, US, Mexico, India and People’s Republic of China and of Beyond The Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World. His new book entitled The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Gobal Power to the East was published in New York in February 2008. He was also listed as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines in September 2005.
Kishore Mahbubani: The main reason why the West should welcome the rise of China and India is that the rise of China and India is now providing an alternative model for Islamic societies. As you know in the past, the perception was that the only model was to become completely westernized. Now they realize they don’t have to take that road. They can follow China and India, have economic development, develop a middle class that is modern that is open to the rest of the world, that sends its students to study the American universities and that is the integrated with the rest of the world. And that’s the much better vision for the Islamic world than the alternative one that Osama Bin laden is putting forth. And up until now the choice that the Muslim countries had was between the West which they saw as the anti-Muslim and Osama Bin laden and now comes along the China-India option and that’s wonderful and frankly when I travel to Pakistan, for example, when I went tho one of the universities called LUMS in Lahore. To see all these young Pakistanis trying to get MBAs, trying to get jobs in a modern corporations, that’s what you want to see them do and I think that’s happening.
Recorded on: 2/28/08
With the Asian model as an example, moderate Muslims can take a middle path to modernity, Mahbubani says.
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