Kishore Mahbubani: What does the West not understand about Asia?
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.
Question: What does the West not understand about Asia?
Kishore Mahbubani: Well, I think what you are not understanding is the interconnectedness that exists among Asian countries that was split by the western colonial era and then it is now being reestablished again, and the best way they illustrate this is with the Nalanda project, which I mentioned in the book. Now Nalanda was the Harvard of the East. It was the leading place of learning for 700 years from the 5th to the 12th century until the Turkish invaders came and destroyed Nalanda. For 800 years it was forgotten. Guess what? In the 21st century there is an effort to revive it and what significant about Nalanda was, that was the place in India where scholars from west Asia, scholars came form southeast Asia, scholars came from China, scholars came from Japan and from Korea and it shows that the desire to revive this project, shows that Asians want to come together again and the west never reports this, never sees this. There's a new dynamic emerging in Asia that people in the west are not aware of.
Recorded on: 2/28/08
Long before the colonial powers arrived, Asia had its own centers of civilization, Mahbubani says.
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