Long before the colonial powers arrived, Asia had its own centers of civilization, Mahbubani says.
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.