HRH Samdech Norodom Sirivudh
Founder and Chairman, Board of Directors
Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP)
Asia Cosmopolitan Awards Commemorative Forum
Nara Prefecture, February 3, 2012
Excellency Mr. Shogo Arai, Governor of Nara Prefecture
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of those who share common East Asian Community ideals, let me express my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Nara Prefecture for the warm hospitality and wonderful arrangement.
Located in one of the most geostrategic, cultural and economic places in East Asia, Nara is the bridge connecting our region. Known as the last destination of the historical Silk Road, Nara is now the destination for the evolving East Asian ideals and values.
Two years ago, I came here to commemorate the 1300-year anniversary of Nara. This year, I return to take another step further to joint hand and head with East Asian fellows, especially the people from Nara Prefecture in a common effort to promote an East Asian Community.
The Asia Cosmopolitan Awards Commemorative Forum and the kick-start of the Asia Cosmopolitan Awards provide a great opportunity to tap on the wisdom of East Asians and also strengthen human relationship and networking.
I am proud and honored to be part of such common endeavors in promoting East Asian values and identity. Talking about economic integration in East Asia, we need to emphasize on cultural integration as well. To put it simply, regardless of how modernized and developed we are, we will be nothing without cultural identity. We need therefore to sustain economic-cultural linkages and connectivity.
Why does the East Asian region face difficulty realizing an East Asian Community although we have strong market integration? The answer is simple: the speed of cultural integration has been slow.
We the people of East Asia remain hostage to our past differences and politicized historical legacy. There is still a long way to go and hard work has to be done to reduce the gap of misunderstanding among our East Asian people.
The development gap in the region keeps us distant and apart from each other. It is very difficult for us to have a common speed if we don’t address the development gap urgently. It is also about the justice of regional integration. We need to make sure that no one is left behind. We need to grow and prosper together.
Human resources development and capacity building for the least developed countries is the key. The Regional Institutes Network (RIN), comprising of 16 research institutes from East Asia, under the leadership of ERIA can play significant role in this regards through the knowledge transfer activities such as short-term trainings, workshops, and seminars.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I strongly believe that with our common wisdom and practical commitment, we together can construct a net to support a peaceful and prosperous East Asia with inclusiveness and justice.
I always believe in the power of ideas and vision. Every small effort can make a big change as long as it is working within a sustainable human network. So the value of this forum just rests with that.
Finally I am humbled to wish you all the best and may our wisdom and voices be shared across all of East Asia.
Thank you very much for your kind attention!