Patron: Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand

Existential risks to humanity: The role of Asia

Guest Speaker: Sundeep Waslekar
President of the Strategic Foresight Group (in Mumbai)

Event Date: Wednesday 22nd November 2023
Event Time: 5:30 pm-7:00 pm

Event Location: Bell Gully
Level 4 Bell Gully Building, 40 Lady Elizabeth Lane, Wellington, 6011.

Bell Gully

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Asia has emerged as a continent with most dangerous flash points, some of them including nuclear weapon states. Africa has not had any inter-state conflict except the one between Ethiopia and Eritrea which was resolved a few years ago, though there are intra-state conflicts. Latin America has not had a war in the last 40 years. Europe has a few hot spots including Ukraine, Balkans and Georgia and the war in Ukraine could turn nuclear. However, Asia leads the race in belligerence with conflicts between China-Taiwan, China-India, China-Japan, Korea-West, India-Pakistan, Azerbaijan-Armenia. There is also a race to expand nuclear forces, missiles, submarines and other military equipment. If any of these hot spots turn into a war of continental or global proportion, the very survival of large swathes of humanity will be at stake. Will Asian leaders be willing to turn the tide? Will they follow the Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and the Japanese philosophy of chikyu minzokushugi ? Will they listen to Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’ call at UNGA for nuclear disarmament? Will they build innovative mechanisms of cooperative security and conflict resolution? Will they negotiate treaties to prevent the misuse of Artificial Intelligence and biotechnology for producing weapons of mass destruction? The answers to these questions will not only determine the future of Asia but also that of humankind.

About the speaker:

Sundeep Waslekar is a thought leader on the global future. He has worked with sixty-five countries under the auspices of the Strategic Foresight Group, an international think tank he founded in 2002. He is the author of A World without Warpublished by HarperCollins India (2022). He is a practitioner of Track Two diplomacy since the 1990s and has mediated in conflicts in South Asia, those between Western and Islamic countries on deconstructing terror, trans-boundary water conflicts, and is currently facilitating a nuclear risk reduction dialogue between permanent members of the UN Security Council. He was invited to address the United Nations Security Council session 7818 on water, peace and security. He has been quoted in more than 3,000 media articles from eighty countries. Waslekar read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University from 1981 to 1983. He was conferred D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) of Symbiosis International University by the President of India in 2011.

Bell Gully

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