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11th President Abdullah Gül’s speech at the American University of the Middle East in Kuwait

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11th President Abdullah Gül’s speech at the American University of the Middle East in Kuwait




It is a great pleasure to speak here today to such a distinguished audience. I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings to all of you and thank Chairman Mr. Al-Othman for his kind introduction.

I am very much impressed by this beautiful campus. Indeed, since 2003, the brand of American University of the Middle East has become renowned for its academic excellence and quality.

I am pretty sure this great academic institute will never stop seeking the better to be able to adapt to the changes in our world.

Distinguished Guests,

Today, the sweeping impact of globalization is causing a paradigmatic shift in our understanding of the world at large. Unquestionably, globalization is much more than a simple economic state of affairs.

In the political sense too, territories are no longer a sacred shield of national sovereignty. Even, the most consolidated economies and democracies are not immune to the process of global exposure of opportunities and challenges.

This situation brings many dilemmas to your generation.

On the one hand, scientific and technological innovations and increased welfare offer enormous opportunities that you can enjoy.

On the other hand, poverty, terrorism, civil wars and radicalization pose a clear and present danger to the very essence of our values and social fabric.

When we look at the developments in and around our region, primarily in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, and their spill-over effects in Turkey, Europe and elsewhere, the prospects are getting even gloomier.

The chaos, the destruction of resources and the humanitarian tragedy arising out of these conflicts and terror campaign are beyond our comprehension.

It is not only the human capital that we lose but all the resources of or region is vanishing.

We as the international community would soon be ashamed of atrocities and human sufferings taking place on daily basis in our region because of our inaction.

But, more than anybody, the Islamic world should engage itself in a sincere soul searching efforts to assess the wrong doings that we have been committing for decades.

We should frankly answer the question as to why we are allowing our brothers and sisters to consume themselves and their countries in many places of the Islamic world.

To be honest with you what is happening in Iraq in Syria, in Libya in Yemen are due to the ambitions, imprudent actions and insufficient behaviors of the leaders in the region and the actors of outside of the region.

What we see today called ISIS, ISIL or DAESH you can call it by any name, this is the crystallization of political and ideological, economic and social issues that has been airing in the region for a long time.

Europe as a whole and many of the European countries did face same kind of problems during the Middle Ages, which is called as the dark times.

Thousands of people died in the ethnic and sectarian wars among the countries. Famine, diseases, poverty took the lives of ordinary people everywhere in Europe.

However at the end of the day they managed to find their own solutions to all these problems through dialogue, common wisdom and concerted actions. That is how they reached at the peace and modern nation-state system in Europe.

In the meantime they had invested in education, science and technology which led to Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution.

I sincerely believe that we as the people of the Middle East, the Muslims would do better and we are at the verge of this process, which will take us to a better future.

It is clear that in spite of its rich cultural heritage, human power and especially natural resources, the peoples of this region have not been restored to the place they deserve.

What we need is a comprehensive political, economical and social effort that includes and come from the people of this region to overcome the current chaotic situation.

Of course, it is first the leaders of region, who must leave aside infightings and approach the issues from a wider angle and with a large-scale vision.

We as the leaders should come together and create an environment that will facilitate better future for our people. Otherwise, it is clear that solutions for our own problems will be found and imposed from outside.

Those solutions might not be appropriate for our people and might create even further problems. Thus, extremists and radicals will continue to benefit from this unhealthy atmosphere to exploit the religious or ethnic differences.

In this regard, I would like to appreciate my Dear Brother Sheikh Sabah al Jaber al Ahmet al Sabah for his wisdom and his tireless efforts to seek lasting political solutions to the current challenges.

Distinguished quests,

In any strategy aiming at long term peace, stability and welfare in any region, education and good governance must be the main focus.

What is good governance, what I mean by that. The universal understanding of good governance is the set of values and principles such as rule of law, justice, transparency, accountability, equality and etc.

Why education and good governance, Because, eventually, the ultimate struggle to eliminate the current challenges, be it poverty, be it radicalism, ethnic and sectarian issues, can only be waged by education and good governance.

Yet, my suggestion does not imply that we should remain indifferent to the security challenges threating our nations.

On the contrary, we should, and will have to fight against these challenges with all the means that we possess.

However, a decisive victory over all those forces of evil can only be won by education, by good governance and by creation of a new generation who combines our own values with the sprit of the time.

Therefore, on many occasions I have been constantly urging the governments to invest in education, to implement the principles of good governance and to put their homes in order. So that they can achieve peace, stability and welfare.

I am glad that since its inception, the State of Kuwait has always been one of the leading actors in the Gulf region in promoting these values and supporting peace and development.

As a defiant nation to the foreign aggression and terrorism, under the able leadership of my Dear Brother Sheikh Sabah Jaber al Ahmet al Sabah, Kuwait has never lost sight of economic development and of the cardinal importance of scientific progress.

Kuwait did not shy away from allocating enormous resources to research and development activities and innovative enterprises. Your university is a testimony to this vision.

Distinguished Students,

Speaking from personal experience, all I can leave with you today is the strong but simple advice that you never shy away from taking responsibility and that you should lead when you can.

Graduating from this University, you will be equipped with the necessary tools to succeed as young leaders. You will build your country’s future.

It is my firm conviction that your generation would be more successful in building a much freer, safer, more prosperous, peaceful and egalitarian society.

With your outstanding merits and strong values that you adopted at this university, you will make an enormous difference for the good of yourself, your societies, our region and beyond.

Thank you very much again for the invitation, It was a pleasure to be among you, and I wish all of you the best.

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