Governor Michael Dukakis introduces BGF Online Conference to resolve conflicts in the Pacific

Jul 2, 2014Statements, Highlights

(BGF) – In the light of current conflicts in the East and South China Sea, the BGF launched an initiative to help ease the tension on July 2, which seeks to build a Framework to Peace and Security in the Pacific. Governor Michael Dukakis, three-term Governor of Massachusetts, 1988 Democratic Presidential nominee, and Chairman of the Boston Global Forum, introduced more about the purpose and plan of the program.

For your convenience, the transcript is provided below.

Hi, I’m Mike Dukakis, the former governor of Massachusetts, now a professor at Northeastern University here in Boston, and the chairman of the Boston Global Forum. Let me tell you a little bit about the forum itself.

About a year ago, thanks to the leadership of Tuan Nguyen, who was the founder of VietNamNet, and now spends a good deal of his time here in Boston we created something we call the Boston Global Forum which is an effort to tap into both intellectual horsepower of so many great minds here in Boston area and at the same time involve good people, interested people from all over the world in trying to help solve some of the pressing challenges we face internationally. And we decided we’d begin by picking a particular topic, and focus on that topic for a full year.

We began with international occupational safety and health standards after the disasters in Bangladesh, and have been deeply involved in that issue. And now we will wanna move to a very pressing and challenging issue which I am sure all of you recognized, and that is how we create a Framework for Peace and Security in the Pacific. I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you about what’s been going on in Asia. A conflict’s not just over islands but conflict over interests, and rivalries which in some cases go back many, many decades if not centuries.

But we think that the current situation there is simply unsatisfactory and unless we can create a Framework for Peace and Security and an International Framework for Peace and Security in the Pacific. And for that matter, in other troubled regions of the world, we’re gonna continue to be plagued with these disputes, these arguments over who owns what in ways which we don’t think are contributing to world peace nor to the peaceful resolution of these issues. And so, we’re going to begin this search for a Framework for Peace and Security in the Pacific on Wednesday July 2nd, at 8 o’clock Eastern Standard Time, US Time, and have invited a large number of people all over the world as we have in our past online forums to join us.

These forums are particularly interesting, because it means we can invite so many of you to participate actively from where you are, in what is effectively an international discussion. We had some extremely good results when we were dealing with occupational safety and health standards, and we hope the same can happen in the course of our effort to explore, and create a Framework for Peace and Security in the Pacific.

We’ll begin on Wednesday July 2nd. We’ll be inviting a number of key people from all over the world, from governments as well as experts, journalists, and others, to help us set the stage for a second conference which will take place on August 4th, and then we planned two more in September and November. Our hope’s being that by November, thanks to the participation of so many of you, in what we hope will be a growing consensus around just how we handle these kind of issues, whether they involve who owns what island, or who can do what in what part of the Pacific, can be done in a peaceful way under the aegis of international law and international institutions. So we hope we’ll be able to involve a great many of you in this and at the same time, especially if it’s more convenient for you, give you an opportunity if you can’t be present at the online conferences, to provide statements, explanations, analyses which we’ll be happy to film and tape in advance and then incorporate in our forums and we’ll be reaching out to representatives of all of the affected governments in the Pacific. Many of whom will be participating with us on the 2nd of July, and again on the 4th of August, others of whom perhaps may not be able to be there physically present, but will be able to participate through comments, analyses, suggestions, which they will make and which we can tape, record and then incorporate them in these conferences.

We’re very excited about this and we think it is very, very important. We’re not resolving these issues very effectively these days, and by the way I don’t just focus on the Pacific. I don’t have to tell you what’s been happening in the Middle East, or for that matter in Europe, and especially in Eastern Europe. So we hope that in inviting you to participate actively in these discussions, and in these online forums, we can come up with an approach to resolving these conflicts.

In any event, we’re very excited about this, and we believe that involving so many of you actively in this, we can make a real contribution to a peaceful solution. Now I don’t have to tell you what’s going on in the Pacific, but perhaps a process of internationalizing the resolution of these disputes, which will not only avoid armed conflict, but which will make it possible for good people, reasonable people, thoughtful people, as I think the vast majority of human beings are, to come together, have good, thoughtful, reflected discussions and then come up with some real solutions to some of these problems. And in that way, we hope the Boston Global Forum can make a real contribution to world peace, and world stability, into a world in which its discussion, debate, and consensus that makes a difference, not armed conflict. So we welcome you, those of you who will be participating in the 2nd of July; welcome more of you, we hope will be with us on the 4th of August and those of you who perhaps could not be with us on those days, but will be participating through taped discussions, and taped statements which we will then try to incorporate in our forums.

Thanks for listening, and we look forward to inviting you to participate actively in this effort.