America has done more than any other country to change the world. Yet, paradoxically, America is one of the countries least prepared to handle the world that it has changed. America has sprinkled magical stardust into the eyes of billions. It has made them believe that they too can succeed and thrive. Yet the world order remains frozen in time. The multilateral architecture is a fossilization of the 1945 power structure. The world has changed. But its structures have not. Global contradictions are emerging. America should begin to prepare itself for them. Ambassador Mahbubani will explore and discuss these and related ideas drawn from his latest book (forthcoming in 2005).
Kishore Mahbubani modestly describes himself as ?a student of philosophy.? Others, less modest, have called him ?an Asian Toynbee, preoccupied with the rise and fall of civilizations? (The Economist) and a ?Max Weber of the new ?Confucian ethic?? (Washington Post). Without question he is one of Asia?s leading public intellectuals. His many publications include the provocatively titled Can Asians Think? (1998). His thirty-year career as a diplomat has included postings in Cambodia, Malaysia, and the United States. He was president of the UN Security Council in January 2001 and May 2002 and a fellow at Harvard University in 1991-92. He holds degrees in philosophy from Dalhousie University (1976) and the University of Singapore (1971).
This is the tenth Southeast Asia Forum seminar of the 2003-2004 academic year.