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July 06, 2020

Strength lies in Differences. Not in similarities: Prof. Dr Aung Tun Thet

Forum on Diversity Management in the Age of Globalization was held on 22 and 23 November at Mingalar Thiri Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw.
Following is the discussion at the first day forum by Prof. Dr. Aung Tun Thet.

Prof. Dr Aung Tun Thet. Photo: MNA

We must accept the diversity. The youth must accept the differences. What we need to be deserved is we need to accept differences. A very short quotation by President Kennedy is “We can make the world safe for us.” The most basic common thing is we live in one planet, there is no other planet for us, human being. We breathe the same air and there is no parent who doesn’t think of their children’s future. No matter who you are we are all mortal. We must be culturally sensitive. As we cherish our culture we must also respect others culture. We are a member of the United Nations so we must be internationally focused and we must go beyond our national boundaries. We must focus on the future and not on the past. We have the power to shape our own future. We have multiculturalism and in this room there are people from many different cultures, different beliefs but we also have common behaviors and common beliefs and we need to recognize and respect all diverse groups. We must embrace diversity to develop the nation.
Mutual respect is important and we must validate cultural expression and contribution. I hope that at the end of the symposium we can have our collective wisdom used to develop our societies. The new government is encouraging the inclusive approach. I’m so heartened to see the young people because we have so many talents and capabilities and to use that for the development of the country we need a wholesome inclusive environment.
We have people who are so well educated and we have illiterate people but we are together, we are the same. I just want to tell the international guests here that if you stand right in front of Sule Shangri-La Hotel on Sule Pagoda road you will see Sule Pagoda and on your right you will see a mosque and on your left you will see Emmenual Church. We are not about exclusion, please understand us that we are culturally and religiously sensitive.
Today I want to introduce Total Quality Diversity (TQD). When I worked for the UN, it was an honor to work in Africa and Asia, Latin America and Europe. I see different people and the beauty is that they are so diverse. Myanmar is also beautiful with its 150 ethnic groups. When all is said and done and everyone looks like you, then you’ve done it wrong. None of you in this room are the same as me because if all of you are the same as me, life would be boring. Everyone is talking about rights but no one is talking about responsibility. Rights always is accompanied by responsibilities. The challenge is great but so is the reward. Strength lies in differences, not in similarities. If we combine all the differences in our country then we can create a beautiful future for our country. Like Dr. Kofi Anan said, “We may have different religions, languages and colored skin but we all belong to one human race.”
Strength lies in Differences. Not in similarities.


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