Peace and Security Forum 2013: "Islam and Diplomacy: In Search of Human Security"
(Kuala Lumpur, 16-17 May 2013)
On 16 May 2013, IAIS Malaysia, in collaboration with the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), the State of Qatar, The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) and the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF), held the Peace and Security Forum 2013, with the theme, “Islam and Diplomacy: In Search of Human Security”. It was the second such event, after the first in 2011. The Forum featured a keynote address by His Royal Highness Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, Regent of the state of Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia, and eight speakers and moderators. Prof. Mohammad Hashim Kamali (Founding Chairman and CEO, IAIS Malaysia) and His Excellency Dr Khalid bin Muhammad al-‘Atiyyah (Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the State of Qatar) delivered the welcoming addresses.
Raja Nazrin’s keynote address set the theme for much of the discussion that was to follow, pointing to the inadequacy of a statist paradigm of security. Instead, human security shifts the focus to the security of the human person, which means more than just protection from physical threats and external aggression from foreign states, but also security from want, etc., including employment, health and environment. Linked to this is the concept of human development - also formulated by the economist Dr Mahbub ul-Haq - which promotes and advances what human security protects and preserves. Unlike conventional security, human security emphasises the security of the human person and the community, not the state. Human development and human security thus complement each other. But in the contemporary Muslim world, the level of human security leaves much to be desired, hence the urgency to rectify this among others through diplomacy. Diplomacy, when carried out by the state, is interchangeable with foreign policy. And this offers an avenue to engage with the global community, e.g., through the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Early works of Muslims, like al-Tabari’s Tarikh al-Rusul wa’l-Muluk (The History of Messengers and Kings), point to a preference for diplomatic negotiations over military means of resolving conflicts.