UCSI University’s World Interfaith Harmony Week 2020 was launched in a grand way on February 18, 2020 with the theme ‘The Importance of Love To Society’. To set the tone for the event, UCSI students from around 30 different countries waved their respective flags to honour the occasion. Dressed in traditional attire, the students demonstrated that different races and cultures can live together in peace and harmony in a country such as Malaysia.
Present at the event were Deputy Head Director for Planning from the Department of National Unity and Integration Puan Aldrina @ Mimi O.P. Andu (representing Senator Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for National Unity and Social Wellbeing); Vice-Chancellor and President of UCSI University Academician Senior Professor Dato’ Dr Khalid Yusoff and United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malaysia,
Representatives from the different religions in Malaysia – Buddhist, Islam, Hindu, Bahai, Christian, Sikh, Tao and Orang Asli – gave a short presentation in the Harmony Forum on the importance of love according to their respective religions. They shared on how in a world where there is so much of hate, distrust and disharmony, it is essential to build love in society to make a better world for all of us.
As the religious leaders shared their thoughts, it became apparent that the central issues discussed by all included the necessity of love to God, to mankind and then to all the creatures in the universe. Another important issue discussed was the need to find common ground between all the religions and not focus on the differences.
In his speech, Academician Senior Professor Dato’ Dr Khalid Yusoff highlighted that we are living in a world of increasing contradictions and of decreasing humaneity and understanding.
“We prefer to take the easy way out; to differentiate rather than integrate. This is an era devoid of values. We need to bring back meaning to higher education,” he said.
Stefan Priesner gave an inspiring speech about his experiences with the UN while emphasising four values: respect for one’s culture, absence of discrimination, compassion and love for future generations.
As Puan Aldrina took the stage to deliver her speech, she reflected on how in Australia at one time, children were oblivious to the colour of each other’s skin and were ‘blind’ to this sort of racism. This is surely the kind of attitude we must adopt today.
Next was the launch of the Centre For Peace and Unity Education hosted by UCSI Group. 10 representatives from different NGOs were invited on stage including Blue Ribbon Global Founder Norani Abu Bakar.
The Centre was inspired by UCSI’s SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Secretariat Office to build a society that lives out the core principles of multicultural life through sound transformative education that develops human relationship and promotes conservation of the environment, especially among the youth, aligning its implementation towards the Global Agenda 2030.
UCSI will continue to pave the way for a peaceful and harmonious Malaysia by organising thought-provoking events such as these for the benefit of students, staff and the community.