DAN GANNON FOR THE HOYA Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak discussed foreign diplomacy and the future of Asian policy in Gaston Hall on Tuesday. His speech kicked off the Lecture Fund’s event series this year.
DAN GANNON FOR THE HOYA
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak discussed foreign diplomacy and the future of Asian policy in Gaston Hall on Tuesday. His speech kicked off the Lecture Fund’s event series this year.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak spoke about the future of Asia’s government and security in Gaston Hall on Tuesday.

Razak’s lecture, which focused on key issues such as the rise of China and the role of the United States in a multipolar international order, marked the first Lecture Fund event featuring a head of government this academic year.

“The way we respond to these issues will determine Asia’s future,” Razak said. “Confronted with the complex disagreements between states, Asia must place its trust in diplomatic solutions.”

Gaston Hall was filled with students as well as members of delegations from both the Malaysian and U.S. governments Tuesday.

After recognizing the past dominance of the United States on the global stage, Razak then discussed the emergence of many Asian powers including China, Japan and India, not only in regard to their economic transformation but also their political reforms.

“We must heed the fundamental principles upon which diplomacy is conducted: sovereign equality, respect for territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes and mutually benefiting relations,” Razak said.

Razak, who came to Georgetown after attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, also emphasized his personal connection to the university during his speech, praising the education two of his children received in the School of Foreign Service and reminding students to tread carefully, both on the Exorcist Steps and on the seal outside of Healy Hall.

The prime minister talked about the positive influence of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which Malaysia will chair in 2015. He asserted that the ASEAN code of conduct can help alleviate disagreements like those surrounding the territorial claims on the South China Sea.

Razak outlined key questions and issues that he believes will shape the future of Asia, regarding the rise of China and other nation’s reactions to Chinese leadership, the role of the United States in a multipolar world, and the shifting position of Japan in the 21st century.

After Razak finished his comments he spoke with US-ASEAN Business Council Vice President of Policy Marc Mealy. During this time, Razak condemned the actions of the Islamic State Group.

“They don’t speak for us. Whatever they are, and whatever actions they’ve done, they are against Islam, they are against God and they are against humanity,” Razak, whose country is primarily Muslim, said.

He stated that religious freedom in Malaysia has embraced the true ideals of Islam, which has resulted in over 40 years of peace and stability.

During a question-and-answer session following the talk, students asked Razak about issues ranging from the banned study of political science in Myanmar to his personal advice for young people.

One student questioned the heavy media censorship and the treatment of the ethnic elite in Malaysia, prompting a response from Razak that stressed Malaysia’s emphasis on democracy and an open society that can be clearly seen on social media.
Monica Mahal (COL ’17), who attended the event, said that she was impressed by Razak’s lecture.

“The prime minister touched upon a lot of themes that apply to all types of Georgetown students,” Mahal said. “He handled his questions very graciously, and he also shed light onto his personality which made the whole conversation much more enjoyable. … Overall it was really an informative and very enriching lecture.”

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*