The words “world peace” tend to evoke warm, euphoric feelings in the hearts of most people. The profound idea of world peace may even cause us to wax poetic, dreaming of the utopian concept of people of diverse colors, races and creeds all living together in peace and harmony. This ideal of peace on earth also tends to give us an inner sense of peace and joy. It creates a feeling of goodwill and makes us want to strive for higher principles, be good people and have a broader vision and worldview. It inspires us with desire to build a world without borders. This ideal cannot be limited to any one institution or organization. It should be a part of each one of society’s institutions whether it be the family unit, communities, townships, districts, cities, states, nations, regions, continents, or the whole global community!
Peace and brotherhood is not a treasure that can be hoarded by any individual or entity. It is the heritage of all mankind. If any facet of society aspires to forge an atmosphere of peaceful harmony and brotherhood, it must foster unity and an atmosphere of understanding among its members. It must embrace the individuality that contributes to the common good of all. It should encourage those with creativity who can practically apply their good ideas for the benefit of the whole community.
An example of this principle that we have seen from recent years is the OTOP program (One Tambol [sub-district] One Product) which provides a mechanism whereby products and innovations developed at the grassroots level can be showcased at a much broader platform, in some cases even on a global scale. OTOP products are almost all the result of individual talent, creativity and innovation.
This, for example, is also what sets apart an artist from just a regular person – it is the unique ability, charisma and talent a person has which transforms him or her from the average person to a popular artist. And that is just one example of individuality that stands out; there are outstanding and exemplary people from all walks of life and professions with unique aptitude, expertise and acumen, almost boundless capacity. But many such people have never had the opportunity or wherewithal to enter conventional institutions of higher learning perceived by society as the earmark of competence or qualifications. There could be any number of reasons why such people haven’t or don’t take the route of institutionalized learning. Often it is due to financial restraints; the lack of connections in “higher places” to facilitate this; inaccessibility to needed facilities, equipment or modern technology; or even the fact that their inborn natural ability and intellect gives them such self-confidence and distinction that it even threatens the status quo of those in academia, evoking envy or disdain among the higher echelon of the education establishment. The mentality that conventional institutions of higher learning are the only acceptable endorsement of qualifications has become ingrained in Thai society for a long time, to the point that it tends to impose unnecessary limits on new ideas , initiative and creativity.
We lament that good people are too afraid to act, while fools fearlessly abound. All too often it is apparent that good people are passed over while bad people enjoy promotion and patronage. Capable and intelligent people are discouraged and stifled by needless restrictions, while those in power neglect principles of good governance. Bad people use academic credentials as a license to step on good people who lack the audacity to do the same. This gives rise to the perception that as a public official, if you strive for goodness and integrity, your prospects for advancement look very bleak. So those who should have been good officials change colors to feed their ambition for promotion and position. Consequently we are seeing an increase in injustice, inequality, lack of kindness and courtesy, indecency, carelessness and incompetence in society; and good people who truly deserve to be honored go unrewarded and unrecognized. In the presence of this, how are we to foster peace and harmony in society, when we allow goodness, justice and moral standards to be defined by those who are motivated by their own private interests?
The World Peace University was born of the vision and ideals of an accomplished academic with a love for the concept of universal peace. He had the courage to apply his knowledge and experience as a teacher and professor to this grand undertaking. In terms of credentials, he bears the distinction of having been a professor at Chiang Mai University for 30 years. He stands out as someone who has the courage to embrace new thought, the guts to speak out, and the bravery to act. He has held many posts as a leading academic and administrator in both leadership and subordinate capacities. He has the courage to inspire his students to think out of the box and the fortitude to express his ideas in literary works. In the pursuit of his vision he has had to countenance opposition from his academic peers, but still did not abandon his quest to put forth new ideas and break out of traditional boundaries for academia.
At last the world has begun to catch up with him, and the concept of education not bound by traditional confines, as is the norm in this country, have started to gain acceptance.
This courageous pioneer is Professor Emeritus Dr. Sawas Bunturngsook who signed a Joint Statement with UN-ESCAP and UNESCO on the Drive for Peace on June 12th, 2000.
The objectives of World Peace University are to further the ideal of world peace, and in particular to foster greater peace in Asia via the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot providing a land route for expansion of the idea of education not limited by conventional boundaries; to internationalize Thai education standards for those who aspire to learn and have a passion for free study unfettered by stifling limitations; to hold true to traditional means of higher education while not being sidetracked from our core principles; to officiate and recognize the intellect of those who have practical real world achievements.
The more we move forward, the grander our aspirations become and the greater our influence grows, as evidenced by the increasing number of partnerships being forged whether with numerous institutions, including Chiang Rai University, as well as individuals through many trips abroad for doctorate studies, academic activities at the professor level, writing groundbreaking scholarly literature that transcends conventional bounds, and organizing training programs for those who have a thirst for knowledge and want to develop their abilities as teachers and instructors. All of these things make it clear that it is the mission and duty of World Peace University to invest in the quality of individuals in order to raise the level of thinking of those individuals and empower them to change, to accelerate that change for it to be in sync with today’s world, and bring the world to a point of greater peace and brotherhood that we all dream of. This cry for peace is getting louder and louder in so many quarters and slowly breaking down the borders and barriers that stand in its way.
The World Peace University is comprised of a group of likeminded academics, administrators and business people who have banded together to establish it in Thailand with the support and partnership of many foreign academics who share the same vision. Its offices are located at 506 Parkside Place, Indian Harbor Beach, FL 32937 USA. Tel: 321 777 2323.
Professor Emeritus Dr. Sawas Bunturngsook is Rector of the university. Chair Professor Dr. Rewat Chatreewisit is President of the University Council. Honorary Professor Dr. Supanut Donchan is Registrar of the University. Many more notable academics and experts in various fields are also joining the official inauguration of the University on the 3rd of November, 2012 at the Shangri-La Chiang Mai Hotel. On the occasion of the University’s inauguration, the University Board has compiled a list of outstanding members of society upon whom to bestow honorary degrees, including honorary bachelor’s degrees, honorary master’s degrees and honorary doctorates. These candidates were selected on account of their seniority, achievements, experience, and valuable contributions towards the betterment of society. They include both public officials and regular people who have lived lives of integrity and made their mark on society, setting an example that others can follow and benefit from, which is in fact a contribution to public learning and education.
On this occasion the University will also give special recognition to those with outstanding academic qualifications by appointing them as professors emeritus, honorable professors, and honorary professors.
We are confident that those awarded with honorary degrees and whose achievements we are awarding will be heartened and motivated to continue to be examples to society and to form a network for communication, exchange of ideas and learning that spreads out to the farthest corners of the earth. This will create a pool of universal knowledge that people the world over can tap into to develop thoughts and actions.
Henceforth may good people, capable people, wise people not be restricted by boundaries placed on them by narrow-minded society. And forthwith may the affording of opportunity, support and greater quality of life to good people of the world be a seed of flourishing peace on earth to the tearing down of old walls that separate us.
The World Peace University fosters a world of forward thinking, a world of knowledge that embraces diverse learning cultures. We celebrate sagacious members of society, and honor those with rich experiences that form a creative model for life. There are many more such people in all walks of life and from every strata of society. We hope that the ideology of elevating the quality of people and the celebration of humanity which we are now commemorating will multiply and expand far and wide.
We wish to congratulate the erudite and talented people whose achievements we are hereby awarding with honorary degrees which they have rightfully earned. We are confident that they will not remain idle, and we hope that the distinction we confer upon them will propel them forward in continuing to employ their unique abilities to foster global goodwill, universal peace, and brotherhood between people of all cultures, creeds and walks of life.
World Peace University
November 3rd, 2012