Nobel Laureate To Speak At Pangkor Dialogue In Sept

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KUALA LUMPUR: Participants to the fourth annual Pangkor Dialogue on sustainable development will have the opportunity to hear from world renowned figures such as Bangladeshi social entrepreneur and nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus (pic).

The Grameen Bank founder, who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering the concept of microcredit, is expected to deliver a keynote address at the three-day dialogue that takes place in Ipoh from Sept 5-7.

Also expected to speak at this year’s conference is Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, who is likely to share insight on the Gross National Happiness Index pioneered by his country as an alternative model for measuring economic growth.

Organised by Institut Darul Ridzuan (IDR), a think tank affiliated to the Perak state government, the three-day dialogue will feature a large-scale gathering of policymakers, investors, academics, entrepreneurs and NGOs to discuss responsible and inclusive development initiatives.

IDR chief executive officer Dr Mazalan Kamis said the ability of Pangkor Dialogue to attract global personalities like Muhammad Yunus and possibly Tobgay was testament to how much it had grown in a short span of time.

He noted that the Pangkor Dialogue had some obvious parallels to Davos, Switzerland, which is the annual venue of the World Economic Forum (WEF) featuring global leaders.

“Davos was hardly on anyone’s lips four decades ago, but look at the billions of dollars it is bringing in now as a result of WEF. That parallel is quite strong with Pangkor.

“Our first international conference in 2013 had 400 attendees, which is exactly how much Davos started with. What is unique about us is that we’ve grown so much over a short period of time.

“Last year, we targeted 600 participants but got almost double. This is something Ipoh has never seen,” he said at a media briefing, here, recently.

This year’s conference will allot more time and space for business meetings, networking, and trade shows, according to Dr Mazalan.

Business representatives will even be able to begin conversations with potential partners before the actual event via a soon to be launched app, culminating in a face-to-face meeting during the dialogue.

“I’m confident that we are moving in the right direction, and that what we offer is the best platform to discuss how people can conduct business responsibly and how we can derive policies in a more effective manner,” he said.

IDR has to date compiled reports on key findings from the three previous dialogues and distributed them to relevant state agencies and departments so that they can be used as reference for ‘best practices’.

For the first time, there will also be at least one segment that discusses the impact of global terrorism on sustainable development policies.

“In the current climate, you cannot detach terrorism from talk of sustainable development, so the topics of safety and security need to be explored further,” he said.

IDR is targeting a higher number of international participants this year, and Dr Mazalan says he’s confident that Ipoh has the infrastructure to accommodate such a high-level meeting.

He noted that while the conference was called Pangkor Dialogue, it could not be held in Pangkor as the island was not equipped with the facilities to host the event.

“There is a very strong intent on taking it to Pangkor one day so that we can drive development on the island. But at the moment, it is not ready for an international conference,” he added.