13 December 2012: Professor Acharya Delivers the inaugural Foresight Lecture in Berlin
On 13th December 2012, Professor Acharya delivered the Inaugural Foresight Lecture in Berlin on ASEAN and the International Relations of the Emerging World at Potsdam University, Berlin, Germany. The Foresight Lecture is sponsored by the Alfred Herrhausen Society, the International Forum of Deutsche Bank, in cooperation with the University Potsdam, the Humboldt University Berlin and the Freie Universität Berlin.
Speaking in a historic lecture hall of Potsdam University which had been a part of East Germany (the former German Democratic Republic) after World War II till the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Professor Acharya pointed out that ASEAN members were very diverse in terms of their historical background, colonial heritage, religious and cultural characteristics and political systems. Many of the world’s religions including Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Confucianism, as well as Hinduism at an earlier stage, are represented in ASEAN. Political systems within ASEAN include absolute monarchy, democracies, communist regimes, and authoritarian or semi-authoritarian governments. ASEAN also includes some of the richest and poorest countries in the world. Despite this immense diversity, ASEAN has held together for the past 45 years and become a central element of the Asian security architecture. All the major powers of the current international system are engaged in ASEAN-led multilateral institutions. This is all the more remarkable because ASEAN was not created by any great power, and there is no natural hegemon within ASEAN. Since inception, ASEAN has been driven by the initiatives of several members, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore (on economic issues). While ASEAN is not perfect, as a group of diverse cultures and nations, ASEAN’s decentered form and plural leadership presents a potential framework for order-building in a post-American, post-hegemonic world.