On World Philosophy Day 2022 UNESCO the World took two cultural leaps; one for Democracy and the other over Eurasian Bridges for Peace. Democracy was nurtured in New York [Democracy Forum, Obama Foundation]. Coincident with the inaugural of the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum and a long way from New York in down town Kuala Lumpur the inauguration of Eurasian Bridges for Peace occurred. They are breaking new cultural ground.

Both events represent partnerships with prestigious institutions. In the West, it includes the American Universities of Columbia and Chicago. In the East the Gual Periok Foundation, Malaysia and the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD) University for Peace established by the United Nations, Belgrade, in the company of the World Philosophical Forum, Athens. It facilitated an examination of the Koran from a perspective of philosophy held up to the mirror of Hellenic classical philosophy, whose promotion is the mission of the World Philosophical Forum.

Both attracted experts from around the world. In the West, President Obama always captivating of his audience discussed protection of, and ways to strengthen democratic values and institutions. In the East, the inauguration of Eurasian Bridges for Peace was conducted by Dato Dr. Halo-N, beduziiaman (Malaysia) and gracious host of the event, Professor Ljiljana Markovic (Academic Director, ECPD) and myself, Honorary President, World Philosophical Forum all three of us senior professors in the ECPD, Belgrade. Numerous universities were represented, UNESCO was present as well as the former Minister of Education, Bhutan where success in this world is not seen in terms of the GNP but in terms of the Gross Domestic Happiness Index (GDHI). Participants came from three continents, the Americas, Asia and Europe and I make the claim that this project is already shortening the intercontinental bridge.

In a world of gloom and doom where Peace is absent and the application of Philosophy is urgently needed these events we believe are items of breaking world news.

Eurasian Bridges for Peace works in the name of democracy and is a means to push back the clash of cultures. It is based on a developing Alliance that reflects upon Goethe’s Al Quranic expression: To God belongs the Orient, to God belongs the Occident. Northern and Southern lands rest in the peace of His hands. We believe it is an item of breaking world news, a most worthy event in a world of gloom and doom where Peace is absent and the application of Philosophy is urgently needed.

Scholars in the Western world are grateful to Islam for having recorded and studied the knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman civilization and providing information and ideas to Europe during the High Middle Ages.

With scholars at risk all over the world it is a truism that today here in Malaysia, history is being made as Europe and a Christian country Serbia recognize the achievements of postgraduate students in an Asian and an Islamic country Malaysia. History is being made by 14 graduates in Al-Quranic philosophy. They are architects, engineers, lawyers, scientists, economists and others. You have broken new ground, new cultural ground. This we believe is a most worthy event and positive international news in a world of doom and gloom; in a world where Peace is absent and the application of Philosophy extremely limited.

History is being made through Eurasian Bridges for Peace in the study of the Al Quran. It is examined and interpreted freely and without restriction and has led to a diploma conferred today by the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD) University for Peace established by the United Nations, Belgrade.

This Convocation takes place on UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day, a day of reflection, questioning and a search for a new approach to our one and only world. With humanity in the shadow of a nuclear nightmare in front of the gates of Armageddon, doing nothing is not an option. We have instruments to close the gates one is Eurasian Bridges for Peace. It can help humanity bypass what the Austrian philosopher Günther Anders called apocalypse-blindness in Western society. It can help us deal with the rapidly growing mindset of concern that tells us that there is little time left to look back and that we must intensify and expand our efforts to reshape the future. Without its reshaping our children may inherit a world where Spring may vanish with the Rose, Youth's sweet-scented manuscript may close! Where in the branches the Nightingale no longer sings?

Our metaphor of Eurasian Bridges for Peace can change human understanding towards peace, civilization and modernization. It comes with the hope that the influence of old doctrines will be set aside as higher education centers of learning around the world adopt it, especially in Malaysia. Maybe just maybe Malaysia will revive the spirit of humanity through showers of philosophical studies and turn institutions of higher learning into pleasant gardens. The ECPD can accompany you along that path. Difficult is that path and sharp is the razor’s edge.

Eurasian Bridges for Peace is facilitating a new global dialogue, between Christianity and Islam with the guiding principle of equity and compassion concepts-sentiments found in the Holy Bible and the Al Quran. It is conducted here in Malaysia by the Gual Periok Foundation with an outcome of a new advanced diploma. The accomplishments of the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD) are well recognized. From its inception it has coopted scholars of world-repute; one of the most recent being Dr, Halo-N. Its current President is Federico Mayor a former Director General, UNESCO. Once UNESCO saw itself as a philosophical institution standing against confrontational logic within the so-called clash of cultures.

I believe that your studies Philosophy and Al Quran are a first step to introducing Al Quran philosophy to the entire world. This is the first time in Al Quran’s history that its elaboration-interpretation is made based on philosophy and with an emphasis on the philosophical guidance system named Bayan knowledge, pertaining to concepts and ideas. The Al Quran is not only a religious book but a book of life, belonging to the world and we all have the privilege of opening and studying it.

This book of life is not solely bound to religion and can be imprinted by all professions to provide guidance and solutions to issues of practice, problems faced. It is reflected in Surah 59: Al-Hashr 21 a philosophical verse revealing Al Quran’s vast reservoir of knowledge. One of Al Quran’s strengths lies in its philosophical ingredients within the context of mother of all books-mother of all knowledge.

Philosophy, which is derived from the Greek for “love of wisdom”, requires a wise approach to today’s existential problems as the classical philosopher Socrates well-knew. Socrates did not believe democracy would work because of a lack of wisdom to understand the average citizen. Aristotle thought otherwise. He also said that the future is hidden from all men and great events hang on small chances. Classical philosophy placed its seal on the cradle of European civilization but seems abandoned in UNESCO, not considered in the elaboration of the World Health Organization’s evolving committees on the origins of COVID-19 and its expertise is now not even present in the UN. The only organization advocating its revival is the World Philosophical Forum.

Eurasian Bridges for Peace is the first path to the integration of humanity. It conveys a sense of global citizenship and consequently it is related to Hellenic philosophy. The Al Quran teaches mankind how to carry itself as human beings and in the sense of remember your humanity and forget the rest a powerful sentiment. It comes from the Russell-Einstein Manifesto (1955) and is a reference to Hiroshima and the dangers of nuclear weapons. As we face global destruction today, these words are a universal guide.

The direction taken is towards a revival of cultural, moral and spiritual entities integrated into modern life to promote rightful humanitarianism. It is expressed in the concept of peace and prosperity (prosperous) in all aspects of life as introduced in Al Quran, with peace the ultimate goal in life. One must strive in life to achieve prosperity before death. It is a philosophy that teaches people to create their own strengths by the expression of wisdom and imbues them with an eloquence to enlighten their abilities to benefit themselves, their country and the world. It is the peace of the Bible that passeth all understanding.

What we have done so far and here unblushingly I count myself, is to create an alliance for a new cultural educational capability, a new Eurasian competence. It comes under the banner of the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD) and brought to fruition through a specific project Eurasian Bridges for Peace (2020). It is officially launched today.

Today, I must congratulate Dato whose determination and dynamism have driven the process to make the first noticeable difference in shortening of the bridge. I must also say thank you to Negoslav Ostojic for providing understanding and support as well as a catalytic key to make headway on the bridge and reflect on my own resilience for withstanding the pressures of both.

With respect to our celebration one message with warm greetings came for both Greece and Malaysia from my friend Nicolas Hagger, UK, poet and philosopher and to sequential World Philosophical Forum’s, the 13th and recent Dialectical Symposium in Greece and tomorrow, here in Malaysia. In his message the Special envoy to United Nations and Chairman of the Universal State of the Earth and Supreme Council of Humanity turned back the clock to 1939 a time when nation-states were pursuing their own agendas and self-interests not thinking of the necessity of a supranational vision of the world. His positive message for all humankind is that beneath all conflicts there is an underlying harmony.

Socrates would applaud the efforts of the World Philosophical Forum today and all who seek to unite humankind. He would I am sure congratulate the graduates of Philosophy and the Al Quran who have further reduced the span of the intercontinental and our Eurasian Bridge. Together with Socrates we wish you peace and prosperity throughout your years. Peace be unto you and with the advice of an ancient Greek song: While we live shine, have no grief at all, for life exists a short while, and time demands it’s due. This is a reflection on a well-lived life.

The first congratulatory Message received from the outside world came from Latin America to say that this innovative activity can be replicated worldwide and should be celebrated globally. It came from Peruvian philosopher, Fidel Gutierrez Vivanco.

While it is difficult to register any cultural leap, we have made every attempt to make these activities-Studies in Al Quranic Philosophy (2020-22) known to the international community. We have for example requested a special note from Audrey Azoulay, Secretary General UNESCO as a life-time memento to its first graduating students.

Here in Kuala Lumpur I recall another moment when I had the privilege of conferring on Dr. Halo-N a well thought out title of Distinguished Outreach Professor on Islamic Thought and Philosophy on behalf of Professor Negoslav Ostojic, Director of the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD).

Even in our sleep, in our despair, against our will, pain drips from the heart - drop by drop, reminds us of our sufferings, and whether we like it or not, punishes us, punishes us, until through the awful grace of god, wisdom comes. This harsh grace comes from Aeschylus. This cruel reality came from his experience of war one reality of the horses of the apocalypse. In this harsh reality there is a yearning for peace and wellbeing; a peace and prosperity that passeth all understanding.

Here in Kuala Lumpur, it is a time of celebration so I will finish on the upbeat note of Goethe’s: To God belongs the Orient, to God belongs the Occident. Northern and Southern lands rest in the peace of His hands. If we know and believe we are all made of the same clay by a potter with universal roots, human rights will become second nature and hate and bigotry, fear of the Other, alien or migrant and racism can all be reduced. Difficult is the way and sharp is the razor’s edge, to arrive at wisdom.