MALAYSIA will play host to some 1,500 international and local delegates to the 18th IAEWP World Peace Congress (WPC) and the 1st International Martial Arts Festival (IMAF) that will be held from tomorrow until Friday at the Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa and Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre in Petaling Jaya.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the patron of the event, will be attending the opening ceremony tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman and Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob are the event’s special advisers, event organiser PIH Sdn Bhd announced recently.
Organising committee chairman and PIH (M) Sdn. Bhd executive chairman Datuk Shahul Hamid M.A. Bakar said: “We really need to focus on the deep-rooted problems that we’re having,”
According to Shahul, people of various faiths and cultures are “walking on eggshells” because they do not want to offend one another or get into fights, but it is imperative that different groups €“ educators, intellectuals, corporations €“ get together and talk, earnestly and with respect.
That is the point of the 18th IAEWP World Peace Congress.
“The IAEWP Peace Congress brings together an inspiring, diverse and welcoming group of educators,” said PIH (M) Sdn Bhd congressional director Dr Vijay Shanmugam.
“It creates new alliances and we meet people there that we had never worked with before”.
Themed “Peace As A Tool For Global Integration”, the 18th IAEWP Peace Congress will feature about 18 distinguished international speakers who will deliver the theme-focused inspiring speeches. Among them is Professor Dr Azmi Sharom from Malaysia.
The IAEWP will also be presenting Abdullah with the ‘Presidential Medal of Honour’ for his vision in promoting peace as a model for development in Malaysia.
The Congress will also be designating Malaysia as “Island of Peace” to culminate its global vision of conflict resolution through diplomacy.
“It’s not the norm in our culture to forgive,” Shahul said, “We are very much an eye for an eye. But, that doesn’t work €“ eventually, we all go blind.”
The other component of this three-day event, the 1st International Martial Arts Festival 2008 (IMAF), which will be held concurrently with the WPC, is supported by The World Head of Family Sokeship Council (WHFSC).
The WHFSC is an international body that brings together the founders, grandmasters and inheritors of the martial arts styles and systems from across the globe.
This is an exclusive union of the top grandmasters of 9th or 10th dan ranking, or the equivalent, from around the world.
The council serves as a governing board which maintains the highest integrity for martial arts and artists (www.bushido.org/~whfsc).
Shahul said the objective of the IMAF was to showcase the biggest martial arts event in the world.
“Besides promoting world peace through martial arts by gathering participants from over 90 countries, we also want to create Malaysia as the hub to enhance the brotherhood of the martial arts worldwide.
“More importantly, it is our aim to get Malaysians as well as the international public to appreciate what we have already accomplished that is, created the country at the backdrop of peace and harmony that have been a successful formula in a multi cultural society.”
There are two major segments in IMAF: the Martial Arts Workshops, which will be conducted by 45 martial arts grandmasters from more than 100 nations around the world, and the Martial Arts Exhibition, an assemblage of 100 local and international exhibitors displaying products and services related with martial arts.
The 18th IAEWP World Peace Congress 2008 and 1st International Martial Arts Festival are jointly organised by Pertubuhan Seni Silat Ikatan Kalam Utama Malaysia (PIKUM) and PIH (M) Sdn Bhd.
The event is supported by the Government of Malaysia, Inter-national Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), World Head of Family Sokeship Council (WHFSC) and Majlis Seni Beladiri Malaysia (MARCILL).