WOU is launching the Chancellor’s Lecture Series to mark the formation of the Centre for Dialogue (C4D) with an inaugural public lecture by a leading economist/development expert at the main campus at 4.00 pm on May 14th.
The speaker, Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram, will expound on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and its implications for Malaysia and Malaysians titled ‘TPPA: Future or Fraud’. This is the first of the lecture series organised by WOU’s Centre for Dialogue.
Speaking at the Press conference today, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye said that the Chancellor’s Lecture Series provides a platform for prominent scholars and intellectuals in the country to share their thoughts on contemporary issues that are of interest to society and the nation.
He stated that it will “bring intellectuals who are helping to shape the world to the doorsteps of WOU. It will help the University engage with the local community, alumni and students to share knowledge, exchange views and opinions.”
He added, “The series will draw on speakers across a range of disciplines and will examine key questions that affect our communities and the world at large. Universities are ideal platforms to actively engage the younger generation on issues affecting the country and their future.”
He hoped that open debates on issues that are of key and strategic importance to all Malaysians will foster harmony, preserve peace and strengthen the economic growth of the country.
Elaborating on the lecture title, Prof Ho shared that Malaysia and 11 other countries have inked the TPPA which aims to expand markets, reduce tariffs and promote freer trade, highlighting that the TPPA is expected to take effect in 2018.
Prof Jomo, a Penangite, is a world renowned economist and independent scholar. He was formerly the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) from 2005-2012, and (Honorary) Research Coordinator for the G24 Inter-governmental Group on International Monetary Affairs and Development from 2006-2012. He has received many accolades and awards for his work including the 2007 Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. He was also on the Board of the United Nations Research Institute on Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva.
Meanwhile Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Chairman of the Board of Advisors for C4D, said that the Centre operates under the umbrella of the Institute for Research and Innovation. The aim, he added, is to engage the public community “and through frank and civil dialogue, create awareness and better understanding of current issues that are of interest or concern to all citizens, especially those residing in Penang”.
He paid tribute to the late Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik for mooting the idea of C4D during his tenure as WOU Council Chairman. He highlighted Tun Lim’s vision for WOU, as a generator of knowledge, to initiate open, free dialogues that can provide feedback to leaders on how to address issues confronting the people.
“This aligns well with the stated mission of the C4D, which is, to generate dialogue on contemporary economic, development and socio-political issues that affect our society, and to share these thoughts and ideas with the public.
“The desired goal is to build a higher level of understanding between the Government and corporate, intellectual and academic opinion makers,” said Prof Dhanarajan.