On September 5, 2012, Professor David Kennedy joined a team of former political leaders and diplomats from across Asia in founding a new Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC) to promote peace and reconciliation in the Asian region through quiet diplomacy. The APRC launch was organized and chaired by Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai (HLS SJD 1985, former deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Thailand), in Bangkok, where APRC members shared ideas with Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. HLS alumni Hassan Wirajuda (LL.M. 1985), former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current advisor to the President of Indonesia, and Weerasak Kowsurat (LL.M. 1992), former Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, will also serve as a founding members.
The APRC will offer an Asia wide, informal and non-governmental network of prominent former politicians, diplomats and thinkers to assist societies suffering from violence and social and political tension. It will be a center for research, harnessing the influence and insights of its members to support peaceful change and reconciliation in disputes – or potential disputes –both within and between nations. Where parties to a conflict feel their engagement might be helpful, the APRC will provide an unofficial and behind-the-scenes platform for dialogue and mediation. “The biggest contribution given to the APRC by the members is time, sincerity, and a sense of purpose,” Surakiart said.
Founding members of APRC include:
- Syed Hamid Albar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia
- Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia
- Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan
- Abdullah Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia
- Tej Bunnag, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
- Jose Isidro Camacho, Vice Chairman of Credit Suisse Asia Pacific and former Secretary for Finance of the Philippines
- Juha Christensen, Director of Peace Architecture and Conflict Transformation Alliance (PACTA), Finland
- Alfred Gusenbauer, former Chancellor of Austria
- Ramos Horta, former President of Timor-Leste and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
- Shunmugam Jayakumar, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore
- Jusuf Kalla, former Vice President of Indonesia
- Sorajak Kasemsuvan, former Vice minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
- Yoriko Kawakuchi, Member of the House of Councillors and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan
- David Kennedy, Professor of Law and Director of Institute of Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School
- Weerasak Kowsurat, former Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand (HLS LL.M. 1992)
- Aleksander Kwasnievski, former President of Poland
- Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile
- Surakiart Sathirathai, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand (HLS S.J.D. 1985)
- Yashwant Sinha, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of India
- Jose de Venecia, former Speaker of the Philippines Parliament
- Hassan Wirajuda, Advisor to President and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia (HLS LL.M. 1985)
- Li Zhaoxing, former minister of Foreign Affairs of China
Dr. Surakiart said APRC members did not represent any government or country but were high-level former policy makers with experience and a wide network of contacts to enable them to be prime movers, facilitators and path finders for regional peace and reconciliation.
Shaukat Aziz, former prime minister of Pakistan, said “We want to be seen as a catalyst for promoting peace and reconciliation. Asia is land of opportunities and growth and the key ingredient to growth is a mechanism of sustainable peace and stability. Peace is a key ingredient for improvement and development.”
Nobel Peace Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor, praised the initiative, which has already received a pledge of support from his nation.
David Kennedy, professor of law and director of Harvard Law School’s Institute of Global Law and Policy, said, “I am honored to have been invited to join so distinguished a group, and look forward to working with them wherever the APRC can be useful in reducing tensions. There are very few such Asia-wide initiatives mobilizing the experience of statesmen in an independent non-state organization. I am very pleased the IGLP could play a small role in getting the project underway.”
The idea to form the APRC was established during the Asia in the Next Decade International Symposium, which was convened in Bangkok in August 2011 by the Saranrom Institute of Foreign Affairs Foundation (SIFAF), the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School, and the Faculty of Law of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.