Prince of Liechtenstein delivers address on future role of states
Speaking before audience members that filled the University Chapel to about one-third of its capacity, the prince spoke on past and future roles of the state. In the state of the future, “only foreign policy, law and order, and education remain with the state” and all other powers should be allotted to communities, he argued.
The prince’s address, followed by a panel discussion on the role of religion in diplomacy, launched a three-day colloquium exploring political issues of self-determination, sovereignty, the role of religion and crisis diplomacy.
The Liechtenstein Institute’s foundations began in 1985, when the prince and Wilson School professor Wolfgang Danspeckgruber began collaborating on a research project on international relations and security studies. Fifteen years later, the pair launched the institute as a project at the Wilson School, and Danspeckgruber has served as its director ever since.
“The institution should serve as a bridge [from] the world of academia and education to the world of policy-making,” Danspeckgruber said in his introduction to the prince’s address.
In his speech, Hans-Adam discussed his views on the functions of the state. Historical events, the prince said, have shown him that there are three factors that influence a state’s well-being: military technology, geography and free trade.
Speaking on the state of the future, Hans-Adam said, “The most important task of the state is to give [the people] law and order.” He added that the cooperation of the police and the public prosecution is necessary for the state to function properly.
The state should also control education, Hans-Adam said, explaining that future state leaders must be well-educated in order for the state to continue functioning.
Theodore Brundage ’14 said he was surprised to hear such conservative views from a modern European leader. The prince’s ideas would be great “if he could actually put them into play,” Brundage added.
Danspeckgruber chaired the panel discussion that followed the prince’s speech. Other panelists were Dean of Religious Life Alison Boden; Mohammad Shamsi Ali, imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York; Thomas Banchoff, director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; Austin David Carroll, adviser to the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations; Marehalli Prasan, a mechanical engineering professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology; and Yusufi Vali, the associate organizer of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.
Audience members filled McCormick 101 to capacity. Each panelist offered a brief reflection on the intersection between religion, diplomacy and self-determination.
Ali noted that many commentators have focused on the negative influence of religion on diplomacy, concluding from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their aftermath that “religion is nothing but sources of evil.”
Ali, however, argued that religion supports rights that form the foundation of societies, such as the rights to life, education, expression, equality, democracy and family.
Vali also said that religion has a positive role to play in diplomacy because of the connection between religion and social justice. He shared an encounter with a religious leader who related the tale of Moses and the Pharaoh to explain why governments should cap interest rates, comparing the Pharaoh to big government.
Discussing Hinduism, Prasan said that the purpose of diplomacy is to achieve harmony, which aligns with the values of self-fulfillment and tranquility emphasized in the Hindu religion.
Banchoff, quoting presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, noted that the United States continues to tie politics to religion at the highest level of government.
Anna Lutz ’11 said it was great to see so many religions represented in the panel, adding that it is interesting that people are still discussing the same issues raised a decade ago.
Danspeckgruber explained that the panel was meant to mirror a panel held at the time of the Liechtenstein Institute’s founding. He said he hopes the colloquium will promote dialogue, noting that the institute “firmly believes in ... listening and respect.”
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