story Yonatan Gazit | Lai Ying Tong
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace Laureate, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and former Vice President of Egypt, gave a public keynote speech at the National University of Singapore on March 11. The lecture was part of the Bridges series and jointly hosted by NUS and Yale-NUS College. This series consists of lectures, workshops, and artistic events in ASEAN countries facilitated by the International Peace Foundation.
Prior to the lecture, Dr. ElBaradei sat down with several students from Yale-NUS and Tembusu College for a dialogue session. According to Lishani Ramanayake ’18, he addressed the failure of international organizations and possible ways to reform them. He also answered questions from students primarily enrolled in the International Relations, Comparative Politics and Globalization modules. “It really expands your view of the world,” Ramanayake said, reflecting on her experience. “These are issues that affect you and I think it benefits you to know about them.”
In his hour-long lecture at NUS, Dr. ElBaradei pointed to global inequity as the root cause of global insecurity, and international cooperation as the solution. He criticized the inefficacy of nations and international organizations in dealing with global threats thus far, and called for a shift from “myopic national interests” to a new mindset “based on the common good.” In particular, he urged nations with nuclear arsenals to commit to disarmament. A devotion to equity and human dignity in the international community, he said, would allow people to “understand that we are the same human species, irrespective of our superficial differences.”
After the lecture, Dr. ElBaradei answered audience members’ questions ranging from his views on the current Egyptian government to his evaluation of the possible effects of nuclear shield systems in the near future.