Iranian expert emphasizes regional convergence

Islamabad, Sept 18, IRNA -- A senior Iranian analyst says in the contemporary world, where people can easily cross political boundaries to connect to each other, making plan to establish a cultural approach with the goal of regional convergence can be more possible than ever.

Mandana Tisheyar, Assistant Professor Department of Regional Studies ECO College in Allameh Tabatabai University, said a focus on applying cultural diplomacy and formation of a new trend called “Cultural Asia’ is necessary for promoting economic and security cooperation.

She was giving a lecture on ‘The World’s News Scoico-Cultural Order and its Implications or Neo-regionalism’ at a seminar organized by Center for Peace, Security and Development Studies (CPSD) in Islamabad.

Director International Academic Cooperation said it is a fact that in the past decades political units while accepting globalization of some patterns have also tried to redefine their interests and identities in the regional frameworks.

She added that in today's world, new-regionalism has provided an appropriate ground for forming various layers of regional cooperation.

The professor went on to say that based on the classical theories of regionalism, since the countries cannot hold different places in every time due to the fact that they are dependent on the geographical areas where they have come into existence, therefore, they do not have the option to join various regional arrangements.

The analyst said sometimes the limited relations among neighbors, unpleasant historical memories and desire for domination ends to separated identities and neglecting common cultural and civilized norms and values between the countries belong to the same historical civilization.

“From another perspective, the history bears witness to the fact that when peace and prosperity become important, the countries seek to identify and recognize the benefits of each other and competition happens in the framework of coexistence rather than looking for enmity, war destruction,” she said.

The expert added that the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are two good examples of defining common identities and values, and even ideologies in a way to increase collective interests.

She said nowadays definition of the concept of region has become more flexible and various forms of regionalism, regional organizations and institutes can be created on the basis of the interest of the countries that are brought together.

Mandana Tisheyar said one of the functions of neo-regional cooperation is providing security based on emphasizing common cultural patterns.

“We can say that cultural values are the basis of identities”, said the analyst.

She said since the security in the modern world is cross-boundary and is not limited to a specific territory, to achieve economic dynamism and political and social ability the countries located in our region also have no choices but to work together.

She added that cultural similarities and the existence of common cultural elements among people of this broad geographical area have been contributing to shaping common identities from a long time ago.

Director International Academic Cooperation went on to say that mystical teachings have played a significant role in connecting the people of this region.

She said Sufism in this region has characteristics such as trying to establish a world peace, contrasting oppression and scientific efforts and tendency towards the elites.

Mandana Tisheyar said today considering the political and social situation of the societies which are divided into separate states through political borders and each of them striving to define an independent and separate identity, it can be truly understood that insecurity at the national and regional levels originates from the efforts to foment nationalist policies of states and to refrain from creating a joint collectivity identity in the region.

Earlier General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee in his speech had expressed concern over the global decline in peace index and the impact of deterioration of peace on global economy.

“Our quest for peace must be based on equality for mankind and we should find peace with pluralistic and peaceful means,” the Chairman JCSC said.

Stressing the need to give “cooperation over competition” as a priority, Gen. Zubair recommended, “We need to revitalize common values,” in the backdrop of world’s failure to limit conflicts arise from disillusionment in particular, and noncontiguous powers in promoting regional hegemons.

In a strategic environment of unshielded rising violent extremism where terrorism dominates the scene, the Chairman JCSC recommended reexamining of the narratives, old camp model, and that advocacy be grounded in reality.
Gen. Zubair said, “military solution to conflict is never enduring but political solution is.”

Talking about Pakistan’s commitment for achieving sustainable peace, Senator Sherry Rehman in her keynote address said Pakistan is looking for protecting its interest but is also “interested to be a problem solver.” She said amid new security challenges where Pakistan is seen through the prism of Afghanistan “we need to rethink and reconsider” policies.
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