Bismillah-Ah-Rahman-Ah-Raheem

 

Mr Chancellor,

Vice-Chancellors, and Management of the Maldives National University

Distinguished Guests and

Conference Participants,

 

Assalam alaikum varahmathullahi va barakaathuhu

Good morning

My first priority here today, is to congratulate the Maldives National University, and the Steering Committee of the First International Conference of MNU – Theveli 2017, the International Conference on Multidisciplinary Research. This is a major milestone for the development and institutionalisation of the Maldives National University, and I am both honoured and privileged to address this gathering today, as the Chief Guest. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.

 The theme you have chosen for this year’s conference “Towards a sustainable society” is most timely – in the wake of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The link between environmentally sustainable practises, and the social progress of society, as well as economic prosperity is well established. And indeed, it is a national priority as well.

 Dear Participants,

 The Government’s focus on cultivating resilience – economic resilience, social resilience, environmental resilience, and indeed, political and academic resilience – resonates well with ensuring sustainability, for it is only by building resilience that we can develop sustainably for our present and future generations.

 The Maldives has had incredible success in its development trajectory – despite the challenges, despite the economic vulnerabilities and environmental challenges. Our development is testament to the ways and means through which we have been able to overcome our vulnerabilities – build our resilience.

 The progress we have made in our development path over the past fifty-two years as an independent nation, the reasons why we have been able to successfully achieve several goals of the Millennium Development Goals, and several targets of the Sustainable Development Goals – these are important areas where research is needed. This story may indeed provide lessons for other countries like us, that we can share. Indeed, inquiry about the potential challenges that exist will be useful markers for our future development process.

 The national research priority setting exercise scheduled to take place within the margins of this conference is important, precisely for these reasons. I urge you to consider the progress we have made, and the progress we have aimed to achieve as useful benchmarks for this exercise, in order to make a meaningful contribution to the advancement of our development goals.

 Dear Participants,

 One of the biggest global threats facing our country today is climate change. Yet, climate change is not only an environmental concern. It impacts the livelihoods and the lives of the people. It impacts the economy, and our society. Thus, building a society that is resilient to the impacts of climate change, must adopt an approach that is multi-dimensional.

 The Maldives is a firm believer of the notion that development is a multi-faceted issue. For development to be sustainable, we have to look at it holistically. We believe that every problem can and should be approached in multiple ways, because today, the problems facing our world are not one-dimensional. And neither are the solutions.

 This is why an inter-disciplinary approach to research is important as well. Looking at a single issue, through multiple lenses, not only helps to understand the global challenges we face today, in a much better light, but also helps to curate better, well rounded, and sustainable solutions.

 Dear Participants

 We, Maldivians have a rich culture and heritage. We have lived on this land, cultivated the bounty of these seas for generations, generating our own unique ways of interacting with our environment, and making the most of what we have been given.

 Small states, especially small island states like the Maldives, are true examples, of making do with what we have been given. Many new, unique approaches to ensure sustainability, and pursue sustainable development, have been born and perfected in these islands. Yet, these practises remain under-studied, and therefore under-valued.

 The world needs to know about these islands, their unique heritage, traditional knowledge and approaches, precisely because these approaches and knowledge can be useful to replicate. Our islands can act as knowledge hubs, and incubators for innovation, to produce case studies that can then be expanded the world over. We can, and we also have, produced smart, shared solutions for the global problems facing our world.

 This is why your work here today, has a secondary but equally important international dimension. You are not only enriching our own national development process, but also contributing to the harnessing of solutions for global challenges, advancing our common shared destiny.

 Dear Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 I am confident that your work here today has opened new avenues, and fresh opportunities for the Maldives. Today, collectively, we are ensuring new ways to advance the “Maldivian Story” globally, and I wish you all the success in your endeavours.

 May Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’ala) bless our work, and our country.

 Thank you once again for this opportunity

 Thank you.