The Mosaic Institute and the Arc of History
20 December 2018, 12h00 EST (UTC-5)
My Inaugural Address as the Mosaic Institute's CEO
Click image to hear my address
I am delighted to have joined the Mosaic Institute as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Mosaic is a Canadian charitable institution that advances pluralism in societies and peace amongst nations. It is a pillar of Track Two Diplomacy, and brings together communities and peoples separated by strife, to foster mutual understanding and to resolve conflicts.
Over the past ten years, Mosaic has convened Chinese and Tibetan youth leaders, for discussions on peaceful co-existence on the Tibetan Plateau; assembled Sinhalese and Tamil representatives, to devise strategies for reconciliation after the Sri Lankan civil war; called together survivors of genocides, to discuss how to break the cycle of trauma; published landmark research on the perceptions and realities of radicalisation in expatriate communities; and established programmes in schools and universities, to nurture the next generation of leaders in pluralism.
Mosaic’s vision has been the passion of my professional life, and I believe it is the calling of our age.
I am deeply grateful to the Institute’s Board, Advisory Council, members, professionals, and partners for their confidence.
At the same time, I also feel a sense of sorrow at standing down as Chief Executive Officer of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC). Serving as GOPAC’s CEO was one of the great honours of my life, and I am immensely proud of all we achieved together over the past six years, in every region of the world.
We live in a time of immense public cynicism about politics, politicians, and even the ideal of public service. Undeniably, there are legislators who have earned this contempt. But there are also parliamentarians around the world who risk their lives every day, to speak for those who would otherwise have no voice. There are parliamentarians who tilt at the powerful, for no better reason than to shield others. There are still parliamentarians who understand that election to office is not a licence to rule, but a contract to serve.
I am honoured that these parliamentarians have invited me continue my association with GOPAC, as their Ambassador-at-Large. In this volunteer capacity, I will carry on my personal commitment to GOPAC’s work on integrity in defence, security, and international sport.
My time at GOPAC was an education in the struggle between the high aspirations of principled diplomacy, and the low reality of realpolitik. It also left me with a stark understanding that across the world, xenophobia and authoritarianism are again on the march.
In my inaugural address at Mosaic’s holiday gathering, I shared my conviction that while the arc of history may bend towards justice, there is nothing inevitable about progress. Societies can and do regress, as well as progress; they can be pulled backwards by their lowest fears, as well impelled forward by their highest ideals.
All of us who believe in the equal dignity of all peoples have a duty to stand up, to stand together, and to stand fast. This is my mission at the Mosaic Institute.