ألقت صاحبة السمو الملكي الاميرة بسمة بنت سعود
كلمة لها في إتحاد طلبة جامعة كامبريدج تناولت فيها ما يجري من تطورات على الساحتين العربية والإسلاميه من حيث قضايا الإصلاح وموضوع حقوق الإنسان والحاجة الملحة إلى نمط جديد من التفكير والقيادة وابتكار أسلوب وطريق لمعاجلة القضايا محليا وعالميا .
وأكتظت القاعة بعدد كبير من الحضور من الباحثين والأساتذة من مختلف الإختصاصات والطلبة من مختلف دول العالم للإستماع إلى كلمة الأميرة ورؤيتها لمجمل القضايا .
وشكل اللقاء فرصة ثمينة لتبادل وجهات النظر وطرح الأسئلة خاصة من قبل الطلبة الذين خاطبتهم سمو الأميرة بسمة بشكل خاص وحثتهم على العمل الجاد والأشتراك أيضاً في البحث عن مخارج وأساليب مبتكرة للتصدي لتحديات العصر ومشاكل العالم .
وكانت سمو الاميرة بسمة بنت سعود إلتقت قبل ذلك في مركز الدراسات الإسلامية بجامعة كامبريدج بنخبة من الباحثيين وذوي الإختصاص في مواضيع عده وجرى تبادل وجهات النظر حول عدد من القضايا والتطورات في المنطقة العربية والتحديات الماثلة وآفاق المستقبل .
Cambridge speech of HRH Princess Basmah Al Saud
From Arab Spring to European Spring to global crisis:
The New Way
Ladies and Gentleman, Thank you for inviting me to speak at the Cambridge Union. It is a great honour for me to speak in such a hall, where so many great people have spoken before. I am humbled to be included amongst the speakers who have gone before me. I hope it will inspire me to go out and seek the change of which I speak with more energy and determination. I am speaking in a place of learning, where the youth come to listen and learn, and I hope that we can look to the youth for a better future and leadership and I am sure that I , too, will learn from this experience.
By birth, I am a member of the Saudi Royal family, and by experience, an advocate of reform. I say reform and not revolution, because the flames of the Middle East today show that revolution has not been the catalyst for lasting change that so many of us hoped for.
Across the world in recent years a lot has happened, but we have not seen change proportional to the upheaval. The charitable view is that the revolutions have been about sowing the seeds of ideas in people’s minds about how real change can come - but it is now the time for reform to make the lasting changes, and central to all this is the field of leadership.
No country can avoid the winds of change whether in the Arab World or anywhere else.
You will hear that I mention mainly Europe and the Middle East today - but I could pluck examples from the world over to illustrate these points. What we are facing is a global issue, and I hope we can find a New Way.
The world is not the same as it was before. No matter how slow we are at realising it, there is no leveller like global economic meltdown. And this one has been pretty spectacular.
Financial markets were given new levels of independence from national governments - without any of the much-needed accountability - and of course, things went very wrong. Europe, and particularly southern Europe, is paying a steep price.
The European project is failing because economic union in the good times only papered over the cracks that the lack of political union inevitably created. “A rising tide lifts all boats”, as Kennedy pointed out in a speech in Arkansas almost 50 years ago, and as we have discovered to our cost, only the strong survive the storm. The tide has turned in Europe - what good is a single market of 500 million when no one is buying?
In my region, the issues are very fundamental. We had people on the streets, the youth of today and tomorrow, asserting their rights. It was about claiming simple human rights that were denied to millions, it was about access to even the most basic of economic opportunities.
For my country, one whose traditions and culture I value greatly, I do not shy away from suggesting we need a constitution to institute and then safeguard the rights that to so many are painfully slow in coming. But at the same time, I do not join the chorus of universal condemnation. Results are best achieved when you work with, and not against.
Furthermore, at the cultural level, people’s lives and rights change without the help of laws of bills of rights. This is much harder to perceive from afar, but no society is cast in stone: they all live and breathe, though all with differing degrees of latitude as they do so. But my main point here is that what governs societies are variables, not absolutes.
In our globalised world of today, what happens in the Middle East has an effect on Europe: the world over, no one is immune to these upheavals and crises. Your problem is my problem, and vice versa.
However, it seems that the ideas needed to take us forward are slow in coming.
We need fresh ideas, we need fresh YOUNG leaders, and we need to accept that the failures within the political systems we have been using to manage international and domestic cooperation are showing signs of serious distress - to the extent that admitting defeat must surely be making its way up our ‘to do’ list.
Approach and mindset to the future are key.
In the post-War world, capitalism took the spoils, and socialism’s bastions crumbled. Capitalism is now finding out what that is like in a way that was unthinkable just five years ago. However, it is no longer a question of being aligned to any ideology in particular. It has been a long time coming, but the playing field is levelling in new ways. Nevertheless, what we build now has to mean something for the generations to come. It cannot merely be a recasting of the old systems.
We can no longer afford to think in terms of exceptionalism - the idea that somehow, a region’s or a country’s problems are neatly parcelled up and cause trouble to them alone. On our increasingly levelled playing field, our global problems are inextricably linked. Exceptionalism seems only to make differences stand out, when what I am talking about is drawing out the common ground, accepting mutual interdependence, not mutual siege.
As things stand now, the future is uncertain, and dangerously so. There is instability in many corners of the world, with conflicts demonstrating a particular ability to draw in neighbouring countries.
My region of course has seen some serious upheaval. When I saw the first Middle Eastern country, Tunisia, begin its revolt, I felt sure that the rest would follow. Bit by bit, they are doing so. Even my country, Saudi Arabia, one that seemed robust, if only for its perceived wealth, is vulnerable.
Those countries that have been resisting the compelling call for change will either reform voluntarily, or face revolt by populations who look around the region, and find that their expectations have been changed to demand better, and whose confidence has grown immeasurably when faced down by their state’s security services.
Out of the ruins of all this, what will emerge? This is where my concerns lie. The access to opportunity and basic human rights that so many fought for are slow in coming.
Granted, such were the accumulations of decades of autocracy that there was never any realistic chance that the transition would be smooth. But while patience is certainly required, this is not to say passivity is required.
We need to approach the future with vigour as we set about the process of rebuilding. Expressing it in its most basic form, I am talking about moving forward and building upon the mistakes of the past and the sacrifices of so many.
We in the Middle East are not the only ones rebuilding; Europe has little choice in the matter. This is about reform being the preferable course of action, when it is undeniable that some sort of action must be taken.
Yes we have nations, regions, tribes, pressure groups, social classes, political parties, borders, financial systems that divide and discriminate, but why do we allow the things that divide us to stop us enjoying and benefiting from the things that unite us.
Let’s focus on the positive, on the things that unite us, and the starting point must be an understanding of the fundamental rights and laws that should apply everywhere. They do not have to start as complicated legal systems of which there are many examples the world over - they need to be simple, and not so broad as to exclude anyone with different value systems and cultural contexts.
As examples, respect for each other, the right to a name, a right to education, a right to health, gender equality are all, in my view, fundamental rights. Practically, there are many things to be considered. Social structures and balances, economic linkages and distribution, management of cyberspace, systems in place to ensure rights are respected, whether at an individual, national, or transnational level.
This requires a new global charter along with human rights provisions that will guarantee economic, social, ethnic and religious equality. I dream of a new approach for new generations tailored to each country and social context including the very important but scarcely governed frontier of cyberspace.
There is much to discuss there, naturally.
I mentioned leadership. This is a crucial. The youth have faded away following the revolutions, and the subsequent politics have been conducted by people who cut their teeth under the previous autocratic regimes. The mechanics of government, the Ministries and institutions, continue to run inefficiently, and unreformed to any noticeable extent. In other words, the moving parts in governments were designed to serve one master, and such institutional memory remains.
Of course, one cannot simply wish history away - but at the same time, one must not simply wish the future wasn’t coming. The youth who have been forgotten in the aftermath must be seen as central to global peace and co-operative governance, not adversarial politics.
From their ranks the leaders of later on today must emerge. While they must be helped to learn from differing contexts, from differing experiences, their own stamp is crucial. After all, there are so many more of them and their peers than there are grey men in suits - and the grey men in suits must willingly cede their knowledge and experience to them in the spirit of learning and compassion for the future.
The way forward starts with dialogue, which will not be easy or substantive without good leadership, but we hope it will be guided and decided upon by good and legitimate leaders.
At our most fundamental level, the similarities between people are greater than the differences. Reaching consensus is a wonderful thing: it can provide the common ground, the platform from which wider success and greater progress can be tackled - basic human rights, equitable distribution of wealth, and gender equality at a minimum.
A new way is needed everywhere so let us start building and writing it for now and future generations.
10th October 2012