Societies cannot survive without the social glue that binds people together: President Halimah

SINGAPORE: Societies cannot survive, let alone thrive, without the social glue that binds people together, President Halimah Yacob said Tuesday (September 6) at the International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS).

In her keynote address to the second edition of the global interfaith event, she noted that the pandemic – and how it has deepened fault lines around the world – is a reminder that social cohesion is a necessary condition for collective security.

“National resilience and stability are the result of people working together for a common cause, united in the face of challenges and threats facing a country,” she added.

“Cohesive societies do not exist spontaneously. They are born of choice and conviction. The pandemic has reinforced this.”

It was Mdm Halimah who came up with the idea for a gathering to discuss faith, identity and cohesion in 2018.

The inaugural ICCS, organized by the think tank S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), took place in June 2019.

This year’s conference will be held at the Raffles City Convention Center from Tuesday to Thursday and will bring together more than 800 participants from nearly 40 countries, including religious leaders, policy makers and civil society practitioners.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong is expected to speak on the final day.

ICCS 2022 will examine the same questions as before, but through the prism of lessons learned from the pandemic.

The pandemic was a public health crisis with serious social implications, Mdm Halimah said on Tuesday.

“In a period of heightened social anxiety, tensions have risen and in some cases sparked hatred, bigotry and xenophobia. This has escalated into violence in some places, with reports of hate crimes against people of Asian descent blamed for the spread of the virus,” she said.

About Harold Hartman

Check Also

Reviews | Obscene anti-Mormon chant marks dark irony in church history

Matthew Bowman is Associate Professor of History and Religion and Howard W. Hunter Professor of …