Institut Darul Ridzuan chief executive officer Dr Mazalan Kamis says about 1,200 local and foreign participants will be at the Pangkor Dialogue. NSTP pix by MUHAIZAN YAHYA

IPOH: For the first time ever, the fourth series of the Pangkor Dialogue will see the participation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a strategic partner. 

Organised by Institut Darul Ridzuan (IDR), the Perak government and the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority, the annual event will be held at [email protected] Hotel in Bandar Meru Raya here on Sept 11 and 12.

IDR chief executive officer Dr Mazalan Kamis said the dialogue achieved another milestone this year as this was the first time UNDP would participate in it.

“I believe UNDP has seen our achievement in organising this event as the outcome of the dialogue provides recommendations for the benefit of all stakeholders, and not only those in Perak.

“It is also a platform where information is shared to find solutions for challenges faced by the region.

“These insights provide a greater understanding of issues,” he said at the IDR office in Greentown here recently. 

UNDP is the UN’s global development network, advocating change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. 

With the theme “Making the Future: Innovative Pathways to Sustainable Development”, the dialogue will feature a large-scale gathering of international and local dignitaries, academicians, investors and non-governmental organisations. 

Mazalan said: “The dialogue is an opportunity to not only tell the story for others on similar paths of development, but also to learn transferable lessons, particularly on how to cope with not only innovations and new technology, but also the transition process. 

“This year’s Pangkor Dialogue aims to explore possible innovations and solutions to achieve the sustainable development goals set out in Agenda 2030, with a focus on optimising the social development goals at the sub-national level, and focusing on finding an optimal pathway between innovation and sustainable development.”

He said among the speakers who would be at the event included a former United States Air Force officer and a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) astronaut, Dr Catherine Cady Coleman; former Ecuadorian president Jorge Jamil Mahuad Witt; Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett; HoneyBee Network founder Dr Anil Gupta; and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. 

“Among other foreign dignitaries are Singaporean neuroscientist and physician and World Records Holder Paralympian Dr William Tan, Thailand Happiness advocate Jon Jandai and Professor of Economics at Azabu University, Dr Patrick Collins.”

Mazalan said the dialogue would be officiated by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah on Sept 11, and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would attend a dinner on the same day. 

“About 1,200 local and foreign participants from more than 30 countries will discuss and exchange knowledge on nine focus areas.

“Among the countries are Britain, the United States, Italy, Canada, Albania and Australia. 

"The focus areas are the economy, nation building, environment, entrepreneurship and innovation, housing, youth, ageing and development, waqf and women," he added. 

Previously known as the Pangkor International Development Dialogue, the programme is the brainchild of Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir. 

As a prelude to the dialogue, Mazalan said a week-long Festival of Ideas celebration was held on Wednesday as part of the state government’s bid to be known as a knowledge-based state. 

“With the theme of ‘Challenging The Norm’ the festival hosted events with partners that featured elements, such as interaction, interestedness, ideation, innovation, intellectualism, excitement, relevance and enthusiasm.

“We are targeting 10,000 ideas throughout the event and the public can respond to an array of forums, seminars, expositions and competitions dedicated to innovation and the sharing of ideas.”

Events include Cartoons without Borders, which featured cartoonist Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, or Lat, literature Kata Kota Kita, “Making the Future towards Sustainable Water Resource Management”, a workshop on heritage business development and the “Gadis Jalan Burma” theatre event.