Today was the Opening Session which included a series of the usual mandatory speeches, a panel discussion and the official launch of GAID by the Malaysian PM which was intertwined with a multimedia spin verifying his identity on a projection screen and initiating the launch - something like pressing the nuke switch in a movie. From the PM's speech, it is interesting to note that Malaysia has achieved all the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) except for one, and I wonder where this puts them on the world scene. It would be interesting to have a look at data by country and where each is the with MDGs. There was also a committment by Malaysia's colourful Science and Technology Minister, Jamaluddin bin Dato’ Mohd Jarjis (or JJ as he is more commonly known) that Malaysia will go to some effort to give back to the world their expertise and knowledge for development of less fortunate nations. I found this quite interesting and will try and follow what actions Malaysia will embark upon to achieve this. The panel discussion was interesting and I will cover that separately. Following the launch, the evening saw an official reception for delegates with dinner and cultural performances where Malaysia's multi-cultural heritage was show-cased followed by (apparently a very popular) local singer and her rendition of some popular songs. I shared my dinner table with some invitees to the dinner who were a bit confused as to why they were there and what it was all about.........and they work for the UN.