Providing Vision and Leadership at a Time of Global Crisis
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman, Universal Peace Federation|
New York, United States
September 11, 2007
Your Excellencies. Distinguished leaders and Ambassadors for Peace from around the world, including religious leaders, parliamentarians and representatives of "Women for Peace."
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman, Universal Peace Federation
On behalf of the Founders of the Universal Peace Federation, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, I want to warmly welcome you to this International Leadership Conference, which is being convened by UPF as part of Assembly 2007. Our theme for this International Leadership Conference is "Providing Vision and Leadership at a Time of Global Crisis."
Assembly 2007 is beginning with this ILC. Tomorrow, on September 12, we will celebrate, together with the Founders, the anniversary of the founding of the Universal Peace Federation.
You have gathered at a very special time and for a very significant occasion, and it is my pleasure and honor to offer this Chairman's Address to you today.
All people hope for peace. This is a universal value shared by all human beings, regardless of their race, national origin, educational background, or religious belief. The ideal of a world characterized by harmony and cooperation among all people is rooted in the conscience of all people.
Yet, despite the universality of this ideal, we all know that the world we experience on a daily basis falls very short of that ideal.
The 20th century was a century of growth and development in areas of the economy, technology and communications. It was also the century of two World Wars and the Cold War. The same century that saw the emergence of the League of Nations and the United Nations was also the world's bloodiest century.
From Iraq to Darfur, from Sri Lanka to the Horn of Africa, from Palestine and Israel to the Korean peninsula, we see evidence of a world that is not at peace. Poverty persists despite the promises of globalization. Family breakdown, sexual promiscuity, and HIV/AIDS are spreading to the detriment of children, the economy and the overall quality of life. Nuclear proliferation and the arms trade continue.
Nations, governments and countless citizens have lost their moral compass, surrendering to the lure of materialism and selfish individualism. Human rights violations continue. Even the United Nations has not been able to function effectively in putting an end to these problems.
Family breakdown and the decline of moral standards, especially among the youth, are extremely serious. Even if great effort is made to solve poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, there will be very limited success if we do not address fundamental issues of human character and human relationships. After all, human problems are rooted in the corruption of the human heart.
As we look at our world, we cannot help but ask, who is really working effectively to solve these critical problems?
Who is providing the leadership needed to change this world?
Where can we find a clear vision and sense of direction to guide us in the search for solutions?
In general, governments act largely for their own national self-interest. Is it any surprise, therefore, that when government representatives assemble at the United Nations as member states, it is difficult to move forward effectively with an agenda that serves all humanity?
The same could also be said of the community of religions in our world. There is a lack of cooperation and unified direction. Religions, and their representatives, often behave competitively and according to their own self-interests.
UPF's Founder, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, has underscored the root cause of our world's problems, which is related to marriage and family, the root of human life. Unless marriage, as the means of reproduction through love, is fully aligned with a vision of peace centered on God, there is little hope that the next generation will have the tools needed to transform this world. Marriage is to be a partnership of man and woman, and when it is centered on the highest spiritual principles, it is the most powerful instrument of peace that has ever existed.
On the other hand, family breakdown destabilizes not only the husband and wife but also their children and extended family. Families are the core component of our society, and their breakdown through infidelity, promiscuity and divorce undermines peace.
Due to family breakdown, there is the loss of true sibling love, not only within the family, but in the wider society. In other words, the love, harmony and cooperation that should exist between brothers and sisters in a loving family, does not exist in this world. This tragic reality is seen in the story of Cain and Abel.
In the first family, after Adam and Eve fell from grace, their first son, Cain, killed the second son, Abel. This story is an archetype of a universal human problem. As we examine the conflict between nations, religions, races, ethnic groups, political ideologies, and economic classes, we see the recurrence of the Cain-Abel pattern.
Abel was slain by his brother. Why?
There was enmity between the siblings. Was this God's ideal for this family? No.
The Cain-Abel problem has its root in Adam and Eve's separation from God. As a result, jealousy, resentment, and feelings of having been wronged or violated became dominant. Acting on these feelings, Cain killed Abel.
The essence of the Abel-like person is to live for the sake of heaven and for the sake of others. For this reason, Father Moon encourages us to become Abel-like persons, and to develop Abel-like institutions, governments, nations and even religions. In fact he encourages the UPF to become an "Abel-type" United Nations, "offering its efforts for peace to heaven and ceaselessly living for the sake of others."
Abel, with an elder brother's heart of love, is to find the way to love Cain and turn his resentment into good will and reconciliation.
How can we move forward together to create a world of true and lasting peace?
That is the purpose of this conference, to consider a universal vision of peace, based on core values. This vision, which will be presented over the course of the next three days, will speak of God's ideal of humanity as one universal family of true love.
Additionally we will consider principles and methods that will allow us to move from a state of conflict to a state of peace, from resentment to reconciliation, from enemy relationships to relationships of true love.
The starting point and front line of peace is not to be found in some external institution or situation. The starting point is within me. The question we each must ask is, "Can I recognize and overcome the corruptions within my own heart?" Before I ask my neighbor to change, I must look deep within myself, understand my own faults, and set out on a course of self-correction.
The next focus of peacebuilding is with those who are near and dear to me, my own family; if I cannot successfully establish peace within my own family, how can I dare expect to establish peace among strangers?
In the end, Father Moon says that peace is only possible if we each come to develop the strength to love the enemy. Love must conquer resentment and the stubborn determination to redress wrongs that have been committed against us or those we love.
We must move beyond thinking that "my people" are only those of the same skin color, gender, ethnic background, nationality or religious ideology. Our circle of love and respect must expand to include and embrace even the enemy.
When we imagine God's viewpoint, don't we think of God as large enough to include and embrace the whole of humanity?
This is the vision of UPF: to establish "One Family under God," beyond the barriers of religion, nationality, race, ideology and ethnicity.
Is this an easy task? Of course not! It is the most difficult. And yet this is the path we must walk. That is why the great peacemakers of all times have often suffered and endured so much persecution.
If there were an easier way, surely we would all want to go that way. Military power alone cannot bring lasting peace. Economic power cannot bring a just peace or true reconciliation. Peace only comes on the foundation of true love. No adversary submits to power, intellect or wealth alone. Rather, peace only comes as we love and serve the adversary. This is the vision and mission of the Ambassadors for Peace movement.
I hope that, through this conference, you will come to recognize several important points:
First of all, please understand the destructive nature of promiscuity, sexual immorality and family breakdown.
Second, please support Rev. Moon's three core strategic initiatives: the Middle East Peace Initiative; the Northeast Asia Peace Initiative, centering on the Korean Peninsula; and the Bering Strait Peace King Bridge and Tunnel Project, not merely for the sake of trade and development, but for the sake of peace and cooperation between East and West; in fact, this project can contribute to the achievement of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.
Third, let us work together to convene a global interfaith summit among major religious leaders from around the world, for the sake of bringing peace to the world. In this way, we can further the development of an interreligious council at the United Nations, showing that religions can be allies in the search for peace.
Fourth, I ask that you support the mission and work of the Universal Peace Federation as an "Abel UN," a global movement for peace that seeks to establish "one family under God." Our work during Assembly 2007 represents a very significant advance of our mission in the world. What started as perhaps a distant hope is now emerging as a reality. And the world is taking notice. Increasingly, our Peace Education Initiative is drawing attention and gaining respect. We hope each of you will join in support of this noble effort.
To accomplish these goals we must all work together. Let us begin that process now.
The world truly needs each and every one of us. We are living at a critical turning point in history, a time of global crisis. Let us turn this crisis into opportunity, and let us turn conflict into reconciliation and lasting peace and prosperity for all God's children.
Let us build a world of lasting peace. May God bless you.
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