Chairman?s Anniversary Address
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman UPF|
September 11, 2006
Your Excellencies. Distinguished World Leaders. Most Honorable Members of the Presiding Council and Members of the Global Peace Council. Ambassadors for Peace.
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman UPF
On behalf of the Founders, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, welcome to this Opening Plenary of the 3rd Assembly of the Universal Peace Federation.
It was only one year ago that more than one thousand world leaders gathered in New York, at Lincoln Center, on September 12, 2005 to inaugurate the Universal Peace Federation.
The emergence of the UPF was not haphazard, random or accidental. It did not arise as the result of a brief moment of inspiration. It was the result of 60 years of effort and labor on the part of Father Moon, who, throughout his life, has been dedicated to fulfilling God?s providence.
He has always taught that the ideal of peace, while it is surely an ideal embedded in the heart and nature of human beings, is even more fundamentally and originally, an ideal within God?s own heart and nature. God seeks peace. The reason that all human beings seek peace is because we have been created by God, and our original mind resembles God?s own mind and heart. We therefore seek peace in the same way that a plant seeks sunlight.
God not only seeks peace, but He follows a clear, systematic providential plan to bring about its realization. To seek peace is also to serve God?s providence to establish a universal, ideal kingdom of true love. This has been the mission of the prophets, saints and sages throughout history.
In 1945, there was a unique moment in providential history. This year marked not only the end of World War II; it was also the year when the UN was founded. From the point of view of God?s providence, there could have emerged, at this time, a new era of peace. Recognizing this reality, Father Moon worked desperately, even as a young man in his 20?s, to bring his message of peace to the world. However, instead of having an opportunity to bring his message to humanity, he was persecuted, imprisoned, slandered, and nearly beaten to death. What stood in his way?
On the one hand, the existing religious foundation, and especially Christianity, could not, at that time, open its eyes to grasp the heavenly significance of this man and his message. Like others in the past who failed to recognize the one who had come on behalf of God?s providence and as foretold in their own scriptures, he was misunderstood and initially rejected by the established powers.
Additionally, the rising communist movement came against him with all its power. He spent nearly three years in a communist prison camp in Hungham, North Korea. The average life-span for prisoners was six months.
Rev. Kwak together with Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe (left) and Mrs. Debbie M. Remengesau, First Lady of the Republic of Palau (right)
We can say that both the religious world and the communist world came against him. As a result the providence that could have been fulfilled and carried out in 1945, was blocked, and Father Moon had to build his own foundation over the next six decades.
The most basic or essential part of this foundation was actually carried out in a realm not visible by human eyes, or physical senses, that is, the spiritual world. The spiritual world is a real world. However, it is not observable by human eyes. It is the realm where God dwells. It is also a realm where our ancestors dwell. Finally, it is a realm where evil spirits also dwell, evil spirits that have influence over human minds, hearts and action. Most significantly it is a realm where Satan, the enemy of God, dwells. It was in this realm that Father Moon had to first achieve victory.
I am sorry if this seems unusual or strange to you. However, it may help if you pause to reflect for a moment on persons like Moses, who spent 40 day and 40 nights fasting on Mount Sinai as the condition for receiving the Ten Commandments. Think of Jesus also, fasting 40 days, and being tempted by Satan, and gaining victory. Think of Mohammed as he set conditions for receiving the Holy Koran from the angel, Gabriel. Think of Buddha when he received enlightenment after having persevered through many years of asceticism. These great religious founders could not have been the basis for great religions, great civilizations and great cultures had they not first gained victory in this internal realm of the mind and heart, a world that very few have the perception, insight, perseverance and courage to enter.
Through this process Father Moon came to know that the original Fall of humanity occurred at the time of Adam and Eve through the breakdown of God?s ideal of marriage and family. God?s ideal of true love was corrupted. In this way, the love of men and women in marriage was corrupted, and the love of siblings was also corrupted, and, finally, our relationship to the creation and all things, was corrupted. In effect, the most fundamental human relationships were infected with sin. Love itself, both conjugal love and sibling love, even parental love, was disconnected from God. This reality is seen most clearly when, in the very first family, the elder son, Cain, killed the younger son, Abel.
Father Moon knew that these root problems had to be restored. Otherwise we could never achieve lasting peace.
This is why he invested himself totally in building a tradition of ideal marriage and family, centered on the ideal of True Parents and True Family. In 1960 he began the Holy Wine Ceremony and the World Peace Blessing movement, and began promoting inter-cultural exchange marriage. It is only through exchange marriage that the divisions of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, culture, class, etc., can be finally overcome. For example, Rev. Moon advocates not only interreligious dialogue and interreligious cooperation; he advocates interreligious marriage.
Throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, Father Moon developed many programs, organizations and federations with an aim of creating one universal family of humanity. These included activities and programs dedicated to promoting interreligious dialogue, reconciliation, harmony and cooperation, as well as international and intergovernmental cooperation for the sake of peace and co-prosperity. Toward this cause, he invested every penny donated to the movement.
These two broad areas of work came together into one stream with the founding of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace in 1999. At this time, he wanted to bring into harmonious cooperation the two primary spheres of human identity, consciousness and social organization, namely, religions and nation states.
He was aware of the challenge. However, he knew that neither communism?s rejection of religion, nor democracy?s rigid separation of government and religion, nor theocracy?s sectarian narrowness could lead to lasting peace for humanity.
Therefore, in 2000, when he addressed the United Nations at the IIFWP Assembly, he advocated the establishment of an interreligious council at the United Nations. This proposal represented a bold, innovative, and necessary change in the way we conceive of and practice good governance. Had this initiative been taken up straight away, this would have represented the harmonization or unification of divided realms, the healing of a division that was preventing humanity from realizing its dreams for peace.
While the United Nations is gradually making progress in accommodating the interreligious perspective, Father Moon?s understanding of God?s providence does not allow indefinite delay or prolongation, especially when so much is at stake. That is why, in 2003, he began talking of a new United Nations. He used terms such as the ?Peace United Nations? and the ?Abel United Nations.? That is, he was starting to plan for an alternative or complement to the existing United Nations, fearing that the United Nations would not easily or quickly change in the ways that are so direly needed.
Therefore, in 2003, Father Moon initiated a first stage in the development of the Abel UN or Peace UN, known as the Interreligious and International Peace Council. The IIPC developed over time into a series of Peace Councils on the Global, Regional and National levels.
Then, in the summer of 2005, he took another bold new step be taken toward establishing the ?Abel UN.? In other words, 60 years after the founding of the United Nations and 60 years after he had sought to stand before the world as one who could open the way to peace, only to be frustrated, he was able to make his voice heard. This was the launch of the UPF, as the Abel UN.
What is an Abel UN? He has defined it as a UN that ?offers its efforts for peace to heaven, ceaselessly living for the sake of others.? Historically, persons or institutions in an Abel position----a position relatively closer to God and one that embodies Godly character----have been dominated by Cain-like persons and institutions.
He has also said that UPF could not have been and is not the result of the mind of any human being. Rather it is an expression of the will of God, and it emerges with an entirely new model or paradigm of sovereignty. It is a sovereignty based not on external entitlement, military might, political popularity, economic power, or even religious authority, but a sovereignty based on the ideal of true love.
The trademark of God?s sovereignty, like loving parents in a home, is a sovereignty of true love, a sovereignty that is voluntarily accepted and affirmed by the people, not out of fear or selfish desire, but out of true love.
The rise of the UPF is directly linked to a broader transformation on a global level; on the worldwide level a providential, and civilizational shift is underway. This shift will affect all social, political and economic institutions. An old order will gradually pass away way, not by physical force or violence, but by force of reason and spiritual awakening. We will look back, much as we do today in looking at, say feudalism, with no desire to return to a time, worldview and way of life that will only seem small in comparison to what lies before us.
True Father describes this as the ?age after the coming of heaven.? It is also the age of cheonilguk, the age in which a new ?nation? is being established that has no national, racial, religious or cultural boundaries. It is the nation of one universal human family dwelling together in harmony and cooperation, interdependence and co-prosperity.
In this new age, the UPF will come to function increasingly as the ?Abel UN.? Please recognize this point.
When UPF was established one year ago, Father Moon began a series of speaking tours, or World Peace Tours. The first tour reached 120 nations; the second 180 nations; and the third, still underway, 40 nations in 40 days, with 12 cities in each nation, totalling 480 cities in 40 days. The first tour was carried out by True Parents. The second by True Mother and representatives of their 13 children. The third by three generations of the True Family, True Parents, True Children and True Grandchildren.
These tours have expanded the awareness of the mission and work of UPF, and have rallied the Ambassadors for Peace worldwide to a higher calling and commitment to their mission.
Thus, today we gather here, only one year after the founding of the UPF, and look back with a sense of amazement at all that has transpired. And yet, we cannot pause for long. We must look ahead. In this respect I want to outline some of the key areas of our work to be carried out in the days, weeks and months that lie ahead.
First, in this next year, we want to move toward developing a more formal charter and constitution for the UPF as the ?Abel UN,? building on the foundation of the IIFWP?s articles and by-laws, and the Peace Council guidelines.
Second, we will further expand, develop, and activate the Presiding Council, Global Peace Council and Regional Peace Councils, taking steps to secure official representation and participation of governments and intergovernmental organizations in activities and projects of the UPF.
Third, we will draw up, this year a compact or memorandum of understanding that will form an alliance of governments that are committed to promoting cooperation among governments, civil society initiatives in the area of humanitarian service and multi-faith organizations. This compact or MOU will feature four core points:
UPF will continue to advance programs, on global, regional and national levels, throughout the coming year that correspond to each of these four core points.
- The relevance of character education to peace and human development
- The significance of marriage and family as instruments of peace and human development
- The need for interreligious cooperation
- The importance of developing a universal ethics of service
Fourthly, UPF will continue to promote UN Renewal and will support the work of the Tripartite Commission on interreligious dialogue.
Fifthly, UPF will sponsor an international conference in December of this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a first step toward achieving the goals enumerated above. This conference is tentatively entitled, ?Peacebuilding and Human Development: Toward an Alliance of Governments with Civil Society and Multi-Faith Service Organizations.? We are specifically seeking to have official government representatives in attendance. There will be, concurrently, a gathering of leading officials of service-oriented NGOs, youth groups, and multi-faith organizations.
Sixthly, the UPF will partner with WANGO at its annual meeting, ?A World at Risk: the Role of NGOs in Building a World of Peace,? to be held in late November this year in Jordan. In this way UPF can strengthen its partnerships with civil society and other NGOs who seek to build a world of lasting peace. At WANGO?s annual meeting, UPF will sponsor sessions on the MEPI and UN Renewal.
Seventh, we will continue to expand our peace initiatives in the Middle East, Northeast Asia and South Asia.
Eighth, UPF will work with the Federation of Island Nations for World Peace to develop programs for island nations, forming an alliance of island nations for ?Peacebuilding and Human Development.?.
Ninth, UPF will expand its ?Women for Peace? program, initiating a second ?First Ladies? Summit, later this year, in cooperation with the Women?s Federation for World Peace.
Tenth, UPF will expand its character education programs in each region, continually refining our curriculum so as to fit local contexts and needs.
These are some of the plans that we will be working on both during this conference and in the days ahead.
Tomorrow we will hear from Father Moon at the Cheong Jeong Gong Peace Palace. Please prepare your hearts and minds. He is now 86 years old. Each day of his life, and each opportunity we have to meet with him and hear from him are so precious. Let us prepare well, first of all, by investing ourselves well in this conference and its topics.
Remember, to build an Abel UN, each of us must become an Abel-like person, that is, a person who lives for the sake of others. This is not a life of ?business as usual.? Each day we have to face the challenge of not only trying to change others, but of changing ourselves. I can never see others clearly if I myself have clouded vision, impaired selfishness, prejudice, lust, ignorance, greed, jealousy, or resentment. It is only when I come to a place of peace internally that I can see the world and others clearly, truthfully.
Let two principles guide us: First, live unselfishly. Second, seek reconciliation, seek harmony, seek cooperation. When do we begin? Now. UPF cannot succeed if we only have a message. We must embody the message. The world not only wants to hear something different, it wants to see, feel, observe, and come to trust something different. It is up to us. This is why we are called as Ambassadors for Peace. This is why True Parents have taken up these speaking tours at the risk of their lives. For, in order for UPF to succeed, we must first become new people. We have to go beyond conventional dialectical, conflict-oriented thinking. We have to lead the world to an ethics of cooperation, reconciliation, and harmony.
Therefore, at this conference let us not only talk, and do, but let us become a new people, and a new paradigm in action. Peacebuilding and Human Development begin with each of us.
Thank you for your attention. God bless you.
Send us your thoughts on this article.