Chairman?s Address: Opening Plenary
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, International Chairman, IIFWP|
New York, United States
September 11, 2005
Most distinguished leaders from around the world. Ambassadors for Peace. Peace Council delegates. Ladies and Gentlemen.
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, International Chairman, IIFWP
On behalf of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, welcome to New York, and welcome to the IIFWP?s International Leadership Convocation.
We are living at a most challenging and exciting time in human history. At this moment, New York is at the center of the world?s stage. Just as you have assembled for this convocation, other world leaders are gathering across town for the 60th General Assembly of the United Nations. In many ways, we share the same concern, namely, to address the ?crises and challenges? that exist both for civil society and for the institutions of global governance.
While on the one hand, history often seems ordinary and routine, with days flowing by one after the other, in fact there are critical turning points in history.
Within any given life, for example, there can be significant, life-transforming moments. Sometimes these are called ?rites of passage.? Many times a single moment in a person?s life can be of profound and lasting significance. For example, a seemingly chance meeting with another person can form the basis for tragedy or good fortune. The outcome depends not only on the circumstances and nature of the opportunity, but on our ability to see clearly, recognize what needs to be done, and take the right course of action.
This applies not only to individual lives, but also to the larger movements and changes of history. Human responsibility determines the course and outcome of human history.
At this time, humanity is standing at a moment of opportunity. Those gathering at the United Nations this week have some sense of that opportunity. But opportunities can be missed, ignored and rejected, both by individuals and by nations.
Also, we must recognize that there are good opportunities and bad opportunities. It is very important to know the difference.
I believe with absolute conviction that we stand at the most critical juncture ever to befall the human community. The entire world is truly standing on the threshold of an age of peace. The hope of all ages, for a unified world of peace, is about to be realized. The day of its arrival depends on us.
How does change occur? Change begins at the most internal of levels. Consider how life begins. A child is born through a process that begins with an invisible love between a man and a woman, leading to a commitment in marriage, and on to the expression of conjugal love and the children that follow. Peace also begins from love. From this internal realm, peace is born and grows.
Likewise, history moves not by external forces alone, but also according to internal forces. Lasting peace is not based on political, military or economic power. Lasting peace is based on the internal conditions rooted in the heart, the spirit and the mind. These are the roots of peace.
There are so many diverse people in our world; people from different national, racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds; people with different personalities, characters, levels of intelligence, talent, awareness and experience. One wonders at times, with such infinite diversity, how can peace be possible? What does it take to unify and harmonize this diverse world?
This diversity has its meaning, coherence and unity when centered on God. Only God can bring all things together into oneness. Think about the body, which is such an incredibly complex system of cells, organs, tissue, muscles, nerves, DNA, etc. What stands at the center and grasps the unity of the whole, so that we call all the complexity and diversity within a single body, a person, a man, a woman, a being of dignity and value, a being with rights? It is not a muscle, or a single organ. Rather it is the invisible dimension of the self; that is, the mind, including the conscience.
Likewise, God is the mind and conscience of the universe. It is the existence of God that gives unity and harmony to the universe. God is the axis and origin of the underlying laws of the universe.
In essence, the root of peace is God.
When we act in compliance with God?s basic principles, peace becomes possible. When we disobey or violate those principles, disharmony and conflict follow.
One central, divine principle is known as give and take action. That is, all things are related to one another through relationships of giving and receiving. Give and take action leads to peace when the action is guided by the ethic of living for the sake of others. True human development and historical progress have their foundation in unselfish give and take action. Conflict, abuse and corruption have their foundation in selfish give and take action.
A second core, divine principle is the ?partner? principle. That is, all things have been created to exist in harmonious partnership. There is no thing created by God that is intended to live in isolation outside of a relationship to a partner. Within every atom, every molecule and cell, every human body and in any human community, there are partner relationships.
The very existence of man is based on the presupposition of woman, and the existence of woman is based on the presupposition of man. The biology, psychology and spirit of men and women are designed with each partner in mind; that is, each is complementary to the other. The creation of woman presupposed the creation of man; the creation of man presupposed the creation of woman.
Within God?s design, there is no isolated, individual existence. There is only the ideal of harmonious partnership, centered on true love. Successful partnership, in turn, has its foundation in unselfish give and take action that respects the dual purpose principle.
Throughout the universe, the pair or partnership system is evident. The center of all partnerships is God. The relationship to God is the ultimate relationship. As is the case in a symphonic orchestra, when all players attend to the conductor, harmony, beauty and great music is possible.
A third core, divine principle is that all existing things have dual purposes. That is, there is the purpose related to the development of the thing itself, and there is the purpose of the wider community in relation to which any given thing exists and acts. With any given individual, there is both a purpose of the self and a purpose of the larger whole, such as the family, the community, the nation and the world. Both are necessary.
Actions carried out by individuals who ignore the larger purpose are selfish acts. Likewise, actions carried out for the larger purpose, but that lack empathy and deny others their basic dignity and rights, or violate their hearts, are selfish. Individual acts that seek to serve the well-being of the larger whole, including respect and care for the heart, the rights and the sacred value of others, are unselfish, and good.
These core, divine principles form the foundation of peace.
Therefore, when we consider the United Nations as it exists today, we can identify a central problem or weakness, one that does not have to do simply with external structure or management. Rather, by excluding religion, the United Nations is seriously limited in its capacity not only to understand the root causes of our most basic human problems, but also to benefit from the constructive power of religion as an ally in solving these same problems. Moreover, without an understanding of God, the partnerships and relationships that are formed among nations and peoples have no true center or axis. As such, lasting peace cannot be achieved.
Of course, the original ideal and purpose behind the formation of the United Nations is very important. Surely God wills the unity and harmony of nations and peoples. In this sense the idea for the UN is fully consistent with God?s original ideal for a world of harmony and peace..?one world under God?..one world with no borders, with no discrimination and with no injustice. God had great hope at the time of the founding of the UN.
According to the original ideal, God never intended for there to be nations and borders that marked divisions between people. God?s ideal is for one global family, living without borders.
Without drawing on the wisdom of our world?s spiritual traditions, and with an exclusive reliance on governments, national interests, and economic and social affairs, the United Nations has a severe limitation. I compare this to a person who has many abilities, resources, education and capacity, but lacks spiritual wisdom and maturity. I am sorry, but that is how I see the United Nations. It is missing one of the most critical and essential aspects. As such, instead of being guided by a vision of the spiritual power of true love, the UN is guided by a vision of external power.
In other words, because the United Nations did not include in its vision and charter an appreciation or understanding of some of the core teachings of our world?s religions, it has lacked an adequate understanding of the all-important spiritual dimension of human reality. This is a serious omission. Religion and spirituality are simply too important, and play too important a role in human affairs.
From the outset, the establishment of the United Nations was dominated by the victorious nations of World War II. In other words, these were the most victorious and powerful nations at that time. The USA, the USSR, the UK, France and China, the permanent members of the Security Council, in particular, were the most powerful nations. It so happens they also became the primary nuclear powers. In other words, from the time of its formation, there was no genuine equality among nations. Rather, power was an overriding factor. And yet peace can never be achieved based on power alone.
It is for these reasons that Father Moon has been calling for the renewal of the United Nations. When he spoke in the year 2000 at the United Nations, he proposed the establishment of an interreligious council within the UN system. This proposal was not presented half-heartedly or simply as an academic idea. He made this proposal with absolute seriousness, maintaining that without such a structure within the UN system, two things would follow: the UN would be weakened and its effectiveness would decline, and, as a result, human suffering would increase.
In reality, however, this vision was hard for many member states to appreciate, for it departed from the UN?s own self-understanding and from the traditions that have developed since its founding. I commend Speaker Jose de Venecia of the Philippines for having had the foresight and courage to take up this initiative and encourage other member states to awaken to the importance and value of this initiative.
Father Moon, on the other hand, has not simply been waiting for others to take action. Two years ago he founded the Interreligious and International Peace Council, building on the foundation of Ambassadors for Peace, leaders from government, religion, academia, the private sector and civil society. The IIPC, now active throughout the world, is emerging as a major civil society force for peace.
At this convocation we have gathered delegates representing the Universal Peace Council, the Regional Peace Councils and the National Peace Councils. As an initiative that applies the divine principles of give and take action, unselfishness, partnership and dual-purposes, these Peace Councils, I am sure, will become increasingly effective. They will be agents of social, political, economic and spiritual change the world over.
On the foundation of the work of the IIFWP and the IIPC, Father Moon is now ready to launch a new stage in the development of this global peace movement. And, at this time, when we attend his ?Inaugural Address? at Lincoln Center tomorrow, we will hear him declare boldly the emergence of a new stage in the development of IIFWP and IIPC. Marking this moment, the IIFWP will be known as the Universal Peace Federation. The Peace Councils will then work within the framework of the UPF.
The name universal is based on a Korean term, ?chunju,? which can also be translated as ?cosmic? or ?heaven and earth.? In this sense the word universal also includes the meaning of both interreligious and international. In fact, in Korean, the words ?cho chung kyo? (interreligious) and ?cho kook ka? (international) are very close in meaning to the words heaven and earth, or spiritual and physical. Thus, the word universal includes the meaning of the unification of heaven and earth, the spiritual and physical worlds, as well as all people on earth.
If we are to achieve a world of lasting peace, we must go beyond the pursuit of power. The only way to achieve true and lasting peace is through the practice of true love. There is no shortcut to peace. The only gateway is true love, unselfish love. While the path of power, military might, political victory or economic dominance may appear to be an effective shortcut, in reality it is a detour that does not really lead us to our destination. We must always return back to the original path of true love.
Peace will only be achieved as human beings overcome selfishness, and cease practicing self-centered, individualistic lifestyles. We must understand and practice the core principles of cosmic law, namely, the pair or partnership system, give and take action, and the dual purposes of all things. According to these principles we must align our hearts, minds, and the culture. Not through weapons or force, or treaties and protocols, but through education, and by our living example?.by practicing true love, and by loving our enemies. That is what it means to take responsibility.
In this conference we will discuss how ?peace councils? can help in the establishment of ?peace nations.? The peace councils will succeed only in so far as we apply and practice these core principles and values, living for the sake of others. Most of all, we must keep God at the center of our lives. Without that, we all toil in vain.
Let us not toil in vain at this convocation, but rather take responsibility and work to make this moment in history a true turning point for peace. Let us act so that generations to come will look back on this day with awe, respect and admiration for the work we have done. Let us move forward, not with instruments of external power, but the instruments of internal power: true love, unselfishness and a passion for peace.
By centering on God?s cosmic ideal we can reach lasting peace.
We are about to take off together on a great and amazing adventure. Let us go with God. Let us go forward with each other. Let us love all people, and change this world.
Thank you and God bless you.
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