Chairman's Address, Hawaii
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman, Universal Peace Federation|
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
June 17, 2007
Distinguished leaders, senior diplomats and Ambassadors for Peace from Korea, Japan, the USA and nations throughout the world. Welcome to the International Leadership Conference sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation and The Washington Times Foundation. Our theme is "The Asia-Pacific Era and the Need for Vision and Leadership at a Time of Global Crisis." Gathered here are 562 delegates representing 56 nations.
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman, Universal Peace Federation
Hawaii is known for its amazing beauty. However, we have not gathered here for sightseeing. We have come to this island in the center of the Pacific Ocean to consider the way forward to a world of lasting peace. Here, on March 17, UPF's Founder, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, convened an emergency meeting of leaders from around the world and delivered a message entitled, "A Providential View of the Pacific Rim Era in Light of God's Will." He spoke about the rise of civilizations centered on God's providence. He called upon the United States and the United Nations to understand the direction of history and be aligned with God's will to create one universal family, beyond race, religion, nationality and culture: one family under God.
The UPF has sponsored International Leadership Conferences in Washington, D.C., New York, London and now Hawaii to lay the foundation for its 2007 Assembly in September in New York, near the time of the 62nd session of the UN's General Assembly. With this Assembly, UPF will be taking its work to a new level, in association with governments, religions and NGOs throughout the world.
The universal principles to be presented during this conference guide the work of the Universal Peace Federation. These are the essential teachings of Father Moon and the peace messages he has been taking around the world.
Peace is desired by all human beings, regardless of their race, national origin, level of education or religious belief. The ideal of peace as a realm of mutual respect, harmony, cooperation and generosity is rooted in the original mind and conscience of all people. We share this idea because we have our root in the same divine origin, God, and this is the ideal of God Himself. We have inherited this desire from Him.
Despite this, the world we experience is characterized by suffering and conflict. The 20th century was a century of unprecedented development in science, technology and communications. At the same time, it was also the century of two world wars and the Cold War. The century that saw the emergence of the League of Nations and the United Nations was also history's bloodiest.
The 21st century is also off to a difficult start. From Iraq to Darfur, from Sri Lanka to the Horn of Africa, from Palestine and Israel to the Korean peninsula, the world is far from peaceful. 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, the arms trade and even human trafficking continue.
Nations, governments and countless citizens have lost their moral compass, surrendering to the lure of materialism and selfish individualism. Human rights violations multiply, and the United Nations itself acknowledges that it has been unable to deliver on the ideal expressed in its charter, "to end the scourge of war."
Among all these problems, family breakdown and the decline of moral standards, especially among youth, are the most serious. Even if the Millennium Development Goals are achieved, poverty will not be eradicated if we do not address fundamental issues of human character and human relationships, especially our relationship with God. This is where the root of our problems resides.
We cannot help but ask what can be done to solve these critical problems. Where do we find the leadership needed to change this world? Where can we find a clear vision and guide in the search for solutions?
In general, nations act in accordance with the principle of "national self-interest." Naturally, when the member states assemble at the United Nations, it is difficult to move forward in ways that serve universal interests. The community of religions in our world lack a unified direction. We do not find the religions working together in harmony for the sake of peace. In fact, many see religion as only contributing to division and conflict in our world.
What is the root cause of this division and conflict? Father Moon calls us to look within the institution of marriage and family and our separation from God, spoken about in the world's great scriptures. His entire ministry has been focused on restoring marriage and family, which are the foundation of all human relationships.
Through marriage and the sexual relationship between man and woman, we produce children. Only when the love between a man and a woman and the use of their sexual organs are fully centered on God, is it possible to raise true sons and daughters of God, and build a world of lasting peace. Marriage is to be a true love partnership between a man and woman centered on God. When marriage is centered on the highest spiritual principles, especially fidelity and unselfish love, it is the most powerful instrument of peace. This is the reason that throughout his life, Father Moon has emphasized the centrality of the marriage Blessing.
Family breakdown affects the children, extended family and community. Families are the core of our society, and their breakdown through selfishness, infidelity, promiscuity and divorce undermines the stability of the entire nation.
The family was created by God to be the school of love. Without the school, love is not learned and therefore cannot be practiced in the wider society. Love between neighbors, citizens and co-workers as well as between people of different nationalities, cultures and religions has its basis in the family. The love that should exist between members of the society, the nation and the world is an extension of the love that should exist between brothers and sisters within the family.
When marriage is not centered on God, and exists outside the realm of God's Blessing, it leads to the loss of true sibling love. This tragic pattern is expressed in the story of Adam and Eve and their sons, Cain and Abel. In that original family, Adam and Eve fell away from God and could not be true parents to their children. Consequently, their first son, Cain, killed their second son, Abel. As we examine today's conflicts between nations, religions, races, ethnic groups, political ideologies and economic classes, we see the recurrence of the Cain and Abel pattern. In the absence of God's true love, jealousy, resentment, hatred and the desire for revenge grew strong. Acting on these feelings, Cain killed Abel. This pattern has been repeated throughout history and must be brought to an end.
How do we do this? We must understand God's will, align ourselves with God's providence, and provide true leadership, as restored Abel-like persons. Abel-like people live for the sake of heaven and for the sake of others; they attend God and practice generosity, compassion and forgiveness.
We are called not only to become Abel-like persons but also to develop Abel-like governments, businesses, NGOs and religions. In fact, Father Moon 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's task is to attend God, heal the heart of Cain through love, and promote reconciliation through love and forgiveness.
Separated from God, human beings lost our connection to one another, the spiritual world and the natural world. We lack the essence of true leadership, namely, the true love that is centered on God. Given this reality, how can we move forward and create a world of true and lasting peace? That is the purpose of this conference.
We will learn the principles for moving from hostility and conflict to peace, from resentment to reconciliation, and from enmity to true love. Peace is not launched from some external institution or situation but from within ourselves. We each must ask, "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, repent and set out on a course of self-correction. The road to peace starts in our own home, and with those who are near and dear to us, our own family. If I cannot establish peace within my own family, how can I expect to establish peace among strangers or enemies?
Father Moon teaches us that peace comes through loving our enemy. Only true love can conquer resentment and the tendency to perpetuate and multiply the wrongdoings that have been committed against us or those we love. True love calls us to learn the art of forgiveness and forge a path of reconciliation. All of us must learn to universalize the objects of our love. That is, we must move beyond thinking that "my people" are only those of the same skin color, gender, ethnic background, nationality or religion. The circle of "my people" must expand to embrace the stranger and the enemy. Don't we think of God as large enough to embrace the whole of humanity?
The vision of UPF is to establish "One Family under God," beyond the barriers of religion, nationality, race, ideology and ethnicity. It is an awesome challenge to reverse the course of history. It is the most difficult but essential path. The great peacemakers throughout history endured suffering and persecution in following the course of Abel; sometimes they were killed.
If there were an easier way, surely we would go that way. Military power alone cannot bring lasting peace. Economic or political power alone cannot bring about a just peace. Peace only comes on the foundation of true love. No adversary submits willingly to power or coercion. 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 as a result of this conference, you will:
The world truly needs each of you. We are at a critical turning point in history. Let us turn this crisis into opportunity, reverse the tide of conflict, and lead the way toward reconciliation and co-prosperity for all. The world is waiting for a movement that embodies the ideal of true leadership guided by universal principles and includes people from all the world's faith traditions, cultures, nationalities and races. We stand at the center of a new Pacific Rim era, a new era of lasting peace in which the hope of all ages and of all religions is realized. Let us build a world of lasting peace. May God bless you, your families and your nations.
- Understand the destructive nature of promiscuity, sexual immorality and family breakdown.
- Get involved in the work of the Universal Peace Federation and help make it an "Abel UN" that lives for the sake of others and builds bridges of peace across the divisions of our broken world.
- Promote interfaith harmony and cooperation. Let us encourage religious leaders from every faith to help develop an interreligious council at the United Nations, because the mission of religion to build a world of lasting peace.
- Support the Bering Strait Tunnel/Bridge Project not merely for the sake of trade and development but for peace and cooperation between East and West. If the major powers and corporations, along with the religions and NGOs, join together in this effort, we will be beating our swords into ploughshares on a global level.
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