Chairman's Address: Partnership, Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development|
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, UPF Chairman|
March 19, 2006
Your Excellencies. Distinguished Leaders. Ambassadors for Peace. Ladies and Gentlemen.
Welcome to the Asia-Pacific Island Nations Summit sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation. The topic we are here to discuss and take action on is ?Partnership, Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development: Strengthening the Community of Asia-Pacific Island Nations.?
As you know, the Universal Peace Federation is guided by two primary principles. The first is the principle of true love; that is, unselfish love, and living for the sake of others. The second is the principle of unification through give and take practices such as dialogue, service, reconciliation, harmony, and cooperation.
The purpose of this conference is to apply these core principles in our thinking about partnership, peacebuilding and sustainable development in Asia-Pacific Island Nations.
Father Moon has visited the islands of the Asia-Pacific region many times. He lived in Japan as a young student, in his youth, studying electrical engineering. Although he was an ardent resister to the Japanese occupation of Korea, he has a deep love for the Japanese people, and feels as though they are close relatives. This love and respect extends also to the other island nations of the Pacific.
Recently, as part of his world peace tour to 120 nations, he has traveled to Palau, the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. In one of his public speeches several years ago, he stated that the island nations of the Pacific have a central role to play in God?s providence to establish lasting peace.
In 1996, he established the Federation of Island Nations for World Peace, with a purpose of promoting increased dialogue and cooperation among island nations. More recently, he has been emphasizing the need for the island nations of the Asia-Pacific region to work together. In fact, he has recommended that these nations form a stronger alliance for the sake of peace and stability in the region.
One concern he has, and this is also a concern of Koreans, is the power and influence of larger nations in the region, the so-called superpowers. Although the Cold War era has passed, the pursuit of national self-interest remains strong. Many very powerful nations are seeking to influence smaller nations, and often their motives are not entirely altruistic.
In addition to the problems related to global political affairs, island nations, as underscored by both the Barbados SIDS meeting in 1995 and the Mauritius SIDS meeting in 2005, have many shared concerns: climate change and global warming, sustainable development, capacity-building and human resource development, health issues and especially HIV/AIDS, cultural identity, etc.
We will address many of these issues during this Summit.
All around us, in many respects, we see a worsening global situation, characterized by the growth of interreligious discord, global tension, conflict, terrorism, and poverty.
This is why the Founder launched the Universal Peace Federation on September 12, 2005, and proceeded to embark on a 120 nation speaking tour to spread the vision of the UPF. He took up the world tour at the risk of his very life, saying he could not sit back and watch as the windows of opportunity for peace were closing one after the other. ?Even if it costs me my life,? he said, ?I will not hold back.?
In the message he carried around the world, he defined his movement as an ?Abel UN,? as ?a United Nations whose efforts for peace are offered to Heaven, investing itself ceaselessly in living for the sake of others.?
The root principle of UPF is true love. If UPF does not embody the spirit of true love it has very little value, and it will not be the agent of peace we hope it to be. Let us always keep this in mind.
Where are we to get this substance, true love? It has to come from each of us, based on our relationship with God, the original owner and source of true love.
I cannot say enough about the experience of the world peace tour that Father Moon initiated. At 86, he is fully inspired, energized and on fire for peace, continually ready to lay down his life for this mission. In nation after nation, the outpouring of support was overwhelming. I can only say that, through the UPF, I believe we truly have an opportunity to bring about profound changes in our world, for the sake of lasting peace.
As much as I would like to look back and speak about the tour, I want instead to share the UPF?s vision for the future.
Building an ?Abel UN?
The Universal Peace Federation is committed to renewal of the United Nations, including the work of establishing an interreligious council as an organ of the United Nations. At the same time, the UPF seeks to develop as an independent institution which functions in the world as an ?Abel UN.?
As we know, Cain and Abel are the sons of Adam and Eve, born after their parents had fallen away from God and were expelled from the Garden of Eden. The two sons both sought the favor of their parents and of heaven. Of the two, Abel?s heart toward heaven was more sincere, humble and sacrificial. Abel was a filial son who sought to serve the will of heaven. However, as the scriptures tell us, Cain, whose interests were more external, materialistic and self-centered, killed his brother, Abel.
Throughout human history Abel-like persons and institutions have been repeatedly dominated and oppressed by Cain-like persons and institutions. This pattern Cain killing Abel needs to come to an end at this time; not through violence or by force, but through the power of true love. Ultimately, Cain and Abel are to reconcile and unite as brothers and work together in accordance with the principle of living for the sake of others.
What will distinguish the UPF as an ?Abel UN,? is not its focus on the critical issues facing our world, for it shares this focus with both the UN and other international organizations. What distinguishes the UPF is its internal principles, methodology and best practices, and the fact that these are embodied in our leadership, members and Ambassadors for Peace, who are truly living for the sake of others.
Marriage, Family and the Blessing
In his world tour speech, Father Moon says, ?Only when we are linked to God?s lineage is it possible to establish world peace,? referring to the importance of establishing God-centered marriages and families. This is the purpose of the Blessing.
It is common today to speak about ?root causes? of humanity?s critical problems, such as poverty, disease, conflict, etc. Some associate ?root causes? with economic inequality, others with government corruption. Surely these are critical factors, and indeed they are part of the root system. However, if we look even more deeply, we find that the most fundamental aspects of all human beings are related to the roots of ?love, life and lineage,? all of which have their foundation in the family, our ancestral, genetic, and historical roots.
By building families that embody traditions of true love, we can establish a society, nation and world of true love and lasting peace.
A very important point of emphasis in the Blessing movement is to understand marriage as an instrument of peace, and especially when a man or woman marries someone from a different, and even from an ?enemy? religion, race, nationality or culture, with a commitment to building a family of true love that goes beyond barriers.
Marriage and family are sacred within all religions. Governments and religions should form an alliance to uphold and protect the value of the two-parent, monogamous family of one man and one woman as the foundation of the good, stable, and prosperous society. The family is the foundation for moral and spiritual development, good citizenship, and economic productivity.
As we consider the issues of human development, sustainable development, and peace for island nations, let us not lose sight of the profound significance of the family.
Interreligious and International Cooperation and Good Governance
Our world is in urgent and desperate need to restore and repair the damaged relationships that exist not only between the world?s great religious traditions, but also between spiritual values and principles, on the one hand, and the work of governments, on the other hand.
The broken relationships among religions need to be healed if we are to build a world of lasting peace. Also, the unhealthy relationship that exists in many nations between religion and government needs to be healed as well.
In reality, religion and government have complementary and overlapping concerns. Religion and government are alike in being dedicated to serving the well-being of humanity and creating the good society. At best, both are grounded in universal principles, and both require leaders who apply those principles and who embody virtues such as love, compassion, wisdom and courage.
Governments fail when the practices of leaders or citizens, or the government?s public policies, are out of line with principle. The same holds true for religions. When either governments or religions fail to practice good governance, humanity suffers, prosperity declines and hopes are unfulfilled.
At this juncture in world history, we need to develop a global ethic, centering on core, universal values. One such value, which is at the heart of every religion and all the great philosophies, is the principle of unselfish love, living for the sake of others.
The work of interreligious dialogue and the fostering of good relations with people of all faiths should be among the central teachings and practices of all religions. In all the sacred scriptures we find statements in support of interreligious harmony, so let us build on that foundation.
Religious practices that continue to foster prejudice or bigotry will ultimately decline, as will nations that promote racism, ethnocentrism or selfish nationalism. Such behavior is in violation of universal law, and our God-given conscience can recognize this point.
Religions should not isolate themselves, either from other religions or from the world at large. Religions should emphasize the value of service, and in relation to government and society, religious teachings and practices should show themselves to be fully consistent with and contributing to the establishment of a good, just and prosperous society.
Good governance requires harmony between both the internal aspects of our lives, including both spiritual and moral values, and the external aspects, such as social, political and economic concerns. The spiritual and moral should never be divorced from the socio-economic dimensions of human life. The two should be harmonized.
Governments should also seek constructive partnership with faith-based NGOs and faith-based organizations. In particular, the United Nations should waste no time in establishing an interreligious council on equal footing and in cooperative relationship with its Economic and Social Council, the recently established ?Peacebuilding Commission,? and other UN organs, commissions and entities.
Expanding the Foundation of Ambassadors for Peace and Peace Councils
During the world speaking tour, Father Moon offered guidance on the development and expansion of the Ambassadors for Peace movement. He advised that within each nation the number of committed Ambassadors for Peace be expanded, saying that the Ambassadors for Peace are to be ?Abel Parliamentarians,? persons who want to serve the nation according to the principle of living for the sake of others.
Peace Councils are to be like ?Abel Parliaments? which serve the nation for the sake of the well-being of its people, as well as all the people of the world. They are to be parliaments of true love.
In conclusion, as you work together during this Summit, please keep in mind several key areas of concern.
Please consider how the principle of true love, living for the sake of others, and the principle of unification, can be applied to the situation of Asia-Pacific Island Nations, and especially in relation to:
Throughout this year, the UPF will be coordinating a series of peacebuilding programs, in partnership with a wide range of organizations. In his Inaugural Address for UPF Father Moon called for the formation of a ?Peace Army? or ?Peace Police,? having in mind a mechanism both to prevent or bring an end to conflict, and to build stable societies and nations based on God-centered families. He does not call for the use of military force. The age of violence and war must come to an end. It is a legacy of humanity?s primitive, fallen history and must be overcome. Rather, he calls for the formation of a kind of interreligious and international ?peace corps,? made up of activists and volunteers guided by the principles of true love and unification. They will serve in trouble spots around the world. Already the UPF has developed several peace initiatives, in the Middle East, in Northeast Asia, and in South Asia. The problems of conflict, however, are not unique to those areas. As such, we will be expanding our peace initiatives in the coming year and beyond, and we welcome your recommendations and support.
- strengthening marriage and family
- developing character education programs for all grade levels
- promoting reconciliation among peoples who are divided or hostile to one another
- building harmonious, cooperative relationships among religious groups and ethnic and racial groups within island nations
- strengthening the relationships between and among island nations, for the sake of peace, prosperity and human development
In relation to this peace force initiative, we are also developing a peace education institute. We are developing a peace curriculum that embodies our unique vision, principles, and methodology, so that we can educate and train leaders around the world in the way of reconciliation, cooperation, true love and co-prosperity.
Finally, as we engage in our work we must continually pause to reflect on the core values and guiding principles that we have learned. Our work will be in vain if we simply carry on according to conventional patterns. Each one of us must be renewed and transformed, so that we might see even more clearly through the eyes of love, compassion, respect, and unselfishness.
As we work in this way, I believe we will see new opportunities for closer cooperation among the island nations of the Pacific.
In particular, the UPF, together with the FINWP, is prepared to support you in developing a coalition or alliance of island nations dedicated to peacebuilding and human development in the Asia-Pacific. Even this year, we will initiate several programs in Oceania, working in partnership with a wide variety of NGOs, for the sake of peace. Through this process we can then build an island alliance for peace. I hope we can begin this process here at this summit.
Thank you for your support for the work of the Universal Peace Federation. We have a great opportunity, and we have a great responsibility. Let us support one another, living for the sake of others, and providing vision and leadership for a world of lasting peace.
Never forget that there is a great providence that stands behind our work. We are not alone. Truly the living God is with us. Moreover, our ancestors, the saints and sages, spiritual leaders, righteous men and women stand with us and share our vision and our work. Let us be ever mindful of this as we move forward in the next few days. Thank you.
Send us your thoughts on this article.