World Summit on Peace, Chairman?s Address
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman, UPF|
February 21, 2007
Distinguished world leaders, heads of state and government, religious leaders from all faith traditions, women leaders and first ladies, parliamentarians, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Universal Peace Federation?s World Summit on Peace dedicated to the theme, ?Forming New Alliances at a Time of Global Crisis.? Gathered here are nearly 400 delegates from 193 nations.
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman, UPF
Our theme for this Summit underscores the sober reality that we live at a time of global crisis. Whereas we all live in hope for peace, we can see that our world does not enjoy peace.
From Iraq to Darfur, from Sri Lanka to the Horn of Africa, from Palestine and Israel to this very 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 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, and the United Nations itself has been unable to perform effectively or deliver on its resolutions.
Among all these problems, family breakdown and the decline of moral standards, especially among youth, are most 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. To address human problems, we must also address the human heart and its own corruption.
As we look at our world, we must ask, ?Who is really working effectively to solve these critical problems?? ?Which nation has a clear vision and sense of direction to bring needed solutions?? In general, nations act for self-centered reasons, known as ?national self-interest.? In turn, when such nations assemble at the United Nations as member states, it is difficult to move forward effectively. The same could also be said of the community of religions in our world. There is a lack of cooperation and unified direction.
As taught by UPF?s Founder, there are three core or root causes of our world?s problems. The first relates to lineage, that is, to marriage and family. 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.
Secondly, there is the loss of true sibling love, that is, the love, harmony and cooperation that should exist between brothers. This tragic reality is seen in the story of Cain and Abel. In the first family, after Adam and Eve had been expelled from their place in God?s garden and had children, their elder son, Cain, killed their younger son, Abel. This story illustrates the 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 and Abel pattern.
Abel was slain by his brother, even though he was relatively closer to God and more pure-hearted. 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, 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.?
Thirdly, humanity has lost its relationship with the material world. We are not true owners or stewards of the things of this world. Instead, we have been so corrupted by greed and selfishness that we do not take care of the things around us, including the earth itself, and we do not serve the public good in our use of money, power and knowledge. This leads to increased poverty, disease, and selfish materialism that result in environmental decline.
Given this reality, how can we move forward and create a world of true and lasting peace?
Three Core Principles
When Father Moon first began speaking of a vision of a universal family of humanity, known in Korean as cheonilguk, he said there are three core principles. First, purity and fidelity are needed to protect the sacred value and integrity of marriage and family. Second, we must each have respect and reverence for not only the rights of each and every human being, but for one?s heart, that is, each person?s essential core, which is their desire to be fulfilled in true love as a son or daughter of God. And, third, we need to have a correct attitude and practice in the use of public money and public goods.
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.
In fact, the very notion of ?my people? must be universalized. That is, we must move beyond thinking that ?my people? are only those of the same skin color, or gender, or ethnic background, nationality or religious ideology. The circle of ?my people? 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 the absolutely necessary 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. But the easier way does not bring the result. For example, military power cannot bring lasting peace. Economic power cannot bring a just peace. Peace only comes on the foundation of true love. No adversary submits to power 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.
Our Work in 2007
The Universal Peace Federation is developing rapidly as a leading movement for world peace. As we look ahead in 2007 we have a clear mission, methodology, strategy and set of objectives. Today I would like to share with you some of the highlights of our Agenda 2007.
In terms of UPF?s mission, we can say confidently say that it is building a world of lasting peace: one global family under God. That is, a world in which people of every race, religion, nationality and culture can live together in mutual respect, love, harmony and co-prosperity.
The essence of our methodology is unselfish love, living for the sake of others. We seek dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation. Peace is not achieved through struggle, opposition, polarization and division. A peacemaker is one who seeks to build bridges of dialogue and understanding.
There are two primary areas of work for UPF: peacebuilding and human development. We understand both areas in a very comprehensive way.
What do we mean by comprehensive?
First of all, it means that we understand ?peace? or ?human development? as related to all the essential spheres of human life, from the individual, to the family, to the community, to civil society, to the nation and on the global level.
Additionally, it means that we understand that both peacebuilding and human development are to be addressed from a multi-sectoral or collaborative perspective or strategy. We do not pursue peace simply from a political or military perspective, or human development from simply an economic perspective. Rather, to effectively address the critical issues of peace and development, we approach problems comprehensively, with all available resources and tools, and pay attention to all relevant factors: politics, government policies, governance, religion, education, culture, family, arts, sports, media, economics and business.
It is in this respect that the various associations of Ambassadors for Peace such as Women for Peace, Youth for Peace, Parliamentarians for Peace, Business Leaders for Peace, and so on, are critical and essential. Each has something unique and essential to contribute, just like the players on a football team.
Throughout this coming year, we will intensify and upgrade our efforts for peace in the Middle East, in Northeast Asia, and other trouble spots around the world.
In addition to these peace initiatives, there are two core projects that grow out of our human development, and humanitarian work.
The first is the Bering Strait Peace King Bridge and Tunnel Project and International Peace Highway. This is a good example of a project that requires collaborative effort and a comprehensive vision. The Bering Strait crossing will require intergovernmental agreements between the US, Canada and Russia. It will need a clear business plan and substantial financial investment, as well as scientific feasibility and environmental impact studies. Through the media, awareness of the enormous potential of this project, as a humanitarian, peace project, needs to be communicated globally. Indeed, in Father?s Moon?s vision, religious leaders should be at the forefront of this undertaking, assisting in its promotion, fundraising and implementation.
A second area of UPF?s human development work concerns the United Nations? Millennium Development Goals. These eight goals aim to uplift humanity, with specific focus on helping the most vulnerable, women and children; ending poverty and disease; and promoting education and development. Of course this is an enormous challenge and requires multi-sectoral support. UPF believes that our resources can be of significant help in this effort:
These are some examples of the UPF?s approach to peace and development, with reference to some of the specific programs to be carried out this year.
- Enlisting religious organizations to work together in addressing the MDGs. Members of an interreligious volunteer corps, like Religious Youth Service, can work alongside volunteers from other service organizations such as Service for Peace or the Points of Light Foundation. We also anticipate that the Women for Peace leaders can be at the forefront of efforts to end human suffering.
- Strengthening marriage and family. We emphasize the responsibility of men as husbands to love their wives with total and exclusive commitment, and to dedicate their entire lives to the well-being of their precious sons and daughters. This will help empower women and children and reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.
- Encouraging character education in schools. What undermines development is corruption and greed by people who ignore the larger purpose and the rights and hopes of others. Through character education, we can raise up young and old people alike with a vision of not only their legal responsibilities, but also their moral and spiritual responsibilities.
Our Goals for this Summit
Most of all, we want you to be centrally involved in the work of the UPF.
We believe that each of the four core groups at this summit can contribute greatly to the primary program initiatives of the UPF: Middle East peace, Northeast Asia peace, the Bering Strait Project, and the efforts to support the United Nations in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Additionally, within the UPF?s twelve regions, there are substantial programs and peace initiatives.
Throughout this Summit I hope you can give serious attention and consideration to the ways in which you might contribute effectively to the mission and work of the UPF. We hope you will participate in UPF?s Ambassador for Peace Associations, as well as in the regional and national Peace Councils of the UPF. Heads of state and government, religious leaders, women leaders and parliamentarians all have essential roles to play.
Additionally, in the course of our Summit you will have the opportunity to learn of many other programs and projects being carried by UPF in 2007.
In conclusion I want to thank all the members of UPF?s Presiding Council, the Global Peace Council and the Secretariat. Much work has gone into refining and developing the UPF?s charter and governing structure, as well as its capacities for implementation. These improvements call for increased involvement of the members of the Presiding Council, the Global Peace Council, the Regional Peace Councils, and the affiliated organizations.
Step by step, we are moving forward. Increasingly the world is taking notice of our work, our vision and methods, and the outcomes of our efforts. This trend will only continue. In fact, it will increase significantly throughout this year.
May God bless each one of you, your family and your nation. Thank you.
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