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Governance and the Role of Religion in Peace and Security: RENEWING THE UNITED NATIONS TO BUILD LASTING PEACE
Excerpts from the Address Given by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon
New York, United States
August 18, 2000

In the modern age, in most nations, religious ideals have come to hold a place wholly separate from the centers of secular political power, and most people have come to accept this reality as the way things ought to be. I believe, however, that it is time that international organizations whose purpose is to support the ideal of world peace reconsider their relationship with the great religious traditions of the world.

On this point, the United Nations, more than any other international organization, can set a good example and lead the way. The world has great expectations for the United Nations as an organization embodying humanity?s aspiration for peace. In the United Nations, the representatives of all nations work in concert to promote peace and human prosperity.

Of course, the conscientious efforts to establish peace, undertaken by these national representatives at the United Nations, often meet stubborn resistance. The accomplishments and achievements attained through the United Nations have been significant. However, there is much room for improvement. I believe there is an urgent need today, within the United Nations and through its many activities, to encourage mutual respect and increased cooperation between the world?s political and religious leaders.

Conflicts arise for many reasons. But one of the primary factors contributing to their emergence is the deep rooted disharmony that exists among the world's religions. Therefore, when we witness the many global tragedies occurring around us, we should recognize how critically important it is that the religions come together, dialogue with one another, and learn to embrace one another. . . . At their root human problems are not entirely social or political, and so social and political approaches will always be of limited effectiveness. Although secular authorities rule most human societies, religion lies at the heart of most national and cultural identities. In fact, religious faith and devotion have far greater importance in most peoples hearts than do political loyalties.

The existing United Nations structure, composed of national representatives, may be regarded as a congress where the interests of each member nation are represented. However, I submit that serious consideration should be given to forming a religious assembly, or council of religious representatives within the structure of the United Nations. This assembly or council would consist of respected spiritual leaders in fields such as religion, culture and education. Of course, the members of this interreligious assembly will need to have demonstrated an ability to transcend the limited interests of individual nations and to speak for the concerns of the entire world and humanity at large?.

Furthermore, one of the reasons I founded the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace was to help create an interreligious assembly to serve as a senate or council within the United Nations. To implement this plan, I propose that each nation, in addition to its current ambassador, send a religious ambassador to the United Nations to serve as a member of the religious assembly, or UN senate.

The mission of the representatives to this UN senate would require that they have a genuinely ecumenical or interreligious consciousness and that they have the training and ability to teach a universal, trans-national ideal of peace. The nature of their purpose and mission would prohibit their promoting the narrow interests of a particular country. Rather, they would carry out their duties for the ideal of peace in the world and for the sake of all humanity in accordance with God?s Will.

The interreligious ambassador appointed as a member of the United Nations senate or council should have a global consciousness and take responsibility to represent the United Nations? global vision and agenda. In this sense, these persons could be thought of as global ambassadors from the Untied Nations. Wherever they go in the world, these ambassadors would promote movements dedicated to the realization of peace and social welfare. Moreover, in all nations they would serve as conscientious guardians of lofty ideals such as justice, security and peace.

This will provide hope to the citizens of the world, and especially to the youth. People will then have the opportunity to see with their own eyes the emergence of young people around the world seeking true love and lasting peace. Those selected as ecumenical and transnational ambassadors will also be able to help guide and supervise various UN sponsored projects in health, education, welfare and other fields. . . . I believe that the world leaders and officers of the United Nations, who possess knowledge, experience and wisdom, can offer many recommendations for implementing the proposals I've presented to you today. If we work together and make continuous efforts, peace and happiness will surely be realized on Earth.

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