Center address launches new Universal Peace Federation
Declaring the world to be at a pivotal "historic
turning point," Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon asked
an international peace gathering to consider, "Can
everlasting world peace take root, or are we doomed
to repeat the 20th century's dark and oppressive history
of war and conflict?"
How do you start to describe something as extraordinary as Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon’s sense of passion, divine calling and personal commitment to undertake a grueling speaking tour of 100 cities in 67 countries in just 100 days to launch of the Universal Peace Federation? Would Father Moon, only a month shy of his 86th birthday, even have the stamina to get up on the stage each evening when it came time to deliver a message that sometimes ran longer than four hours?
And what of the lofty goals of the Universal Peace Federation, (UPF) which, in the words of its Founder, should solve some of the thorniest problems the United Nations has wrestled with for the past 60 years, and even help reform it?
Despite the fact that both the schedule and the agenda seemed to defy convention and logic, especially given the high walls of caution, suspicion and bureaucracy in a post 9/11 world, the tour not only took place, but was so successful that many other countries were inspired to hold their own programs, bringing the final tally to 120 nations.
The tour started at the Lincoln Center in New York and concluded in Toronto a little over three months later, after a journey of more than 70,000 miles, 280 hours of airtime, and 60 time zones. As it turned out, Dr. Moon proved to have more stamina than most of the crowds and all of his traveling companions, sometimes speaking long after midnight. “I’m sorry if I make you suffer,” he would say with a smile, “but I may never meet you again, so I have to share everything that is in my heart.”
The essential thrust of the tour was, of course, the founding of the UPF with its challenging mission to help the United Nations renew itself by engaging the collective spiritual wisdom and insight of the world’s faith leaders. This difficult task is made even more urgent and necessary, because so many of the world’s most intractable disputes are actually being made worse by religious tensions. Another important theme was the challenge of breaking down the barriers that divide people, as well as nations. After all, before any country can think about ending conflict and making peace, the citizens of that nation, its individuals and families overcome divisions based on race, religion, ethnicity and culture and language. Only through loving one’s enemy, even to the point where the children of hostile nations and peoples intermarry and create new families of love.
Political reform and strong families are not enough; there must be social and economic justice as well. Rejecting the concept of a ‘clash of civilizations,’ the UPF is working to inspire new, world changing links that bring civilizations into oneness, through visionary projects like the Bering Strait Tunnel and the International Highway Project, and through service and relief work wherever there is urgent human need.
“I leave you with a choice,” Father Moon said, “I ask you all to devote your best efforts for the development and success of the Universal Peace Federation. Will you join with me as I rise and gain strength in accordance with heavenly fortune? Or will you miss this chance and risk a lifetime of regret?”