Unification News for May 2005

International Leadership Convocation 2005

Leadership for Global Transformation: Exploring the Vision, Methodology, and Best Practices Necessary for a New Era of Lasting Peace

by Glenn Strait and Eric Olsen

Transforming a world of conflict into a world of peace is an ambitious but necessary task. Today's culture of conflict is evident in rising divorce rates, domestic violence, racial and ethnic tensions, and regional wars that perpetuate grievances and sow bitterness for later generations.

Many factors will contribute to establishing lasting peace, but none is more critical than effective leadership. Accordingly, an international leadership convocation, Leadership for Global Transformation: Exploring the Vision, Methodology, and Best Practices Necessary for a New Era of Lasting Peace, was convened in Washington DC on April 10-14, by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace to address the crucial role of leadership in establishing a culture of peace.

Unlike recent IIFWP international convocations, this assembly brought together leaders from seven key nations: Korea, Japan, China, the United States, Russia, India, and Mongolia and held sessions that looked more specifically at the principles of leadership advanced by the IIFWP and taught by its founder, the Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon. An eighth group consisted of representatives from Europe.

IIFWP Chairman Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak greeted the three hundred government, business, academic, and religious leaders in his opening address on Sunday evening and emphasized two core principles of peace that would be elaborated upon in the coming days: a principle of living for the sake of others in one's daily life and, secondly, a willingness to seek harmony and unification, even at the sacrifice of oneself when conflict arises.

Dr. Kwak emphasized that human life is governed by principles that derive from the loving heart of God, and that our maturity in love, culminating in marriage and family life, leads us into a harmonious state in which human beings come to reflect God's essential nature.

Jack Corley, the Secretary General of IIFWP, Eurasia and the Session Panel Session I on the following morning, presented by Jack Corley, the Secretary General of IIFWP, Eurasia, began what would become a methodical analysis of the root causes of conflict. Underscoring the importance of correctly understanding the significance of our limited physical life, Mr. Corley clarified that the development of character and the maturing of love are the essential tasks of life, that the physical body is merely a transitional stage, like the period in the womb, requiring healthy, responsible practices to enable a successful transition to a higher sphere of life in the eternal spiritual world.

The fundamental value of love, inherently understood by parents who try to raise their children to be loving and virtuous, is also clearly compromised and corrupted in the world, and Reverend Phillip Schanker, vice president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, USA, explained in Session II how ancient traditions around the world locate a failure of human responsibility, a corruption of personality, as the cause of the tragic dilemma confronting humanity. The Reverend Moon has identified this failure as the corruption of love itself, crippling humanity, implanting selfishness, and alienating the human heart from the pure love of God.

William Lay, who practices law in New York, followed this analysis in Session III with an insightful examination of principles of reconciliation that apply both historically and on a personal level. It is the pattern of history, he noted, that leaders, or central figures, emerged. These leaders ordinarily had personal endowments, but also were seekers who sacrificed to gain insights and thus acquire spiritual capital. They were then called to give selflessly to others, to share their wisdom and endowments for the benefit of others. This pattern enabled the rise of the great religions, as well as the emergence of civilizations. The essential condition of leadership, accordingly, is the character and integrity of individuals, and their earnestness to seek the truth.

Dr. Kwak returned for the final afternoon session with a systematic presentation on the significance of marriage and family life, not simply as traditional rites conducive to social cohesion but as divinely mandated institutions in which human beings fulfill the respective roles of child, spouse, and parent and come to reflect the multidimensional character of God's love. Dr. Kwak then presided over a moving blessing ceremony, with all the delegates upholding and sanctifying their marriages, and solemnly pledging faithfulness within the marital union through partaking of ceremonial wine or juice.

In the second day, April 11, sessions presented an overview of key works initiated by Rev. Moon that have laid some of the solid foundations supporting IIFWP's efforts to effect fundamental change toward a peaceful world.

Two sessions, V and VIII, under the theme "A New Vision of Peace: The Thought and Achievement of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon" covered respectively Eurasia and the USA. For Eurasia, a primary event that opened the door to a flood of developments in the 1990s was a meeting of Rev. Moon in Moscow with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990. From that moment began an initiative to write and publish curricula for teaching character, morality, and ethics in the secondary schools and at advanced levels. These were based on Rev. Moon's core ideas and adapted especially to the needs and context of Russia, Mongolia, and China. Through these programs tens of thousands of educators have been instructed in using the materials and now several thousand schools are using this materials. A complementary initiative developed and promulgated a new philosophy of unified martial arts.

Covering the sweep of time since 1972 when Rev. Moon began to give priority attention to the US, the "Focus on the USA" session used the backdrop of events in Rev. Moon's life to convey the understanding that he is a man of deep prayer and spirituality whose total investment in all that he does draws the support of universal power. Examples included advances made through his imprisonment in the USA that established unbreakable bonds with leaders of the civil rights movement, and the trust granted to Rev. Moon by Palestinians in Gaza, first because of his history of enduring unfair imprisonment, and secondly because of the great wisdom of his teachings. Support for President Nixon through the campaign of "Forgive. Love. Unite" showed clearly that Rev. Moon does what is right, not what is expedient. Foundations laid during his 13 months of imprisonment in the 1980s are bearing fruit today, in the amazing 50-state tour, the American Clergy Leadership Conference, the Women's Federation for World Peace, the American Family Coalition, the campaign of the Cross Reconsidered, and the Crown of Peace ceremony on Capitol Hill.

Two sessions, VI and VII, demonstrated Principles in Action, one with a focus on Peace Initiatives and a second with an emphasis on Human Development.

The Middle East Peace Initiative presentation highlighted the transformative power brought into that conflict zone by the thousands of Ambassadors for Peace coming to the Holy Land in waves from around the world in 2004. Peace concerns in North-East Asia, have long occupied Rev. Moon's attention and his views of how to proceed are comprehensive for the region. Immediate action initiatives include Pyeong Hwa Motors in North Korea, construction of a peace center in Pyeong Yang, and programs promoting reconciliation in Japan of Koreans from groups connected respectively with South and North Korea. Session VII continued an examination of principles in action with perspectives by presenters on character education and HIV prevention, the significance of the family as an institution that can engender peace, the role of sports in fostering peace, and an analysis of economic policy as an instrument for the betterment of human life.

After dinner participants from the seven different national groups bonded in heart beyond language as they enjoyed entertainment by a professional singer from Japan plus group songs from each of the other major participating nations, including one inspired European.

Considering the "IIFWP, the United Nations, and Trends in Global Governance," Session IX on Wednesday, April 13, looked at the great hopes in which the UN was founded and the way the institution instead became of tool of the cold war that continues to this day as a failed instrument of global governance. While reform has been called for and outlined, this amounts to merely structural change, but not the kind of fundamental change required to create an enlightened system of global governance. Hence the precise need for implementing the IIPC with its intention to involve diverse religious representation centrally in the process of reforming toward global governance through a contract between governments representing nations and civil society representing the people. IIPC aims not just to prevent war, but to eliminate it by eradicating the root causes of war. The IIPC vision is wholistic as it addresses both internal and external structure and a view of leadership that is doable.

World Peace and the NGO Revolution, Session X, painted a striking picture of the proliferation in the past 20-30 years of a multitude of Non-Governmental Organizations in both the developed and the developing countries. NGOs are addressing a host of issues not touched by national governments. After several NGOs and concerned individuals joined together to launch the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO), Rev. Moon provided vision, leadership, and resources supporting the organization's growth to become the largest, general purpose, international membership organization for NGOs. The Women's Federation for World Peace, an NGO founded by Rev. and Mrs. Moon, is pioneering a way for women to be a force for peace through instructional programs on creating peaceful families, service programs, support for schools in impoverished areas, and peace and reconciliation ceremonies centered on the Bridge of Peace ceremonies.

The Session XI lunch program provided an opportunity for delegates to learn about some of the many media initiatives founded by the Reverend Moon. Michael Marshall, editor in chief of United Press International; Frank Grow, vice president of Tiempos del Mundo; Tim Elder, managing editor of the World Peace Herald; and Charles Kim, president of World & I Online, gave succinct presentations on their respective media projects before the delegates left the hotel for a tour of Washington's magnificent monuments, framed in a profusion of Washington's famed cherry blossoms. These gifts of the Japanese people were in the peak of flower as the Reverend Moon's special guests enjoyed the blue skies of a beautiful Washington springtime.

Delegates arrived by bus at the Washington Times, the influential daily newspaper founded by Reverend Moon in 1982, for a brief tour and closing banquet. Much anticipated by the gathered delegates, Reverend Moon came to the podium to deliver an address, The Providential Path to True Liberation and Complete Freedom. Reverend Moon, at eighty five, looked extraordinarily vigorous, and departed from his prepared remarks extensively to reveal both a depth of vision and personal regard for his guests that deeply moved each delegate. Speaking without interruption for more than two hours, Reverend Moon reiterated and expanded upon many of the themes taken up in the conference sessions, but spoke with a clarity and authority of God's urgent will to reclaim the love that was unrighteously lost, and the role of the Messiah, coming as True Parents, to cleanse the world of unholy habits and restore the proper order of love. Through the Four Great Realms of Heart; the child's realm, the sibling's realm, the spouse's realm, and the parent's realm human love is perfected.

"With the appearance of True Parents, the power of God is being manifested on this earth," he told the delegates. "This providence is absolute, and it is our destiny to accomplish it. We who have received Heaven's call have only one path to follow. The goal of our mission is to establish the Peace Kingdom."

"Toward a Global Agenda for Peace: 2005," Session XII: Closing Session, On Thursday, April 14, featured reflections by one representative from each of the major groups. All had been seriously engaged and challenged by the conference to apply IIFWP principles in working together toward building a peaceful world. In a particularly noteworthy comment, the Chinese representative stated that he had never before experienced God, but that in receiving the talk by Rev. Moon he had sensed God and had the clear realization that we are all God's children beyond religion and nationality. Dr. Walsh outlined an International Agenda toward convening the inaugural World level Peace Council in 2005 at the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the UN as a civil society contribution toward UN renewal. Long-time IIFWP participant, Eva Latham read the 7 points in the "Declaration of the Era of Lasting Peace" produced for this conference. She led all participants in standing and clapping to affirm acceptance of the resolution. At the end of the program, central people in IIFWP led the way in signing the declaration. Others signed later after a group photo.

The delegates then adjourned for follow-up briefings from their respective regions that showed the scope of the IIFWP work around the world. The enthusiasm for the vision advanced at the convocation took root ultimately as delegates continued into the afternoon, planning concrete action through regional convocations and educational gatherings that confirm to a suffering and divided world that the grounds of peace are to be found in the God-ordained methodology of living for the sake of others and overcoming boundaries to realize a unified world of peace.

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