Articles From the October 1995 Unification News


Report on the Third World Peace Conference

by Antonio Betancourt-Washington, DC

The 3rd World Peace Conference of the Federation for World Peace was a total success! As part of the 2nd World Culture and Sports Festival, we were able to enhance the value and importance of the festival through the participation of the esteemed guests.

Held at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, Korea from Aug. 22 to the 24th, the 3rd WPC was co-hosted by the Summit Council for World Peace, AULA (the Association for the Unity of Latin America), and the Segye Times newspaper. Under the theme, World Peace and Human Solidarity, the event was chaired by the Rt. Hon. Edward Schreyer, Governor General of Canada (1979-84). The keynote address was given by the Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Heath, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1970-74).

The international event brought together thirty-three current and former heads of state, government and prime ministers; six current and former vice presidents and deputy prime ministers; and more than one hundred distinguished statesmen including ambassadors, senators, congressmen, cabinet ministers, university presidents and scholars from seventy nations. The Republic of Korea was well-represented with scholars of great prestige from government and private think tanks, and notably, former prime minister Young Hoon Kang attended the inaugural plenary.

Opening Plenary

In the Crystal Ballroom of the Lotte hotel, one of the founders of modern democracy in Central America, H.E. Mario Echandi, President of Costa Rica (1958-62) eloquently introduced the Founder to the august gathering of 1,000 guests that included our conference participants, local dignitaries, embassy officials from the diplomatic community and members of the press. Dr. Echandi said,

"I am given the opportunity to remember some passages of the life of this great and splendid man, Rev. Sun Myung Moon. A life permanently devoted to seeking and doing good for his fellow men. A life pursuing that which is spiritual over that which is material. Possessor of an exquisite interpretation of the Bible enabling him to find the path to get us into communion with God."

In the founder's address, Father gave a landmark speech on the unique times that we live in.

"In the 1960s when I first visited "the land of opportunity," it seemed that the whole world wanted to be like the United States. We deeply admired the life depicted on American television and cinema. On Sundays the rich and moving sound of church hymns echoed throughout the land. The comic character, Superman, the defender of "truth, justice and the American way" was a symbol of America's righteous spirit. Her city streets were orderly, spotless, and beautiful. In those days, the whole world looked to America with an envious eye."

"When we look at America today, what do we see? We see a nation in decay. Difficult and seemingly insoluble problems are mounting. Moral corruption and rising violent crime are most disturbing. Murder, drugs, divorce, child abuse, kidnapping and teenage pregnancy all characterize this country. As one who loves that great nation with all my heart, I am deeply pained by what I see."

Father addressed some of the problems of the developing countries and cautioned them not to follow the example of the developed countries that sought irresponsible self-centered satisfaction at the cost of the creation and environment. He said,

"All of the developed countries at the end of the 20th century are struggling with many of the same problems. What is the reason? It is because the developed nations of the world have fallen into a pit of materialism and national selfishness. Since the mind and spirit are controlled by our obsession for material wealth, our true essence as human beings has become a slave of our own desires. The result is a collapse of true love. Although there is an abundance of material wealth and our cities are lined with skyscrapers, the mind of mankind has dried up like a desert and the life of mankind has become desolate because the oasis of true love cannot be found. In addition, the absence of true love is the breeding ground for selfishness and the most serious victim of this attitude is the creation and environment."

In an eloquent manner he expounded on the meaning of the blessing of the 360,000 couples and encouraged the entire assembly to participate in the worldwide movement to restore the world. He said,

"A new order based on true love cannot be established without a revolutionary process. The True Parents of mankind have come to ignite the peaceful revolution of true love. The International Holy Wedding is fanning the flames of the revolution of True Love and providing the opportunity for the re-creation or restoration of the world.

"The Blessing Ceremony of August 25th will embrace 360,000 couples. When this number increases to 3,600,000 couples, to 36 million couples, to 360 million couples, and to 3.6 billion couples, AIDS will be eradicated from human society. The world of pure love where God and man become one will be realized. This is not just a dream. The fulfillment of God's Providence for the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is destined to come about because it is not the work of man alone, but the work of God."

The practical significance and depth of Father's message was complemented by Sir Edward Heath who gave a panoramic briefing of the world's five blocs - European Union, United States, former Soviet Union, China, and Japan. Sir Edward challenged the conference participants to improve the world. Sir Edward said,

"We are now living internationally in a period of transition. Such has not been known for probably a century and a half in this world. The difficulty is, or should I say one of the difficulties is, that all too many people in our countries don't yet realize that we are in a period of transition, nor do they recognize what that transition means. When we look about the world, we see now the development of many problems. The preservation of peace is a phrase constantly used. It might perhaps be more accurate to say the creation of peace because in so many places today we see strife of some of the harshest kind ever seen on this earth. Our purpose must be to find ways of resolving the existing strife, and moreover, to find ways of preventing similar outbreaks of strife in the future. This covers, therefore, a whole range of problems and possible solutions."

In a call to action, Sir Edward said, "This responsibility still rests upon us, upon you, and it requires not only discussion in a conference but decision in our own minds as to how to act, and then action when we return to our own countries, to our own committees, to our own international organizations."

Plenary Sessions

There were two plenary sessions. (1) Steps Toward Resolution of Korea's 50-Year-Old Conflict and was chaired by H.E. Rodrigo Carazo, President of Costa Rica (1978-82), who is one of the world's foremost experts on the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

The reunification of Korea, or at least its confederation, seems closer at hand than at any time in the past five decades. This plenary session examined steps that can be taken by the two Koreas and the four regional powers toward reducing tensions and establishing ongoing dialogue, as well as longer range scenarios and processes by which the peninsula can be integrated, including conflict resolution process proven in areas of high tension around the world. It was particularly mindful of the changes in the regional environment of the past year, including the transition in leadership in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Agreed Framework signed between the United States and the DPRK, and the greater possibilities these present.

(2) Harmony Between Economic Development and Environmentalism and was chaired by H.E. Aziz Sidky, Prime Minister of Egypt (1972-73). In much of the world, the rush to economic development has been accompanied by the flight of populations from the countryside to urban centers, a rise in environmental destruction, and increases in the social ills associated with overcrowded cities. This session focused on the crucial balance between economic development and improving the natural environment. Moreover, it was centrally concerned with the balance of rural and urban development. Humankind must come "back to nature" before nature is no longer able to support our existence. Models must be developed that recognize the interdependence of environment and healthy economies.

At the conclusion of the two-day conference, many motions and resolutions were passed. The most provocative called for the denuclearization of the world beginning with declaring East Asia as a nuclear free zone. The resolution was distributed to governments around the world, our contacts, and published in newspapers in Korea and Japan.

Finally, the participants unanimously adopted the Third World Peace Conference Declaration and presented it to the Founders at the final banquet, Aug. 25, 1995.

FWP's International Impact

The FWP peace conferences, this being the third, have a distinctive feature and tradition. The guests are tasked to return to their homelands and constituents and pass on the knowledge, information, and commitment. There is a tremendous ripple effect as the former heads of state and government network among the policymakers and opinion leaders. There are profound implications in how these nations align themselves after having been exposed to the international debate and uplifting and inspiring experience.

One notable example is MERCOSUR and NAFTA, the free trade agreements that are taking place in Latin America. Beginning in 1984, AULA (Association for the Unity of Latin America, an affiliate of the Federation for World Peace) convened seven international conferences in major capitals around the world in which the leaders of the hemisphere were invited to discuss Latin unity from the constitutional, political, cultural and economic perspectives. The idea for free trade agreements was entertained and later blossomed within individuals who were able to make an impact among their peers working towards unity in Latin America. In this manner, those who participated in our conferences have helped bring forth free trade agreements between the United States, Mexico and Canada, a project which is likely to be expanded to Chile and Colombia in the near future, and of course the other free trade agreement in the southern cone between the nations of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Today, a decade later, we can quantitatively measure the strides forward. Many of the attendees publicly credit AULA for its significant and contributing role. The creation of NAFTA and the other trade agreements in the southern cone have long been the vision and commitment of our founders, who contributed significantly toward this end.

The Federation for World Peace is not a short-term project. In Father's vision, the goals and objectives are measured in decades or even longer. The heads of state, government and prime ministers truly admire the Founders and respect the embracing profundity of the Principle as it applies to world peace and development.

The Blessing

We are happy to report that out of a total of 223 attendees at the Third World Peace Conference, 48 participated in the Blessing on Aug. 25th. Among them were former heads of state, prime ministers, ambassadors and current congressional leaders from around the world. It was a joyful moment to see dear friends and champions who have dedicated their lives as public individuals at the national and international level to embrace the eternal quest for physical as well as spiritual peace in their communities and the world under the inspiration of our True Parents and the ideals of the Unification Movement.

A Word of Gratitude

An event of this magnitude required enormous efforts and cooperation on the part of the entire movement. It is the result of countless hours of witnessing and prayers by brothers and sisters around the world. We thank you all and especially Dr. Bo Hi Pak (who could not be there), and the Festival office led by Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, Amb. Sang Kook Han and the countless people who all supported this tremendous effort. With a sense of deep gratitude we offer this conference to Heavenly Father and our True Parents.

Antonio Betancourt is the Deputy Secretary General of the Federation for World Peace.


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