The Words of Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak

International Public Service and a Culture of Peace

Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak
September 29, 2000
Keynote Address at the International Public Service and a Culture of Peace
London, England

This evening I would like to share with you something about the background and purpose for our common undertaking here in London.

The Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace recently sponsored Assembly 2000 in New York. This was an international conference of more than 400 most respected leaders from a wide range of fields, including many delegates from IIFWP chapters around the world. Together we addressed the theme, "Renewing the United Nations and Building a Culture of Peace." Our purpose in convening Assembly 2000 was to bring experienced leaders, experts and scholars, representing a wide range of perspectives, to offer their thoughts and recommendations for a vision of the future of the United Nations.

It was our intention to be in conversation with the Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who recently produced a statement entitled, "We The Peoples," which offered his views on the critical issues facing the United Nations in this new century. In addition we worked to come up with recommendations which could be considered at the Millennium Summit and General Assembly of the United Nations which took place just a few weeks ago in New York.

I must say that we were profoundly encouraged by the results of Assembly 2000. The response to our announcement was immediate and the sense of our shared purpose was strong and pervasive. With most of our sessions convened at the United Nations, we had well over 100 United Nations Ambassadors and personnel in attendance taking stock of our deliberations. The publication of the proceedings has been widely circulated. The feedback has been overwhelmingly supportive. In short, as a result of Assembly 2000 there is a clear sense that the IIFWP has much to contribute to the quest for world peace at this critical juncture in human history.

Rev. and Mrs. Moon were present and actively engaged in Assembly 2000. Both delivered addresses at the United Nations which were very well received. Based on the feedback they received during the course of Assembly 2000, Rev. Moon asked me to develop an educational program which could be presented in all nations around the world and which emphasizes several key points: 1. the importance of character education; 2. the profound social significance of the family; 3. the need for interreligious and international harmony and cooperation; 4. the need for a close and cooperative relationship between non-governmental organizations and the United Nations; 5. the need to cultivate a universal attitude of "living for the sake of others" and to build a team of global peace volunteers who embody these ideals. He also encouraged and agreed to support the development of an association of non-governmental organizations, WANGO, that is, the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations. With the help and guidance of many very able and experienced persons, we are in the process of pursuing these noble goals.

As we gather here in London for this seminar, we are taking our first step in implementing this plan for a worldwide educational program, the ultimate goal of which is to build a culture of peace.

The term "culture of peace" may be in need of some explanation. The United Nations has declared the year 2000 as the "International Year for a Culture of Peace" and has declared this next decade as the "International Decade for a Culture of Peace" with special emphasis on non-violence. The term, "culture of peace," is meant to convey the importance of the more internal factors which either contribute to or obstruct the way to peace. That is, we might say that a "culture" of peace differs from the "politics" of peace. Culture suggests such factors as a personís or a peopleís consciousness or mindset -- their identity and their ways of living. Often culture is linked in profound ways to ethnicity, religion, the arts and traditions. In other words, by focusing on culture we are looking more deeply at our human condition and at the roots of human conflict and suffering.

In 1988, IIFWPís Founder, Rev. Moon, in articulating his vision for a World Culture and Sports Festival, spoke of its purpose as being one of "building a new culture of peace." He has recognized the need to address the internal conditions which give rise to peace, or conflict. In articulating that vision, he has, more than any other factor, emphasized the importance of the family; the need in every society to establish loving and enduring marriage relationships between a man and a woman, and the need for parents to care for their children with the greatest dedication and love they can provide. Moreover, these familial relationships, if they are to be true and good, require a foundation in God, and the true love of God.

We can say that for the Rev. Moon, the deepest core of culture and the most basic condition of peace, is true love. To create a culture of peace, we must create a culture of true love. Moreover, true love is manifest in true families.

The IIFWP, therefore, is enthusiastically supportive of the United Nationsí quest for a culture of peace, and we have made it a core aspect of all our deliberations throughout this year, beginning with the 6th World Culture and Sports Festivalís Convocation in February of this year and leading all the way up to this seminar.

Coupled with this topic of a culture of peace is the ideal of public service. In this seminar we are considering the way in which "International Public Service" is related to the creation of a culture of peace. As mentioned above, the ideal of "living for the sake of others" is an ethical norm that is central to the IIFWPís vision, and it is one of the key points which we hope to promote in developing a worldwide educational program.

If we truly want to achieve peace, then we must learn to overcome selfishness as it manifests itself in many ways -- in nationalism, in racism, in religious bigotry, in economic injustice, and in a general lack of concern for the well-being of others. If we can instill in the minds and hearts of young people, and adults as well, a vision of peace rooted in living for the sake of others, we can make a tremendous impact in our world. Our hope is that, through this seminar, you too will see the value of developing such a program, and will join us in offering your wisdom, experience and suggestions.

As we begin our sessions tomorrow, let me say a word about the content and format. This London Seminar is the tenth in a series of International Seminars that we initiated last year shortly after IIFWPís Inaugural Assembly. Given that this year we celebrated the 80th birthday of our Founder, the Rev. Moon, and given the immensity of his achievement in so many areas, we proposed the convening of seminars which addressed critical issues and which proceeded first from a reading of Rev. Moonís words as they related to several significant areas of global concern.

Normally we would not accent only the words of the Rev. Moon -- -and truly, I must say, that in the thousands of seminars, conferences, and publications which have benefited from his sponsorship and leadership, his own direct input has been minimal. We thought, however, that on the occasion of his 80th birthday it was time to give credit where credit was due. For, indeed, the words of this man have inspired and transformed the lives of millions around the world. For many religious leaders and visionaries, however, their wisdom and special gifts are often overlooked or even rejected during their lifetimes. This is one of the saddest themes running throughout human history.

The time we live in is one of remarkable opportunity. Certainly we recognize this point when we look at developments in science and technology. What is less obvious, however, are the internal and cultural developments that are taking place at this time.

At the end of World War II and at the time when the United Nations was formed, there was great hope and even opportunity. There was a great and growing idealism, and a universal moral vision about the possibilities for peace and the full realization of each human beingís God-given potential. Somehow we did not seize the moment of that opportunity. While we embraced technological development, we did not recognize the opportunity for a great new beginning rooted in spiritual transformation and renewal. Sadly, and perhaps particularly here in the modernized West which stood potentially as an "elder brother" to other nations in embracing the ideals of the United Nations, a great moment was missed. As such, the next 50 years witnessed the horror and misery of a bitter "cold war," creating divisions between and within nations, including my own nation of Korea. It too has been a victim of missed opportunities following World War II.

At this time, in the post-cold-way era, I firmly believe that we are at a similar turning point in our history. The world is on the threshold of a great new moment, one in which the history of suffering and injustice and selfishness as we have known it can be transformed. This change, however, will not come merely through scientific invention, but rather through a change in "culture" or consciousness. This change will be guided by a new internal vision that is spiritual and religious in nature, but which also is capable of providing practical solutions to global problems. The Rev. Moonís life has been dedicated to achieving this one goal. In this seminar, as we consider his ideas and his vision, you may judge for yourself the extent to which his words, and deeds, are worthy of serious consideration.

Let us work together in the days ahead. Let us recognize that the worldís future depends, at least in part, if not in most significant ways, on the outcome of our discussions and determinations at this seminar.

Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak is the Chairman of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace

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