The Words of Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak

World Summit on Leadership and Governance: Exploring the Culture, Structures and Policies of Peace for a World in Crisis

Chung Hwan Kwak
February 4, 2003
Chairman, IIFWP
Keynote Address

Your Excellencies. Current and former heads of state and government. Distinguished leaders from around the world. Ladies and Gentlemen.

As we gather here today, we are all aware of the serious problems we face in our world today. From the East to the West, from the North to the South there are numerous crises which, if not resolved, could result in great suffering, loss of life and diminished prosperity.

We have assembled here in order to bring together our collective wisdom, experience, recommendations and resolve, in a spirit of unselfish cooperation and a heart of service to the world. Together we will consider some of the pressing problems we face in our world today.

We all can see clearly the interconnectedness of our world. The local and the global are inextricably linked. What happens near the DMZ and 38th parallel in Korea affects the United Nations, the US, China, Russia, Japan, the Europeans and the world. The same holds true for the Middle East.

These two areas of conflict and tension are unique in that they encapsulate two major aspects of the global crisis. The Korean peninsula is a flashpoint which has roots in the Cold War era, characterized by ideological struggle between totalitarian states and democratic capitalist states. The division of the Korean peninsula symbolizes the split and tension between competing ideologies, cultures and political economies. The Korean peninsula, furthermore, represents the tragic division and conflict between people of the same race, blood and history. In this respect, if we can solve the situation in Korea, we can solve many other world problems.

The Middle East has some similarities and yet great differences, as compared with Korea's situation. The Middle East situation largely preceded the Cold War era, and has its roots in ancient history, one related to the complex history of the emergence of, and relationships between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The problems, here, as in Korea are representative of a broader global problem wherein the quest for land, sovereignty and justice are inter-linked with issues of national or ethnic identity and religious worldviews.

Our Summit theme underscores the significance and need for leadership at this time in history. Many of the seemingly intractable problems we face seem to persist from generation to generation. For this reason, many despair of the possibility of a real solutions. As such, many adopt a position of "realism" which gives up on the idea of achieving a true and lasting peace, one grounded in substantial reconciliation and unification among the divided parties.

The IIFWP is dedicated to finding solutions to our world's problems. The principles of reconciliation and unification are among the fundamental ideals we espouse. But, how does reconciliation occur? I want to suggest that it is the result of true leadership.

True leadership is characterized by an individual who is concerned about the well being of the entire family of humanity. Like a parent who cares about the harmony and well-being of his children, a true leader has a vision of universal peace that extends beyond short-term results, and self-interests. Most importantly, the true leader is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.

This is why, then he founded the IIFWP, Dr. Sun Myung Moon clarified the core principle as that of "living for the sake of others." This phrase captures the foundation and basis for all reconciliation. We can reconcile entities that are divided by a process of give and take action that begins with giving of oneself. This is the basis of all creativity. The entire universe has been created by God according to this principle. When we examine the natural order we see evidence of this principle everywhere. Each level of being exists not only for itself, but for the sake of the higher order of being. The atoms to the galaxies, all things seek not only their own existence, but a higher purpose.

Rev. Moon has taught the principle of chung boon hap, whereby reconciliation and unification comes about through unselfish give and take action which is centered on a higher purpose. This principle is in sharp contrast to the dialectical principle which proposes that progress occurs through the intensification of struggle and conflict. In other words, according to chung boon hap theory, when divided entities enter into unselfish give and take action, loving one another and living for the sake of the other, harmony, security and prosperity emerge. The principle applies in a marriage or family, in the workplace, in the society, and among nations. And, where this principle is not practiced, tension will lead to conflict and the loss of both security and prosperity and happiness.

If leaders begin to practice the principle of living for the sake of others, we can transform this world. As our institutions of governance, the governments of nations and the core institutions of society, begin to be guided by such a principle, then we can begin to have hope for a new era of peace.

The second core principle of the IIFWP calls for overcoming barriers that divide peoples. Too often, as individuals come to understand themselves, and others, according to particular religious, racial, national, political and ideological identities, these become barriers to wider unity and harmony. Once again, the kind of leadership needed in this era is characterized by the courage and will to go beyond such boundaries in order to embrace a high purpose.

In the situation of the Middle East, we know that there are many factors contributing to the tension and conflict there. Among the most prominent of the factors is the misunderstanding and disharmony that exists between the three Abrahamic faiths, all of which originated and have their holiest sites in that region: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Interreligious disharmony is a serious factor that contributes to many problems in our world.

However, we should not make the mistake of seeing religion as the sole cause or factor in causing conflict. Other factors include what can be called the problem of "fallen nature" in human beings. That is, the fallen nature derives from an act of separation from God and God's principle. Instead of practicing the principle of living for the sake of others, fallen humanity lives selfishly. All religions have recognized this fallen nature as the fundamental problem that needs to be solved if we are to have true and lasting peace in this world.

The fallen nature of selfishness then expresses itself in human thought and action, and in human relationships. This is a critical problem.

In addition to the problem of religious disharmony, there are also global problems which have their roots in ideological differences. The Cold War era was an example of this kind of ideological conflict between the communist ideology of Marxism-Leninism and the ideology of liberal, free market democratic systems. The entire world was virtually divided for decades along ideological lines. While the Cold War has largely ended, there remain some serious situations that are yet unresolved. The conflict between South and North Korea is one such situation. The division of Korea came about largely as a result of the cold war, and it remains unresolved to date.

The problems of the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula are of great concern to the IIFWP, and we are developing initiatives in both areas to address the underlying root causes and to offer recommendations for solving the problems. In neither case is the IIFWP just beginning to take up the effort to contribute to solutions to these problem areas. For decades, the movement Dr. Moon founded has been actively involved in a wide range of efforts to bring peace to these areas.

Most fundamentally he has called for a change of heart and consciousness. Also, he has understood that peace requires much more than political leadership and diplomacy. For this reason he has developed programs that involve youth from diverse backgrounds who meet together and learn to respect and love one another. He has been a tireless advocate of interreligious respect, harmony and cooperation, as well as of the need for more international cooperation and unification.

In August of 2000, at the United Nations, he called for the establishment of an interreligious council at the United Nations to allow spiritual and religious leaders who represent billions of followers around the world to sit with the representatives of the members states and collaborate in the search for solutions to critical problems. He also called for the establishment of Peace Zones, precisely in places like Korea and Israel-Palestine. These Peace Zones are to become centers of harmony where people from all races, nationalities, religions, etc., may live together in peace, under the protection of the United Nations.

He has advocated the practice of exchange marriage, whereby individuals commit themselves to a marriage with a person from another religion, race or nationality, so that the family itself becomes a dialogue among civilizations and a peace zone that illustrates the power of true love to conquer differences.

He has also announced the need for the development of an international peace highway, around the globe, connecting all peoples, nations, religions and nations, and becoming a "trade route" that brings equalization of technology and prosperity to all humanity. These are but a few of the initiatives he has launched.

At this time in history humanity faces a great challenge. As I have mentioned before, we are at a very serious turning point. Our destiny is not pre-determined, but depends on our response to the current crisis. It depends on the leadership and resolve which we demonstrate. We have an opportunity to make a difference, and to have a serious and direct impact on our world, for the sake of peace. With your help we are confident that we can make a difference.

We hope that through this Summit we can put our hearts, minds and voices together, learn from one another, and contribute to this process, increasing our wisdom, understanding and our commitment to work for peace.

Thank you and God bless you.

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