The Words of Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak
The Role of Higher Education in the New Millennium-The Women's Perspective
Chung Hwan Kwak
June 27, 1999
Chairman of the World University Federation
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sun Moon University
Conference Chairpersons, respected international leaders and scholars, and esteemed conference participants and friends, it is a great pleasure for me to welcome each one of you to this conference and this historic occasion. The World University Federation is honored to co-sponsor this International Conference Of Women University Presidents which has chosen "The Role of Higher Education in the New Millennium-The Women's Perspective" as its conference theme.
The distinguished educators gathered in this room have had many years of experience in the field of education. Because of your impressive individual and combined expertise, I believe that this Conference can play a defining role in helping to identify the educational priorities of the new millenium. With the end of the Cold War world peace came to be viewed as a more attainable ideal. World Peace has become the focus of hundreds of international conferences and seminars.
Although today we still witness a world torn by ethnic and religious conflict, the quest for peace remains a compelling theme on the world agenda. The World University Federation believes that women and women educators, in particular, are meant to play a pivotal role in realizing world peace. To clarify what I mean by this, I would like to take a few moments to share the views on peace of the Founders of the World University Federation, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
The pursuit of world peace is frequently linked to development. In the case of the United Nations the terms "peace and development" frequently appear together. When on its own, development is typically linked to education. Educating qualified professionals is essential in any country's efforts to modernize and strengthen its economic, political, social, and religious institutions. The educational institutions especially need to be strengthened in the world's less developed countries.
Aware of the dire educational needs of the less developed countries, Reverend and Mrs. Moon founded the World University Federation in February, 1996 in Montevideo, Uruguay. More than 300 educational leaders gathered from throughout the hemisphere to participate in that event. When Reverend and Mrs. Moon founded the World University Federation, they chose four themes to characterize it: Harmony, Purity, Peace, and Unity.
In November 1997 the Third World Culture and Sports Festival was held in Washington, DC. Scholars, scientists and university leaders from over 100 countries attended. One of the sessions was dedicated to the World University Federation. At that time Dr. Marcelo Alonso, an internationally known physicist from the Florida Institute of Technology, who is much inspired by the goals of the Federation, was appointed to spearhead further development of the Federation.
Also in February 1999, the World University Federation sponsored the World Conference on Sustainable Development and Preservation of the Pantanal (Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia), the world's largest natural wetland. Included among the participants were representatives of the United Nations, the World Bank, the Ramsar International Convention on Wetlands, and the Organization of American States.
Programs such as these have generated a number of concrete proposals for further cooperation among the member institutions of the Federation. These proposals include networking via the Internet and promoting distance learning, as well as faculty and student exchange programs. Thanks to the Federation's efforts, pilot distance learning courses in Management and in Journalism have already been developed for and delivered to Latin America by the University of Bridgeport, which along with Korea's Sun Moon University, is one of the Federation's two founding institutions.
I began my presentation by noting the relationship among peace, development, and education. When Reverend Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon speak of development, they are not only speaking of technical development, however. Unification Thought, a more philosophical elaboration of the Reverend Moon's teachings, speaks of three types of education: Education of Heart, Education of Norm, and Education of Technique or career preparation.
Education of heart begins at the prenatal stage. Through the guidance and love of our parents, teachers, and elders education of heart is meant to nurture us and help us to develop as loving children, spouses, and parents in the image of God. It is meant to continue throughout our youth, adolescence, early adulthood, and beyond.
The second type of education, known as education of norm, teaches one to become a responsible citizen and member of society. The third type of education of technique or knowledge allows us to function as professionals in our particular areas of expertise.
Reverend Moon's teachings emphasize that Education of heart is the most critical form of education. For the past four decades Reverend and Mrs. Moon have devoted tremendous energy and resources to the promotion of value-based education and leadership. They have developed a special value-based curriculum for China, the former Soviet republics, and other countries, where it has been included in the course curricula of thousands of elementary and secondary schools and universities, too.
In his Founder's Address at the First International Congress of the Professors World Peace Academy, December 18, 1983, Reverend Moon stated:
"It is an absolute requirement in this era that education for the coming generation be shaped by the firm moral convictions of their professors, who communicate a clear sense of values."
It is clear that next to parents, teachers are the most important influence on young people's spiritual and moral lives. Students seek to attain knowledge and wisdom as they prepare for their productive adult life. However, in the modern, pluralistic university, traditional values have become blurred. Often teachers, in seeking to convey facts alone, fail to impart the values that are required for sound judgement and leadership in the application of knowledge and technology in society.
At a PWPA meeting in 1983 Reverend Moon stated that he longed to see an international federation of seventy universities where young people could be educated as world citizens, seeing one another as brothers and sisters. The World University Federation is meant to facilitate the realization of his stated goal.
The World University Federation recognizes that women educators are meant to play a central role in effecting a moral renaissance and in promoting world peace. Women educators possess a unique, precious capacity to have an impact not only on the cognitive but also on the affective aspect of learning.
One reason for this is that God's love is the origin and root of love and a mother's love emulates this love. Even before their birth children learn to identify with the pure, sacrificial love of their Mother. An infant develops not only based upon physical nourishment, but through parental and particularly maternal love. A child's experience with his or her mother really represents a first encounter with the Divine.
The love, which a child receives from his or her mother provides a standard for loving parents, siblings, one's spouse, and eventually one's own children. The boundless potential of love in the family explains why Reverend Moon has referred to the family as "the School of Love."
Women educators represent the mother position and play a central role in providing guidance and love for students. Through their influence students can learn so much about how to create a loving, God-centered family. A loving family is then meant to serve as the paradigm for a peaceful community, nation, and world. The School, from Kindergarten to University, is meant to reflect and serve as the extension of the Family School of love.
Women possess a God-given ability to embrace students; they have a greater capacity than men to manifest deep, unconditional love. Reverend Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon feel that women are the social conscience which will re-assert the centrality of true love and moral values in education. The love and care of women educators, more than just the imparting of knowledge, is what encourages a young person to become a successful student and a productive citizen.
A recent study of moral breakdown among youth in the United States pointed to two key elements which counteract social breakdown: a strong two parent family and sincere practice of one's religious faith. In today's educational institutions we have succeeded in preparing people for careers, but we have yet not succeeded in providing adequate education on becoming responsible spouses, parents, and citizens.
Only by creating loving families, and by extending this model to the community and the nation, can we achieve the ideal of world peace.
Educators working in collaboration with families are meant to play a central role in establishing this foundation for peace.
Women educators, Reverend and Mrs. Moon believe, must be at the forefront of such efforts.
Thank you very much. May God bless each of you, your work, and your families.
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