The Words of the Pople Family
Seoul, Korea -- Convened at a time of heightened global concerns about security, the UPF World Summit at the Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel Aug. 9-13, 2014, addressed issues of peace, security and development. More than 300 delegates from 68 nations listened to distinguished leaders discuss the theme from national, regional and global perspectives. [For proceedings and photos, click here.]
"UPF's World Summit series provides a context," said UPF President Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, "in which the critical issues of peace, security and human development can be addressed comprehensively by high-level government officials -- including current heads of state and government -- together with representatives of civil society, the private sector and the world's great faith traditions."
King Letsie III, head of state of the southern African kingdom of Lesotho, lamented the "dark clouds of tensions and lack of trust," calling for effective partnerships for development and a reform of the United Nations so it can stand as a "global governance system that ensures justice and fairness."
Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta'isi Efi, head of state of the Pacific island nation of Samoa, described the central place the ocean plays in the culture of his nation and the traditional practices of his people to ensure sustainability: "The taking of natural resources was never to go beyond what nature herself could sustain in terms of natural re-growth."
Four speakers had also participated in the World Summit in Korea in February 2013 and elaborated on themes from their presentations then. Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina President Zivko Budimir described the ongoing "stormy times of peace" in his Balkan nation, including an attempted coup; he expressed his commitment to continue to follow the "path of truth and freedom."
Sri Lanka Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne talked about the economic growth his South Asia island nation has been experiencing as a fruit of the resettlement and reconciliation process after 16 years of civil war; as he did last year, he gave evidence of his commitment to inter-religious peace-building by showing photos of Ambuluwawa, a religious complex housing places of worship of four major religions.
Timor-Leste Prime Minister Kay Rala Zanana Gusmao gave an update about the Commission of Truth and Friendship established to heal relations between his people and the neighboring Indonesians on the island of Timor after a bitter war, because "both Timor-Leste and Indonesia wanted to clear the way for true and genuine reconciliation and tolerance among communities and people."
The wife of the Prime Minister of Tanzania, Tunu Pinda, reviewed the ongoing conflicts throughout Africa and the challenges to development posed by the resulting refugees and internally displaced persons. She reported that with the end of some conflicts, "the continent has started to enjoy peace dividends" and six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa.
Two first ladies eloquently represented the peoples of the Pacific islands. First Lady of Fiji Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau endorsed UPF's commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and consensus and called for greater roles for women in promoting peace, development and security. First Lady of Marshall Islands Lieom Anono Loeak spoke of the unique contribution the Pacific island nations can make to peace-building because of their cultures, value system and diversity. "Peace must stem from our inner and better state of mind. And so it is to the minds and hearts of people that we must first begin our work."
Amb. Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Under Secretary General of the United Nations and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, has devoted decades to the promotion of a culture of peace. "It is my faith," he said, "that the values of non-violence, tolerance and democracy which augment the flourishing of the culture of peace will generate the mindset that is a prerequisite for the transition from force to reason, from conflict and violence to dialogue and peace."
Giving voice to the young generation, Maori Prince Whatumoana Paki from Kiingitanga, New Zealand, spoke on behalf of his father and reviewed the efforts of his people to retain the lands, customs and culture over the centuries and recent progress in mending relationships with the British crown. He spoke of their traditional values of advocacy, patience, courage, forgiveness and faith.
The Global Assembly sessions were moderated by Dr. Thomas Walsh and Dr. Tageldin Hamad, secretary general of UPF. They expressed special appreciation to the president of the UN General Assembly for sending his representative, Amb. Noel Sinclair, deputy chef de cabinet. "The President of the General Assembly, H.E. Dr. John Ashe, was delighted to receive an invitation to be present at this ceremony here today," Amb. Sinclair reported; "he recognizes, and I recognize, that what you are doing today is the business of the United Nations. The United Nations was formed in the shadow of a war, with a determination that war should never be fought again. You may be far from New York, but what you are doing is part of the work of the United Nations, of the General Assembly, of this year's president, and he wanted you to know this."
UPF Chair Dr. Charles S. Yang welcomed participants, saying that the summit series was established to help bring the founders' vision for peace to fruition. The World Summit 2014 benefited from partner organizations founded by Dr. and Mrs. Moon, including the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the Women's Federation for World Peace, The Washington Times Foundation and Segye Times.
Professor Yeon Ah Moon, president of the Women's Federation for World Peace, welcomed all the participants and called them to reflect on the enduring value of the peace messages of Rev. and Mrs. Moon.
"We gather here united as 'one family under God," Mrs. Sun Jin Moon, director general of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International, said, inviting people to join her in carrying on her parents' mission of promoting a "world of harmony, kinship, service, and faith, and to commit ourselves in service to all of God's children around the globe."
On behalf of her mother, she read the founder's address, which emphasized the family, inter-religious cooperation, good governance, international cooperation, a responsible mass media, the age of women, and practical ways to bring together people from around the globe. "I invite you all to take up this challenge of building a new world of universal peace," the address concluded. "Let us all stand together as one and build one family under God."
Focus on the Americas
An overview of Rev. and Mrs. Moon's decades-long focus on the Americas followed the Global Assembly sessions. Two participants described their legacy in the United States: Dr. Michael Balcomb, president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, talked about a recent road trip retracing Rev. Moon's travels in 1965 throughout the United States establishing "holy grounds" as places of prayer. Mrs. Alexa Ward, international vice president of the Women's Federation for World Peace, showed a pictorial overview of Rev. and Mrs. Moon dedicating places of prayer, blessing couples, giving public speeches and founding institutions to carry on their legacy. Mr. Larry Beasley, president of The Washington Times newspaper, and Hon. Dan Burton, former member of the US Congress, talked about raising a voice in the nation's capital of faith, family, freedom and service.
Two former presidents of South American nations brought perspectives from lands which Rev. and Mrs. Moon envision as having key roles in promoting peace and development. Dr. Julio Maria Sanguinetti of Uruguay referred to a common vision of a better world, "a world of peace, a path where education and work will lift our people."
"Rev. Moon saw a great future for Paraguay and saw it as an ideal region to invest in development projects to improve the standard of living for the local citizens," reported former president Dr. Luis Federico Franco Gomez. He said he shares the same vision and believes there is an enormous opportunity to develop the Chaco region, the sparsely populated, semi-arid western portion of his nation.
"Peace, security and human development have been the concern of humanity since time immemorial," said Sra. Graciela Rompani de Pacheco, president of Ventura Grameen, Uruguay. She emphasized the need to work for their advancement in one's country and in one's own home.
Focus on Europe and Eurasia
Global peace and security concern has recently focused on Ukraine, and the second day of deliberations opened with a panel discussion focusing on Europe and Eurasia, former cabinet minister Dr. Anatoly Tolstoukhov compared the challenges of his country to those of Korea. Reporting that he drew inspiration from the Rev. Moon's autobiography, As a Peace-loving Global Citizen, he said, "The civilizing mission of Ukraine consists in synthesizing European and Eurasian values for the benefit of humanity and the world."
Prof. Stanislaw Shushkevich, former chairman of the Supreme Council of Belarus, and Mr. Rahim Huseynov, former prime minister of Azerbaijan, also spoke of their nations' challenges in charting a course of independence.
Other speakers offered insights from the experiences of small European nations relating with larger neighbors: Ms. Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, former president of the parliament of Luxembourg, and Ms. Silja Dogg Gunnarsdottir, deputy speaker of the Icelandic parliament.
Focus on Africa and the Middle East
A panel on Africa and the Middle East opened with a presentation by the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations Amb. Antonio Tete. "The quest for peace, development and prosperity on the continent has clearly not been without challenges," he said, "but we are encouraged by the good investments made in these critical areas through the established Africa-owned and led instruments and initiatives which have yielded requisite dividends."
Former President of Mali Prof. Dioncounda Traore reviewed the conflicts in various parts of Africa and stated that without peace and security there is no development and, conversely, without development there is no peace and security. Former Kenyan Ambassador to UNESCO Dr. Mary Mbiro Khimulu, talked about the killings in Kenya and Nigeria in the name of religion and stated firmly that "Becoming violent is not a religious tradition" and that nobody should be allowed to misuse religion to harm others.
Interfaith prayers are the best way to work for peace, according to Rabbi Dr. Edgar Alan Pochne Nof, from Bridges for Hope in Israel, and showed photos of recent gatherings in northern Israel. Dr. Michael Jenkins from the Steering Committee of UPF's Middle East Peace Initiative talked about a decade of interfaith pilgrimages to Israel and surrounding areas, initiated by Rev. Moon.
Focus on the Asia-Pacific region
Rev. Moon envisioned a tunnel linking Japan and Korea as part of a global transportation network promoting development for the sake of peace. In a panel on the Asia-Pacific region, ideas for advancing this proposal were presented by Dr. Byung Su Kim of Korea, chair of the World Peace Tunnel Foundation, and Dr. Shinchiro Nagano of Japan, professor emeritus of Daito Bunka University. Dr. Nagano gave a historical analysis of conflict in East Asia, drew analogies from European history, and outlined practical steps towards a resolution. "Peace will not visit if nothing is done," he stated.
People commenting on peace proposals included both pragmatists and visionaries. "Let us construct an arc and bridge of peace and friendship high up in the sky," said Hon. Yoshinori Ohno, former minister of defense of Japan. "Let us construct a highway of peace and friendship on this earth, including a tunnel connecting Japan and Korea, through the best efforts of those of us who gathered here in this room."
Prof. Georgy Toloraya, director of the East Asian Section, Institute of Economy, Russian Academy of Science, talked about the new challenges in the Asia-Pacific. He raised questions about security architecture, confidence-building measures, preventive diplomacy and dispute settlement mechanisms.
Dr. Balmiki Prasad Singh, former governor of Sikkim, India, and Dr. B. K. Modi, founder and chairman of the Global Citizen Forum in Singapore, offered South Asian perspectives on peace and development.
The relevance of religion for peace and development
In keeping with the founders' conviction that the foundation for lasting peace is in the human heart and that God is the ultimate source of peace, the summit opened with invocations by faith leaders, and the final panel discussion addressed the relevance of religion for peace and development.
After expositions about Buddhism and Jainism by speakers from Sri Lanka and India, faith leaders described initiatives in their nations: in Colombia, steps toward resolving the armed conflict; in Canada, community improvement projects involving youth from various faith communities; and in Switzerland, ongoing interfaith dialogue. A Jewish leader from Argentina spoke about the need for mutual acceptance among people of faith, and a Christian leader from the US talked about the aspiration common to all religions to help people become better.
Several speakers expressed the need for the insights and wisdom of faith in global affairs, facilitated by an inter-religious council connected with the United Nations, as articulated in the founder's address at the UN in 2000. Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr., former speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives and co-chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties Standing Committee, spoke passionately and affirmatively of UPF's efforts to establish an inter-religious council within the UN system, sparking responses that cut across many of the Summit sessions.
"There can be no peace if we do not also bring peace among the religions,hung Tae Ik, chairman of the Korean Council on Foreign Relations. "Too many conflicts around the world are linked to inter-religious strife, and not only strife between religions but strife between extremist groups within religions. That is why I believe the UN should adopt UPF's proposal."
UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser sent a statement to the conference supporting the need for inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, and a statement by former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali expressed appreciation for civil society initiatives supporting the ongoing work of the UN.
"People realize that current efforts to resolve crises in such places as Gaza, Syria, Ukraine and East Asia are not proving to be effective," reported UPF president Dr. Thomas G. Walsh. "Many people are becoming receptive to a new paradigm for conflict prevention and peace-building. UPF and the World Summit are increasingly recognized as initiatives that are providing credible and innovative approaches to peace in the 21st century."
Founder's memorial program
On Aug. 12, participants attended the founder's memorial program at the Cheongshim Stadium in the hills east of Seoul on the theme of "Forgive, Love, Unite." Mrs. Moon emphasized her husband's lifelong dedication to "liberate our Heavenly Parent, bring salvation to humankind and realize a world of peace."
Former US Congressman Dan Burton conveyed a message from Senator Orrin Hatch about the US government's tax case against Rev. Moon that resulted in his incarceration. Senator Hatch concluded: "I believe that injustice was done and the treatment of Rev. Moon was because of his strong righteous stance against communism and immorality."
At a luncheon afterwards, Dr. Julio Maria Sanguinetti of Uruguay expressed appreciation for Rev. Moon's advocacy of dialogue, efforts to strengthen the family, and personal example of reaching out to those who opposed him. "I believe his legacy will continue in South America and around the world," he affirmed. "We all long for peace, and we will all continue to work for that goal."
Hon. Gina de Venecia, member of the House of Representatives in the Philippines, offered closing reflections that underscored the need for increased involvement of women in peace-building efforts and greater attention given to humanitarian efforts to address the problems of abuse and discrimination that many women face around the world.
Amb. Tatsuo Mizuno, a former Japanese ambassador to Nepal, expressed appreciation for the diversity of participants and the quality of deliberations overall.
In her closing remarks, former Prime Minister Maria do Carmo Trovoada Silveira of Sao Tome and Principe emphasized working for the universal common good and "positive peace," which includes reconciliation, balance and harmony. She envisions the summit making a significant contribution to the progress toward greater development and good governance in her continent, Africa, as well as in developing nations around the world.