Unification News for March 2003
The World Summit of Leadership and Governance
by Nadine Andre
The World Summit of Leadership and Governance, held February 4-7, 2003 at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea was a timely event. As the world stands poised on the brink of war, the Summit explored ways to develop new structures and policies of peace designed to lift the world out of its present crisis. Two high-level Sessions focused specifically on the crises in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula. One hundred and seventy-six leaders representing over 70 nations attended. They included current and former heads of state, members of parliament, government and diplomatic leaders, religious leaders, professors, NGO and media representatives.
Many of the participants traveled over 14 hours to arrive in Seoul from as far away as Iceland, Tonga, South America, Africa, the Middle East and USA. All were eager and primed to discuss the burning issues of our time. Three Nobel Prize laureates; Dr. Jose Ramos Horta [East Timor], Hon. Lech Walesa, [former president of Poland, 1990-95] and Mrs. Betty Williams, from Northern Ireland attended and spoke at the Summit, providing a depth of personal experience grounded upon a foundation of substantial accomplishment. Each of them when faced with times of crises, challenged systems that were in need of change, risked their lives and brought transformation to their nations.
Dr. Thomas Walsh, Secretary General, IIFWP, welcomed the participants to Seoul in his opening remarks and laid out the goals and hopes of the Summit.
Rev. Don Olson, Pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church in the USA gave the Opening Invocation. He requested that the participants, "Recognize in our diversity possibilities to work for peace and harmony."
A Korean troupe performed and set the atmosphere as they played traditional Korean instruments and sang traditional Korean songs.
Dr. Jose Ramos Horta, from East Timor, the first Nobel Prize Laureate to speak, was introduced as the ‘International Voice of the People.’ In 1975 at the tender age of 24, he came to New York for the first time during the winter, having never seen snow, to address the Security Council at the UN to speak about the trials of his nation. This was a life-changing event for him.
"I was humbled then and I am humbled now in such a gathering," he said. He paid tribute to President Wahid, the former president of Indonesia and referred to him as a ‘man of compassion.’ "After 25 years of conflict between Algeria and France, it took 40 years for the two nations to arrange a State visit. Iran and Iraq, 10 years, also Kuwait and Iraq." In speaking again about President Wahid who was sitting at the same table as him, he said, "President Wahid showed extraordinary vision with courage and compassion as he initiated the Southwest Pacific Dialogue."
At one time President Wahid could have been considered Mr. Horta’s adversary, here in Seoul they were able to sit at the same table.
"What will East Timor contribute to the UN? We are too small to make a difference, however East Timor speaks out on issues that effect the life of real people; clean water, price decreases, international commerce, the inability to compete… We will speak out of compassion"
H.E. Stanislav Shushkevich, President of Belarus (1991-1994), one of the Co-Chairs of the World Summit of Leadership and Governance took the podium next. During the course of the summit he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Sun Moon University in Korea.
Hon. Sayera Umarovna Sultanova, former Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan spoke next. Each speaker set the stage for the proceedings that were to take place over the next few days.
"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 U.S., China, Russia, Japan, the Europeans, and the world. The same holds true for the Middle East," said Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman of IIFWP in his Opening Statement.
The next day everyone arrived early for the Opening Plenary, which was filled to capacity with over 700 people, including many day guests and representatives from Korea. There was full media coverage. The reporters interviewed everyone from Hon. Lech Walesa to the Lotte Hotel Manager, to find out the impact this major gathering was having. The Lotte Hotel itself carried a large banner on the outside that was in full view of the street announcing this historic event to all the passers-by.
The Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Neil Albert Salonen, President of the University of Bridgeport, was the moderator and as is so often the case, demonstrated great skill even within the midst of the most diverse panelists.
Mr. Lech Walesa, former President of Poland, who led his nation out from under a brutal Communist regime said, "Leadership is not necessarily something you are born with. I was a laborer for 25 years and I led no one. For ten years I was leader of Solidarity, a trade union with just a couple of thousand members, then I found myself President of Poland with a population of 40 million people.…
"My conclusion is that although culturally we are in a new age of globalization, our governmental structures are still stuck in an outdated mode, specifically that of the nation-state. We need a radical change for a new century."
Betty Williams, Nobel Prize laureate (1996) who gained recognition for her Peace work in Northern Ireland and is known as a crusader for children said that she immediately planned to go to Baghdad, Iraq to establish ‘Peace Zones’ and ‘safe areas’ for women and children after the Summit.
She began her presentation by asking all the delegates to stand and embrace each other. This was not a simple gesture as those sitting up front were seated next to heads of state and other dignitaries, but the room complied and that simple gesture changed the emotional tenor of the room.
"I have always believed that arms are for hugging, not for killing!" she said after she hugged Rev. Moon. "I have seen so many children sacrificed for war," she said, "Reverend Moon, for their sake we must change the world."
H.E. Abdurrahman Wahid, Former President of the Republic of Indonesia [1999-01) who has attended many IIFWP events has always brought a deeply spiritual resonance and perspective to matters of reconciliation. "There is a problem if religions become secularized and back only one party," he said, "religious values should guide all parties in a spirit of tolerance and peace."
H.E. Sir Allan Kemakeza, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands also spoke at the Opening Plenary.
Rev. Dr. Kwak, Chairman of IIFWP introduced the Founders, Rev. and Drs. Mr. and Mrs. Moon, noting that what was unique about the occasion was that in addition to the Summit, both Rev. and Mrs. Moon were celebrating their birthdays the following day on February 6th. This lent another dimension to the proceedings as an acknowledgment of their life-long work. Each of the speakers congratulated them for their contribution towards peace.
The Founders of IIFWP, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, have devoted their lives to the fulfillment of the "hope of all ages, a unified world of peace." The underlying vision of the IIFWP derives from their teaching of three core principles and practices: 1. Living for the sake of others; 2. Overcoming barriers of race, religion, nationality, ideology and culture; 3. Embodying the ideal of ‘True Love’ within ourselves, our families, our communities, our nations and our world.
It was fitting that, The World Summit on Leadership and Governance, was convened at the same time of Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s 83rd and 60th birthdays respectively. It is unique that they share the same birth date.
After a long and intense morning session, the delegates broke for lunch. Meals were always a festive time where both Korean and Western food was served and where networking took place, new friendships developed, old friendships revived and participants could reflect and discuss their views.
Ms. Carol Pobanz, Assistant Director of the Religious Youth Service and Interreligious Peace and Sports Festival, orchestrated the running and logistics of the meals and did a very fine job. If you ever fed two hundred people from all over the world you would know that is no easy task.
The World Summit was unique in that rather than explore many topical areas, the choice was made to conduct two Special Sessions where the themes could be explored in greater depth and substance, listening to a wide variety of viewpoints and gaining the expertise of many.
The Special Sessions were: 1. Focus on the Korean Peninsula; 2. Focus on the Middle East.
The Session on the Korean Peninsula revolved around these themes:
1)The ongoing relevance of the Cold War’s ideological struggle between North and South Korea
2)Possibilities and processes for reconciliation and unification between conflicting nations
3)Globalization and Democratization
4)Comparison with conflict and division in other nations and regions
H.E. Hamilton Green, Former Prime Minister of Guyana and current Mayor of Georgetown chaired this session. Mr. Hamilton and his wife are both Ambassadors for Peace and have contributed much to the work of IIFWP. He has chaired many sessions always with a skillful hand. He is a measured man and is able to handle discussions of this nature in a dignified and stately manner.
The format was that the first hour was devoted to a series of statements, each five minutes in length from representatives among the current and former heads of state and heads of government and the Nobel Prize laureates. The second hour allowed discussion both among the Summit Delegates and the General Participants.
The Session on the Middle East revolved around these themes:
1)Possibilities and processes for reconciliation and unification between conflicting nations and peoples
2)The role of religions and interreligious dialogue within the Middle East
3)The role of the US, and other powerful nations and the UN
4)What kind of leadership is needed to truly bring peace in the Middle East
This session was chaired by H.E. Abd-Elaziz Hegazy, former Prime Minister of Egypt (1974-75). Mr. Hegazy also accompanied by his lovely wife are Ambassadors for Peace and have both made significant contributions to the work of the IIFWP. As could be imagined, the Middle East Session was heated, but from the intensity many good recommendations and insights could emerge.
Mr. Hegazy, the Chair himself, also stirred the fire. While his views were moderate, many thought that the Prime Minister’s remarks tended to be biased. Whether this was true or not, what did have immense value to these proceedings was the fact that for future deliberations, those who chair or moderate panels or sessions have to make every effort to be painstakingly neutral, more so than sometimes seems humanly possible.
Mr. Jose Ramos Horta of East Timor, the Nobel Prize Laureate (1996) who spoke at the Special Session emphasized this more than ever stemming from his personal challenges in East Timor. "In this process more than others, neutrality is a key component, and being able to see, feel and hear most deeply both sides is crucial." This approach became an asset to the proceedings and will be a deliberate effort by IIFWP in the upcoming work that will be undertaken with the Middle East Peace Initiative.
Chung Pyungs session was canceled due to a special invitation extended by Rev. and Mrs. Moon to the Summit delegates. The invitation was for a Special Birthday celebration that would take place the following morning at a beautiful mountainous retreat at s session was canceled due to a special invitation extended by Rev. and Mrs. Moon to the Summit delegates. The invitation was for a Special Birthday celebration that would take place the following morning at a beautiful mountainous retreat at Chung Pyung Lake, almost 2 hours east of Seoul.
The only stipulation was this - Buses were leaving from the hotel at 4AM for a Ceremony that was to begin at 6AM.
While the staff was making their preparations to take the participants to the celebration, it was unclear just how many of the delegates would attend owing to their busy schedules, leftover jet lag and just the shear early meeting time.
But almost instantly phone trees were set up, participants wanted to be woken up and almost 100% of the delegates attended.
The event was spectacular. More that 10,000 gathered for the sunrise celebration, representatives from every nation and the Summit delegates were the guests of honor. The celebration included a special historic Peace Blessing where the Founders renewed their wedding vows and were once again honored on their Birthday for their accomplishments. As is tradition, everyone wore white robes that were given out at the event known as "Holy Robes." The sea of white and the people who were gathered on three different levels of the building made for an impressive sight.
Heads of State gathered with spiritual pilgrims who came from all over the world with their children, for something they had never witnessed before. The participants were extremely grateful for this unique experience and upon conclusion were told that they could keep the white robes, which became a special memento for them. In their own words, "Never had they been to something like this before!"
The bus ride back to Seoul provided a perfect time for rest before the next event, which was to be held in Seoul at the Olympic Stadium. Not everyone made this event as tiredness set in, however this was another event to celebrate Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s birthday and their accomplishments with speeches, the giving of gifts and international entertainment. Mr. Lech Walesa, Nobel Prize Laureate spoke again at this program.
After the stadium the delegates came back to the hotel to prepare for the closing banquet. The delegates had literally not stopped since they arrived in Korea. What a schedule, yet everyone was "high" just from the sheer pace of it all and the successful proceedings that had transpired.
The Banquet was attended by over 500 guests. Dr. Yang, President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, USA, emceed the event. A group of young Korean women sang Korean folksongs in their beautiful, colorful Korean dresses. H.E Steingrimur Hermannsson, Prime Minister of Iceland (1983-91) and H.E. Hegazy, Prime Minister of Egypt (1974-75) gave some remarks and then Rev. Kwak introduced Rev. Moon one final time to give his closing address.
If anyone has ever sat through one of Rev. Moon’s speeches they can tell you that his speeches are quite intense and have lasted anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours at a given time.
Although by nature he is a religious leader, his speeches seem to touch on all areas of human activity, which is why it seems these world leaders respect him so much, and see the fruit of his work. Whether they understand his theology or not, they know that he and his wife and the organizations that he has founded are up to something important.
On the eve of Rev. Moon’s 83rd Birthday he was on the stage pouring out one last time his heart to the Summit delegates and participants. At one time in the program he asked if there was anyone older than him in the audience, no one raised their hand. "So then," he said, "I can speak to you then like your elder brother and you will listen." And listen they did with respect and admiration to this man who in the culminating years of his life has accomplished miracles.
[Special thanks to Mr. Michael Balcomb for providing some of the participant quotes.]
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