FOLLOW US

FacebookYoutubeLinkedin

International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

April 2019
S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4

One Family under God: A Vision for the Americas

Français, Spanish

Three thousand years of history are written in stone amid the remote rain forests of western Belize. For Dr. Hyun Jin Moon and an international team hosting a series of leadership summits in six Central and South American nations, the ancient pyramids and complex hieroglyphics left by the Mayan civilization offered a compelling testimony to the formidable capacity of its indigenous people. Co-chairman of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and president of the Youth Federation for World Peace (YFWP), Dr. Moon traveled with leaders of these organizations to Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Brazil.

UPF Secretary General Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, Regional Chair Dr. Jung Soon Cho, and Regional Secretary General Mr. Alejandro de Souza were part of the delegation that met with legislative leaders, heads of state, and activists from civil society, as well as a cross-section of youth leaders, to promote a “Vision for the Americas.”

“I believe that in this world where there is a real potential for religious war that the message that was sown 2,000 years ago of ‘one family under God’ now needs to be brought to the world stage,” Dr. Moon declared. “And it can happen centered upon this hemisphere that has been appointed and anointed by God to carry on that mission.”

Latin America and the Caribbean have astonishing diversity, abundant resources, and cultural vibrancy. Yet endemic problems, many the legacy of colonial dependency and long-standing political instability, undermine the region’s full integration into the global economy. Violent crime and public security are key issues for policy makers and citizens, while widespread poverty and economic stagnation fuel political corruption and cynicism. Young leaders will play a key role in moving from a culture of dependency to one of public service, collaboration, and opportunity.

The division between North and South has also undermined development in Latin America, and Dr. Moon called for a more broadly defined “American” culture of peace and service to the less fortunate.

Belize

On April 13, the group arrived in Belize, a small Central American nation of just 300,000 people. Its educational levels and economic development are high, but social problems including family breakdown, AIDS, and drug abuse persist.

“It is not a nation’s size but rather its vision and values that determine its future and fate,” Dr. Moon told an assembly of Belize leaders. “The United States became a global leader because its core values were centered on the sovereignty of God.”

Some 2,000 Belize Ambassadors for Peace, professionals from all sectors of society, have stepped forward to provide needed social services as well as education in principles of peace and nonviolence.

“One of our key objectives is the elevation of the role of young leaders in empowering a new era of cooperation and development in the Americas,” says YFWP executive vice president David Caprara, who traveled with the delegation. “In each nation we saw the power of effective youth service and character education initiatives.”

Costa Rica

In neighboring Costa Rica, aspirations for peace run deep. A stable and prosperous democracy, Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army. Former President Rodrigo Carazo was instrumental in founding the University for Peace, a UN-mandated university headquartered in Costa Rica. His successor, President Oscar Arias, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to foster regional peace in neighboring Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador during the warfare of the 1980s.

With a $1.9-billion-a-year tourism industry, Costa Rica is the most visited nation in Central America and a pioneer in ecotourism. Regrettably, the rapid growth of tourism also has led to a burgeoning sex tourism trade, including the exploitation of children.

Dr. Moon met with former President Carazo, a UPF Ambassador for Peace, and his wife, and with Vice President Laura Chinchilla Miranda, who was especially responsive to discussions about character education, inter-religious reconciliation, and promoting North-South integration. Peace education is ongoing through Tele-paz, whose daily television broadcasts featuring Ambassadors for Peace. The International Leadership Conference drew 250 participants from all over the Central American country of four million people.

Panama


From Costa Rica, the tour continued to Panama, the geographical bridge between the North and South American continents. Control of the Panama Canal Zone, transferred from the US in 1999, has spurred economic growth in the nation of three million. Today Panama is a strategic transportation link and financial hub. On the other hand, some 40 percent of the population is mired in poverty and 80 percent of children are born to single mothers.

The disintegration of the family has engendered serious drug-abuse and social problems. Many government and civic leaders are interested in character education that provides a clear explanation of the importance of self-discipline, respect for one’s body, and the sacred character of marriage and family life as the building blocks of a peaceful society.  

“Panama should concentrate on education,” Dr. Moon told an assembly of Panamanian senators, mayors, civil society leaders, and Ambassadors for Peace. “Education of the mind is not enough. It is important to educate the heart. The family is the first line of defense against the destruction of society. As a father of eight children, if I do not live by family principles, what will happen to my family and children? It’s time to strengthen the family as the foundation of society.”

He urged Panamanian leaders to realize that “if a nation has abundant resources but still experiences poverty and corruption, it is because of problems with the leadership. If leaders make one family under God their platform, a completely new nation can emerge.” He challenged leaders to open the way for a new world beyond the walls of religion, race, and culture. “With this type of vision, your nation can influence your neighbors, your region, and your entire continent.”

One significant youth leader, Fabio Perez, president of Panama’s Martial Arts Association which numbers 20,000 students, teaches the principles of peace to martial arts students. Realizing that education in family values is critical to the country’s future, Mr. Perez agreed to take on the national leadership of Panama’s Youth Federation for World Peace.

Peru


In recent years, UPF and YFWP in Peru have provided character education training to administrators, teachers, and students at universities, colleges, high schools, and technical and vocational schools in this country of 29 million people. Ambassadors for Peace, community-based teachers, and, increasingly, professional teachers have educated thousands of students. Requests for the character education curriculum continue to grow, as the pervasive influence of popular culture makes the need for standards of conduct all the more keenly felt. Significantly, some one hundred Family Centers have been set up throughout the capital city of Lima as well as in five provincial cities. These centers help to provide education and food for many people in impoverished communities.

From the grassroots to the highest levels in government, the vision of a global family under God has taken root in this Andes mountain country in western South America, as forward-looking young leaders assess the consequences of a secular, individualistic ethos on Peruvian society. Congresswoman Margarita Sucari observed in a reception, “As Ambassadors for Peace, as children of God, we feel compelled to bring people together [around this shared vision] as we try to be the conscience of the Congress.”

In his keynote address on April 20, 2008 to the International Leadership Conference in Lima, Dr. Moon applauded the creative energy that has launched so many successful initiatives, and reflected on the region’s history.

Uruguay


The delegation received a warm reception from Uruguay’s physician President H.E. Tabaré Vázquez, a cancer specialist whose ethic of service includes taking off one day a week to treat patients in his office at the hospital. In meetings with leaders of government, business, academia, and the clergy in this country of 3 million people, Dr. Moon found common ground in discussing the responsibility of all to reach out in good faith across cultural and national divides.

Later in a meeting with former Uruguayan President Julio Sanguinetti, Dr. Moon noted that government was not an end in itself but served a higher purpose. “I believe great nations need to be built on a recognition of God,” he said. “In the beginning, Nazi Germany was democratic and capitalist, but it created its own rules and definitions of values. The value system that leads to true human rights can come only with the inclusion of God. Absolute and immutable principles are our guiding light.”

Paraguayan soccer legend José Chilavert was in Montevideo and had heard about the tour and was anxious to meet Dr. Moon and “shake his hand.” Voted World’s Best Goalkeeper in 1995, 1997, and 1998 by IFFHS, the international football ranking organization that works alongside FIFA, the now-retired soccer great is still a favorite with fans who called out his popular name, “Chila! Chila!” as he and Dr. Moon walked to a local coffee shop.

Brazil

The tour concluded in Brazil, the emerging, resource-rich power with a landmass comprising nearly half of the South American continent. With 157 million people, Brazil is fifth most-populous country of the world. A Portuguese-speaking country, Brazil is a land of contrasts, the home of the massive, ecologically critical Amazon basin and exploding cities with unmanageable slums. Grinding poverty, breakneck development, and seemingly limitless resources present challenges and unprecedented opportunities.

“Brazil can move this region toward peace and mutual benefit,” Dr. Moon told a gathering of political and religious leaders in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies. “The crisis of values is not fundamentally a problem that can be solved through the political process,” he said. “Values are at the root of culture as well as political institutions, and recognizing our common bonds as one human family is the precondition for realizing lasting peace.”

“This is the time in which we need to dream big,” Dr. Moon told leaders in all the countries he visited. “We need to aspire for the greatest of things. Just like that nation to the North that was anointed by God and has risen to the highest peak of all nations in the world, so too, can Central and South America rise if they become the owners of the dream of building not one nation under God, but one family under God, rooted in the eternal universal principle that can only come from God.”

“If this region has been held back in development, it is not for want of an abundance of resources, nor for any lack in the capacity of its people, Dr. Moon added. “Through this tour, I am convinced that in terms of resources and human capital, there is nothing lacking here. But if I may be so bold to suggest, it needs the great vision and principles and values that can uplift the people to go beyond individual self-interest, beyond the interest of one’s family, beyond even interests of one’s nation. We must aspire for the greatness of the whole region, the greatness of the Americas, reviving the spirit and dream of leading the whole world to peace.”

For information about the Youth Federation for World Peace's leadership and peacemaking projects, see www.youthfederation.org.