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Peace Education

Reflections on World Summit 2014: “There Are People Who Think about Peace with Capital Letters”


Buenos Aires, Argentina - Valuable concepts were shared by Dr. Julio Schlosser, president of the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations (DAIA), at the Embassy for Peace in Buenos Aires Sept. 8, 2014. He talked about his experience at the World Summit ‘Korea 2014’: “Peace, Security and Human Development,” in which he participated along with his wife, Susana Degetman, and which was organized by UPF Aug. 9-13, 2014 in Seoul, Korea.

“People are afraid of the unknown. I have to be honest. We had many hours to think during the trip, which was about 28 hours by plane: where I was going and what I was going to find there. Apart from those who came to the DAIA, and the kindness of how they gave me all I needed. It was a challenge, not just for my wife and me, but for all the Jewish community I represent. I am the DAIA’s president, and vice-president of the World Jewish Congress and the Latin American Jewish Congress. So we were willing to make a step forward, without any doubts.

We participated in the ceremonies of the second anniversary of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s passing. We were astounded by the ceremonies and the emotions of all the people who were in those events of remembrance, both towards Rev. Moon’s memory and his wife, Mrs. Moon, who was at the events. I felt a common feeling, not just of approval or management analysis, but a common feeling of affection. There was an emotional wave that, on many occasions, moved us. The events were really important.

The purpose of this meeting was “Peace, security, and development.” I added the word “religion” in my humble address and entitled it “Religion, Peace, Security and Development,” because I think those are the cornerstones that will make our children and grandchildren’s lives be what they should be and help construct a world that does not have the characteristics of ours today. It is a great challenge to see what is happening. Today, there was a terrorist attack in a subway in Santiago, in front of one of the most beautiful malls of Chile, Estación Las Condes. We watch on TV how people are beheaded, how soldiers are undressed, and how they kill each other. Then we ask ourselves: How do we build a world where our grandchildren will not see those things?

I have been married for 43 years, so you can imagine how many quarrels I have had with my wife and the arguments we are going to have, if God gives me strength. But the argument we have when we wake up -- because we have an argument every day -- is that I love newscasts and my wife says: “I don’t want to start the day seeing so many deaths.” I cannot close my eyes to what is going on. Beyond the things that do not make me feel good, that also do not make any one of you or my wife feel good, I have to see them in order to strengthen again my conviction that the UPF and this kind of conference are not just about traveling 26 hours on airplanes and drinking coffee in Korea. If these events are replicated and if world leaders could understand what true leadership is and what a true leader is, we would start building a better world.

The Torah says that nobody is forced to finish a task, but nobody is exempt from starting it. And this is what we here to do, from my humble position, and what Rev. Moon postulated during his whole life: starting the task. We all know the real problems. And I said in my address: “If I had come to Korea to be told what the world’s problems are, you have wasted your money, because I read these problems in newspapers and on the Internet. We came here to think about solutions. If we do not know the means to do it, at least we should think about it.” And this is why I believe the conference was a success.

There are group photos with me in some places, but my wife only took a photo with an Iranian representative, who asked her to take a photo together. And this is exemplifies everyone who was there, people who think about peace with capital letters, about a peace that all religions preach about.

Some people pretend to make us believe that religions want wars. That is a lie. There is no “holy war.” The “holy war” does not exist. Nothing can justify the death of man by man. And the holy texts say that the day will come when swords will be turned into plowshares.

This was an unforgettable experience for me, listening to speeches where I had no disagreements with anyone, because those who were there thought the same: that the enemy of the century is terrorism. The representative of India said so, and the representative of Kenya said so. Everyone agreed that the terrorist is a criminal. And if we want to establish peace, unfortunately, we should be prepared to fight terrorism. Terrorism does not want peace.

Gentlemen, for many years I have had a good friendship with His Holiness Pope Francis, since he was a cardinal here 20 years ago. I have seen him four times. The last time, I spent three hours having lunch with him in the home in Santa Marta. And for this reason I laugh when someone says that Obama spent 40 minutes with the Pope. We talked about all the important subjects, and we sometimes mentioned things about San Lorenzo, which he likes (the football team Pope Francis follows). I think that in every historic moment, there is a person who stands out. And we have seen in this historic moment the figure of Pope Francis, who will help greatly the cause of peace.

These are the things that I think about. You can think about it at home and you can agree or not. I think that the Gaza war, this event that happened now–with respect and between quotation marks– “is the Pope’s fault.” And I am going to explain my theory about this. After 15 Muslims, 15 Jews and 15 Catholics went to Jerusalem and talked to the Latin Patriarch, we went to Tel Aviv and talked to Shimon Peres and a deputy. Then we went to Ramallah and had the chance to talk with Rami Hamdallah, Palestine’s prime minister, for an hour and a half. Then we went to Amman and talked to Jordan’s King, and then we went to talk to the Pope. And there, the Pope said: “I am going to make a pilgrimage.” And he did the same we did, but then he said: “I am going to call Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres to come here, and the three of us are going to pray together for peace.” I think that was the trigger for the Hamas terrorists to kill the three Israelite youth who came to study. Because they saw that the process of peace could advance; and they knew, like me, that killing those three boys would unleash a reaction, and that the peace process would return to zero, where it is today.

For this I say, with respect, that sometimes there are people who do not care about the process of peace. Beyond the need for having a barrier or returning this land or negotiating this aspect. This can be arranged with negotiations, not with weapons.

Every peace agreement achieved by force ends up being nothing, and history proves that. Germany wanted to be divided by force, and it did not work since Germany is now united. The Soviet Union wanted to create a great empire, and it disintegrated. The Berlin Wall fell by itself. There was no need for a cold war or a warm war. What is achieved by force does not last. This is why the conference we were at is so important, because we talked to each other. There was, and you will see in the photos, a prayer made by the representatives of all the religions that were there: a Buddhist, someone from India, a Catholic, people from different areas. From there, we can try to change. And our obligation is not to achieve the change, since time will tell. Our obligation is to try, to do it.

At the beginning, Dr. Schlosser showed a historical video of the DAIA and, after his report, he shared some photos of the Summit organized by the UPF internationaland co-sponsored by the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, The Washington Times Foundation, and Segye Times. On the occasion, another video was shown of his address at the World Summit, on August 11th, at the session on “The significance of religion for peace and development.” A panel coordinated by David Fraser Harris, secretary general of the Middle East region of the UPF, and composed of Ven. Kotapitiye Rahula, professor of the Kelaniya University (Sri Lanka); Acharya Dr. Muni Lokprakash Lokesh, founder president of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti (India); Dr. Anthony Mansour, director of the Academy of Ecumenism of North America (Canada); the Bishop Floyd Nelson, from the International Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ (USA); rabbi Richard Gamboa, Secretary General of the Colombian Assembly of Religions and Spiritualities (Colombia); and Rev. Dr. William A. McComish, dean emeritus of St. Peter's Cathedral in Geneva and director of the Geneva Spiritual Appeal Association (Switzerland).

During the meeting, Susana Degetman, wife of DAIA’s director, also offered a brief impression of her experience in Korea. She was gratified to learn and have experiences with people of such diversity she met during the Summit. And also Carlos Varga, director of the Unification Movement in Argentina, who participated in other activities in Korea and in the memorial ceremony of the second anniversary of Rev. Moon’s passing to the spiritual world, which he highlighted. He also focused on “the spiritual wealth that Argentina has to give to the world” while reflecting upon the negative things we can see in the world. At the end, Alba Luz Tangarife shared part of the message “Our challenge at this time: building a world of everlasting peace,” given at the summit on Aug. 10 on behalf of the co-founder of UPF, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, which was read by her daughter Sun Jin Moon.

“Although it may appear that we are about to enter an era that resembles the “dark ages,” we are actually on the threshold of a new era of peace … if only we respond to God’s call. This World Summit is itself a response to God’s call.Our world faces a multitude of challenges, from climate change and poverty to geopolitical tension, terrorism and interreligious conflict; from family breakdown and crime to moral and spiritual confusion. I am sure you encounter many of these same challenges in your own nations and regions—in the Americas, in Africa, in Asia, in Europe, in the Middle East, and in Oceania. These problems cannot be solved through the instruments of government alone, for their root cause is not exclusively political or economic in nature. Rather the root cause is buried deep in the human heart; in selfishness and separation from God.”

To see photos, videos, program of World Summit 2014:

Translation: Yamila Gómez.


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