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L. Kravchuk: A Global Strategy to Overcome Violence

Address to the World Summit on Peace
New York, USA, January 30, 2009

As the first President of independent Ukraine, which after 70 years under communist oppression had become an independent country without shedding even one drop of blood, I clearly realize the importance and urgency of the quest for harmony and understanding. Ukraine went through many difficulties and trials, during which it lost huge numbers of her sons and daughters. The artificial famine of 1931-1932 took the lives of 7 to 10 million Ukrainians. During the Second World War, the Ukraine endured one of the largest losses of human life. We suffered under Stalin’s repression. These are just a few facts that enable me to state with confidence that Ukrainians know the price of peace.

From its first days, the policy of Ukraine has been to promote peace and affirm life. Therefore, in June 1990, representing the millions of Ukrainian people, the Parliament of the Ukraine proclaimed a “declaration of independence” which included proclaiming that Ukraine is a non-nuclear state. This proves in front of the whole world that we have no nuclear ambition. Having had the third-largest nuclear weapons capacity in the world, this complete and voluntary renunciation of our nuclear component of national security was unprecedented in modern history. Having been in the thick of things, I am clearly aware of the importance of mutual understanding and the desire to solve all issues peacefully.

The state of the modern world clearly demonstrates the vital necessity of searching for new ways of establishing peace and new types of peacemaking initiatives. The recent conflicts in Myanmar, the ongoing instability on the Korean Peninsula, the military conflicts in Iraq, the tense situation in Iran, and the recent confrontations in the Gaza Strip are just a few proofs of this. It is no secret that even the UN, which was created for the sake of building a world of peace, is unable to carry the burden of problems that has been falling upon our fragile world.

The way it has been going about trying to solve conflicts shows its own inability to promote peace and mutual cooperation. There is clear evidence that the time has come for us to reconsider our approaches to solving these issues. We have to look deeper into our essence as human beings; we have to transcend our national, cultural, or religious limits and gain a new vision that will allow us to find solutions for all these modern problems.

We have to understand that human beings are first of all spiritual beings and therefore it is vital to add spirituality in our daily life. Looking at humanity, we can see immense diversity. Present here are representatives of all races. In fact, we all look so different. But let us try to look deeper than our skin: what makes us different? If we do not take into consideration our skin, we can see that we are all the same. The deeper we go, the more we can see that we have so much in common. All of us have one thing that connects us and makes us human beings. This is nothing other than our soul, our mind.

The topic of this gathering clearly shows the core of the mutual understanding that we need: “Building a World of Universal Peace: One Family under God.” This vision allows us to find a solution for all the perplexing problems of humankind that have been multiplying from generation to generation. Entering into the 21st century, we are truly at a historical turning point. Now it is time for us to decide whether lasting universal peace will become rooted on this earth or whether we are destined to repeat the dark and oppressive history of the wars and conflicts of the previous century.

The task we face is not easy, but I think that we can solve it if we overcome our personal interests and understand that ending conflicts and making a new beginning are in the world's interest.

During the present world situation, the progress of society depends on global factors; our global society needs to enhance the well-being of all humankind. It is very important to mobilize the political will of national governments, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs for the sake of preventing large-scale humanitarian crises. There is now a critical necessity for creating a global strategy both to prevent conflicts and to resolve conflicts peacefully. I think that the Universal Peace Federation, headed by its founder and inspirer Dr. Sun Myung Moon, has everything that is needed in order to become a base for such activity.

As head of the Ukrainian Peace Council, I am ready to take an active part in this activity by using the resources that are available on our side. We are ready to cooperate for the sake of creating a global network of peacemaking organizations that will help develop worldwide peacemaking processes.

Excerpts from interview during conference:

Q. Mr. President, what do you think about the transition from the Soviet past to democracy?

A. I still remember the Soviet times. Moreover, I was holding one of the key executive positions in the former Soviet Union. I witnessed such historic and tragic events, like Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. The Soviet Communist system was generating conflicts not only inside the country, but elsewhere in the world. The Soviet people were not able to decide for themselves. They were always instructed on what to do and what not to – do not to attend churches, not to have fun in restaurants and other public places. They had to obey the principles of the so-called "Communist Morale"; they had to live in small "Nikita Khrushchev style" living apartments with low ceilings, etc.

It was all horrible. But the most horrible thing was a lack of spiritual values. People were not allowed to believe in God. The whole system was so atheistic – the Communist ideology was the only religion allowed for the Soviet people.

So I still remember the Soviet past. When people decided to get rid of it, it started moving towards a better future. I was honored to lead this movement in the Soviet Ukraine. We were able to create a new independent Ukraine, which was had never been a sovereign State – it was always part of the Russian empire, then part of the Soviet Union.

So a country with the 52 million population, plus 20 million of ethnic Ukrainians abroad, 72 million people altogether, was not a sovereign State. When it finally happened, after the victory of the democratic revolution, I paid my first foreign visits, as a Head of State, to Canada and the US. I met people who were crying with joy and saying: “Finally we can live in our own State!”

So we have our own State. It is very important for everybody to have a State, one’s own home, where you could enjoy your unique culture and lifestyle. It is very important to be able to manage your life, your country, by the will and desires of its population. Of course, we still face a lot of problems, but we have the main thing – our state, our country. Ukraine had to deliberately get rid of the nuclear weapons and proclaimed itself a non-nuclear state, thus setting up a new precedent in the modern history. Ukraine, a former #3 nuclear power in the world, disposed of the weapons of mass destruction, which is an excellent example for other countries.

Ukraine, as a sovereign democratic state, set examples in other spheres of life – humanitarian, spiritual, and others.

Q. Please share your impressions of the Peace Summit.

A. I was very much impressed by the very title of this Peace Summit. When a person, who was not allowed to believe in God for many years, listens about "One Family under God," he/she is particularly impressed. As a person with a mind of a philosopher, I try to comprehend the vision of "One family under God." And I understand how important it is for the whole of the mankind to adhere to great universal spiritual principles. People, who live like one family under God, cannot be cruel and aggressive. They should become peacekeepers.

I was impressed by the essence of our debates, and by the presence of people who made a unique contribution to the global peace. I encourage the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) to further promote such type of meetings, which will allow the UPF to influence the global affairs in a significant way. The world is at a turning point right now, and the UPF’s new vision at a time of global crisis will contribute to the positive change.

I encourage the Founder of the UPF, Rev. Moon, Mrs. Moon, and their lovely family, to continue to advocate the global peace, under the true vision of God and humanism.