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Speeches

H.J. Moon: Vision and Leadership

Address to International Leadership Conference, New York, New York, June 2, 2007

In the company of members of the international diplomatic community, I must begin by expressing my heartfelt appreciation to the United Nations. I would not be here today if it weren't for the UN. All Koreans love and respect the UN – even more so with the appointment of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. We have our national sovereignty today, due to the courage of the men and women of the United Nations, led by the United States, who fought and died to liberate my homeland from totalitarianism.

As some of you may know, my father was in a North Korean concentration camp at Heungnam when the Korean War broke out. It was the UN forces that liberated the prison camp and made it possible for him to live his eventful life as a peacemaker, by allowing him to carry on God's providential mission of building one family under God.

While I have the greatest respect for the extremely difficult work of the United Nations, I also join with many people who are expressing ways in which the UN's ability to be an instrument of world peace can be strengthened.

Human progress has been a series of steps, new discoveries and new ideas that have gradually elevated our collective conscientiousness.

The first step in building a community of nations was a series of international peace conferences in The Hague at the turn of the last century. The "Hague Confederation of States" as some called it, was founded on the idealism of the peaceful settlement of disputes through arbitration. The concept of a peaceful community of nations was continued with the League of Nations after World War I. That desire for conflict resolution, still driven by idealism, was further refined as the League of Nations, which in turn gave way to the creation of the United Nations at the end of World War II.

All these transitions, stepping stones, have been part of our learning experience. The UN has many programs and activities, all directed toward the same purpose – to secure peace. At the threshold of a new millennium, many are now asking, "Where does the UN go from here?"

Peace is God's unchanging ideal, even more than it is the ideal of all good people. God's desire for a world without conflict guides the providence of history. Therefore, we might find common agreement that the United Nations' noble goal of achieving world peace would benefit from formal recognition of the existence of God and by allowing a venue for the voices of providence to be heard in its chambers. That would be the beginning of the answer to the question people are asking.

My father has proposed that the UN create an interfaith council that would deliberate global issues with an eye toward spiritual values that are universal, such as giving priority to the greater good, rather than purely political solutions. The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, Hon. Jose de Venecia, a member of the Universal Peace Federation's Presiding Council – and others – have added their public support and leadership to this idea embodied in several General Assembly resolutions.

We do not live in a secular world. Religious beliefs are dearly held by billions of people in every part of the world, including most of the people in this room. It seems appropriate, and even necessary to include the respected opinions of believers of all faiths – as partners in solving the world's most difficult problems.

I think when most people think of what "interfaith" means, they tend to imagine a gathering of people from all faiths celebrating their diversity – in essence, their different practices, their different customs and costumes, etc.

But more important, interfaith should be an affirmation of our oneness as sons and daughters of God. Interfaith should uplift the universal principles that guide the lives of all God-affirming people.

Recently I have been touring America carrying a message of peace from my father which has been shared in 185 nations across the world by all three generations of his extended family. Even at 88 years of age, Rev. Moon is engaged in a tireless quest to see the guns fall silent and be replaced with peaceful means of conflict resolution throughout our world. The essence of that message is that all of us in this room are members of one family under God, regardless of who we are, where we came from, or by what name we call God.

"One family under God" is something people hear me say frequently. I usually add the word, "aju," a Korean expression that means "I will take responsibility to do it." It's a promise made to God: I will take responsibility to be, and to live, and to accomplish in my life one family under God, aju!

Would everybody say it with me please? One family under God, aju!

Recently, I was in the Middle East. I met in the Knesset with members and also with Palestinian leaders. As important as the political process is, dialogue and cooperation among the faith traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is essential to reach people, heart to heart. I believe if religious leaders would join together courageously and cooperatively, without reservation, they would initiate a peace process more powerful than anything the world has ever seen. Only by working together, can we truly make a difference.

A spiritual orientation, to augment the political, would also contribute to the fulfillment of the UN's esteemed Millennium Development Goals. The eradication of poverty, AIDS, and malaria, the empowerment of women's contributions throughout society, and the formation of creative partnerships to address problems are complex issues that require the application of all human spheres – political, social, economic – and spiritual. The Universal Peace Federation and our global Ambassadors for Peace network are committed to standing with you to achieve these noble goals together with our widespread network of NGOs and other member state partners.

To address conflict in the world's hot zones, the Universal Peace Federation, which co-sponsors this conference, has created a number of projects. The Ambassadors for Peace are men and women of conscience who come from the arenas of public policy, private business, academia, religion, and media who are committed to world peace and cooperation between religious faiths; they are opinion leaders in their communities.

I work with a number of organizations aimed at encouraging young people to find joy in the service of their community and world: organizations such as Service for Peace, Youth Federation for World Peace, Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, and Religious Youth Service take an interfaith approach to character development and fostering a culture of peace.

The Washington Times Foundation, also a co-sponsor of this conference, is the charitable arm of The Washington Times newspaper and supports a variety of initiatives to resolve human conflict and strengthen peace through building bridges of understanding and cooperation.

The Washington Times recently celebrated its 25th anniversary together with key parliamentarians, NGO representatives, and global leaders, including Washington's diplomatic corps. We were grateful that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a personal greeting to the event, as did President Bush. His father, the first President Bush, delivered the keynote address, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher greeted us from London by way of video.

This International Leadership Conference series will continue to address a range of pressing global issues. This type of conference, designed for senior diplomats, is one that should continue. The principles of effective leadership include an understanding that the solutions to war, clashes across racial and cultural lines, the challenges of global development in lesser developed countries, and environmental sustainability must be worked out on the global stage, beyond the narrow confines of politics.

I would like to see the International Leadership Conference series strongly support the United Nations and emerge as a key partner in every region and nation – in Brazil, Japan, Ethiopia, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe – all working together with a global foundation of Ambassadors for Peace who understand they are one family. We hope all of you will give us your input and advice as we move forward on this.

Each of you are the kind of leader who plays an essential role in helping this world become the world of harmony and well-being that we all aspire to achieve.

As I said, this conference for the diplomatic community is one of an ongoing series. We are committed to supporting your good efforts. If we are willing to work beyond the barriers of our nations, cultures, and even faith traditions, the result – sooner or later – will be a mutually supportive and peaceful world. May God bless your families and our efforts for peace together. Thank you.

Article - Diplomats Gain Insights about Leadership