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Speeches

M. Rai: Critical Issues, 2010-2015

UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 18, 2010
Published in the journal Dialogue & Alliance, Spring/Summer 2010


We have heard quotes from all the religions. The message is very clear: peace begins from you. You are Ambassadors for Peace, and you have to make sure that the world is peaceful. Unfortunately, we have forgotten how to breathe, how to live, how to love. Be simple, normal, and livable. You are real human beings.

It is said that if you lose wealth, nothing is lost. But if you lose health, something is lost. Go for human values. That is the message I want to bring here.

I would like to clarify some things about the UN. I will quote from the Charter, which was signed on June 26, 1945. It was formed as a response to the great suffering of World War II. It opens with the words: “We the peoples.” It is not governments; the UN is you, “We the peoples.” The heads of state signed on our behalf. Don’t think of the UN as something alien. The UN is you.

When you are talking about peace, you are promoting the agenda of the United Nations. You are helping humanity. You are helping the universe. Peace is the main reason why the United Nations was formed.

The economic crisis is not everything. If you lose your values or your character, everything is lost. Give your service to humanity through the United Nations. We have to see that nobody goes to sleep without food. Almost a billion people do not have enough food. They go to bed without food. One third of the Indian population is illiterate. How can we progress if we can’t read? It is of great value to educate somebody.

The eighth Millennium Development Goal is to build global partnerships. The UN isn’t looking only at governments. Everyone from individuals to civil society must become partners. Time is of the essence. This is time for action. Globalization is both a good term and a bad term. Poverty is experienced everywhere. Climate change is not an issue for just one country; it is a global issue.

You have had enough meetings. It is time to act. Help the poor people to get food. Educate the uneducated.

We are sons and daughters of one God. We should unite as one family. More than one billion people are living in slum areas. The world headquarters of UN Habitat is in Nairobi, and we have the world’s biggest slum in Nairobi! The president has announced that he will remove slums. Let’s think how we can be of benefit to brothers and sisters who are not as fortunate as we are.

Let me close by reciting a Hindu prayer for universal peace: "Let the sky be peaceful, the universe be peaceful, earth be peaceful, water be peaceful, all medicinal plants be peaceful, all plants and trees be peaceful, all gods of the universe be peaceful. May the almighty God be peaceful and all be peaceful. May peace prevail. Let it become more profound wherever it goes. May it free us from all fear. Let the people be peaceful and may there be no fear of any animals."