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Speeches

H.J.H. Moon Our Challenge at This Time: Building a World of Lasting Peace

Address to World Summit 2014, Seoul, Korea, August 10, 2014
Read by Mrs. Sun Jin Moon

Your Excellencies. Distinguished religious leaders. Ambassadors for Peace. Respected delegates from throughout the world. Ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for participating in this very important World Summit 2014, sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, in partnership with the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the Women’s Federation for World Peace, The Washington Times Foundation, and the Segye Times.

We gather at this time to honor the life and legacy of my beloved husband, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who ascended to the spiritual world two years ago. On this second anniversary of his Seonghwa (Ascension), I have commissioned a wide range of programs, such as the World Summit, not only to pay tribute to my husband and the providential work we have carried out together over many decades, but to blaze a trail forward toward the fulfillment of God’s providence. I pray that we can work together to achieve this goal, which has been the hope of all the ages, and the hope of God.

At the time of our Holy Blessing (Marriage) Ceremony in 1960, amidst a handful of followers gathered in a humble house located not far from here, my husband and I pledged before God, our Heavenly Parent, to work day and night, until our dying breath, to build a world of peace and prosperity for all. I vividly remember that day, as if it were yesterday. My husband and I had been brought together by heavenly providence for a sacred mission. As we began our marriage, we felt great hope and, at the same time, a sense of overwhelming responsibility.

God alone does not control the events or outcomes of human history. Rather God seeks to find and raise up individuals who understand and follow his Will. The progress of God’s providence requires that each individual, and especially central figures, fulfill their own portion of responsibility. Those who take up the call often find that the path is steep, treacherous and painfully difficult.

Neither my husband nor I were naïve or unaware of the challenges we would face. On the one hand, we each experienced directly the love, guidance and protection of our Heavenly Parent in the most intimate and powerful ways, and this inspired our absolute faith, commitment and determination. On the other hand, we also encountered extraordinary opposition and obstruction that defied rational explanation and which can only be called demonic. The forces of good and evil were ever present and palpable.

Korea itself was a battleground. We each had first-hand experience of the humiliation of colonial rule and the horrors of war right here on this peninsula, which to this day remains divided. Forced to flee our home towns, when a dictatorial communist regime took control of the territory north of the 38th parallel, neither of us were able to live in the cherished homes of our birth, among family, friends and relatives.

As we started out on our mission, Korea was a nation emerging from a devastating conflict, with our people still mourning the tragic loss of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. Korea was then a small, impoverished country, known to many as a ‘hermit kingdom.’ Our church headquarters was, at that time, about the size of a single hotel room. Our followers were few, and our resources meager. And, as if this were not enough, we faced prejudice, slander and persecution from the established political and religious authorities.

And yet, by the grace of God, our movement grew, and grew and grew!

Who could have predicted that what is now a respected global movement, known throughout the world for its vision, principles and best practices, could have arisen out of the ashes of war, abject poverty and unfair persecution? God works in mighty and mysterious ways!

The essential ideal that has guided and sustained our work through thick and thin over so many difficult years is that God is truly our Heavenly Parent, and we are all the sons and daughters of the one God: “One Family under God.” All our effort and the numerous peace organizations that we founded over many years have been entirely dedicated to the fulfillment of that vision. By the grace of God, and through the blood, sweat and tears of countless members, this vision is now blossoming like a flower of hope in the midst of a world that otherwise seems on the brink of disaster.

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.

Ladies and gentlemen, for the sake of our nations and the world, we must open our hearts and minds to receive the guidance of God, our Heavenly Parent.

What does it take to transform the world and achieve peace?

In accordance with God’s will, my husband and I spent over five decades, during the prime of our lives, dedicating ourselves and our family to bringing about a spiritual and moral awakening as the foundation for global transformation.

Spiritual and moral principles do not exist for their own sake. Their purpose is to form the basis for life in this world. That is, these divine principles are to infuse all sectors of society, including not only religion, but the spheres of government, trade and commerce, education, academia, the media, culture and the arts, and, most importantly, family life.

The substantial foundation my husband and I established did not come about magically or by some stroke of luck. It requires total commitment, unceasing effort, alignment with God’s providence and investment in all sectors, from the grass roots to the centers of cultural, religious, economic and political power.

Consider the following areas where we have applied this principle.

The family: God created the family as the school of love. In accordance with God’s principle of creation, the family is the most fundamental and necessary of all human institutions. Without it humanity cannot survive as a species. When it fails, the society, nation and world fail. When we restore the health of marriage and family, centered on God, we can restore the world.

My husband and I have worked to achieve this goal through the Marriage Blessing movement. As you may know, millions of couples from around the world have participated in the Blessing, affirming their marriage with a commitment to build a world of peace by creating God-centered, ideal families. We have encouraged young men and women to consider an international, interreligious or interracial marriage. Through such families, we can promote reconciliation and help bring the world into unity.

In 1996, in Washington, DC, as an outgrowth of the Unification Church, and in accordance with God’s will, we founded the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification as a global movement dedicated to nurturing and strengthening healthy, stable, God-centered families as the building blocks of a harmonious and prosperous world. We were honored that former US presidents George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford, as well as former UK Prime Minister Edward Heath, attended the founding assembly. Since that time, FFWPU has been actively promoting and expanding this vision in 194 nations.

Interreligious cooperation: Among 7 billion people, well over two thirds are religious. The great civilizations throughout history have endured due to their religious and spiritual foundations. Religion has always called us to examine the deeper, underlying reality of our existence, to turn our eyes, our hearts and our minds toward heaven, and to listen to those who have been sent by heaven to this earth.

However, while called into being by God’s direct intervention, religions and religious believers often stray from the true path. As such, we witness a dark side of religion, expressed in narrow sectarianism, extremism, bigotry and triumphalism. These deviations have led to serious disunity and even conflict among believers of various religions. This reality undermines the Will of Heaven and breaks the heart of God. That is why a movement to bring together leaders and believers from all spiritual traditions, in mutual respect and cooperation, is so important.

For more than 50 years, we have invested more of our resources in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue than in our own church. It is that important!

Our efforts in the Middle East, and especially the Holy Land, are carried out by UPF through MEPI (Middle East Peace Initiative), and date back to my husband’s visit there in 1965. At that time, he dedicated a Holy Ground near the Garden of Gethsemane with a sincere prayer for unity among Jews, Christians and Muslims. He cried out to God, and to Jesus, Moses and Mohammad.

Since that day, not a year has passed without serious investment being made to promote harmony and cooperation among religions, and even among the various sects that are often disunited within each religious tradition.

In the year 2000, Father Moon and I spoke at the United Nations, calling for the UN to establish an interreligious council. This council would fill a gap at the United Nations, serving as a senate or “upper house” of spiritual and moral leaders. The members of the council would be expected to rise above sectarian or partisan interests, and advocate for the good of the whole human family, and not merely one nation or religion.

The following year, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, we responded immediately by convening, four weeks after the attacks, a major international interfaith conference in New York City aimed at stopping the spread of violence. At this time we conferred with Muslim leaders and planned a series of “Muslim Summits” to promote peace. Similar initiatives have been carried out over several decades in a variety of places where interreligious discord feeds the potential for conflict.

Good governance and cooperation among nations: Just as internal corruption and hostile relations among religions stand in the way of lasting peace, the same problems plague the relations among nation states. When the Cold War came to an end 25 years ago, we thought perhaps a new millennium of peace would emerge. However, we can see that many obstacles remain standing in the way. The Middle East is now on fire with conflict. The crisis in Ukraine threatens the stability of the international order. East Asia is faced with continuous threats, including increased militarization, complex disputes over island territories, and the nuclear weapons program in North Korea. Through the programs of UPF, WFWP and other organizations, we have been actively engaged in seeking to resolve these conflicts, offering “soft power” alternatives to “hard power” politics, aggression and open conflict.

For example, we have been convening over many years a series of programs aimed at promoting peace in Northeast Asia. As a counterpart to MEPI, we call this series the Northeast Asia Peace Initiative (NEAPI). We hold these programs continuously in Korea, as well as in Japan, the USA, and recently in Vladivostok, Russia. Future programs are being considered for China, Mongolia and even North Korea. Through dialogue we can build trust and mutual respect, and break down the barriers that stand in the way of cooperation.

During the Cold War, my husband and I were straightforwardly opposed to communist ideology, which advocated violent revolution, limited freedoms and atheism. Our opposition to communism was based on an affirmation of religious freedom, limited government, rule of law and open markets. These ideals were expressed through the organization we founded in 1980 called CAUSA. We also convened an important international conference in Geneva, in 1985, sponsored by the Professors World Peace Academy, to discuss the imminent decline of the Soviet Union and the need to prepare for a post-Soviet world.

We never closed the door to dialogue. We made every effort to meet with the leaders of the Soviet Union and North Korea. In 1990 we held a Summit in Moscow with the support and participation of President Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev. We did everything we could to promote a smooth transition from communism to democracy in Russia. We placed strong emphasis on good governance, character education for youth, the strengthening of civil society and religious freedom. In 1991 we travelled to North Korea to meet President Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jeong Un. Despite our aversion to North Korean policies, including assassination attempts on my husband’s life, we embraced President Kim and urged him to open the borders to dialogue, economic cooperation and people-to-people exchange through sports, the arts, tourism and humanitarian relief efforts. We have invested enormous resources in North Korea, in order to reduce tensions and build the trust that is necessary for peaceful reunification.

Over several decades we invested in the Americas, and especially the United States. Our love for America was not based on nationalism, or a lack of awareness of its flaws, but rather it was based on an understanding of America’s unique position and responsibility in the world. The United States, as the leading nation of the free world, represents ideals of freedom, religious liberty, human rights, democratic governance and rule of law. Many countries around the world have admired and emulated the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. America was blessed by God, and was called to a sacred mission.

But with that blessing came great responsibility, the responsibility to share the blessing and serve other nations in order to establish a world of true love and lasting peace. Unfortunately, beginning in the 1960s, many people in the United States began to lose sight of that truth. We began to see the spread of drug abuse, free sex, individualism and materialism. Thus began a trend toward spiritual and moral decline.

Beginning with our arrival in the United States in 1971, my husband and I sought to bring about a great awakening through a grass-roots movement dedicated to spiritual and moral renewal. My husband always said that God had called us to serve “in the role of a doctor, or fire fighter.” We had come to heal the nation, and to put out the fire of selfishness and corruption. The United States had lost its way and needed to rekindle the God-centered spirit that had prevailed at the time of its founding. This was the message that my husband and I conveyed to Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush, and to hundreds of members of congress in the US Capitol, and to many millions of ordinary Americans from every religion, race and cultural background.

In April of 2008, my husband and I convened the "Americas Summit" in Washington, DC, under the sponsorship of the UPF, and dedicated to the theme, "Toward a New Paradigm of Leadership and Good Governance for Development and Peace in the Americas." Former US President George H. W. Bush and former Uruguayan President Julio Maria Sanguinetti made substantial contributions to the success of this important meeting. My husband and I encouraged both of these leaders to work for the unity of the Americas.

In Jardim, Brazil, we established the Ideal Family Education Headquarters for World Peace, and attracted people from around the world who aspired to create an ideal community. We also established a farm there—called New Hope Farm—and invited people to come there to work the land, live together and learn with people from around the world. Thus began a movement to build a model, ideal community, in harmony with the environment.

In the Pantanal region as well, centering on Puerto Leda in the Paraguay River basin, we have worked to build an ideal village, with international volunteers living and working together in harmony with nature. We established a farm there with the vision of developing resources for the benefit of the people of the world. In addition, we launched a fish-farming project. Fish farming is necessary, because in the future it will be difficult to supply enough fish from what can be harvested from the open sea. In May of last year, we were successful in raising our first batch of Pacú. We were honored at that time with a visit from then Paraguayan president Federico Franco and other government officials. Many other major oceanic, fishery and boatbuilding initiatives have been undertaken over the past forty years, from Kodiak, Alaska to Antarctica, and from Yeosoo, Korea to Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Proper stewardship and care for the environment is absolutely essential at this time. Climate change, rising sea levels, deforestation, desertification, a lack of clean water supply, malnutrition and the rising cost of food products require our immediate attention. God created us to love and care for the earth and all its blessings.

Interreligious and international cooperation: Toward an “Abel UN” Korean people have great respect for the United Nations. Of course we are proud that Mr. Ban Ki-moon is the UN Secretary-General. But, more importantly, it was the United Nations that intervened to save this nation at the time of the Korea War. True Father, my husband, was liberated by UN Forces in 1950 from the Heungnam Prison Camp in North Korea, where he was about to be executed.

I, along with my husband, have spoken at the United Nations on numerous occasions. And, while we hold it in the highest regard, we also see the need for renewal and transformation of that great institution. I have already referred to our proposal for an interreligious council within the UN system. It is with this in mind that my husband and I developed the concept of the “Abel UN.”

As we know, Abel was a biblical figure who was humble and faithful before heaven. Unlike his brother Cain, Abel had a heart of filial piety towards heaven. Despite his love for God, Abel was killed by his elder brother, Cain, who lashed out at Abel in anger and jealousy. This Cain-Abel dynamic has manifested itself throughout history, in individuals, in institutions, in ideologies and in nations. Some are “Cain type” and other are more “Abel type.” My husband and I have always wanted to uphold the legacy of Abel and the “Abel type,” who upholds righteousness and goodness centered on God.

It is with this in mind that we have spoken of the need for an “Abel UN,” a United Nations that becomes increasingly committed, through its member states, to upholding the highest spiritual and moral principles that stand above and beyond national self-interest.

An “Abel UN” can only be established if the member states themselves become transformed as God-centered, principled nations. A nation, in turn, can become an “Abel nation” only when its people, its culture and its institutions are transformed in accordance with universal principles and God’s will. We established the Universal Peace Federation with this goal in mind.

To achieve this goal, good governance must be practiced by both governments and religions. International peace and interreligious peace are tied together. Thus, whenever you come to the programs sponsored by the UPF, you will find political leaders and religious leaders alike, together with men and women from all sectors of society.

The Age of Women: Women, too, have a central role in God’s providence. Not only as wives, mothers, sisters and daughters, but as leaders and equal participants in all fields of human endeavor.

In 1992, we founded the Women’s Federation for World Peace, to develop a global network of women dedicated to building God-centered families and a world of global peace. Shortly before my husband passed away, we launched the Global Women’s Peace Network, building on the foundation of WFWP, as an “Abel Women’s UN.” WFWP has chapters around the world, with active volunteers engaged in developing schools, orphanages and a wide range of humanitarian initiatives.

Throughout much of human history, in virtually all societies, women have been subjected to discrimination and mistreatment. In recent decades, however, women and men throughout the world are committed to turning the page on this unfortunate history. Increasingly, all people realize that as women are given encouragement and equal access to better education, and as they take on positions of responsibility in all sectors, our world improves. Wherever women are excluded or suppressed, social, political, economic and even spiritual development is held back.

A responsible mass media: In keeping with our vision of peace, my husband and I founded The Washington Times in 1982. For more than thirty years The Washington Times has upheld the highest journalistic standards and affirmed universal values of faith, family, freedom and service. As acknowledged by leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, it was instrumental in helping bring an end to the Cold War. It continues to be a leading voice of truthful and responsible journalism. In 1996, with this same vision, we established Tiempos del Mundo, beginning in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and expanding to 16 nations throughout South and Central America. Here in Korea, we have the Segye Ilbo (World Times). In Japan we established the Sekai Nippo. These media establishments are dedicated to the highest standards of professional journalism, while upholding values of faith, family, freedom and service.

An international tunnel and highway project: As we work to build a world of peace and prosperity, trade and commerce play a central role. Since 1981, we have been proposing the development of an international highway, rail and tunnel system that would connect the entire world. We are working to build a tunnel connecting Japan and Korea, and have proposed a rail and tunnel system across the Bering Strait, connecting North America with Russia.

Trade and commerce have always been instruments of peace that bring people of diverse cultures and civilization into relationship with one another. Like a global “silk road,” the international highway and tunnel project would allow commerce to flow over land and through tunnels, from the southern tip of Argentina to Cape Town in South Africa, from Moscow to New York.

Overcoming obstacles and expanding the foundation for world peace

Even during the most difficult of times, my husband and I continued our endeavors. We seized every opportunity to convey God’s message to the world. Sometimes it seemed as if we were spending our entire lives either in an airplane or on a stage. We traveled to nearly every country on the face of the earth, conveying God’s word. I recall that many times my husband spoke until his throat was sore. In his later years, we had to keep an oxygen tank and an ambulance on standby as he spoke in the mountainous regions of South America or Central Asia.

My husband never rested with ease. One day he was in the east, the next day he was in the west. Most people would find it exhausting to do even one of the many tasks he carried out. Day by day, we saw the vision of a peaceful world through ideal families miraculously take form before our eyes. With his lips parched, legs swollen and his entire body aching, my husband offered prayers of thanks to God.

After we founded the Universal Peace Federation in 2005, my husband initiated a world tour to 120 countries, visiting one country each day to share his vision of peace, even at the risk of his life. At that time, and continuing throughout 2006, we, along with many of our children and even grandchildren, spoke to audiences in nearly every nation of the world.

The providential path of the True Parents of humankind is a long and arduous one, like navigating a ship through a terrifying storm. Yes, despite the challenges we faced, the obstacles have been overcome, and countless substantial activities that expand this vision are being carried out and making impact all over the world. This global foundation for peace is now secure and growing each and every day.

Since my husband’s passing, our work has continued without any pause. In fact, it has only intensified.

One very important development has been the creation of constitution that provides the basis for the rule of law within our global movement, known as Cheonilguk, a nation where “two become one.” My husband had continuously talked about Cheonilguk and the need for a constitution. Work on the Cheonilguk Constitution had begun prior to his passing and was completed this year and offered to heaven on Foundation Day (February 2014). The constitution, centered on God and True Parents, sets up a Supreme Council and five branches of governance. This will assure a just, stable and prosperous future.

Recently I traveled to Switzerland, a place where my husband and I had visited on several occasions for speaking engagements, either at the United Nations or other venues. On this visit I took time to go to 12 of the highest mountains in the Swiss Alps, to pray, reflect and meditate, and to draw close in spirit to my husband.

I feel close to him each and every day.

Conclusion

My husband and I have lived our lives according to the guidance of heaven. Called by God to embrace all humanity with the heart of True Parents, we have invested our entire being for the sake of God’s liberation, the salvation of humankind and the realization of a peaceful world. We have faced many challenges and tribulations on this path, but we have been undeterred in carrying out our heavenly mission.

I pray that we can work together in this great mission to build a unified world of peace and prosperity, as one family under God. Please do everything you can to renew and transform your nations and build a world of lasting peace, as envisioned by God from the beginning of time. Such a world goes beyond the divisions of religion, race, ethnicity and nationality. God’s ideal world is a borderless world of freedom, peace, unity and happiness.

I pray that the World Summit will serve as an important turning point for all the people of the world. Next year, at World Summit 2015, we will present the Sun Hak Peace Award to an individual or institution that best embodies the principles of peace that my husband and I have espoused in accordance with God’s will. Your input and recommendations are most welcome.

I invite you all to take up this challenge of building a new world of universal peace. Let us all stand together as one and build “One Family Under God.”

May God’s blessings be with every one of you, your families and your nations.

For more information about the World Summit, click here.