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Speeches

J. de Venecia: Address to World Summit 2014

Address to World Summit 2014, Seoul, Korea, August 9-13, 2014

We have come from many parts of the world in this global gathering here in Seoul to honor the dramatic achievements and expansion of this organization created by Rev. Moon and Mother Moon in the year 2005. I remember I attended the conference in New York which gave birth to the UPF.

And I must say that UPF today is like smaller version of the United Nations. It is perhaps more meaningful than the United Nations because here you have representatives of the great religions, which you do not have in the United Nations. You have leaders of Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, and even leaders of the two factions of Islam, the Sunnis and the Shiites.

Our human race is hopelessly divided. Witness the tragedy and chaos of Gaza, the Palestinians and Israelis, the tragedy and violence and chaos in Syria, the tragedy and violence and chaos in Iraq, in the Sudan. There is conflict between Sunnis and Shiites in Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Thank God that a few months ago in the Philippines we were finally able, after 40 years, to bring about a historic peace between Muslims and Christians in the south. It is one of the most successful peacemaking efforts in Asia.

My friend, Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, one of the founding fathers of East Timor, brought peace between Indonesia and East Timor, in spite of the massacre of hundreds and hundreds of East Timorese as they fought their battle of independence. He has succeeded in bringing peace and reconciliation between the people of East Timor and Indonesia.

I believe that UPF is a great model among the civil society organizations and nongovernmental organizations engaged in track two diplomacy while governments and foreign ministries are engaged in track one diplomacy. There is a need for UPF and the other civil society organizations around the world to assist, augment and complement the efforts of the United Nations to try to bridge the increasing divisions in the human race, in the human family.

We can almost detect the beginnings of another cold war between Russia and Europe and the U.S. We can see the beginnings of conflict that might expand in the East China Sea and in the South China Sea, between Vietnam, the Philippines, China, Malaysia and Taiwan.

One of the great solutions envisioned by Rev. Moon and which I had the privilege to launch in the United Nations before the General Assembly was the creation of an interfaith council in the United Nations system.

In the United Nations today you have the Trusteeship Council, the Security Council and the General Assembly. But why should there still be a Trusteeship Council? There are no more trust territories in the world. The trust territories have already achieved their independence, their freedom. One of the last was East Timor.

Perhaps the Trusteeship Council could be restructured and called an interfaith council, to bring together the great religions of the world into the United Nations network so that the religious leaders of the world can complement the efforts of governments, parliaments and political parties to bring peace and reconciliation and development in Latin America, in Africa, in Europe, in Asia and around the world.

I hope that after we discuss the various problems of the world, all of us can go home and speak to our foreign ministries, to our parliaments and to our governments. Let us revive the effort to launch an interfaith council at the United Nations, not to compete but to complement, assist and augment the efforts of governments and foreign ministries to solve the problems of conflict around the world.

This was Father Moon’s dream. Since 1993 I spoke to people at the UN almost every year to see how we can bring this about. There were discussions with U.S. President W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Gen. Colin Powell and Amb. John Negroponte at the United Nations. Perhaps we can take a new appeal to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, mobilizing the presidents and prime ministers, leaders of parliament, religious leaders and business leaders who are here. Let’s send them a new petition to wake them up.

Today there is need to put together an interfaith council at the UN, because the greatest problems and challenges and tragedies and conflicts in the world today are interreligious conflicts – the violence in Syria, the violence in Iraq, the violence in Gaza, the violence in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, the violence in West Africa and the violence in Southeast Asia.

The first order of business when you return home should be to invite the foreign minister to lunch and revive the resolution that we presented to the UN General Assembly which was backed by 60 governments, and reignite the interest in an interreligious council.

Let us use our little influence, that when combined will be like a flood, to bring together the voices of the great religions of the world, because, as Hans Küng said, there can be no peace among nations until there is peace among the religions.

Perhaps we could craft a resolution that we can all sign before we leave for the adoption of an interfaith council at the UN to complement and augment the efforts of governments and foreign ministries around the world.

Let me mention that Rev. Moon was from North Korea and Mrs. Moon was from North Korea. They built an automobile factory in North Korea and then donated it to the North Korean government. They built a hotel in North Korea and donated it to the North Korean government. And Rev. Moon, who was a football enthusiast, helped develop a football movement in North Korea. He has tried to reach out to the North Korean regime. It’s difficult, but someday I can see that there can be a final reconciliation and a final reunification of the Korean peninsula.

My wife, Gina, watches the Jumong [South Korean historical drama] television series, which is very popular around the world. Jumong was a king who tried to unite the three kingdoms of Korea. I cannot sleep at night because my wife tunes into this television series morning, noon and night. She and I will address the Korean National Assembly on Aug. 11, and the one who will host this meeting in is the mother of leading actor.

So let’s see how UPF can contribute to the unification of the Korean peninsula, using unconventional means, means that have not been tried before, as we seek to bring peace among governments, among peoples, among nations and bring peace in the hearts of people.

For more information about the World Summit, click here.