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Speeches

G. Dizdar: Address to World Summit 2015

Address to World Summit 2015, Seoul, Korea, August 27 to 31, 2015

Dear Excellencies, dear Honored Members of the Organization Committee, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, please let me start my speech with the words of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who proved his military genius while spending most of his life on the battlefield as a soldier, as a general and as a commander in chief.

Yet the main reason why he became immortal and gained a privileged position among the most important leaders of the world is because of his statesmanship, his understanding of governance and, most importantly, his peaceful, democratic vision.

After the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, he specified the main goal and philosophy of the newborn republic in two words: “Peace at Home, Peace in the World.”

From this introduction you may also guess that I am from Turkey—a country which is a bridge between two continents, Asia and Europe, but also mostly is considered either part of Europe or the Middle East.

What makes me a speaker in this session on the Asia-Pacific Region, instead of the previous session on Europe and the Middle East, is a true story that I want to share with you today.

A few years ago at a conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, after I delivered my speech on “The Role of Women in Global Integration,” a gentleman who was in the audience walked up to me and congratulated me in a very polite and fatherly way.

Because at that time I knew very little about the politics and civil society in that part of the world, I didn’t know who he was. A few weeks later I was invited through him to a conference in Makassar, Indonesia. I met with a group of magnificent people and learned more about this wise man who dedicated his life to establishing a global united front in the battle against poverty but also dealt with the most important issues of today’s world, such as corruption, global integration, peace, intercultural and interfaith dialogue, climate change, environmental degradation, ecological crisis and many others.

He also has been a great role model, a true source of inspiration for a new generation; he supported young people and women to take a more active role in politics, civil society and every part of life. He trusted them, gave initiatives, endless support and saw us as not only as the “leaders of tomorrow’’ but already as “today’s leaders.’’

Every time we talked, I learned more about him and from him. We talked about politics in the Asia-Pacific region, civil society, dimensions, and visions. I hold a master’s degree from one of the top universities in Turkey, but I can honestly say that I learned more from him than even the master’s program.

Dear Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to pronounce the name of this gentleman, since most of the people in this room are very familiar with him, yet I am sure everybody has a similar story, a story of your own, of people who touch the lives of others, making a difference.

His Excellency Jose de Venecia Jr. is not only one of the leading figures in many organizations, such as the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), gathering more than 340 ruling and opposition parties; the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI), which is the first Asia-Pacific organization that formally brings political parties and civil societies under one roof in a common house and works for peace, reform and development in Asia’s emerging states.

Additionally, to ensure that the interests of the environment are presented in the making of public policy, both ICAPP and CAPDI have joined forces with the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization (IESCO)—the leading Asian environmental NGO—to instill in Asian governments, parties and civil society the virtues of “governing green.’’ Recently Global Parties Climate and Ecological Alliance (GPCEA) was established with the goal “to promote green development and build a beautiful Asia together.’’

Apart from being the leading figure and all these achievements, for me more importantly in these years His Excellency Jose de Venecia Jr. has become my godfather, whereas I am also blessed with Her Excellency Gina de Venecia’s being my godmother and teaching me what giving, caring and “unconditional love” mean, supporting me in the most difficult times unconditionally.

Therefore here I am, speaking about peace and human development in Asia-Pacific, even though I do not carry a Philippine passport. This speech is coming deep from my heart, knowing that blood makes us related but loyalty, sincerity, respect and common dreams make us a family.

In today’s world the distribution of power is changing in a basic way. The center of global gravity is indeed moving away from the Atlantic—where it has been for the last 150 years—and tilting toward the Pacific.

In other words, we can point to the new rising power centers in Asia, Latin America, Africa and additionally East Asia—whose collective economies are growing at the world’s fastest rate—and feel justified in proclaiming the advent of a “Pacific century” or the “Asian century.”

Additionally the integrating forces of globalization are shaping new relationships among states; between governments and societies as well. Technological and cultural revolutions are shaping a whole new world. Globalization’s impact on traditional lifeways has been even more wrenching than economic change has been for fragile transitional societies.

Therefore we need a better understanding of the unavoidable consequences of “cultural globalization” that will enable the global community to mitigate its ill effects and maximize its good effects.

Our globalizing world needs to develop a system of ideas and ideals that will make globalization work for all our peoples.

We are in the middle of difficult, intractable political, territorial, religious, separatist, ideological and ethnic conflicts from north to south and east to west on our Asian continent, admittedly the largest and most diverse in the world. Asia is fragmented among Buddhist Asia, Hindu Asia, Muslim Asia, further splintered by Sunnis and Shi’ites, as were Christianity’s Catholics and Protestants in the 16th century, Socialist Asia, Confucian Asia, Christian Asia and Jewish Asia.

On the other hand, while we are able to talk with many institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank, the Infrastructure Bank, etc., and 2050 estimations it is not very easy to talk about “human development,” so a humble suggestion would be the establishment of “human development ministries.”

For every one of us, let me say living in different parts of Asia-Pacific and the world; the meaning of    “human development’’ should be the same,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 since I want to read you the direct definition from the United Nations:

WHAT IS HUMAN DEVELOPMENT?

  • Human development focuses on improving the lives people lead rather than assuming that economic growth will lead, automatically, to greater well-being for all.

In other words: growth by itself is never enough if we are to root out poverty from among our peoples. We must also narrow the gap between rich and poor, and between city and countryside widening still in most every Asian country.

  • Additionally, human development is about giving people more freedom to live lives they value. Three foundations for human development are to live a long, healthy and creative life, to be knowledgeable, and to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living.
  • Human development is, fundamentally, about more choice.

One of the reasons behind sharing my own story in the beginning is that through the many organizations I have listed and more at which I have worked, taken part and represented, even chaired—we have been trying to make positive input to the lives of society’s disadvantaged people.

I can list you numbers, share Excel files, reports, Word documents, talk about surveys, focus groups, projects, give long speeches on the necessity of encouraging participatory democracy instead of representative democracy, the importance of making youth and women objects of the sentence, not the subject.

But at the end of the day, out of my own life experience I would like to say that what we need most are good role models, sincere relations, moral values, loyalty, trying to be a better person and helping other people in their self-governing processes, getting united as a family. 

Life is short, death certain, and all we collect are the relations and memories.

Since I arrived in Seoul, yesterday and today, I also have been proudly listening to the achievements of the Universal Peace Federation and the life and work of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who experienced dramatic global transformation from the two World Wars, the Cold War and the dawn of a new millennium; major political, economic and social developments, disasters, crises. How much he has achieved is not even possible to define by words, and great lessons should be taken from his life and achievements. I do also think that his legacy gives a lot of responsibility to everyone.

Therefore, once more let me express my gratitude to Universal Peace Federation and this “United Family,’’ since it is more than a pleasure for me to share my thoughts on this session: “Perspectives on Peace and Human Development: Asia-Pacific.’’

I conclude my speech by saying once more that international cooperation, peace and human development can only be built up based on person-to-person relationships, mutual trust.  

If we can achieve this step, even making the China Sea a zone of peace and cooperation would be much easier.

I am quite sure that the spirit of international and interfaith cooperation will come up through this World Summit 2015.

In other words, today it was more than a pleasure for me to share a dream here in Seoul.

One day we will be one strong, peaceful, unified family living in harmony!

“Peace at Home, Peace in the World.’’

Sincerely Yours!

For more information about the World Summit, click here.