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Speeches

J. Saghbini: Address to Interreligious Leadership Conference 2017

Address to Interreligious Leadership Conference 2017
Seoul, Korea, November 10 to 14, 2017

 

Dear friends, brothers and sisters,

In 2006 I met UPF in Beirut, Lebanon. Two years later, I was appointed as an Ambassador for Peace. Since then, I have had the opportunity to participate in several UPF conferences, in Washington, D.C.; Beirut; Amman; Jerusalem; Vienna; Cyprus; and now, for the first time, in Korea. In all these conferences, we discussed the responsibility of religious leaders to serve peace in a world that aspires for peace.

But today, in this conference entitled "Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: The Role and Responsibility of Religious Leaders and Faith-Based Organizations," I feel particularly urgent the need to work to establish peace as soon as possible, considering the current state in the Korean Peninsula. The huge rally held on Saturday at the stadium entitled “2017 Global Rally for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula" has profoundly impressed me, especially the speech by UPF founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. The division of Korea must be put to an end, and the Korean Peninsula must be unified as soon as possible. Threats of war from both sides, America and North Korea, must be stopped. 

My thoughts that Saturday also turned towards the Middle East. I feel that the Korean division is analogous to the situation of division, tension and war prevailing in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, but most prominently between the Palestinians and Israelis.

In the Middle East, the cradle of the Abrahamic religions, we need religions to serve the cause of peace and justice. It is our true role and mission as religious leaders to educate the younger generations in a culture of peace, dialogue and openness to others. In February 2015, in Vienna, during the conference coinciding with World Interfaith Harmony Week, I called for the formation of councils in our countries—composed of religious leaders, intellectuals and people in civic and social fields—to discuss these topics. Today, I repeat that call again. How happy I am today that UPF has just launched this important initiative, the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development. Let's pray for its success!

Thank you.

 


To go to the Interreligious Leadership Conference Schedule 2017, click here.