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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

November 2018
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Speeches

As the world turns, so do world organizations and more so the United Nations. At this point there are ominous signs that the very future of the United Nations is at stake. There is no guarantee that it will survive or make it safely through this transition, since nowhere is it written that the United Nations, as we know it, is destined to succeed. It was, after all, only the second such experiment in recent history and need not be the last. That is why the challenge facing us today is so urgent and why we the people must summon every resolve and mobilize the will necessary to make this turn a turn for the better.

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The peace council idea introduces novelty and creativity in the search for peace with a fundamental base in religious convictions. The challenge ahead remains the integration or affiliation of this council with the UN system; the modicum or modalities may not be found today, but the effort must continue.

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Prebble notes that until recently he would have questioned, “what has religion to do with the UN?” However, having survived two religiously-motivated assassinations attempts, he maintains, “unless we have an interreligious council at the UN, we cannot even start to talk, and until you are able to talk, you have no chance of peace.”

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Through a joint initiative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the government of Austria, the General Assembly adopted a historic resolution in May 2001 calling for the protection and preservation of religious sites all over the world.

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We all know that parents are their children’s first teachers. This includes teaching children about good character. The family is the veritable crucible of character.

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I tried to make connections, linkages between peace and the questions of environment around the world because there are many threats to our survival on the planet. They affect all the countries, all the nations, and this can create a common cause to unite us against those threats. In the meeting of the Universal Peace Federation, I tried to emphasize the importance of a new awareness of those environmental problems, such as the melting down of the poles, the greenhouse effect, rising sea levels, the destruction of ecosystems in different countries, the pollution of the seas, that break the food chain as a consequence.

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I have participated in this week’s conference imbued with a Caribbean perspective. It is most important that the Caribbean region be recognized for what it is worth. The individual states, from Belize in Central America through Jamaica in the north to Suriname in the south may be small individually, but collectively we have significant and influential capabilities.

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The Mayan grandmothers and grandfathers have left us with the mandate to give thanks at the beginning of our activities to the people who make the existence of that moment of our lives possible. Fulfilling that mandate, I first invoke the force that is unseen but still exists, which we Mayans call Bitol and others know as God, Jehovah or Allah. I also thank Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his family for their contribution to humanity in promoting a culture of peace.

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Today I want to propose a new slogan for Latin America: not ¡Viva la revolución! but ¡Viva la evolución!, because I think that’s what’s been taking place there and we in the developed world have not been paying attention to it. To the extent that the media in the United States focuses on Latin America, we tend to focus on Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez—colorful figures who make news. But while the people in the United States have not been paying sufficient attention to Latin America, there has been an important transformation going on.

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I celebrate this meeting, this rich diversity of combination of nations and ages, cultures, academic leaders, social leaders, current and former politicians. I believe there has never been such a rich gathering as this hemispheric meeting sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation. I also celebrate on this first day of May, as Ambassador Shapiro said, “Long live evolution!” I would like to add: long live the integration of our countries and people so we can work together.

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Politics is the art of governing the public space that we share—whether it is the city, the nation, or the region. Leaders who gain the majority of the votes have to govern the plurality of ideas. People from Latin America and the Caribbean are capable of establishing all kinds of political parties, even if all the  members of one political party can fit inside just one taxicab. But we need to govern for those who voted for us as well as those who didn’t. To polarize the country, making team A fight against team B, is to betray moral leadership.

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After I left the government, which I led for 14 years, many people have asked me what leadership consists of. I do not know one political figure who studied leadership before becoming president. How do you study to become president of a country? You analyze situations to give leadership according to the context.

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