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Asia Pacific Heads of State and Government Address ILC2020

Asia Pacific—Five former heads of state (Kiribati, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste) and a cabinet minister from Japan shared their perspectives on the theme, “Opportunity and Hope at a Time of Global Crisis: Leadership and Governance,” during Session Two of the ILC2020—Asia Pacific program, which was held on September 11, 2020 and hosted by the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP).

The ISCP is an international network of current and former heads of state and government who through dialogue and collaboration, explore solutions and offer recommendations to address the world’s critical problems, including climate change and environmental issues, religious conflicts, poverty, war, corruption and family breakdown.

The speaker’s messages of hope inspired 5,000 registered participants from almost 75 nations around the world.

Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, chairman of UPF-Asia Pacific, was the moderator of this session. He welcomed all the Excellencies, dignitaries and participants, and briefly introduced the speakers.

H.E. Anote Tong is a former president of the Republic of Kiribati (2003-2016), Sunhak Peace Prize laureate and a world-renowned leader in the battle against climate change for ocean conservation. He emphasized three issues that need to be addressed at the present time. First, the COVID-19 crisis which is causing great disruption to the way of life and in different parts of the world. Second, climate change, which he said should never be put aside; it remains the greatest challenge and may lead to a cataclysmic disaster to human civilization. Third, another major challenge is the growing militarization in the South China Sea which has intensified since the emergence of the pandemic and is at its highest at the moment. He pointed out that any outbreak of conflict could escalate into a nuclear conflict with disastrous consequences for all of humanity. In conclusion, he emphasized the human factor—the ability of people to do something about it, the ability of people who are now actually responsible for escalating it to deescalate if they wish to do so.

H.E. Parmanand Jha, former first vice president of Nepal (2008-2015), said that he was fully aware of what UPF co-founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, repeatedly emphasized in summits and conferences: “Interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values are building blocks to world peace.” He commended the virtual Rally of Hope on August 9, 2020, where he addressed an audience of almost 1 million, together with current and other former heads of state and leaders. His remarks amplified the urgent message to place high importance on the global interest and he encouraged everyone to be globally-minded citizens. He also affirmed his solidarity and support to the Rally of Hope. And he applauded UPF co-founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Moon, for their relentless efforts and invaluable contribution to peace. The former vice president also expressed his belief that UPF will unite people and bring lasting peace as well as happiness throughout the world.

H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, former president (2015-2019) of Sri Lanka, said that he believes that universal peace is an essential requirement for yesterday, today and tomorrow. “Government and non-government organizations nationally and internationally have committed to world peace over centuries. Today, when we talk about peace we have to understand the challenges, the attitudes and behaviors of rich and powerful countries and terrorist activities that are hindering [the achievement of] world peace.” He added that being rich and powerful will not be a controlling or key factor for global pandemics and disasters. We all are now forced to understand that humanity and ecological balance plays spiritually into controlling these kind of situations. H.E. Sirisena continued: “The commitment and dedication of the Universal Peace Federation to achieving world peace is highly commendable. It is noted that the violation of human rights as well as other activities affecting world peace are readily addressed by UPF. As a democratic nation we should appreciate the role of the Universal Peace Federation in global peace. I take this opportunity to thank the founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, for the initiative and commitment towards world peace.”

H.E. Mari Alkatari, former prime minister of Timor Leste (2002-2006, 2017-2018), said: “As the first multiplier, we have the pandemic. The second great effect caused by COVID-19 is that, with the development of science and technology, the world itself has become very small [and has] converted into a village. The third effect has come to demonstrate that, after all, the world has also become flat. Fourth, the virus has also shown that, against the web of the pyramid organization of human society, this, in fact, in its natural existence, is horizontal.” He further explained: “These realities have had immediate consequences such as deaths; have had effects on social life, political life, and economic life; have affected the global strategic balance of power and [have led to] the new arrangements in the organization of the power of the most powerful. The former prime minister concluded by saying, “Society must be structured in a more horizontal and inclusive way. A new development model should be built based on the synthesis of models [that have existed] to this day. Social and economic development must go hand in hand, for this, and science and technology must be the heritage of all and be placed at the service of humanity.”

Hon. Hiroshi Kumagai is a former chief cabinet secretary as well as minister of international trade and industries of Japan. He mentioned that the world is in a turbulent era, which comes once every 100 or 200 years, and asked how Japan and the world can survive the coronavirus crisis. Then he said that countries should look to how Europe has been dealing with the crisis, as a model. He continued: “They announced to unite and manage monetary and fiscal policies together. They believe that innovative technological development will be the key to survive. They are about to work on a completely a new technological development, which may be sustainable in the next era and create a brand-new value system. And they will prepare [groundbreaking] projects in various fields such as the environment, health and energy.” He added that quest for peace is importance. “No matter what we do, things will never work if nations fight with, interfere with and shoot guns at each other.” In closing, Hon. Kumagai thanked UPF for inviting him to speak and said that he is convinced that UPF’s efforts to advance peace will be a great support.

To go back to the executive summary for the Asia Pacific ILC, click here.

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