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Presentation: Resolution of Conflicts

UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 2010
Unofficial notes from presentation

In the Preamble to the UNESCO constitution, it says that since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed. That is why we must focus on developing the mind.

The second UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold, said

I see no hope for permanent world peace. We have tried and failed miserably. Unless the world has a spiritual rebirth, civilization is doomed.

He spoke of the need for a spiritual rebirth. Without recognizing the role of spirituality, we cannot solve human problems.

People have focused more on the development of the externals and not on the spiritual dimension. In people of good character, there is harmony between their words and actions. Our mind wants to work for the larger, public purpose, but our body doesn’t want to follow the mind. How can we change? We must restore what went wrong. We must become unselfish. We must take responsibility for our actions, making changes step by step.

People have become disconnected from God. Therefore, we must reconnect with God. We must study the scriptures. Religions have emerged to guide human beings.

Jesus said that if you are about to make an offering but have something against your brother, first go and make things right with your brother and then come and make your offering to God. The relationships we establish in the family are the models for relationships in the larger society.

Quotes from other religious teachings:

Let there arise out of you a group of people, inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain happiness and prosperity. (Islam)

Let your aims be common,
And your hearts of one accord,

And all of you be of one mind,
So you may live well together.
(Hinduism)

When the personal life is cultivated, the family will be regulated; when the family is regulated, the state will be in order; when the state is in order, there will be peace throughout the world.
(Confucianism)

Mahatma Gandhi talked about non-violence. It is difficult to practice that. Men of wisdom understood that if we don’t resolve conflicts, they will be passed on to future generations and will beceome ever more difficult to deal with.

Martin Luther King, Jr., said:

We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity.

After being incarcerted for 27 years, Nelson Mandela gave up the desire for retaliation. The same thing happened in Kenya, where leaders gave up the principle of revenge. The same principle applies in the family.

Revolution must begin with ourselves. If we don’t change ourselves, we cannot make constructive changes in society. We have to become the change we want to see. We need to guide people toward reconciliation.

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