Peace and Security

World Peace Summit Held in Seoul

Session Panel

Seoul, Korea - A diverse group of political and religious leaders gathered in Seoul on June 10 for a three-day World Peace Summit to consider alternative pathways to peace. The group included the Vice Presidents of Afghanistan and Liberia, two nations trying to rebuild after years of disastrous civil conflict.

The World Peace Summit is being sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, founded by the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who calls the UPF to become a 'new model' for the UN that effectively combines spiritual and pragmatic policies for peace.

At this morning's opening plenary session, Sir James Mancham, Chair of the Presiding Council, told delegates of a busy first year that had seen the UPF launched in over 120 nations and had taken Mancham to the Dominican Republic, Serbia, Japan, Mauritius, the Maldives and Switzerland.

"The more I see of the world, the more I think the time has come to consider one world government for the human family," Mancham said. "Our world is dominated by big nations and groups of nations, but they are all competing with each other." The former Seychelles Prime Minister said the nations of the world could learn from the success of the American model, where the colonies that had been squabbling with each other as well as the English crown learned to unite with such lasting effect.

"Some problems cannot be solved without a global focus," he said, "such as terrorism, immigration, environmental problems and the nuclear issue."

Ejup Ganic, the MIT-educated President of Bosnia from 1998-2002, spoke of the challenge of peace building that confronted the UN. "Peacekeeping, usually through military means, is difficult enough," said Ganic, "but peace building is much more difficult. We lurch from one crisis to another, and we never have enough time. The world community that longs for peace may be strong in numbers, but it is still weak in spirit and focus." Ganic placed special focus on the importance of youth in the search for peace. "We have to take the ideas of this conference into the classrooms of our nations," he said.

Dr. Hamdi Murad, recently appointed to the King Hussein National Mosque in Amman, Jordan, spoke of the need for justice and morality, particularly in regions such as the Middle East where there is a constant threat of a downward spiral of revenge and retaliation. "There can be no peace in occupation, or under the threat of weapons," he warned, "and religions cannot play their proper role as peacemakers unless they humbly seek the true way of God."

Madame Gina de Venecia, wife of Philippine Speaker Jose De Venecia, offered a perspective from the world of volunteering and charity. "We need more women diplomats and politicians," she said, "because although men may deny it, they are still fascinated by war and have never abandoned it as an option. But every mother weeps for her soldier son the same way." De Venecia spoke of the role of the Philippines, Iran and other nations in calling on the UN to create an interreligious council at the UN which would bring a spiritual focus onto world problems. "This is really important," she said, "and the UN should waste no time in establishing such a council."

Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, UPF Chairman

Madame Gina de Venecia, wife of Philippine Speaker Jose De Venecia

UPF Chairman Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak developed this idea. "In reality, religion and government are accountable ultimately to God." he said. "They have their legitimacy only when centered on absolute values and principles." The key to doing that, said Kwak, is to find people who could fearlessly apply those principles. "What distinguishes the UPF from the UN and other similar bodies is not its focus on critical issues, he said, but whether it will really focus on and apply its internal principles into life."

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