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T. Walsh: Our Partnership with the United Nations and UNESCO

Remarks at a Global Peace Tour 2009 session at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, March 31, 2009

Humanity is indeed one family but remains a divided family. International institutions such as the United Nations and UNESCO stand in positions analogous to parents in a family. The task of parents is to nurture, support, educate, and, when necessary, maintain order.

The United Nations focuses on promoting security and preventing wars in a dangerous world, keeping order and discipline in the turbulent family of mankind. Meanwhile, UNESCO plays a complementary role. Its strength lies in “soft power.” Because peace is much more than the absence of war and more than just security, UNESCO works hard to promote friendship, understanding, and positive cooperation, so that human beings no longer see themselves as enemies or strangers, but as friends, or even as brothers and sisters.

Both roles are important and necessary. As long as the world remains dangerous and risky, we need to seriously focus on security issues. Meanwhile, we must create all the foundations for concord, friendship, even love among all human beings.

Concerning the first aspect, the Universal Peace Federation has been involved in many programs which I believe are very helpful for the work of the United Nations. We have several peace initiatives in the hot spots of the globe; for example, the North East Asia Peace initiative gives emphasis to core flash points, the Korean Peninsula, and the Cross Strait relationship between China and Taiwan. The South Asia Peace Initiative has focused on three flash points, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Kashmir, each with a strong interplay between political and religious factors. The Middle-East Peace Initiative has focused not only on dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, but also on the need for cooperation among the peoples of the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

UPF’s International Leadership Conference series focuses on the need for a new paradigm of leadership and good governance. Recently, UPF and its principles played a critical role in bringing an end to post-election violence in Kenya and encouraging a power-sharing compromise between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

UNESCO is concerned with more than external security and the absence of conflict. In many respects, the term “culture of peace” best describes what UNESCO is trying to achieve: peace through culture and education, cultivating seeds of peace in the spirits of all human beings. We truly embrace this idea wholeheartedly and want to offer UPF’s support.

UNESCO understands humanity as one family. Through education and the development of a culture of peace, we can bring harmony to the divided family. This emphasis on culture and education makes UNESCO so precious. It has pioneered the way, on a global level, to bridge the gaps among cultures.

Culture has to do with the deepest values of human beings, including spiritual and moral values that guide our life in the world. The core values, principles, and aspirations of the UPF are fully consistent with the ideals and values of UNESCO. We seek to help in the task of creating a global culture of peace.

Text of the keynote address of the Global Peace Tour 2009 delivered at the UNESCO headquarters: English, French.