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S. Moestadja: Address to the International Leadership Conference

Address to the UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 9, 2011

In our increasingly globalized world, humanity faces enormous challenges. Our mental strength is being put to the test by the many effects of globalization. As a process (or set of processes) that involves transforming the spatial organization of social relations and transactions, the many effects of globalization such as political, social, cultural, economic and environmental must be taken into consideration.

In the quest for universal peace the spiritual dimension must not be taken for granted. It is our duty as nations to protect human dignity and see that human rights are respected all over the world. We must recognize the role of religion in the quest for universal peace. One family under God, as stated in the guiding principles of the Universal Peace Federation, gives us an understanding of the importance of solidarity in achieving peace.

The current situation in the world of suffering, hunger, disease, ongoing conflicts, the economic crisis, poverty, and injustice must lead us to reflect on the meaning of life itself and the purpose of our existence on this planet. We must be aware of the importance of good governance, good leadership, and role models.

As an essential precondition for sustainable development, good governance plays an important role in achieving various goals necessary for the development of a country, and in particular, of its people. Poor governance, on the other hand, obstructs development.

In order to achieve the goals of development, all relevant actors must be included; every link in the development process must be consulted. Tolerance and solidarity must replace discrimination and lack of understanding. Governments have the obligation and responsibility to create and sustain a peaceful world with sufficient opportunities for the next generations.

It is our job as leaders to steer the process of development in the right direction, upholding the principles of democracy and rule of law. We must do as much as we can to prevent arbitarariness and unnecessary violation of human rights.

In the words of Amartya Sen: “We live in a world with remarkable deprivation, destitution, and oppression.”* We must realize the urgent need for reform in the broadest sense. To counter the problems that we face, we have to see individual freedom as a social commitment. There can be no development without removing the obstacles to freedom that leave people with little choice and opportunity.

Using religion as a tool to free ourselves from negativity is an important step towards universal peace. It is crucial to stress the role that the family plays in promoting peace. Why? Because the process of achieving universal peace begins in the family.

As the guiding principles of the Universal Peace Federation state, “By practicing the ethics of living for the sake of others we can reconcile the divided human family.” With this principle in mind, it is the duty and responsibility of governments to be other-centered rather than self-centered and to see to it that everything necessary is in place within and beyond in order to realize the dream of lasting peace.

No doubt, without peace, as just stressed, development will not benefit people or our planet earth. We can conclude that to achieve universal peace, we need to join hands and cooperate. Thank you for your attention.

*Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen, 1999, Preface