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P. Pisco: Address to World Summit 2017

Address to World Summit 2017, Seoul, Korea, February 1 to 5, 2017


I would like to thank UPF President Dr. Thomas Walsh, UPF Regional Secretary General Jacques Marion, and our Portuguese delegation for the opportunity to share with you these perspectives on peace.

I must tell you that I’m not at all optimistic. On the contrary—but we are here in this summit because we believe in the supreme value of peace as the basis for human, economic, social and cultural development. I’m very proud to say that Portugal, my country, is the fifth most peaceful nation among 163 countries, according to the Global Index of Peace published last week.

Global peace today seems to be threatened as it has not been in more than a half-century. A simple violent event somewhere in the world may trigger a war, as happened in Sarajevo in 1914 before World War I, when nationalism was in ebullition. As former French President François Mitterrand once said, “Nationalism is war.”

There are irrational events going on in the United States, Russia, the Middle East, Israel and Palestine, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and many other countries and regions. The global order is falling apart, caused by selfish political decisions that are being made without caring about their consequences or the human factors. There is an economic, financial and commercial war that has been going on for some time. If we look at history, these elements are among the main causes of war.

Fear is in the air. We feel and see it every day in the news, each time more and more explicit, each time with a greater probability of happening in reality. Confrontation among countries, national tensions and divisions, terrorism—the breakup of regional blocs is more evident than ever. Weakening the pillars of the present global order, such as the United Nations or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a very inviting sign to dictators who are anxious to expand their borders.

Therefore, the main question now is: What can we do, individually and collectively, not only to contribute to peace, but mainly to prevent large-scale war? I believe we should make a strong call to all political decision-makers and shapers of public opinion for reasonability and to avoid any panic that could accelerate into tragedy.

The global crisis has appeared because of a clash of cultures and a huge financial crisis. With the financial crisis not yet over, rich people are richer, poor people are poorer, and the middle class, weaker and hungrier, are choosing political extremism without realizing how harmful that can be for the future. To govern in a selfish way and against nations and peoples, as the United States is doing now in this new and more aggressive and provocative Donald Trump era, may have huge global costs. What we demand of the biggest global power is humility and assistance to keep balance in the world and defend human rights and the values of democracy and the rule of law.

We must cooperate and care about our neighbors and not despise, confront or be indifferent. As everything is linked, sooner or later we will suffer the effects of our actions. Trade agreements within an ethical framework are more important for keeping good relations among peoples, and even if they are not perfect, they are necessary to maintain trust and common goals which help to keep peace, stability and development.

We must put forward the common good, the sense of humanity and solidarity, accepting our responsibility, either in relation to the European migration tragedy, global environmental issues or sustainable development. Responsibility, humanity and solidarity are the key words for people and the planet.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be brought to an end, with a fair solution of two states living side by side in peace and security. The expansion of settlements is a provocation to the world and must cease in order to not worsen the prospects for global peace. This most ancient conflict has a huge capacity to destabilize not only the Middle East but also global geopolitics.

Capitalism without control should have an end, with adequate regulations to avoid any possibility of toxic speculations that can endanger the real economy and the real life of peoples and families. People need decent jobs. Companies must keep on working and producing for the well-being and development of the nations.

The cultural clash between the Arab world and the West must be replaced by a strong and consequent dialogue of civilizations. We must look at the causes of war and conflicts, and work hard for a mutual comprehension and understanding in our societies and among nations, particularly with respect to cultural and religious differences.

More than ever, peace in the world must be taken very seriously. This is the time to act, as citizens and as members of parliament, civil society and religious organizations, and put forward these goals before it is too late to avoid tragedies. We must urgently do everything we can to build lasting peace in the world.

Allow me to conclude this intervention; to offer my warm congratulations on the birthdays of the UPF founders, Rev. and Mrs. Moon, and for the most relevant and altruistic work they have done for peace in the world.

Thank you.


Hon. Paulo Pisco, Assemblyman, Portugal 

Hon. Paulo Pisco is an Assemblyman of Portugal. He belongs to the Socialist Group at the Portuguese Parliament. After working as a journalist from 1988 to 1995, he served as an advisor to the Socialist Parliamentary Group in the European Parliament from 1995 to 1999. He became a Member of the Portuguese Parliament in 2009 and has served three terms. He belongs to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities, the National Defense Commission and the Commission for Culture, Communication, Youth and Sports.

To go to the 2017 World Summit Conference Schedule, click here.