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R. Cutajar: Address to World Summit 2019

Address to World Summit 2019, Seoul, Korea, February 7–11, 2019


First of all, let me say how privileged and honored I am to be here in Seoul and to be able to speak to you during this very important summit. Allow me to introduce myself as Robert Cutajar, a member of the Parliament of Malta, the smallest country in the European Union with a population of around 400,000 people located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea 60 kilometers south of Sicily. I am part of the Nationalist Party, presently in opposition, which is affiliated with the European People’s Party.

As a Maltese citizen, I would like to take this opportunity to give my best regards to the people of Seoul, the city which is now home to the Maltese-born Monsignor Alfred Xuereb, who is the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio here in Seoul.

I am really grateful to the Universal Peace Federation for the invitation to participate in this summit, and would like to commend the meticulous organization of the conference and the hospitality I have experienced since I arrived here in Korea.

I strongly believe that the outcomes of this summit can have a ripple effect which will benefit the whole world in which we all live. We come from different countries, different communities, different cultures, different religious denominations and different backgrounds. However, we all aim for a better world and therefore our meeting here can be extremely fruitful.

The main theme of this summit was aptly chosen to be “Peace, Security and Human Development: Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.” It is imperative that we keep peace, security and human development at the center of our thoughts, discussions, plans, policies and decisions. When we put them at the center, we put all the citizens we represent at the center of our work.

In my humble contribution I will delve into some pertinent issues that very much relate to how peace, security and human development and the related philosophies can be safeguarded and possibly boosted for the sake of the common good.

All of this should be based on strong principles and values. Understandably, we base our policies on statistics and numbers, on sound economics and on realistic financial projections. But all of this will prove to be futile if, whatever our provenance is, we ignore universal values like solidarity, honesty, mutual respect, fairness, truthfulness, tolerance, equality, and respect for life from conception to natural death. All of us must make our voice heard in defense of strong value-based politics.

When it comes to universal values, particularly respect for life, I want to clearly declare that I am pro-life. Actually, we should all safeguard life—from conception to natural death—no matter what! I want to be the voice for those who have no voice—the few number of cells in a womb reproducing to become tomorrow’s citizen, those persons who are ill who would like to be with their dear ones until they die naturally, and vulnerable people in many other instances who do not have someone who can speak up for them. Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said: “…any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love.”

Every single one of us here today should return home with a clear understanding that mutual respect is indispensable. We should leave no stone unturned to instill more respect on the intra-national and international levels. We should not just condemn complacent governments but be the agents of change in our countries, and stand up to promoters of soul-less states.

Peace, security and human development necessitate that we not remain passive, unworried and unperturbed when faced with global issues, such as irregular immigration. How can I address this World Summit today without making reference to our experiences back home? The Mediterranean Sea, which surrounds Malta, has essentially become a mass grave.

Poverty, cruelty, corruption, injustices and conflict are usually the main reasons why people, our brothers and sisters, decide to try to start afresh somewhere else. The world is facing certain demographic challenges, but we must address them in a way that does not fuel the extremist sentiment that we are witnessing emerge across the globe. We know only too well in Europe the depths to which man can sink, has sunk—and we have to make sure this never happens again.

Let us move the debate away from emergency solutions and start talking about long-term, global proposals. Let us all shoulder our responsibilities as laid out in international laws and signed treaties. I believe that we can sit down; remove complications; and for the sake of peace, security and human development, save lives and change the Mediterranean from the sea of death to the sea of hope, fulfilled dreams and altruism.

One other issue that is fundamental to sustaining peace, security and human development is the need for an incessant fight against corruption. Corruption should mean the same thing to all of us: that is, to take action, not continuing with business as usual. We should take action.

Corruption is the root of all evil. Corruption adversely affects people’s lives and is the enemy of development and good governance. There is no place for corrupt politicians in our society if we really genuinely care for our future generations. We must come together to achieve this important goal for our society.

Good governance should be the strategic vision of each of our countries, in which institutions truly work without fear or favor. People must really feel they are living in a true democracy and not in a crooked one.

I would like to read the following quote: “Corruption is something that enters into us. It is like sugar: it is sweet, we like it, it's easy, but then, it ends badly. With so much easy sugar we end up diabetic, and so does our country. Every time we accept a bribe and put it in our pocket, we destroy our heart, we destroy our personality and we destroy our homeland. …What you steal through corruption remains…in the heart of the many men and women who have been harmed by your example of corruption. It remains in the lack of the good you should have done and did not do. It remains in sick and hungry children, because the money that was for them, through your corruption, you kept for yourself.”

Those were the words of Pope Francis who spoke them to an audience of youth in a stadium in Kasarani, Kenya in November 2015.

I would like to end my message by quoting Malta’s former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who said: "Politics grow and get stronger only when we are able to bring together many voices, which while different in tone and volume, result in something beautiful."

Dear friends, if we really want to improve our society to have more peace, better security and excellent human development, let us all believe that there is no better tool than honest politics based truly on a sense of service. Politics must be built on the certainty of our values and freedoms; without them, like any other man-made concept, it will breakdown. Our duty as citizens, as politicians is to make sure that does not happen. The universal values should be our constant guiding light so that if we really want to instill caring societies, then it’s time up for lip service and it’s time to stand up and be counted.



To go to the 2019 World Summit Schedule page, click here.