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J. Saghbini: Address to World Summit 2020

Address to World Summit 2020, Seoul, Korea, February 3-8, 2020


Dear Friends, Brothers and Sisters

I am happy to be with you today, to celebrate first the centenary of the birth of Father Moon. He dedicated his whole life to the cause of peace among the peoples of our world, and to think together, as religious and political leaders, on the means that could build a better world, where peace and security reign. As well, he pondered what are the essential conditions for true human development, namely realized interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values.

Peace remains the primary value that our world needs. We keep invoking God to give us peace. For me, true peace is the fruit of faith. Someone who does not believe in God, Creator and Source of Peace, cannot live in peace, nor be a peacemaker. Our God and Lord Jesus Christ declared that those who work for peace are the children of God: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" (Mt. 5:9). And elsewhere in the Gospel, Jesus says "Peace I leave for you; my peace I give you" (Jn. 14:27).

From this perspective, we can work together to establish a peaceful, believing world as "one family under God.” A world without faith and without peace is a world that lacks security. It is threatened by all kinds of dangers: wars as well as political, economic and social crises. By reviewing the different countries of our planet, we see very well that many of them lack peace and security. In the East as well as in the West, they are torn apart by different terrorist and fanatic movements. The worst is that the followers of these currents have changed, with full awareness and firmness, the scale of human values: Instead of peace, dialogue, meeting and peaceful coexistence, they do prefer wars massacres, destruction and cancellation of others and, unhappily, often in the name of God! The God who is love and the source of peace!

A theme of our Summit is human development. I see the reciprocal relationship between peace, security and human development. Without peace and security, there is no human development. As I said above, there would even be rather a degradation of human values. And conversely, a spiritually and humanly developed world can surely contribute to building peace, establishing the security of people, and facilitating the life of peoples as "one family under God.”

I have experienced this vision during my work as a parish priest and religious leader in the Middle East: in Lebanon, in Syria, in Jordan, and in the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine) These countries have had real crises and wars throughout their history. I have good relations with all their religious leaders and people of all religions: Jews, Christians, Muslims. I can say that meeting and working with these people in favor of peace and human development has enriched me a lot. I thank the Lord for it.

Each one of us may well be ambassadors of peace and peacemakers: in our environment, in our society, in our country. Through our religious, educational, and social missions, we can create spirits who act for peace, security and human development: even if the politicians of this world do not help us to achieve this goal, as seen, for example, in the recent statement of the American administration on the issue of Jerusalem and the Palestinian people in what it called the "Deal of the Century."

In February 2016 during the conference in Vienna on the occasion of World Interfaith Harmony Week, I called for an international council composed of religious leaders, intellectuals, and people committed in civic and social fields to discuss these topics. Today, I repeat it again here in Seoul.

In this spirit, the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development created by UPF is a favorable framework for acting together to improve our world and create, according to the heart of Father Moon, "One family under God."

God bless you all.

Thank you.



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