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V. Sobhita: Address to World Summit 2020

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


Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor and a pleasure for me to be here with you and to be able to contribute to this World Summit 2020 in Seoul City, South Korea—a very beautiful and fascinating country with rich traditions, valuable culture, and very admirable and respectful citizens. Thank you very much for the invitation. And I wish each and every one of you all the best physically, mentally and morally.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to UPF for organizing this very important and very relevant conference on world peace and the opportunity that you have given to all the participants to be part of this good course. I am really delighted and motivated to meet and befriend all of you who come from near and far with great interest and enthusiasm to share and contribute your experience and expertise to the peace of the world.

Peace is a concept of friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility, violence, aggression, disturbance and war. The 2017 Global Peace Index (GPI), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, showed a slight (0.28%) improvement in the global level of peace, with 93 countries recording higher levels of peace and 68 recording deteriorations. Worryingly, we are witnessing the growth of “peace inequality” between the most and the least peaceful countries. And everyone knows that hate crimes are on the rise in many parts of the world. Hate crimes are not usually visible and are not usually reported to the police.

The GPI also estimated the economic impact of violence in the global economy, and the figures are astounding. World violence cost a staggering 14.3 trillion USD in 2016, which is nearly $2,000 per every person in the world. I would like to stress that we are wasting a lot of our GDP on violence. In addition, nearly two million people die each year as a result of violence, and many millions of families and friends suffer due to the loss of their loved ones. 

A value is a universal value if it has the same value for all, or almost all, people. Also, Human rights are an essential part of the total and holistic peace we seek. In 1948, the historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations; it consists of 30 articles affirming each and every individual’s rights. Articles 1–2 established the basic concepts of dignity, liberty, equality, and brotherhood. Articles 18–21 sanctioned the so-called constitutional liberties and addressed spiritual, public and political freedoms, such as freedom of thought, opinion, religion and conscience, word, and peaceful associations. Furthermore, in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children are specifically set out. As the UDHR Article 1 says, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” These human rights are the universal values that we need to uphold for and by every citizen of our world.

A peaceful world is an ideal state of happiness, freedom and peace within and among all people and nations on Earth. In our world, approximately 7.7 billion people from hundreds of ethnicities are living in 195 countries, speaking roughly 6,500 languages. They practice an estimate of 4,200 religions. Generally, they are formally identified and diversified according to their age, race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship status, gender and so forth. We are also informally identified and diversified according to our cultures, beliefs, philosophies, traditions and perspectives. Every individual is much more than sum of these limited identifications. If we pay too much attention in these differences, if we cannot tolerate and if we have forgotten our basic identity as part of the universal spirit, it is impossible to achieve peace on earth.

From outside, we see people as male/female, black/white, ugly/beautiful, Asian/Western/African, and so forth. Even though we look different outside, if we look inside, everyone is made of fresh and blood. If we remove the superficial half centimeter of our skin, everyone will look the same. At a deeper level, we have no differences; we are human beings. Everyone wants happiness, everyone wants their family to be safe, everyone wants their community to be developed and everyone wants to be peaceful. Our feelings and emotions are the same.

Every religion has three aspects: values, rituals and symbols. Moral and spiritual values are common to all religions. Human values are social and ethical norms common to all cultures and societies as well as to religions. Religion can be a source of peace. Religion can be used by good people to promote peace and harmony. However, we have sadly witnessed many heartbreaking incidences when religion was misused to promote and cause hate, violence and fatalities. Every religion has extremists and every religion needs to work, hand in hand, to be able to avoid these crises.

We believe that a person’s inner peace is the basic element for peace in their family. If families are peaceful, communities become peaceful. If the communities are peaceful, nations and the world will become peaceful.

You might also have the same experience that, many times, we are fighting with ourselves. We are not satisfied with what we have or who we are; we want new things, we get angry, we blame and hurt other people. But when we want peace for ourselves, for our family, for our community and country, we need to start from ourselves. You and I and each and every person in this world have the universal responsibility for the peace of the world we are living in.

We cannot bring world peace alone. We need collective power and energy. We need effective dialogues, and we need participation. Therefore, I would like to express my appreciation again to UPF for bringing people together, people with different perspectives and experiences to have dialogue, learn and contribute to positive change for the peace of the world. I have committed myself to peace and harmony, and I am very enthusiastic to work together with anyone who has the same goal. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us unite, understand each other and work hard for this good course. By holding individual spiritual and moral values, universal and human values, by ensuring human rights and by cooperation, I am sure we can achieve our vision of a peaceful world.

Thank you very much.



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