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K.M. Ban: Address to Rally of Hope I

Address to Rally of Hope I
August 9, 2020


Honorable heads of state, prime ministers, first ladies, distinguished participants from a hundred and fifty nations and all sectors of the society, representing governments, industries, NGOs, faith-based organizations, women, youth, academia, artists and media. It is my great honor and privilege to share a few words with you on this historic occasion of the Rally of Hope to Support a Heavenly Unified Korea through Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.

Furthermore, I would like to offer heartfelt words of gratitude to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for organizing this precious gathering. For the past seven years, Dr. Moon has devoted ceaseless efforts to bring together stakeholders from all realms of society to seek innovative ways to build a world of peace and to support peaceful reunification on the Korean Peninsula.

Her sincere efforts aimed at furthering the cause of peace have led to successful hosting of the World Summit 2020 last February and have given much support for the Declaration at the Asia-Pacific Union. I believe this meaningful gathering will also serve as a platform that lays the foundation for Korea to turn itself into an innovative and inclusive nation as well as an economic peace community on the Korean peninsula, thereby being prepared for the next century.

Global turmoil

As you may already know, the world we are living in is continually facing challenges that threaten peace. Arrogance and material greed have led to territorial disputes, conflicts among religions and ethnic groups and family breakdown. Worse yet, they aggravated the imminent threat of climate change and global warming. All this is seriously undermining human dignity.

Rampant nationalism is threatening the security of humanity. I have witnessed this brutal reality firsthand, having lived through the Korean War, as well as during my time as diplomat and as Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. However, during my tenure as secretary-general of the United Nations, the historic, unanimous adoption by 195 nations of the Paris Agreement during the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) became a tremendous turning point for environmental issues, particularly regarding greenhouse gas reduction.

We must fight together

However, we are still faced with a particularly daunting set of challenges, all of which have become more pronounced by the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 has indeed become a grave threat to humanity. In the wake of this crisis, we have seen the intensification of unsettling trends. I will mention four of them, all of which are interrelated. First is the growing tension between the US and China, which some call a new cold war. This trend has and will continue to have global implications, but nowhere more profoundly than here in Asia. Second, nationalism and protectionism are on the rise, resulting in countries to shift away from multilateralism and international cooperation. Third, there remains the imminent threat of climate change, undermining the health and security of humanity on many fronts. If we fail to unite as one world community, our very existence will be threatened. Fourth, there is a crisis in values, ethics and social capital that underpin good governance and stable societies. The new cold war in the Covid-19 era, nationalism and protectionism, climate change and the crisis of social capital are the clear manifestations

We must work together

Governments alone cannot address the challenges of our time, not to mention Covid-19. The role of NGOs is especially important. If we are to achieve our goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there should be a broad set of partnerships forged particularly between government and civil society. Building partnerships across a wide range of sectors is imperative if we are to build a better world. In this respect, I highly applaud the work initiated by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for setting examples. I believe that the Universal Peace Federation and its broad set of partnerships in the realms of politics, religion, academia, media, economy, arts, women and youth serve as a good model.

I believe the Universal Peace Federation will become a cornerstone to build lasting peace around the world and a Heavenly Unified Korea based on interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values. Peace is not an issue that is exclusive to one individual or a nation. Peace is our common wish and a long-cherished desire. I believe that lasting peace will only get stronger when governments and civil society closely partner with one another.

Now is the time for us to build bridges, not to erect walls. If we work together, there is no challenge that is too great, no obstacle that cannot be overcome. Regardless of our national, ethnic, racial, religious or political backgrounds, we are the members of one human family. Let us respect and support one another to achieve world peace and move one step closer to peaceful reunification on the Korean Peninsula.

Once again, I would like to thank Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for organizing today’s Rally of Hope to Support the Heavenly Unified Korea. May all of you and your families be filled with happiness and blessings. Thank you.

Hon. Ban Ki-moon was secretary-general of the United Nations from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2016. He is also chair of South Korea’s National Council on Climate and Air Quality (NCCA).



To go to the Dialogue and Alliance: Toward a Unified World of Peace, click here.