Your Excellencies, distinguished guests and participants, ladies and Gentlemen.
It is an honor and privilege to be here with you today in Sao Paolo for this historic Latin America Summit.
I appreciate very much the theme of this conference, “Peace and Development in Latin America: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.” While all periods of history have their challenges, those of us living today surely have our own challenges to address and overcome.
We have threats to our environment, most importantly climate change which is having a wide impact on food security and even forcing migration in some parts of the world.
There are more than 70 million displaced persons, due to situations of conflict, economic disaster, political oppression, and in some cases a desire simply for a better way of life for their children.
Globalization has not only brought the world closer together through trade, technology and a wide range of international organizations, it has also contributed to vast economic inequalities, and to the feeling among large sectors of the world’s population that they have been ignored, left behind or taken advantage of.
Opportunities for health care, education, housing and social services vary widely across our planet.
We are also witnessing a challenge to democracy and democratic institutions, and new forms of democracy, as well as authoritarian systems are emerging, or resurging. Populist and nationalist parties across the world, on both the left and right ends of the political spectrum, are rising and challenging the status quo.
This conference is most timely and important.
In many ways we are witnessing the emergence of a new global paradigm. One aspect is a shift from an Atlantic centered world to an Asia Pacific world.
We also observe the shift from a Northern centered world, to an emerging Southern hemisphere.
Change is taking place East and West and North and South.
Rev. and Mrs. Moon anticipated these changes and understood that it is essential for these changes to occur peacefully and harmoniously, that is, pacifically. The principles they have taught underscore the need for dialogue, understanding, mutual respect and cooperation. These are the principles that underlie the work of UPF.
They initiated numerous organizations aimed at promoting peace. Each has had some distinct purpose and mission related often to a sector of the population such as women, youth, professors, artists and media professionals. They assigned the name UNIVERSAL to UPF indicating its mission as comprehensive, global and overarching. If one considers the concept of global governance, then UPF has a mission that encompasses the ideal of global governance.
Frequently, when our Founders speak of UPF, they also refer to the United Nations. In fact, they advocate a new or reformed United Nations, sometimes called an “Abel UN” or a “heavenly UN” which manifests not only political interests, but also spiritual values.
UPF is comprehensive in the sense that its understanding of peace spans the spectrum from the individual, to the family, to the tribe, the community, the nation and the world. Peace can only be established universally if it applies to each one of these levels of human experience.
Moreover, peace can only be achieved if all sectors are engaged. In other words, the achievement of peace requires more than the engagement of governments who have political, military, diplomatic and economic power. If we are to achieve peace we also must tap into the assets of religion, that is, those billions of believers around the world----Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, etc.---who also aspire to a world of lasting peace. In keeping with this vision, UPF has established the IAPP and the IAPD.
Non-state actors are essential for peace. This includes civil society, the private sector, academia, the media, the arts, and certainly the family. All these sectors must be engaged fully and comprehensively in order for peace to be achieved.
That is why, at this Summit you find leaders from government, religion, civil society, etc.
Peace must be international, interregional, interreligious, inter-civilizational, intercultural.
Thus, when we consider Peace and Development in Latin America we are looking broadly and widely. We seek to promote interdependence and cooperation; we are interconnected; we are one family…..as we say in UPF, we are one family under God. We promote mutual, shared, equitable prosperity for all. This can only be achieved on the foundation of universal values, such as love, respect, justice, generosity, kindness, dignity, the basic rights of every person, etc.
A true and peaceful globalization process must overcome gross inequality and injustices.
This Latin America Summit 2018 is a great and golden opportunity.
We are indebted to the legacy of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and we are profoundly blessed to have Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon leading UPF and the worldwide movement of the Family Federation. You will hear from her directly in a few moments.
Let me conclude by saying that the work of UPF has prospered throughout the world, in every corner of the world. It is not due merely to some administrative or marketing strategy, even though we try our best. At its core, UPF is guided and driven by a spiritual vision, not merely by an abstract vision. It is not merely a humanistic vision, but a deeply spiritual, and providential vision.
Thank you for your attention and for your participation in this historic Latin American Summit 2018.
Author: Dr. Thomas Walsh
Chair, UPF International
Dr. Walsh is the Chair of UPF International and Secretary General of the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation. He has been a teacher, author, and editor specializing in the areas of interfaith, religious studies, peace studies, philosophy, and social theory. Dr. Walsh serves on the International Council of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and the International Coalition for Religious Freedom. He has contributed to and edited more than 30 books related to interfaith, peacebuilding and renewal of the United Nations.