(See below for the video recording of the ceremony.)
Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was awarded the Founders’ Centenary Award at the 2020 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony. From the left, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Sunhak Peace Prize Committee Chairman Hong il-sik.
The 2020 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony was grandly held at KINTEX, Ilsan, Republic of Korea on February 5th, with about 5,000 current and former heads of states and international VIP guests from approximately 100 countries.
This year’s award was held specially to commemorate the founder’s centenary. Founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and Sunhak Peace Prize Committee chairman Hong Il-sik each awarded a medal and a plaque to the laureates.
Chairman Hong Il-sik mentioned in his welcome address that the awardees were selected based on the “founders’ peace principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values” and that “peace for humanity can only be achieved when a peaceful global community in which all nations live together in prosperity and in respect of each other is realized.” He introduced that “the laureates receiving the awards today, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal and International Honorary President of Religions for Peace Bishop Munib Younan, have led the way in creating such a world.” Chairman Hong said that the “Sunhak Peace Prize will continue to discover courageous and righteous people who are dedicating their lives for humanity’s peace”, and “let us create a noble culture of peace full of grace.”
Ban Ki-moon has been the UN Secretary-General for 10 years, and has greatly contributed to world peace by successfully implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement and adopting the sustainable development goals that all countries jointly pursue.
Ban Ki-moon mentioned in his speech that “under this backdrop of instability and waning internationalism, I firmly believe that we must work together through expanded partnerships and cooperation, as well a driving commitment to global citizenship, to cope with these seemingly insurmountable challenges,” and that the “actions we take in the next ten years will be critical to ensure the future viability of both humanity and our planet” and thus we must “work hard to illuminate true peace.” Ban Ki-moon mentioned the need of inclusive and participatory action from all global citizens, especially the young people, as they are “absolutely essential to solving so many of the world's challenges such as achieving the SDGs, tackling climate change, and building peace and resolving conflicts.”
The Inaugural Sunhak Peace Prize laureate Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati attended this year's award ceremony to congratulate the former Secretary-General. In his congratulatory address, he emphasized that former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is a leader who proposed a solution to climate change. H.E. Anote Tong stated that he believed world leaders would not listen when he speaks about world climate change, but rather Secretary-General Ban listened to the words of the small nation and that Ban Ki-moon is a person with courage who have spoken on behalf of the lowest citizens, and contributed not only in the environmental field, but women's rights as well.
2020 Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate President Macky Sall successfully shortened the presidential term from seven to five years, and revived the economy through transparent policies, thereby spread mature democracy to neighboring countries on the African continent. President Macky Sall, who sent Minister of Foreign Affairs Amadou Ba in his place apologetically stated in his video message that “due to the emergency health issue that had made the whole world in a state of emergency, I suddenly cancelled my visit to Seoul,” and continued on to say that he accept the prize “as an incentive to persevere in the culture of peace and human brotherhood.” “This Prize is therefore a tribute to the Senegalese people and dedicate this Prize to the people of Senegal.” With the agreement with the commission of the African union, he decided to “offer the 500,000 US dollars representing the amount of the Sunhak Peace Prize award, to the Union Peace Fund as a contribution to the peace effort in Africa.” President Sall mentioned that as he accept this award, he also thinks of “all those people whose peace is confiscated by violence and the vagaries of life” and that peace is an “ideal that is always under construction through constant effort of openness, conciliation and reconciliation.” In his message, President Sall mentioned that “peace is in danger with wars and conflicts,” and that “a more optimistic Senegalese proverb insists that “Man is the remedy of man”, thus exalting the sense of solidarity and human brotherhood.”
Another laureate Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan was born as a Palestinian refugee, and since his ordainment in 1976 as a Lutheran priest, he has been on the path of religious harmony among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the Middle East, in particular to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for more than four decades.
In addition, he was the first to translate the Augsburg Confession (1530), a key Lutheran doctrinal document, into Arabic, contributing to the promotion of understanding between Christianity and Islam.
In his acceptance speech, Bishop Younan emphasized that “peace is dependent upon respect for the dignity of the other, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, religious or political affiliation. All of us are made in the image of God and are children of God. All of us are one family of God.” Through his acceptance speech, he stressed that religious leaders need to “raise their voices prophetically for peace based on justice, and to speak boldly against the wave of hatred and oppression making its way across the globe today” and that he “will continue to work for peace based on justice until the last breath of my life.”
Bishop Younan concluded his speech by expressing his gratitude for receiving the “prestigious prize as an Arab Palestinian Christian Evangelical Lutheran and a Palestinian refugee” and that “receiving this prize does not graduate me from continuing to do the holy work of interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding, but on the contrary it motivates me to continue to be a witness for peace, a broker of justice, a defender of human rights, a minister of reconciliation, and an apostle of love.”
Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan congratulated the two Sunhak Peace Prize winners during the award ceremony. In his speech, he mentioned that “President Macky Sall has shown me a model of good governance through democratizaton and economic development in Senegal, from which I could also gain lots of inspiration,” and that “soon, Africa will become a land of opportunity.” Also stated in his speech, “Munib Younan has practiced interreligious dialogue in Jerusalem, one of the most intense places afflicted by religious confrontation” and that he “strongly support the practical activities of Bishop Younan through inter-faith dialogue.”
Congratulatory Performance: After the congratulatory performance, the Sunhak Prize laureates received flower bouquets from the little dancers and couldn’t hide their joy.
Also, the joint harmony performance by the male choir and musical actors Nam Kyeong-ju, Choi Jung-won, and Jeon Su-mi, and Little Angel dances brought merriment to the whole crowd.