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Seoul, South Korea—UPF’s Summit 2022 and Leadership Conference opened with visions of a global culture of peace.
The latest in UPF’s World Summit series, “Toward Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Toward a World Culture of Peace” was held from August 11 to 15, 2022.
Sessions I and II, both titled “Keynote Addresses: UPF Associations and Think Tank 2022,” were held on the afternoon of August 11, 2022, in the Lotte Hotel World in Seoul’s Jamsil neighborhood.
Session I was moderated by Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, the chairman of UPF International. He began by giving an orientation and overview of the summit’s program of the next few days.
The latest summit, he said, was following on World Summit 2022, which had taken place in Seoul in February and was “a major global conference which resulted in … the Seoul Resolution, related to the unification of the Korean Peninsula,” which he called a longtime major concern of UPF co-founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
Representatives from 157 nations had been invited to the February summit—in particular, nations with diplomatic ties with either North Korea or South Korea – or both.
Dr. Walsh mentioned that one of the co-chairs of the summit in February was H.E. Samdech Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia, which has diplomatic ties with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “And that’s significant, because we are trying to find an opening for dialogue between North and South,” he said.
The Seoul Resolution, which was signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and by H.E. Ban Ki-moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations—as well as by UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon—called for the building of one peninsula, one people, and one culture toward one nation, a unified nation.
“We are building on that resolution,” Dr. Walsh said, promising that on the next day of Summit 2022 the participants would hear about a Peace Charter. As the Seoul Resolution focused on Korea, the Peace Charter will have a broader focus: one planet, one humanity, and one global culture of peace.
He reported that UPF has been working closely with African leaders in recent months to discuss holding a summit in cooperation with the African Union.
He then described four large delegations that had come to Summit 2022 and Leadership Conference:
- CEN-SAD (Community of Sahel-Saharan States), including H.E. Brigi Rafini, the former prime minister of Niger and the organization’s executive secretary, and 25 ministers of youth and education from CEN-SAD member nations;
- Prominent African religious leaders, including Imboni Dr. Uzwi-Lezwe Radebe; Dr. Walsh said that African members of UPF’s Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) are working on a proposal for the African Union to create an interreligious council, which would allow faith leaders to become partners with government leaders;
- A strong delegation from the United States, which has a long history with the Republic of Korea; the members of the delegation are visiting ROK officials during their time in Korea;
- A delegation from the Asian Vision Institute, based in Cambodia, guided by Prime Minister Hun Sen, with whom UPF is working closely to propose the creation of an Asia Pacific Union.
Dr. Walsh said that the dates for Summit 2022 and Leadership Conference were chosen to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the passing of UPF co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon. For many years it was the habit of Rev. and Mrs. Moon to hold major conferences for world peace on important occasions of their lives.
Two major religious leaders from Africa were invited to give the opening invocation.
Imboni Dr. Uzwi-Lezwe Radebe from South Africa, founder of the Revelation Spiritual Home, prayed for the world’s people to return to “the fountain of spirituality,” and that all leaders’ eyes would be opened and find wisdom and direction by drinking from the fountain of spirituality.
“May we be the solution that this world needs,” Prophet Radebe prayed. “May we provide the solution that this world needs so that we can have a better world, a peaceful world, so that our children, generations to come, may find a peaceful and a better world.”
Sheikh Mansour Diouf from Senegal, a leading figure of the Sufi order known as the Mouride Brotherhood, greeted the audience by saying, “Peace be with you,” explaining that Islam recommends that people greet each other in that way.
“I think that wars are not worthy of being fought among human beings. We’re supposed to be brothers. We’re supposed to be parents and lovers in the true sense of the term,” Sheikh Diouf declared.
He also said: “I’m thinking of a contemporary person who brings us together: It’s True Mother, Hak Ja Han Moon. She dedicated her life to bringing peace. … Today I think that the world should be inspired by the value that she’s embodying. … She and her late husband believed in human beings.”
Sheikh Diouf defined “true peace” as more than the absence of war. “It’s being able to eat when you are hungry, to cure when you are sick, to have the minimum of welfare when you are in difficulty.”
Emphasizing the necessity of educating for character, Sheikh Diouf said: “I call upon heads of state to educate young people. We have to inculcate in them the value of all the religions. They have a common denominator: peace.
“There are values which we have to teach to young people. Young people have the strength. We have to give them the right spirit. We have to educate them. We have to keep them from going the wrong way.”
H.E. Boris Tadić, the president of Serbia (2004-2012), began his speech by saying: “My entire political life I dedicated to the idea of reconciliation and the values of democracy.” He said that he fought against the former communist regime and “the regime of Slobodan Milošević during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia.”
In two terms as president, he said that he focused on reconciliation and normalizing relations between the Balkan nations. He also faced “the problem in Kosovo, which threatened to turn from a frozen conflict into an open conflict at any moment. … Since South and North Korea have the longest frozen conflict in the world … the parallels between our experience and the Korean experience are clear and obvious.”
The former president said: “I express the hope that with my experience I can contribute to the efforts of South Korea toward achieving peace, but also to enrich my experience with yours, since the frozen conflict in Kosovo is still going on in my country. And that is why I think that these kinds of forums are extremely important. … Despite the fact that all challenges are different, just like the approaches to solving the problems, what unites us all here is a common goal – the establishment of peace.”
H.E. Yves Leterme, the prime minister of Belgium (2008, 2009-2011), spoke in a recorded message. He started by paying tribute to Father Moon, a “true source of inspiration,” and expressing deep respect for Mother Moon.
The former prime minister said that he was born in a part of Belgium that had been “a horrendous battlefield of the First World War.” Although the words “Never Again” are engraved on a monument to the war dead, “This universal pledge, this prayer, repeated so many times, is far from being realized,” he said. “In Yemen, in eastern Congo, in Ukraine … and in so many other places, all too many women, children and men are suffering.”
Referring to the Seoul Resolution signed at World Summit 2022 in February, he said: “The strength of the Seoul Resolution lies in the fact that it goes far beyond traditional and narrow military and diplomatic approaches. The resolution is based on UPF’s collaborative and multisectoral approach and indeed includes many concrete proposals for strengthening people-to-people relationships and deepening cooperation. …
“Let us therefore actively promote the content of the Seoul Resolution and ask all incumbent international leaders to give it the attention it deserves. The peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula is … a crucial task for the entire global community to fulfill.”
H.E. Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel (2006-2009), also spoke by video. He expressed his admiration for the UPF founders “for trying to bring together people of different directions, of different beliefs, of different desires into something which is fundamentally common to all of us. And this is the need for peace, the desire for peace, and the benefit of peace for all of us.”
He then said, “The truth is that we live in a very difficult and somewhat complex period.” Speaking about the war in Ukraine, he said: “Russia is very strong. No one can threaten Russia, no one can destroy Russia, and there is no need that Russia will destroy anyone or any other country, regardless of what is the historical background, the relations between that country and Russia.
“Ukraine deserves to be independent, and the sovereignty of the Ukrainian people in the country must be recognized by Russia, and the sooner the better. And I pray that the president of Russia, President Putin, will understand his historic responsibility in restoring the situation in the border between Russia and Ukraine into what it used to be before this all started and caused so much pain and so much suffering to so many people.”
About Israel and the Middle East, he said: “There is a feeling that something is moving on, is changing, and it still remains to be seen how it will be resolved. But I think that the Abraham Accords, which created the follow-up peace between Israel, Emirates and Bahrain and some more intense contacts between Israel and other Arab countries, is a very important process which can change the Middle East and maybe restore a certain stability.”
Speaking about the Korean Peninsula, he said, “The desire that we all have is to ultimately bring peace to the two parts of Korea. You are the same people. You are the same nation. You are a sometimes divided family. You should unite the families and you should unite the countries. And I hope that the heritage and the legacy of Father Moon and the energy and intensity and leadership of Mother Moon will help bring together the two parts of Korea into one thriving, successful and happy nation.”
Hon. Néziha Labidi, the Tunisian minister of women, families and children (2016-2020), said: “There is no endless conflict because wisdom always wins, and I remain convinced that the two sisters momentarily separated—South Korea and North Korea—will eventually meet again and break down the ice wall.
“They have deep roots, a common cultural history. On both sides of the border, disunited families dream only of meeting each other and rebuilding a better future, healing wounds and making a peninsula flourish with many colors.”
She also said: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the 2022 Seoul Resolution and propose that it be translated into an action plan.”
Click here for the full address of Hon. Néziha Labidi
Sen. Hon. German Blanco Alvarez of Colombia, one of the 16 nations that supported South Korea during the Korean War, said: “We live in a very different time, especially in the context of COVID-19. Our thinking is not the same as before. We have to think more of our society in a collective way, as something that cannot be divided.
“In this way, the questions about Korea, Ukraine and Russia or any other part of the world can only be resolved through a global perspective, multifaceted, that includes or should be of all and for all. Therefore, we agree with the UPF vision based on interdependence, mutual prosperity and shared universal values, in the search for peace and development that involves everyone and whose result also benefits everyone.”
Hon. Grigore Novac a member of parliament in Moldova, said that his country in recent months has experienced “severe economic and social crises, influenced, among others, by the war in the neighboring country Ukraine. The war created a major humanitarian crisis, which reached unimaginable proportions and severe consequences. Since the first day of war in Ukraine, Moldova has faced unprecedented flows of refugees.”
He said: “People I have met here have one thing in common – we want to create peace in the world. We want to put an end to chaos and suffering, but most of all we want to put an end to hatred with no reason.
“We are all human beings … whether Muslim or Jew, Christian, Buddhist, atheist, black, white, Asian. …
“Peace is more than just security. It is about accord and freedom. …
“World, go in peace.”