Peace Summit 2023 Executive Summary

 See the program schedule below for links to the session reports and videos.


Peace Summit 2023 gathered global leaders in Seoul, Korea, from May 2 to 6 to discuss the many crises facing the global village and a pathway to peace.

The conference theme, “Contemporary Challenges to Global Order: Toward a World Culture of Peace,” called on the more than 700 participants from 68 nations which may include day guests from overseas to consider innovative approaches to leadership and action based on the ideals of interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universal values.

Welcome Dinner

The welcome dinner took place in the Lotte World Hotel, Seoul on May 2, 2023. Emcee Mrs. Blessie G. Dhakal, the International Coordinator of IAFLP, gracefully welcomed the participants. Many of them had just arrived from long journeys. They were happy to greet old friends, take pictures, and sit down to a superb dinner.

Archbishop Johannes Ndanga, Special Advisor, IAPD Africa, Zimbabwe, then offered the invocation, beautifully describing our relationship with the created world. Prof. Dr. Sanjay Pratap Singh, Vice Chancellor, The Assam Royal Global University, India, shared some words of greetings. He emphasized that it was the good legacy of UPF Co-Founders Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon that caused so many good people from around the world to gather as one family in that very room.

H.E. Anote Tong, President (2003-2016), Kiribati; Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate (2015), followed by talking about the ecological crisis that caused flood water to reach the door of his own home on Kiribati. Soprano Kim Jeong-jin performed three lovely songs including, "Oh sole mio," and "Over the rainbow," before Dr. Thomas Walsh, UPF International Chairman, gave an overview of the program and highlighted some of the special features of Peace Summit 2023.

Opening Plenary

The Summit was inaugurated with a beautiful choral performance by the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea. Religious leaders from across the world made their entrance and conducted a water ceremony, including: Baba Kalidas Dahal from India, Father Dr. Emerick Bissila Mbila of the African Union, and Ven. Won Young Jin of Korea.

Dr. Thomas Walsh, chair of UPF International and co-chair of the Organizing Committee of Peace Summit 2023, expressed his sincere gratitude to everyone for their willingness to participate and work collaboratively and multilaterally for world peace. "It has become increasingly clear over the past decades that interreligious peace is a critical and necessary aspect of any effort to achieve the goal of lasting world peace."

Dr. Yun Young-ho, the other Organizing Committee co-chair, emphasized the need for continental unity as a necessary strategy for world peace. “Now is the moment for all of us to courageously unite our hearts and minds, transcending the boundaries of nations and continents, to manifest a heavenly unified world characterized by interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values, in the pursuit of the common good,” Dr. Yun said.

By video, H.E. Donald Trump (USA), H.E. Hun Sen (Cambodia), and H.E. Macky Sall (Senegal) sent congratulatory remarks. In person, congratulatory speakers included Hon. Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and H.E. Aziz Rajapaksa, the deputy speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament.

A spirit of peace and harmony filled the ceremony. Keynote speeches were delivered by H.E. Brigi Rafini, secretary general of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD); H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, the former president of Sri Lanka; and Mr. Jim Rogers, an advisor to UPF.

Hon. Mike Pompeo, the former U.S. secretary of state, said, "I had the privilege to serve for 1,000 days as America's most senior diplomat. I saw that organizations like UPF, the work of Mother Moon matters. We should not lose hope. We should not stop the climb. We will reach the summit and God will be with us." 

H.E. Yves Leterme, the former prime minister of Belgium, said, “Countries that are interconnected, with economic openness and interfaith openness, don’t go to war.”

In the Founder’s Address, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon said: “All of you gathered here today are righteous people whom Heaven has blessed. I pray that we will all join hands together in the historic and providential ranks of those who are blessed and realize the dream of one family of humankind under the Heavenly Parent of Peace.”

Marking the inauguration of the Elders’ Roundtable, Dr. Moon bestowed appointment certificates upon 12 distinguished members of the council. The eminent individuals are connected by continent as the highest-ranking members of the Elders’ Council.

The opening plenary joyfully concluded with a presentation of plaques of appreciation, festive songs and a cake-cutting ceremony to celebrate the 80th birthday of Dr. Moon.

Inaugural Elders’ Roundtable

In celebration of those appointed as the highest ranking members of the world Elders’ Council, Dr. Moon hosted the inaugural meeting of the Elders’ Roundtable.

Congratulatory remarks were given by Mr. Kim Ho-il, the chairman of the Korean Elders Council, and H.E. Alfred Moisiu, the former president of Albania, followed by impressions from H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, the former president of Sri Lanka, and Hon. Newt Gingrich. Dr. Moon then offered words of hope, encouraging “matured persons of wisdom” to make their many years of experience and insights available and to move forward together.

Concurrent Sessions by Region

Eight sessions comprised the Summit. One set featured perspectives from the major regions of the world: one with a focus on Africa, another on the Asia-Pacific region, then Europe and the Middle East, North America, and Latin America. Moderated by the UPF chairs and regional secretaries general of each region, expert panelists offered their recommendations for a way forward beyond conflict and division and toward harmony and cooperation.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti said: “We believe that development and growth without human rights, without political pluralism, without democracy, without rule of law, is not sustainable, is not fair and it's harmful for human dignity. We must have human dignity, freedom and rights and liberties for the people, but also overall economic growth which becomes well-being for the citizens.”

Concurrent Sessions by UPF Associations

Another series of sessions featured insights and recommendations from the various sectors of our society, including the political, the religious, academia, the media, and business. These sessions were organized by the international coordinators of each of UPF’s associations, including ISCP, IAPP, IAPD, IMAP, IAED, and IAAP. This approach to peace is collaborative and multi-sectoral. All sectors of society are needed to build a world of peace.

UPF's International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP), supported by the HJ Academic Foundation, hosted an international academic symposium on the theme, "Peace Ideology and Vision for a Peace Movement on Each Continent." Scholars from around the world presented on the peace movement, peace ideology, the role of religion in each continent, and the role of the UN and the Universal Peace Federation.

6th Think Tank 2022 Forum

Under the theme “Toward Peace in the Indo-Pacific,” Dr.  Michael Pillsbury, senior fellow for China Strategy at the Hudson Institute, a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C., served as the main speaker for the 6th Think Tank Forum, which was co-hosted with The Washington Times and Segye Ilbo.

Dr. Pillsbury gave a penetrating analysis of the region’s situation and proposed an interesting scenario for discussion: “If Xi Jinping used force or coercion against Taiwan, it could affect the decision-making of North Korea. The Chinese could even encourage North Korea to create a second front for the Americans, so there’d be two wars going at the same time.”

Among the other speakers: Dr. Kim Geun-Sik, who chairs the Unification Committee of South Korea’s ruling People Power Party; Dr. Chheng Kimlong of Cambodia’s Asian Vision Institute; Korean parliamentarian Hon. Lee Jung Mun; and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said Henry Kissinger-era China policies “may have made sense in 1972 or even 1982,” but are no longer appropriate because of recent Chinese actions such as its aggressive stance toward Taiwan.

IAYSP Conference

The International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP) gathered young leaders from around the world for in-depth discussion following keynote addresses by Sunhak Peace Prize laureates H.E. Anote Tong, the former president of Kiribati, and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, the executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning. The laureates presented on “The Climate Crisis and the Role of Future Generations” and “The Reality of Afghan Refugees and the Role of Youth.” The commentator was Mr. Mounkaila Goumandakoye, a senior consultant to CEN-SAD’s regional youth programs.


UPF Chair Dr. Walsh reiterated the impact of UPF and its track record and reputation as a serious discussion platform for global intellectuals to brainstorm, exploring the direction humanity should take and put into practice. Speakers underscored the important recognition that a collaborative and multisectoral approach to peace is needed, especially through cooperation between nations. The program concluded with mutual expressions of gratitude for the hospitality provided by UPF and everyone’s contribution to making Peace Summit 2023 a meaningful step toward a world of peace.

This is an ongoing report. Check back for updates.

Peace Summit 2023 Program Team: Dr. William Selig, Dr. Franco Famularo, Dr. Staffan Berg, Mrs. Chantal Chételat Komagata, Daeguk Nekar, Hayashida Kanu and Jonghan Song.

Rapporteurs: Yvo Bruffaerts, Renee Corley, David Fraser Harris, Amanda Hokanson, Alan Jessen, Thomas McDevitt, Louise Perlowitz, Cindy Pfeiffer, Thomas Selover, Alan Sillitoe, Greg Stone, and Roger Wetherall. Transcription provided by Margaret Herbers.

Media Articles (partial list):

China’s Disinformation Successes Causing Policy Paralysis” by Andrew Salmon - The Washington Times, May 4, 2023

“Pompeo: U.S. Must Recognize China-North Korea Nuke Connection” by Guy Taylor - The Washington Times, May 4, 2023

Press releases



Schedule Booklet (Includes welcome letter but not all speaker updates)


Wednesday, May 3

Session I: Opening Plenary

Session II: Concurrent Sessions

  1. Focus on North America 
  2. Elders Roundtable

Session III: Concurrent Sessions

  1. Focus on Asia Pacific 
  2. Focus on Latin America and the Caribbean

Session IV: Concurrent Sessions

  1. Focus on Africa 
  2. Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD)
  3. International Association of First Ladies for Peace (IAFLP)

Thursday, May 4

Session V: Think Tank 2022 Forum

Session VI: Concurrent Sessions

  1. Focus on Europe and the Middle East
  2. International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP)
  3. International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP) 

Session VII: Concurrent Sessions

  1. International Media Association for Peace (IMAP), International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED) 
  2. International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP)
  3. International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP)
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