Preparation for work in the field of peace-building should always be undertaken from multiple perspectives, as actions and their consequences are bound to bring about changes in many aspects, and will sometimes generate or stop further conflicts.I have been in contact with this Foundation for a long time. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet old friends.
First, I would like to speak about my scientific background, which is in neuroscience. I did my PhD in Berlin and then moved to Stanford University where I came into contact with the Unification Movement for the first time. For half a century, I have been working against aggression and violence in many animal species and also in human beings. I have been dealing with cross cultural studies in violence and was involved in what are probably the two most prestigious American think tanks, politically speaking, the Kennedy school of government at Harvard and the Hoover institution at Stanford.
Second, my long connection with the movement gives me a pretty good knowledge of what you are doing. I was invited to ICUS (International Conferences on the Unity of the Sciences) and met Dr Walsh and Mark Brann and participated in many initiatives, including ICUS and the World and I publication, which was as thick as our old phone directories: it would take one month to read it, day and night. I was also close to the Professors’ World Peace Academy. They helped me to organise 2 international conferences on conflict and aggression.
Third, we are doing various peace initiatives in my centre for conflict resolution. Mr Corley mentioned my involvement in the Seville Statement on Violence, which was perhaps my most well-known achievement, because it was disseminated all over the world through UNESCO. One of the peace organisations I’m involved in, the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.
The main message of the Seville Statement on Violence is that we are not genetically obliged to be aggressive, or, to put this in a more positive way, human beings are not aggressive by nature. We are responsible for whether we are aggressive or peaceful and, therefore, there is hope that we can better ourselves and the world around us.
We currently have 2 projects on conflict resolution:
- Improving the mental health and cooperation skills in peace keeping personnel. We are teaching several South America Police Academies about the problems of maintaining peace in their communities by dealing with anxiety, fear, helplessness and stress.
- This coming summer, we are organising a conference in Switzerland on conflict in a cross cultural environment, about how to help people to bridge the different gaps between cultures. As you know, actually in Europe the problem of refugees is very important and actual.
Thank you very much.