Respected panelists, dear participants,
I would like to thank you for attending this 3rd Peace Talk Webinar organize by UPF in Europe and the Middle East Region.
I particularly thank the panelists for enlightening us with their experience as media professionals during the Covid 19 crisis.
As this year marks the launch of UPF’s International Media Association for Peace, so ably described by Cheryl Wetzstein in her talk, I would like to say a few words about its background.
Since WWII the world has been dominated by communications. Let’s face it: the Cold War was fought more through the media than by military means. This raises the question: is it possible to use the power of the media for peacebuilding? If so, how can this be done?
When UPF founder Dr Moon created the World Media Association in the United States in 1978, he said: “My ultimate goal is to achieve lasting peace. This goal is far more likely to be accomplished by the work of the media than by military people.”
Two years before, after celebrating America’s Bicentennial in a large rally in Washington DC, where he urged the American people to stand for peace in the world, our Founder had announced that his next focus would be to hold a rally for peace in Moscow, the HQ of the Soviet Union.
In 1976, the Soviet Union was very powerful and the Cold War was in full swing, so no-one could imagine that Dr Moon, who was well known for his opposition to communism, could ever be welcomed by Communist leaders in Russia.
Yet, 14 years later, this prediction came true. In April 1990, Dr and Mrs Moon were welcomed in Russia, and received by Mr Gorbachev himself at the Kremlin. Although many factors were involved, it was mostly the work of the media that made this possible.
Years earlier, in 1982, our Founder had launched the Washington Times daily newspaper in Washington DC. He thought that the World Media Association and the Washington Times could help open a path between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Over the following 8 years, bridges were built through fact finding tours by western journalists in various communist countries, including the Soviet Union. Eventually, mutual trust was developed, and in 1990, the UPF Founders were invited, along with prominent world leaders accompanying them, to a World Media Conference in Moscow jointly held by the Soviet news agency Novosty Press and the World Media Association.
This conference, and the personal meeting between the UPF Founders and Gorbachev, helped open doors for many years of work by our organization in the former Soviet Union – work that continues until today.
In 1989, envisioning profound changes on the Korean Peninsula as the Cold War was coming to an end, Dr Moon launched in South Korea another important media outlet, the Segye Times, whose main purpose was to contribute to peace and the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
Just two years later, the UPF Founders were able to meet with Kim Il Sung in North Korea. Kim Il Sung invited them to the very city where Dr Moon had spent 3 years in a labor camp in his youth, under Kim’s communist regime. But this meeting with Kim Il Sung helped to open a new era of cooperation, which among other fruits brought the building of the first car factory in North Korea.
Of course, peace on the Korean Peninsula is a goal still to be attained, but the media foundation developed by the Founders has ever since been at the forefront of this effort toward peaceful reunification.
At the recent UPF World Summit in Seoul Korea, last February, these two newspapers, the Washington Times and the Segye Times, were the main organizers of the Media conference that launched the International Media Association for Peace.
Today, the Covid 19 crisis sheds light on our common and fragile humanity as we face the virus, prompting us to compassion and international cooperation. But also, it sheds light on many levels of conflict, within and between nations, and of course between the superpowers, China and the United States.
By calling recently for UPF to set up “one community under God” with its partner organizations, the UPF Founder Mrs Moon is underscoring that genuine peace will be built only when all parties are able to focus on values and to defend human dignity beyond nations, religions and political ideology.
As someone who has lived and worked for several years in Beijing, China (like some of you on this panel), it is my sincere hope that, just as the World Media Association was able to open paths for cooperation and understanding between the USA and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the International Media Association for Peace can successfully build bridges between today’s powerful enemy nations, while remaining a voice for truth and the conscience of society.