First let me thank you warmly for your participation on this panel, and thank you for your insightful presentations.
You have made the point that, despite their justified concern for their citizens’ security, nations need to keep in place a strong multilateral system of engagement, and parliamentarians are called upon to maintain this ideal and put it into practice. This is also the conviction of UPF, with its ideals of interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universal values.
We compared the period after the end of WW2 with our situation today, emerging from this unprecedented health crisis. In the shadow of that war, the United Nations and the European Union were created as peacebuilding organizations. Yet today we can see that, although we recognize their immense importance, neither of them truly fulfils the world’s expectation for peace - and that is not because of COVID 19.
It has more to do with the rise of self-interest at the expense of the common good – whether in the form of nationalism, religious interest, or ethnic exclusivism.
When 75 years ago Robert Schuman made his founding speech for what eventually became the European Union, it was based on the conviction that the self-interest of nations would be better fulfilled when they served a greater cause, in that case, the Economic Community.
That principle of peacebuilding is what prompted our Founders, Dr and Mrs. Moon, in 2000, to propose the revival of the UN through the creation of an interreligious council, whereby nations in the UN would be represented not only by political leaders, but also spiritual leaders or educators representing the great spiritual cultures of the world, and whose role would be to remind us all that peacebuilding comes from living for the higher purpose and the common good, as taught by all the great religious founders.
Senator De Venecia, who was then the Speaker of the Philippines parliament, arranged for this proposal to be introduced into the UN through his nation’s delegation to the UN.
In the same way, if we are to rebuild the world after COVID 19, we need institutions that maintain core spiritual values as the foundation for Peace.
Recently our Founder, Dr Hak Ja Han Moon, said that UPF, together with partnering organizations in the fields of politics, religion, business, or the media, should form what she called “one community under God”. She was using religious terms, but I do not think that she was preaching about religion. She was only emphasizing that today, unless the world comes together centering on the higher principle of living for the common good, we will not overcome the trends towards division, separation, and breakdown.
As we see it, UPF and its affiliated associations, such as IAPP (parliamentarians for peace) IAPD and others, are ideally placed to encourage leaders to take such a stance – and in fact it is their task to do so.
Three years ago, UPF brought together the 3 regions of Eurasia, Europe, and the Middle East into one greater region, now composed of 72 nations – a region that stretches from Dublin to Vladivostok and from Reykjavik to Kabul. We all know that we do have serious issues to resolve, but we also recognize that we have common roots – and these will allow us to move forward with the spirit of cooperation beyond nation, religion, and political ideology.
I want to thank again our distinguished panelists, and all our participants, for attending this second Peace Talks of UPF-Europe & Middle East.
I invite you to attend our 3rd Peace Talks that will be held on June 9, with media professionals, organized by the International Association of Media for Peace on the theme:
“The role of the media during the COVID-19 pandemic & the lessons we could learn”.