Executive Summary – World Summit 2015 Addresses Peace, Security and Human Development
Written by Dr. William Selig, Deputy Director, UPF Office of Peace and Security Affairs-Washington, DC
Monday, August 31, 2015
“The order of existence in the universe is rooted in acting for the sake of others. The world of true peace, true love and the true ideal is both the ideal of God’s creation and the desire of humankind. Therefore, the origin of happiness and peace lies in living for the sake of others.”
Vision for World Peace and Unity
Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon
Co-Founders, Universal Peace Federation
The 3rd World Summit on “Peace, Security and Human Development” convened on August 27 to 31, 2015, in Seoul, Korea. The World Summit was co-sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee, established to award individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions toward a sustainable and lasting peace based on the founders’ peace ideology—“living for the sake of others.”
The conference, spanning over eight sessions, touched on a number of issues that are of critical importance in relation to the overall theme: “Peace, Security and Human Development.” The presentations and discussions brought out the participants’ reflections based on their own experience in their nation and region, along with possible action steps.
Sessions I and IV: Sunhak Peace Prize Ceremony and Remarks by the Laureates—The theme of the Sunhak Peace Prize focused on climate change and food security. While the challenges to peace in the 20th century were wars and conflicts between regions, the multiple problems that threaten peace in the 21st century are globally linked, such as climate change, the food crisis, resource depletion, water scarcity, and population growth. The inaugural prize was presented to H.E. Anote Tong, president of the Republic of Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean, who said: “If the whole world were to embrace the vision [of the founders] promoting reconciliation, coexistence and cooperation, the world would certainly be a better and a more peaceful world.” The second recipient was Dr. Modadugu Vijay Gupta, an Indian biologist and aquaculturist, who thanked the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee for recognizing “the importance of food security, environmental integrity and overall socioeconomic development as essential prerequisites for a peaceful society.”
Plenary Sessions II and III: Keynote addresses: Perspectives on Peace and Human Development—The UPF perspective on peace and human development is based on universal spiritual and moral values and their role in resolving and reconciling conflict. It has been UPF’s commitment to promote constructive dialogue with all the players, including Israel and the Arab states through the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI), Russia and Ukraine through the Europe-Eurasia dialogue meetings, North and South Korea through the North East Asia Peace Initiative (NEAPI), and India and Pakistan through theSouth Asia Peace Initiative (SAPI).
The forces of globalization have transformed our world. The changes are economic, technological, cultural, political and environmental. Regional threats, whether from developed or developing countries, can impact the entire world. Militant Islamism, environmental pollution, and unchecked immigration have repercussions and consequences that can affect the entire world.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine have deteriorated in the past two years, but the door still remains open for constructive dialogue and bridge building with the assistance of international peacekeepers. “The formation of a culture of peace,” said Leonid Kravchuk, the former president of Ukraine, “is impossible without the joint efforts of all components of human society: governmental and international organizations, public and educational institutions, religious and interreligious institutions, as well as leaders in all spheres of human activity.”
Although there are many obstacles to social development—for example, unemployment, organized crime, political instability, unequal land distribution, and terrorism—what binds humankind together is the family, the basic building block of any society.
A key proposal toward building the global culture of peace and mutual understanding is the creation of an Interreligious Council at the United Nations. This proposal was made by the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon in 2000 and formally introduced to the U.N. General Assembly in 2004 by the Philippines Mission to the United Nations.
The world’s religious leaders have a role to play in world affairs, for example: ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Six-Party Talks for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Where conventional approaches have not brought resolution, interreligious and inter-belief dialogue have the power to transcend nationalism and find common ground toward peacebuilding and reconciliation. The former Philippine speaker of the House said: “In the last analysis, except for diversity in the color of our skin, we all belong to one human family under God.”
ISIS (Islamic State) and al Qaeda are engaged in armed global jihadism with the ultimate aim of the univeralization of the Islamic faith under sharia law. This worldview goes against the core teachings of Islam, which promote peace, tranquility and brotherhood, according to a representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The global Muslim community must take a proactive stance to promote the true teachings of the religion of Islam, in which the idea of living in harmony with all peoples from different religions is not only an act of tolerance but becomes an ordinary aspect of everyday human life.
Plenary Session V: Challenges Facing Europe and the Middle East—Issues highlighted include: (1) The humanitarian crisis caused by the asylum-seekers and the flow of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea; (2) The need to institute a new approach for 21st century economics, particularly in the nations of Southeast Europe and the Western Balkans; and (3) Tension in the European Union over high-profile issues, such as the Ukraine crisis, the debt emergency in Greece, and a unified response toward the immigrants. The challenges in the Middle East centered on two areas: (1) The war in Syria between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and jihadist militant groups; and (2) the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Plenary Session VI: Women, the Family and Peace—Women’s role in bringing peace was discussed by prominent women leaders. Professor Yeon Ah Choi, president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), said: “Participation by women is needed in all aspects of society, from diplomacy and politics to the economy and legal system reform. … Women need to be active in education and culture, in sports and the arts, not to mention the diverse activities of NGOs.” She emphasized the need to encourage and foster the practice of living for the sake of others.
Women are taking major roles and supporting the development of democracy around the world. Currently there are 22 female world leaders, including of Germany, South Korea and Argentina. Recent female Nobel Peace Prize winners include Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan, 2014) and the three 2011 laureates: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman.
Despite signs of progress in gender equality, there is still a gap between women and men in terms of job opportunities and quality of employment. In many societies, women take on the responsibility to care for the elderly, and, as the life expectancy of women is longer than that of men, women often are left alone, poor and without means of support.
Women around the world share common perspectives that emanate from their experiences as women. Women share sensitivity to injustices and suffering stemming from the history of injustice toward them as women. Women have an inherent nature that predisposes them to favor peaceful solutions and peaceful actions. A gender perspective represents a new approach to peace—a “feminized concept of peace.”
Plenary Session VII: Asia Pacific—Issues highlighted include: (1) The disparity between the developed and the developing countries. For example, in the human development index, Australia ranks high while Nepal and Pakistan rank at the bottom. Similarly, with regard to peacefulness, there is a polarization: for example, Pakistan and Afghanistan are regarded as the least peaceful countries, while Japan, Australia and New Zealand are regarded as the most peaceful countries; (2) Problems concerning global warming, climate change, refugees, contagious disease, environment sustainability, and world terrorism; (3) Globalization is shifting world power from the Atlantic toward the Pacific. Technological and cultural revolutions are reshaping our world; (4) The path to end poverty and establish lasting peace requires good governance, education, and investment in human capital, meaning to encourage virtue and respect, with particular focus on protecting the rights of women and children.
Plenary Session VIII: Religious Voices for Peace and Development—Religious and faith-based organizations and NGOs have an important role to play in peacemaking and resolving conflict. The three Abrahamic faiths, along with the Indian and East Asian religions, promote tolerance, coexistence, and peacemaking. Past examples of mediation by religious leaders include: the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Pope John Paul II’s interventions in Lebanon, Poland and Haiti; Buddhist leaders in Cambodia; and the churches and synagogues that mobilized a generation ago over the situations in Biafra and Darfur. Track II diplomacy, which emphasizes “soft power” solutions, offers a viable complement to the use of power (political, economic, military) to sustain lasting peace.
While the unplanned and uncontrolled influx of refugees entering Europe is causing tremendous social, economic and political problems, religious dialogue also is impacted. The mix of faiths representing the different backgrounds, cultures and historical contexts is creating challenges but also opportunities for greater awareness and tolerance.
Recommendations—The World Summit concluded with the following recommendations:
- Support and promote the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the post-Millennium Development Goal period, 2015–2030,
- Encourage technologies for renewable energy to reduce dependence upon coal and gas and the need to raise public awareness about climate change and the food crisis,
- Strengthen the United Nations with the view to make it a more effective instrument of peace,
- Augment the spiritual resources of the people who then can influence their leaders to show moral leadership and make meaningful decisions based on the UPF peace ideology — “living for the sake of others.”
Following the World Summit, the participants attended a ceremony marking the third anniversary of the passing of Dr. Sun Myung Moon. The participants joined more than 20,000 people, from Korea and around the world. Another 10,000 watched the ceremony at nearby facilities. The ceremony was broadcast live around the world and viewed by members of the Unification Movement and friends around the world.