Introduction to the Universal Peace Federation
Dr Yong Cheon Song - What Values Should Define Sustainable Growth?
Written by David Wills
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Dr. Yong Cheon Song: Chairman, Universal Peace Federation - Europe, House of Lords, London – 6 July, 2011
The Universal Peace Federation's core vision is that of humankind as ‘one family under God’. The Universal Peace Federation is the umbrella for a number of organisations such as the Professors’ World Peace Academy (PWPA), the International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) and numerous others, which have considered the crisis of values over the past forty years.
Distinguished Lord Parekh, Lords, Ladies, Professors, and all of you present here today who are concerned by the issues under discussion; I am honoured and grateful for this opportunity to greet you in this beautiful and world-renowned Palace of Westminster and in particular here in the House of Lords.
As mentioned in the introduction, I serve as the regional chairman of the Universal Peace Federation in Europe. The Universal Peace Federation was founded in 2005 by Dr. Sun Myung Moon and is an NGO with consultative status within the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council. Its core vision is that of humankind as ‘one family under God’. The Universal Peace Federation is the umbrella for a number of organisations such as the Professors’ World Peace Academy (PWPA), the International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) and numerous others, which have considered the crisis of values over the past forty years.
The Founders of the Universal Peace Federation are very concerned about the ‘perfect storm’ of crises that face humankind and for that reason initiated a number of projects together with professors and scholars from across the globe. The crises include environmental issues and the issue of poverty as well as economic injustice. However, at the root of all of these is the question of values – whether people have developed a sense of responsibility and conscience for those who suffer. In the view of UPF, the main issue is not a lack of resources or finance, but the failure to utilize those in the service of others. Here in Europe we created “butter mountains” and “milk lakes” in order to keep these products competitive, while millions suffered from hunger and malnutrition in other parts of the world. Ultimately this is an issue of the priority of values.
I myself have lived in Oceania for a number of years. I lived on the Solomon Islands and visited numerous Pacific islands and understand the fear of small island nations that see the possibility of their country being destroyed by rising sea levels. Humans have lived selfishly and out of harmony with nature and may suffer the consequences if we do not reflect upon our actions and lifestyles. On the other hand, there is hope if we see the idealism of an age that can envisage Millennium Development Goals and can harness that idealism within a vibrant and vocal NGO community.
In earlier years, the International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences and the Professor’s World Peace Academy, together with a number of eminent scholars from the London School of Economics such as Prof. Karl Popper and Prof. Friedrich von Hayek, considered absolute values in the relationship between scholastic fields, between energy and matter, between the use of resources and communication and transport systems etc.
A model of international transportation linking the globe was considered even during the Cold War days of the 1980’s. Proposals for tunnels to link nations and transportation links that encompass areas of the world that are lagging behind economically were presented in an effort to overcome the disparity between the First and Third World countries. During a worldwide speaking tour after the inauguration of UPF in 2005, Dr. Moon proposed the construction of a bridge and tunnel over the Bering Strait linking the United States and Russia to allow the development of untapped areas of the world, as well as to create a real bridge between East and West.
Dr. Moon has especially devoted much time and resources to the fishing industry and the development of the ocean. He has promoted interaction with the sea as good for the human character and also for the sustainable development and growth of the human family. He recognises that the sea, composing more than two thirds of our globe, is one of the solutions to resolve the problem of hunger. He has initiated a number of businesses, such as fish farming and other ocean-related activities, to develop those resources and trained people to work in this area.
In Brazil’s Matto Grosso do Sol and in Paraguay Dr. Moon purchased large tracts of land in order to protect it and the precious ecological systems that only exist in the undeveloped areas of the world. His vision for those areas as training grounds for young people to experience life in harmony with nature remains to be fulfilled. While there have been reforestation initiatives and other notable achievements much remains to be done to fulfil the vision he has for the benefit of humankind.
Since the fundamental issue is one of values, Dr. Moon and UPF have initiated numerous programs on the subject of character education, good governance and other programmes which stimulate discussion in this area and make people aware of the need to consider the value systems which underlie the way in which we run our politics and economies. I am convinced that through collaborative efforts such as programmes like this we can make a vital contribution to the betterment of mankind’s situation and provide a hopeful future for our children and for generations to come.
Thank you once more for the opportunity to address this distinguished gathering and I wish you every success in your noble endeavours.
Photos Courtesy of Gianni Raineri and Victoria Marsh