International Chairman, Universal Peace Federation
December 3-4, 2013 Hotel Paris 'Novotel Vaugirard', Paris, France
Guests, Ambassadors of Peace, Ladies & Gentlemen, on behalf of the
Founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and the members of the Board of Directors
and the Presiding Council of UPF International, it is my privilege to
address you today here in Paris for this conference on Cooperating for a
Culture of Peace and Human Development.
I want to express my
appreciation to the co-sponsors of this conference, especially the
Mission of Tadjikistan, represented here by Ambassador Soliev, along
with the Missions of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. I am indeed honored and
grateful that we received a message of welcome and support for this
conference from former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali. In
addition, I was very pleased to watch the video message from H.E.
Federico Mayor, former UNESCO Director General, and to listen to the
speech, read by his Secretary, of former President Kravchuk of Ukraine.
President Kravchuk was prevented from being here himself due to the
current situation in his country.
As Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation I am very proud of the work of our Regional Offices here in Europe and Eurasia.
This conference is the third in a series that began in Moscow in April
of 2012, with a focus on multi-culturalism, followed by an excellent
meeting in Vienna in September 2012, which
addressed the relationship
Russia and the EU. Both of these meetings were extremely
productive, and established the foundation for our meeting here today in
It is unfortunate that we could not hold this event at
the UNESCO Headquarters itself as originally planned, due, I believe,
to some deep misunderstandings on the part of certain officials.
However, I am confident that we will be able to resolve these in due
course. What has occurred will certainly not take away from the special
respect and appreciation that UPF feels for UNESCO as an institution.
UNESCO has led the way globally in promoting the ideal of a Culture of
Peace. Those of you who work with UNESCO have continually reminded us
that “peace is in our hands.” In other words, the destiny of the
world----a world of peace, or a world of war and conflict--- is
something that we can shape, based on our own actions.
also reminds us that “peace begins in the minds of men and women.”
Hence, the supreme importance of education and communication. UNESCO has
also lead the way in promoting the “rapprochement of cultures”,
encouraging dialogue and cooperation. By organizing this conference, the
Universal Peace Federation seeks to fully support these UNESCO
initiatives. In this way, we want to serve as a helpful civil society
Europe and Eurasia represent two enormously important
civilizations that play major roles in world affairs, politically,
economically, socially and culturally. Of course, the history or the
relationship between these two cultural spheres has not always been
characterized by harmony and cooperation. The legacy of two world wars
during the last century, and the longstanding Cold War have left bitter
memories and scars.
In particular, the “border” nations of
Eastern Europe, including the Baltic Nations and Balkan nations have
perhaps suffered the most due to the painful realities of the past 100
years. The rise of the European Union has been a very significant
development, representing the largest economic bloc in the world. The EU
provides an example of regional cooperation for other parts of the
world. Similar efforts have developed in other regions, for example, the
African Union, CARICOM, and ASEAN. I hope that eventually there will be
a Union of the Nations of
Northeast Asia, to promote economic and
political cooperation, and to assure peace.
The Commonwealth of
Independent States and the Russian Federation are equally important
historical developments. Currently President Putin is seeking to
establish a Eurasian Economic Union.
The trend toward union and
cooperation is both noble and natural, and is to be encouraged. No
European nation has attacked another European nation since the time of
WW II, and at this time, such an act of aggression seems almost
unthinkable. There is every reason to hope that this realm of mutual
trust and cooperation can also include Russia and the CIS, together with
Europe and the European Union.
As a Korean, I have witnessed
directly the suffering and misery that acompanies war and conflict. To
this day, my homeland remains divided. Moreover, the Korean peninsula is
one of the world’s most dangerous
flashpoints. Recently UPF has
been convening a series of high level dialogues examining the core
issues and root causes of the conflict and exploring prospects for peace
UPF is especially committed to promoting
interfaith, inter-ethnic, and inter-civilizational dialogue and
cooperation. One of our main projects over the past ten years is the
Middle East Peace Initiative or “MEPI”. Recently we convened an
important conference in Amman, Jordan to address the conflict in Syria,
calling upon religious leaders, representing Islam, Christianity,
Judaism and Druze to raise their voices for peace and interfaith
cooperation. We expect to have a strong interfaith presence in Geneva at
the time of the Geneva II negotiations next month.
believe that by fostering closer and more cooperative relations between
Russia and the CIS with Europe and the EU we can make a great
contribution to world peace, overcoming many of the obstacles that have
divided these two geopolitical and cultural spheres.
I note that recently President Putin met with Pope Francis. This is an encouraging sign.
In alignment with UNESCOs vision, UPF hopes that this conference can be
a substantial step toward improved relationships between the countries
of Europe and the CIS. Along these lines, I want to offer the following
First, let us work together to increase
“people to people” interaction, including, and perhaps especially for
the youth of Europe and Eurasia.
Second, let us promote more interfaith and ecumenical dialogue among
faith leaders of Europe and Eurasia, in cooperation with the World
Council of Churches and the Vatican and interfaith organizations such as
King Abdullah’s Inter-cultural and International Interfaith Center in
Third, let us promote educational programs that affirm
the core values of both Europe and Eurasia, and underscore the shared
values that bind us closer together.
Fourth, let us pursue a
variety of “soft power” approaches to peace, confidence-building and
trust-building between European and Eurasian peoples and governments.
Fifth, let us develop a variety of track-two diplomatic efforts,
involving civil society organizations dedicated to building good
relationships, protecting human rights, and encouraging democratic
values, while at the same time being respectful of traditions that are
deeply rooted in the respective cultures and civilizations.
Once again, I am grateful to have been invited to share these thoughts and I appreciate your kind attention.
Thank you and God bless you.