Universal Peace Federation (UPF)
Peace Summit 2023 World Leaders Meet to Discuss Building a Global Culture of Peace
‘Countries that are interconnected don’t go to war’
Washington, DC— World leaders attending the Peace Summit 2023 in South Korea this week passionately decried the human suffering and conflicts they see in or around their nations, but they also insisted that with greater determination, cooperation, and shared values, they can bring new levels of peace.
It’s time for “continental movements of peace to counter the aggressive movements of war,” said Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba, former Zambia vice president and founder of the National Christian Coalition, one of the nearly 700 dignitaries from 70 nations who attended the May 3 Peace Summit 2023 Opening Plenary, hosted by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF).
The world is “at a turning point,” with people going in the direction of “freedom, peace, and democracy on one hand, and invasion, war, and autocracy on the other,” said Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti. He and many speakers spoke about “hotspots” such as Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, North Korea’s firing of missiles, and China’s aggressive behavior around Taiwan and the South China Sea.
“How do we get to the objective…to deliver peace on terms that God would love and appreciate in a way that is decent and good,” former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during the Sixth Think Tank 2022 panel discussion. Co-hosted by The Washington Times and Segye Ilbo, the panel featured author and China expert Dr. Michael Pillsbury and focused on the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific.
Peace in Korea may look elusive, “but we cannot give up on the dream” to end the 70-plus year division, said Dr. Yun Young-ho, Co-Chair of the Peace Summit 2023 Organizing Committee.
The Summit included reports about international peacebuilding in political, academic, media, business and religious spheres. UPF Co-Founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon said, “The term peace feels so close, yet is so far. Uniting with God, we can find a better future. Let us join hands, let us join our hearts, and let us join together to solve problems afflicting humanity. And let us not just rely on our own ideas, but let us unite with God, our Creator and Heavenly Parent.”
During the Summit, past laureates of the Sunhak Peace Prize, the prestigious award honoring contributors to peace and human development including Dr. Sakena Yacoobi from Afghanistan and H.E. Anote Tong from Kiribati, gathered for a special dinner in their honor.
Another Summit highlight was the creation of an Elders’ Roundtable in which statesmen and women from around the world will have a forum to offer their shared wisdom and experience for the realization of peace in the world.
Interfaith cooperation and protecting religious freedom were major themes of the three-day Summit. It began with an interfaith water ceremony and invocation to heaven with clergy from El Savador, Ethiopia, India, Korea, South Africa, United States, United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe.
“It has become clear that interreligious peace is a critical and necessary aspect of any effort to achieve the goal of lasting world peace,” said Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, UPF Chairman and Co-Chair of the Peace Summit 2023 Organizing Committee. “Religious liberty is at the core of all liberties. If you can’t worship God in your own way, then what freedom do you have?” said former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, Senegal President Macky Sall, and former U.S. President Donald J. Trump offered congratulatory remarks by video.
H.E. Brigi Rafini, former Niger Prime Minister and Secretary General of the 29-country Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), praised the coming Africa Summit 2023. Some countries are a breeding ground for extremist groups, but Africa’s large population of young people could become a force for peace if they are well-educated, raised with good character and universal values, and provided opportunities to work in land management and other “green entrepreneurship” jobs, he said.
“We have more in common than our differences,” said Rev. Dr. Cynthia Jackson, Senior Pastor at Allen AME Church in New Jersey, USA. Countries that are “interconnected,” with economic openness and interfaith openness, “don’t go to war,” noted former Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme. Former Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, in a video message, advocated for countries to use technology “to reduce the digital divide gap and use it as a development tool to reduce poverty and bring humanity together.”
The event included sessions to discuss the contemporary challenges to global order from regional perspectives: North America, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East, and Africa.
UPF’s primary associations also held breakout sessions with featured international experts and heads of state, first ladies, parliamentarians, religious leaders, media, academicians, and business leaders.
The Summit also included a celebration cake-cutting in honor of Dr. Moon’s 80th birthday. Other activities will feature a dedication ceremony at the new Cheon Won Gung temple envisioned by the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon as a “homeland for the world and hometown of the heart of all people.”
AFRICA: Mamadou Gaye
ASIA PACIFIC: Robert Kittel
CANADA: Pierre Beauregard
EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST: Peter Zoehrer
CENTRAL AMERICA/THE CARIBBEAN: Mario Salinas
S. AMERICA: Simao Ferabolli
UNITED STATES: William Selig