Seoul, Korea—In Plenary Session III of the Third World Summit, keynote speakers addressed the international conference’s theme of “Peace and Human Development.”
Mr. Tageldin Hamad, secretary general of UPF, served as the moderator of the session, which took place on August 28, 2015, in the InterContinental Grand Seoul Parnas hotel.
Hon. John Doolittle, House of Representatives (1991-2009), United States, expressed his agreement with the guiding principles of UPF, namely: 1) We are one human family created by God. 2) The highest qualities of the human being are spiritual and moral in nature. 3) The family is the “school of love and peace.” 4) Living for the sake of others is the way to reconcile the divided human family. 5) Peace comes through cooperation beyond the boundaries of ethnicity, religion and nationality. The congressman noted that this is the 20th anniversary of the publication of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” a statement which contains principles for the happiness and well-being of every family in the Mormon Church. Quoting George Washington—“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action”—the congressman said a government exists to serve the people, not the other way around. He reminded the participants that an informed citizenry is required; it is the duty of all citizens to voice their opinions, participate in the political process, and recognize their roles and responsibilities. He concluded by quoting the former chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Edward EverettHale, who said: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” In other words, “Let us each in our own sphere of efforts continue to do all that we can to maintain a safe, prosperous society.”
H.E. Luis Federico Franco, president (2012-2013), Paraguay, briefed the participants about the history and current situation of his nation. He expressed his appreciation for the investments made by Reverend Moon and the Unification movement, particularly in areas that are in the countryside. He complimented Reverend Moon for his ability to turn an isolated and undeveloped area into thriving agricultural settlements, technological research centers, and demonstrating the ecotourism potential. Paraguay has a strong agricultural industry and large areas of fertile land, he said. It is the world’s 10th-largest exporter of wheat, eighth-largest beef exporter, seventh-largest exporter of corn, sixth-largest producer of soy, fifth-largest exporter of chia and soy flour, and fourth-largest exporter of yucca flour and soy oil. It is the second-biggest stevia producer and exporter in the world and the world’s No. 1 exporter of organic sugar. The country also is a competitive and tax-friendly investment center. The president referred to the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia, which ended 80 years ago. Since the peace agreement was signed, the two nations have maintained good bilateral relations. The president encouraged investment in the Chaco area, a sparsely populated, semi-arid region where oil recently was discovered. The area represents a huge potential for those seeking adventure and economic opportunity, he said.
Hon. Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, House of Lords, United Kingdom, praised the work of the Universal Peace Federation for “working so hard for peace and development in the world, from the Korean Peninsula to the Middle East and from South Asia to Africa.” He recalled his own experiences in Jerusalem and Gaza as a participant in the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) programs. “We united for a common cause, as that is what it means to be human, to come together and solve the issue as one. I remember visiting the holy sites, which gave me a feeling of peace, and meeting with the chairman of the Israeli Knesset and the late Palestinian leader Chairman Yasser Arafat.” He asked the European Union to call on the government of Israel to commit to the two-state solution. All parties, he said, “must stop incitement and violence against civilians.” Turning his attention to the nations of Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan, he said he hopes that the problems of these nations, including Kashmir, the area of Asia that includes parts of India, Pakistan and China, can be added to the agenda for the forthcoming U.N. General Assembly in September. He said that a “just, peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict” will bring greater stability and cooperation to the entire Middle East but that the settlement requires a regional mediator. Iran and Saudi Arabia should play a role in stopping the bloodshed in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. “If we can encourage dialogue with toned-down rhetoric from hardliners and speak about shared values and beliefs,” then the conflict could be an “opportunity for peace and development.” An essential component of peace is justice, he said. “Peaceful societies can only be built on the very foundations of a strong justice system.” Instead of creating a Ministry of Defense, he called on nations to establish a Ministry for Peace. He commended Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s vision for the U.N. assembly of religious leaders as a step forward to reform the United Nations and make it more representative of the diverse modern world in which we live.
Hon. Alwi Shihab, special envoy of the president to the Middle East and to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Indonesia, expressed surprise at the widespread support for ISIS. “It is baffling because ISIS' ideology goes against the core teachings of Islam, which promotes peace, tranquility and brotherhood.” As explanation, for many Muslims, Islam is intrinsically interwoven with the doctrine of armed jihad and supremacy over non-Muslims, he said, and many Muslims in the Arab-speaking countries have a long history of hostility against non-Muslims. Nevertheless, “a majority of Muslims in both the non-Arabic and Arabic-speaking world believe that the ISIS religious orientation and beliefs are not in line with the peaceful, tolerant and inclusive nature of Islamic teachings.” Regarding Islam in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, he quoted the historian Dr. Theodore Friend: “Indonesia's Islam is the smiling face of Islam in contrast to the angry radical and literalist Islam of ISIS.” Dr. Shihab described Indonesia and its tolerance and inclusiveness as the “right representation of true Islam,” although admittedly violent Islamist groups do exist, as evidenced by the 2002 Bali bombing and the 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing in Indonesia. Dr. Shihab called for the Indonesian and global Muslim community to take “a proactive stance to promote the true teachings of the religion of Islam, where 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.” Indonesian Muslims have “always rejected religious extremism and radicalism and continue to promote tolerance and religious harmony.” Dr. Shihab considers extremism and terrorism as global challenges, and says the moderate version of Islam should be encouraged as the best way to contain the radical Islamic movements.