THERE is hope for all nations, even at this moment when Covid-19 is ravaging most part of the world.
However, for many, the question remains what would an ideal world look like? This is what several world leaders attempted to address during the just concluded ‘Rally of Hope Summit’ held at Cheongshim Peace World Center in Korea last Sunday.
The rally organised by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) was the latest in a series of summits, real and virtual, held over the past two years. It was a peace movement conducted under the solidarity and cooperation of heads of state from nations around the world with more than 1.5 million participants worldwide.
The online One Million Rally of Hope was dedicated to the theme of “The Realization of a Heavenly Unified World of Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”
It brought thousands of world leaders together in search of a shared culture of ‘interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universal values. More world-level events are planned for this year.
This Rally, however, was “Beyond Live.” It was a dazzling display of digital technology from the land of Kpop where a live internet audience of more than one million people from 194 nations were held spell-bound for two-and-a-half hours. Another 90+ million people watched via as many as 70 live TV broadcasts and on various social media apps.
At the summit, world leaders who joined a virtual rally pointed the way forward beyond global challenges, including Covid-19, race relations, environmental issues, and global economic downturn.
They offered their vision and recommendations for a hopeful future for all people, as one universal family.
Ban Ki-Moon, the eighth UN Secretary-General and Chairman of the National Council of Climate and Air Quality highlighted four areas of global concern -- tension between the US and China, the rise of protectionism, the threat of climate change and a crisis in values, ethics and social capital.
Although he called this “a new Cold War in the Covid-19 era,” he also believed that UPF “will become a cornerstone to build lasting peace around the world.”
A special address was given by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the co-founder of UPF.
She stood side-by-side with her late husband of 52 years, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, and together built a world peace movement unparalleled in the lifetime of any founder. Upon his passing in 2012, she continued their shared vision. It has now expanded into a global peace movement bringing new hope and vision to millions upon millions.
At the outset, she greeted all the dignitaries, whom she had met personally at national, regional or world summits over the last few years. She also welcomed the virtual guests saying she has waited for a long time to see everyone.
“Human history,” Dr. Moon began, “has been a history of continuous struggle, which has caused both the suffering of human beings, as well as the suffering of God, our Creator, and Loving Parent.”
The animal world lives automatically by the laws of creation, she explained, giving the example of the migrating monarch butterfly flying thousands of miles from Canada to Mexico.
Human beings, however, fell at the beginning of human history and lost their relationship with God and His principles. Because of this, history has been a long arduous path of restoration.
In her unscripted remarks, Dr. Moon paid special attention to the importance of the institutions of marriage and family.
She also mentioned that people’s limited life on earth was preparation for an eternal life in the spiritual world. The way forward, she narrated, was to understand and live by God’s principles of creation while on earth.
Dr. Moon ended her address acknowledging that the continued division of Korea was a major obstacle to peace. Known lovingly as Mother Moon, she called on the Korean audience to be models of filial children who attend God in their daily lives and work to realize His providence in their homeland and throughout the world.
The Sunday event hosted a set of stellar speakers from East and West, North and South. They spoke in unanimity on the importance of nations working collaboratively to overcome the aftermath of Covid-19, on the need for universal moral and spiritual values to be inculcated into our cultures, and for UPF to play a key role in moving these agendas forward.
Mr. Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, emphasized that “maintaining peace and security in the world is an indispensable foundation for development… and should be given the highest priority.”
The socio-economic recovery from Covid-19 cannot be solved at the national level, he said, “It requires deepening and broadening international cooperation in all fields.” He called the Covid-19 vaccine to be a “global public good.”
Mr Brigi Rafini, Prime Minister of Niger since 2011, saw the Rally of Hope as transmitting messages of peace, along with a new moral, ethical, and spiritual vision.
He recognised that “living for others and for the public interest is the basis of development in an interdependent world.” Finally, he described interfaith dialogue and cooperation beyond race, ethnicity, religion, or ideology as “universal values that everyone affirms.”
Mr. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, began by honoring the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who would be 100 years old this year.
In order for the “post-Covid-19 world to be a better place for all,” the Senegalese President said we needed “faith, confidence in science, and determination to act together… working in solidarity and human fraternity, as UPF has always done,” allowing us to “overcome our common vulnerabilities.”
Mr.Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representative is an optimist. He appreciated that the Rally of Hope was an important positive step forward at a time when the world was very troubled.
He recognised that seeking peace, understanding and working together were keys to a successful future.
The speaker also noted that “what Mother Moon is doing, in carrying on her husband's work… is truly a historic mission.”
Mr. Date Chuichi, President of the House of Councilors, Japan (2016- 19), recognised that the “spirit of ‘interdependence, mutual prosperity, universally shared values,’ which is taught by Rev. Moon and Dr. Han, was desperately needed.” In closing and referring to Mother Moon he said, “The world now needs someone who can be like a mother to all humanity who reconciles siblings.”
Pastor Paula White, Spiritual Advisor to President Donald J. Trump, began by pointing out that the family was the cornerstone of world peace. Then, woman to woman, she said, “Mother Moon, I respect and honor you for your perseverance, for being a forerunner nationally and globally, for dedicating your life to establishing international peace and goodwill and for being a true lover of humanity.” Rev. White ended with a prayer for the reunification of the Korean peninsula.
Mr. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada (2006-15), warned that the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be compared to the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. “This (crisis) is without precedent and we do not yet know the full outcomes… ” He concluded by saying, “But if there is an organization capable of convening a truly global network of people committed to genuinely shared efforts then it is this one, the Universal Peace Federation.”
Mr. Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala (2016-20), likened the current pandemic to smallpox in the second century CE and acknowledged Mother Moon’s efforts to “promote peace, family, and integration of the world” during this grim time. Finally, he called for the reunification of Korea which he saw as the beginning of peace in Northeast Asia and throughout the world.
Mr. Alfred Moisiu, President of the Republic of Albania (2002 – 2007), and current Chairman of the International Summit Council for Peace, Balkans appreciated the work of UPF and said, “It is a time for world leaders to reflect deeply and build together a world strategy on how to move forward as a world family.” He also spoke of the Balkans Peninsula as the bridge between East and West.
Moving forward, these rallies will be conducted monthly throughout the remainder of this year. Each event will focus on a specific group of leaders: parliamentarians, academicians, entrepreneurs, media persons, and religious leaders.