Plenary Session I: World Summit 2017 Keynote Addresses—Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time
Moderator Dr. Charles S. Yang, the secretary general of UPF International, introduced the keynote speakers, who spoke on the general conference theme of the “Critical Challenges of Our Time: Peace, Security and Human Development.”
Hon. Bubhaneswar Kalita, a member of India’s parliament, said that in his country there is a saying, “Vashudauiva Kutumbakam,” which means “The whole universe is one.” He called the audience’s attention to the economic disparity between the rich and the poor. Conflict is due to a lack of human development, he said. Parliamentarians have an important role to play, he said, and “parliamentarians are the bridges between the people, the legislators and the governments.”
Hon. Kessai Note, a senator and the former president (2000-2008) of the Marshall Islands, said that global problems demand global solutions. He called on the leaders and parliamentarians to develop a strategy for sustainable peace. He spoke about the history of the Marshall Islands. After World War II, the United States used some of the islands for nuclear tests. As a result, the people of Marshall Islands have the most cases of cancer in the world. Some of the islands are still uninhabitable due to the levels of radiation. Besides the issues left over from colonization and radioactivity, global warming and climate change are wreaking havoc on the ecosystem of the region.
Rt. Hon. Parmanand Jha, the former vice president (2008-2015) of Nepal, congratulated Dr. Moon on holding these important events. “Her vision and selfless investment for world peace [are] a model for all of us to learn from. I applaud her and wish her and her late husband a happy birthday.” He defined peace as “having a feeling of equality in our hearts toward all people, without any feeling of discrimination based on age, gender, religion, or wealth. Peace is treating everyone with love and respect.” In order to realize this, he said, “We need to first create peace in our mind, in our behavior and in our environment. Then peace can prevail in our families, societies, nations and world.”
H.E. Federico Franco Gomez, the former president (2012-2013) of Paraguay, spoke about efforts in his nation to fight hunger and care for the environment. He publicly thanked Rev. Moon and his pioneering efforts to develop fish farming in the Chaco region of Paraguay and Brazil. Paraguay, he said, “can become the lung of humanity, because it has one of the largest wetlands in the world.” The vision of Rev. Moon to end poverty through development of fish farming is very viable, he said.
H.E. Moustapha Cisse Lo, the regional president of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Senegal, said that in recent years conflict zones in West Africa have multiplied. An increase of crises hinders regional development, he said. Development is hindered when the community is not at peace. Without security Africa will never be able to exploit its huge potential, he said. ECOWAS has completed measures to promote sustainable development, good government and the rule of law; however, there are so many challenges on the continent. “We must work together for peace,” he said; the African nations must make partnerships with other organizations, civil and government, in order to stabilize security and achieve sustainable peace.
Hon. Michael G. Aguinaldo, the chair of the Commission on Audit of the Philippines, said that peace is not just the responsibility of governments or international organizations. The people must assume some portion of responsibility or ownership. He recalled the famous words of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Mr. Aguinaldo’s organization, the Citizen Participatory Audit, is designed to watch the government and ensure public accountability, transparency and effectiveness. Transparency is needed to ensure peace and security, he said.
Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, a former special envoy of the United States to the Six-Party Talks, spoke about the problem of nuclear proliferation. “I believe negotiation is attainable,” he said. Reminding the audience that North Korea has conducted nuclear and missiles tests, he said, “The realities have to be addressed, hopefully through peaceful negotiations. The alternative could be an arms race in this region.” There’s also the danger of nuclear terrorism, he said. Ambassador DeTrani called on the assembly to find some way to reach out to North Korea, whether through academic, cultural, athletic or economic exchange, to bring it into the community of nations.