Plenary Session II: World Summit 2017 Keynote Addresses—Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: Perspectives on Peace, Security and Development

Mr. Tageldin Hamad, the chair of the World Association of NGOs, moderates Plenary Session II.
Hon. Molana Haideri, the deputy chair of Pakistan’s Senate
Hon. Jae-kwon Shim, the chair of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of South Korea’s National Assembly
Professor Akiko Yamanaka, a former Japanese vice minister of foreign affairs
H.E. Professor Dioncounda Traoré, a former president of Mali
Dr. Asmaa Mahmood Kftarou of the United Arab Emirates, a member of the UN Commission for Syria
Hon. Ranjith Madduma Bandara, the minister of public administration and management of Sri Lanka
Dr. Po-Ya Chang, the president of the Control Yuan of Taiwan
The speakers of Plenary Session II with Dr. Thomas Walsh, president of UPF International (far left)

Moderator Mr. Tageldin Hamad, the chair of the World Association of NGOs (WANGO), an organization that is affiliated with UPF, said the United Nations works to maintain peace in the world, but there are cases in which the UN has not been successful. UPF and the World Summit have responded to the call of the new UN secretary-general, António Guterres, when he declared: “We need a global response that addresses the root causes of conflict and integrates peace, sustainable development and human rights in a holistic way, from conception to execution.”

Hon. Molana Haideri, the deputy chair of Pakistan’s Senate, praised the World Summit as “a platform that holds great potential in peacebuilding and gives us a much-needed opportunity to contribute our share for this cause.” Islam has been unjustly maligned, he said. The core principles of Islam are based on peace, harmony, tolerance and justice. “If we are to build a peaceful world around us, it is imperative that we stop judging and treating people based on their race, color, creed, and faith.” He called for justice for all human beings regardless of their faith.

Hon. Jae-kwon Shim, the chair of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of South Korea’s National Assembly, said it is meaningful that we are working together for mutual prosperity, transcending race and religion. Hon. Shim expressed concern about the new Trump administration’s pledge to shift diplomacy and trade in favor of the United States and the uncertainty it is causing in the world. Everyone is watching what the United States will do regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and immigration. He called on the participants and nations to come together and work collaboratively for sustainable development. Hon. Shim pledged to continue to support the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, an organization created in 2016 by UPF founder Dr. Moon.

Hon. Professor Akiko Yamanaka, the former Japanese vice minister of foreign affairs (2005-2006), described the 21st century as the “age of balance.” Professor Yamanaka made the interesting point that during World War I, Japan played an important role in securing the sea lanes in the western Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean against the German navy. But then Japan “became arrogant” and joined the Axis alliance during World War II. “Through this experience we can understand the mindset of both winner and loser. Therefore, Japan can be a mediator between the victors and the defeated, introducing the mindset of each other.” She closed with a quote from Aristotle: “It is more difficult to organize peace than to win a war, but the fruits of victory will be lost if the peace is not well organized.”

H.E. Professor Dioncounda Traoré, the former president (2012-13) of Mali, spoke about the situation in Africa and the general theme of peace. He said that peace is not just a ritual; it is the foundation to build. Everything that is built in a society begins with peace, he said. “If there is peace in the heart, then there can be peace in the nation and the world,” he said. He used the metaphor of the relationship between rivers and the ocean: They are separate but they come together as one. Similarly, humanity is composed of many nations, but we are connected and part of the human family, he said. “Without peace there is no development, and without development there is no peace.”

He said it is unacceptable that eight persons control the same amount of wealth as the poorer half of the globe’s population. Economic inequality is a serious threat to security, he said. The president also spoke about the Islamist militants who are terrorizing Mali. These extremist groups are killing innocent people and destroying the infrastructure. Acts of terror not only cause economic insecurity but also create spiritual misery, he said. He concluded by quoting Albert Einstein: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

Dr. Asmaa Mahmood Kftarou of the United Arab Emirates, and a member of the UN Commission for Syria, spoke about her own experience as a refugee from Syria. She left four years ago, but that “land is still in my mind and heart.” She described Syria as the land of prophets and mosques; the land of Abraham, Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad. The core values of all religions are the same, she said. Dr. Kftarou spoke about her grandfather’s meeting with Reverend Moon. Her grandfather told her, “It was a turning point in my life.”

Hon. Ranjith Madduma Bandara, the minister of public administration and management of Sri Lanka, described the situation in his nation after the civil war which lasted 30 years. Tens of thousands of lives were lost, with huge damage to property and displaced millions. The rival political parties are working together to address the problems, he said. “It is my view that human development is an integral part of security and peacebuilding. If nations with diverse groups of individuals don’t embrace their diversity, certain groups may feel marginalized.” It is this sense of alienation that makes individuals and groups more likely to be attracted to extremist groups, he said. The minister called on the assembly to work together, “irrespective of religion, caste, creed, color, wealth, and geographical boundaries.”

Dr. Po-Ya Chang, the president of the Control Yuan of Taiwan, addressed how the government investigatory agency promotes good governance and protects human rights. The Control Yuan is an ombudsman’s office that deals with complaints about governmental decisions and actions. Its role is to protect people against violations of rights, abuse of power, corruption, errors, negligence, and unfair decisions. Last year, “the Control Yuan received about 13,000 cases of complaints lodged by the general public,” Dr. Chang said. In protecting the human rights of the citizenry, “a country must fulfill at least two prerequisites,” she explained. First, the nation must “establish norms by means of passing domestic human rights-related bills and ratifying the international human rights treaties.” The second deals with the mechanisms that institutions must set up to implement and protect those rights.

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