Speech by Hon. Erna Hennicot-Schoepges

Honorable and Distinguished Guests,

The Closing Banquet is the place to say good-bye and thank-you for the great moments we lived together. Our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Moon for the hospitality and special thanks for having mentioned the countries that had joined in the fight for freedom and peace in the early fifties, among them Luxembourgish soldiers. The real end of the war is still to come; negotiations actually under way give hope. I am convinced the Republicof Korea will give the whole world an example of a sensitive handling of the difficult situation.

The most prestigious project of reunification after World War II, the European Union, provided more than 70 years now of peace. lt would not have happened if the French Robert Schuman and the German Konrad Adenauer had not been able tospeak together and to understand each other and to forgive. The common market for coal and steel, created before in the six founding member states, avoided ongoing uncontrolled militarization. Shouldn't we learn this lesson from history? With Brexit and the return to nationalist thinking, we now face the danger of a further lack of solidarity in the 27 remaining member states. Democracy is failing when those who elect the parliaments, the citizens, don't participate in the votes. What is the value of the legislation voted by minority parliaments?

The laureates of the Sunhak Peace Prize gave us a special outlook; their engagement shows how individuals can bring solutions to great problems in society. Their prestigious intelligence and high motivation gives new hope for the African Continent.

We learned so much about each other, and we all have to tell young people what we learned. Our future is in their hands. They arrived already in the global world that we have fought for; however their world is virtual, in the Net. It is not a world facing human beings with their feelings, their suffering and happiness. This has to be addressed in education systems, poorly financed in national budgets compared to the military. But education is basic to resolve problems.

The big challenges for the future are the problems we are facing in our world: poverty and corruption, global warming and waste, and the ongoing boost for consumption. In fact, the economy is ruling the world; political decisions are submitted to economic growth, and no political party or no president will act against the economic interests of his country: His reelection is depending on the success he provided for the economy. About ethics in economy, there would be a lot to say.

I am sorry I could not attend the speeches of the religious leaders, as I was listening to parliamentarians. Their presence was a high value of our summit: Their message will guide us and they have proven that dialogue is possible. The holy messages of the Founding Fathers had not been submitted to authors’ rights. They have been transformed over centuries, sometimes with translation helping or interpretation added. Back to the roots could perhaps help clear some misunderstandings.

May this Summit bring us all a step forward to the global peace of One Family Under God.

Hon. Erna Hennicot-Schoepges

Author: Hon. Erna Hennicot-Schoepges

Former President of the Parliament of Luxembourg and Co-chair of IAPP Europe

Mrs. Hennicot-Schoepges, after a career as a concert pianist and a professor at the Luxembourg Conservatory, stepped into politics. She became the first woman president of the Luxembourg Parliament and held several government portfolios including Culture, Religions, Education, Higher Education, Research and Public Works. As a member of the European Parliament she was appointed Rapporteur to the EP on the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2008. She was the founder of the University of Luxembourg and is currently the Vice President of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin.

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