2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony Welcome Address by Chairman Il Sik Hong
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests,
Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon! Members of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee! Leaders of the Universal Peace Federation and the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation, distinguished members of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, Participants in the World Summit 2017, Ladies and Gentlemen. Good morning to you all.
I sincerely thank you for attending the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony and helping to make it a success. Furthermore, I would like to thank the current and former heads of state, parliamentarians, legislators, and various other representatives of civil society here with us today. I feel particularly honored to host this memorable ceremony together with our founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
Above all, I would like to congratulate and express deep gratitude to this year’s laureates, two outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to realizing peace for the sake of humanity. Congratulations Dr. Gino Strada. Congratulations Dr. Sakena Yacoobi.
The Sunhak Peace Prize was founded at the behest of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the wife of the late Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, to honor and preserve his ideals and achievements. Rev. and Mrs. Moon have devoted their lives to realizing a global community founded on the principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values. In particular, Rev. and Mrs. Moon have emphasized the need to develop a global civilization of peace based on a love for humanity that transcends divisions of race, nationality, ideology, and religion. Throughout their lives, they have advocated and led a movement whose aim is to create a world without borders.
In many ways in recent decades, the founder’s foresight can be felt in today’s world where barriers are being lowered, and more nations live together respectfully as neighbors to one another. There are some indications that we are moving toward becoming one global village. Indeed, I myself have also proposed the theory of cultural territory to the academic community, arguing that nations should focus on developing closer ties based not on geographical territory but building villages based on culture. Unfortunately, in recent times, national border fortifications are being strengthened as a means of dealing with the record-breaking global refugee crisis. Fleeing the terror and starvation of war, refugees are crossing oceans and seeking refuge in other nations; yet, when faced with strong anti-refugee sentiments, these refugees cannot help but fall into even greater despair.
Dear distinguished guests!
The refugee issue should not simply be seen as a reality peculiar to modern times. We must approach and understand this issue from the higher vantage point that is the history of civilizations. Diaspora, throughout the ages, has been one of the oldest adaptation strategies of humankind. Migration is a strategy for survival. Hence, going forward, migration will be an even more important issue in the effort to establish a world of peace for all. The Sunhak Peace Prize Committee selected these two laureates with the expectation that humanitarianism and morality will be given the highest priority.
The international order in the 21st century must not be a struggle among the super-powers to expand their spheres of influence, but should instead be reorganized to promote the benefit of weaker countries and those in disadvantaged positions. The world should be characterized by righteousness ruling on a foundation of peace and respect for democracy and human rights. Throughout their lives, the founders have emphasized that the 21st century will be a century of peace only when all people remove divisive barriers from their hearts, and practice compassion for all the people of the world.
The two outstanding humanitarians we honor today, Dr. Gino Strada and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, have devoted their lives to providing basic and fundamental solutions to the refugee crisis. In order for the world to become a peaceful community, no one should be excluded from the right to medical aid and education.
The world in the 21st century must overcome an order that is based on the logic of force, which begets enmity, conflict and discord, and establish itself as a community of peace and coexistence, reconciliation and cooperation based on universal principles. Under the banner of "Making the World Better for Future Generations," the Sunhak Peace Prize will continue to recognize and honor courageous and righteous people who live for the sake of others, loving all human beings as members of one human family.
I would like to thank you again for joining us today and wish you and your families good health, peace and prosperity.