UPF Convenes Spectacular World Summit 2020

Seoul, KoreaThe World Summit 2020 Assembly, which was sponsored by UPF, took place February 3-8, 2020, in Seoul, Korea.  The summit was aimed at addressing critical challenges facing humanity, from climate change to poverty and conflict, bringing together a wide range of experts and stakeholders to deliberate collaboratively, offering insights and recommendations that contribute to building a world of lasting peace. 

The three core values or principles that guided discussions were interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values.  We live in an interconnected world; what happens in one part of the world impacts the rest of the world, and, as such, cooperation and mutual respect are essential.  All the world benefits when we improve the lives of everyone, moving toward equitable and mutual prosperity.  And, finally, despite our wide diversity in terms of religion, nationality, culture, ideology, and ethnicity, there are common ethical values, universally shared ideals and aspirations that bind us together as human beings, members of one family.

More than 6,000 delegates representing 170 countries attended the opening session, including former and current heads of state and government, former and current lawmakers, ministers, religious leaders, journalists, businesspeople, women leaders, youth leaders, Nobel laureates and scholars.

Prominent national and international leaders addressed the theme “Realizing World Peace and Reunification of the Korean Peninsula through Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values,” including former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Myanmar Vice President Henry Van Thio, Philippine Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (video message), former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon.

The assembly culminated in the adoption of the World Summit 2020 Resolution, which affirms “a global community of peace-loving citizens whose tireless efforts in the areas of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values help resolve the conflicts and discords caused by religion, ethnicity or nationality.” To read the World Summit Resolution, click here.

The resolution concludes with the following Call to Action: “To support and strengthen the six primary associations of the UPF that have been formed as instruments of peace, and which work as parts of one unified whole, guided by the principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values, each with unique vocations that contribute to humanity’s well-being.”

World Summit 2020 featured the inauguration of three new associations—the International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP), the International Media Association for Peace (IMAP), and the International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED).  Youth and Students for Peace (YSP) was also integrated into UPF’s family as the International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP).

Furthermore, World Summit 2020 included the Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony.  The Peace Prize was awarded to President Macky Sall of Senegal and Bishop Munib A. Younan, the international honorary president of Religions for Peace.  Marking the centenary of the founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a special Founders’ Centenary Award was presented to former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Session I: World Peace Conference Opening Ceremony (Feb. 3)

World Summit 2020 was held at the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX) near Seoul, South Korea with the theme “Realizing Peace and Unification of the Korean Peninsula through Interdependence, Co-Prosperity and Universal Values.”

The official program began with a commemorative video, “World Peace Conference for Interdependence, Co-Prosperity and Universal Values.”  The video mentioned the main directions of the UPF co-founders in recent years:

  • The dawn of the Pacific Civilization
  • International Peace Highway
  • Asia-Pacific Union
  • World Summit and other Leadership Conferences
  • Founding of major organizations affiliated with UPF: International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD), International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP), and others

Dr. Michael Jenkins, the president of UPF International, was the moderator.  In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Thomas Walsh, chair of UPF International, said that the vast hall was filled, exceeding expectations.

“This summit stands on the foundation of global summits that have been convened in the past year and a half around the world,” Dr. Walsh said.  “[UPF co-founder] Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon convened this summit to honor her husband, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, on the 100th anniversary of his birth and also the 60th anniversary of their wedding.”

Congratulatory Remarks by Ambassador Christopher Hill, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea (2004-2005): “The United States has taken measures to deal with North Korea, but I believe it is not the responsibility of just the United States but of all nations to convince North Korea of the need to put away nuclear weapons. … I hope that the 75th anniversary [of the Korean Peninsula’s division] will bring the Korean people together.  I look forward to the future of a nuclear-free world.”

Keynote Addresses: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values

Mr. James Rogers, the president and chair of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests Inc., located in Singapore.  Mr. Rogers sees huge change coming soon on the Korean Peninsula.  “Once North Korea and South Korea stop spending on defense, there will be much money to invest in other things,” he said.  “Once the 38th Parallel is opened; huge amounts of capital will come to the peninsula. … The single most exciting place in the world will be the Korean Peninsula!”

H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, the president of Nigeria (2010 to 2015) and chair for Africa of International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), reported that, in his role as ISCP leader for Africa, he has “pushed for peace throughout the African continent.  In some cases we have been asked to intervene in conflicts between political rivals.”

H.E. Anote Tong, the president of Kiribati (2003 to 2016) and a Sunhak Peace Prize laureate (2015), said: “We are here to deliberate on this elusive objective of peacebuilding. … UPF has gathered such momentum to reach the far corners of the world.  Its values can be summarized by living for the sake of others.”

Dr. Mario J. Molina, a co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, stated that climate change has an important connection with peace.  He cited three myths about climate change—the science of climate change is not well established; we shouldn’t worry about climate change, because it is occurring slowly; fossil fuels are extremely important for humankind, so we shouldn’t make any changes—and offered a rebuttal to each.

In a video message shown later in the program, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney spoke about the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.  He underscored the need for denuclearization and implored leaders to stay “absolutely fixed on our security objectives, with every incentive that can help, but no backing down on denuclearization.”

ISCP medals of honor were presented to 10 distinguished participants, and then two statements of agreement were signed to explore prospects for collaboration on a third Asia Pacific Summit in Myanmar and a sixth Continental Africa Summit.

The opening session concluded with the presentation and signing of the World Summit 2020 Resolution.  Dr. Young-ho Yun, secretary general of Dr. Moon’s Secretariat, and Prof. Yeon-ah Moon, the chair of UPF-Korea, signed the resolution on behalf of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.  The resolution was then signed by heads of state and government, religious leaders, and other dignitaries, representing the six organizations affiliated with UPF.

Session II: World Peace Conference (Feb. 3)

Dr. Tageldin Hamad, vice president of UPF International, moderated Session II.  Keynote addresses were given by five speakers, who briefly offered their experiences and insights on the theme “Realizing World Peace and the Reunification of the Korean Peninsula through Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”

Hon. David Clarke, a member of parliament of Australia (2003-2019), spoke about what he sees is happening to families today and UPF’s work: “The traditional family is under attack and suffering persecution from humanism, secularism, and atheism.  UPF represents a great microcosm of humankind.  It promotes peace between nations, religions and peoples of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.”

Mrs. Adi Koila Nailatikau, first lady of Fiji (2009-2015), addressed the topic of peace on the Korean Peninsula, calling on the summit to “support our Korean family.” She spoke about the impact nuclear weapons have and the potential impact of nuclear war on the climate and environment.

H.E. Federico Franco, president of Paraguay (2012-2013), expressed his belief that “prayer is the most powerful weapon a person has. … [It] is how we are going to talk to God, and how we are going to make something possible.”  He concluded his address by encouraging the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

Dr. Roslyn Ngeno, a representative of the African Union, underscored that “nations cannot prosper in isolation.” She spoke about the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, whose overall objective is to create a single market of goods and services and deepen integration of the African continent.

H.E. Parmanand Jha, vice president of Nepal (2008-2015), expressed that “the time has come for creating [the] conditions for the peaceful reunification of Korea. Reunification is for [the] interest of world peace.”

Mrs. Raja Nicola Eissa Abdel-Masih, a member of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, emphasized that “we are all one human family created by God” and stressed the “need to work together.”  She said, “Wars break out because of denial of others, exclusion, selfishness, misuse of power, injustice.” 

Session III: ISCP Assembly (Feb. 4)

After an Interfaith Water Ceremony led by religious leaders from a variety of traditions, showing harmony and cooperation among religions centered on universal values, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a Welcoming Address.

Ambassador Ban remarked how commendable it was that “present and former national leaders are present in spite of the risk of the coronavirus.  Lasting peace and security are goals of the UN, but they remain elusive.  Peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula is a special focus of this summit. Populism, disguised as patriotism, hinders cooperation.”

Hon. Lee Joo Young, deputy speaker, National Assembly, Korea, thanked UPF and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for convening the conference.  “The peace movement of UPF is very meaningful and should be appreciated by the whole world,” he said.

Hon. Chuichi Date, president, House of Councilors (2001-2019), Japan, thanked Dr. Moon for her visit last October to the Japan Summit in Nagoya, which was held under the theme of “Pacific Civilization Era – Peace in East Asia and Prospects for Japan-Korea-U.S. Cooperation” and included a festival of Hyojeong Cultural Blessing with 40,000 participants.

Hon. Newt Gingrich, speaker, U.S. House of Representatives (1995-1999), USA, spoke about how communities rise together to respond to crises.  “Through modern technology, the entire world has had its attention drawn to Wuhan’s coronavirus,” he said.  “As another example, the wildfires in Australia demonstrate that the problems of one area are common to all the world.”

In the Founder’s Address, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon said the first step towards peace “is to understand God’s essence and follow His will.” She continued, “The way to solve the world’s critical problems is by becoming true filial sons and daughters to God, our heavenly parent.”

Keynote Addresses:

H.E. Hun Sen, prime minister, Cambodia, expressed gratitude to the Korean government and UPF “for this wonderful conference. It is a rare opportunity for governmental and nongovernmental leaders to resolve common challenges in order to maintain peace, stability, and sustainable development.”

H.E. Jimmy Morales, president, Guatemala, congratulated the UPF leaders “for their courage to invest their resources in bringing us all together.”

H.E. H.D. Deve Gowda, prime minister of India (1996-1997), asserted that our duty is not just to live in our own time but to find lasting solutions for the future.  Summits like this are extremely useful as we get an opportunity to interact with colleagues, he said.

H.E. Henry Van Thio, vice president, Myanmar, stressed: “We are meeting in a time of rising tensions and diminishing faith in multilateralism.  Global challenges require countries to work together.  One of the most significant ways to promote a culture of peace is peace education. It is the key to overcome mistrust, decrease racism, eliminate inequality and foster peace.”

H.E. Brigi Rafini, prime minister, Niger, said: “We are in need of courage to establish peace.  In our Sahel region, deadly war has been going on for several years.  It is a ‘faceless war.’  Please pray for peace for us.”

H.E. Maria Leonor Robredo, vice president, Philippines, said: “We inhabit an interconnected and globalized world with new threats, which affect all of us, for example, the coronavirus outbreak.  We must work together to implement long-term solutions.”

H.E. José Manuel Barroso, president, European Commission (2004-2014), and prime minister of Portugal (2002-2004), said: “A universal approach is more realistic than a fragmented approach.  All the threats are international by nature, and we must solve problems together.  We cannot say, ‘Your side of the boat is sinking.’  Politics exists to solve the common problems.  Problems do not end at the national border.”

The World Summit 2020 Resolution, which was presented in Session I, was signed by Dr. Moon, and the session concluded with a ceremonial sounding of the gong.

The Welcoming Banquet  (Feb. 3)

The Welcoming Banquet included a cultural performance by the Universal Ballet and remarks by Hon. Dan Burton, former U.S. congressman and the international co-chair of IAPP.  Hon. Chuichi Date, former speaker, House of Councilors, National Diet, Japan, praised Dr. Moon as “True Mother, a mother of peace, who is creating peace in the world,” and H.E. Debbie Remengesau, first lady, Palau, welcomed everyone and spoke about the important contribution that women make to society.  “Women are born with a natural ability to lead, nurture and care for the community as a whole.”

A birthday greeting and a large floral arrangement were conveyed from North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un by the chairman of the DPRK Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, Kim Young Cheol.

Birthday greetings also came from U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, which read, in part, “We are inspired by your continued strength and spirit as we join your family and friends in celebrating this tremendous milestone.”


Special Banquet Program to Inaugurate the Mother Foundation and the Autobiography of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon (Feb. 4)

On Feb. 4, there was a Special Banquet Program to Inaugurate the Mother Foundation and the Autobiography of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.  Copies of the newly published autobiography in Korean, Japanese and English languages were presented to Dr. Moon.  Congratulatory remarks were given by H.E. Brigi Rafini, the prime minister of Niger, and Adi Koila Nailatikau, the former first lady of Fiji.

2020 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony (Feb. 5)

The 2020 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony was grandly held on February 5.  Founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and Sunhak Peace Prize Committee Chair Dr. Hong Il-sik each awarded a medal and a plaque to the laureates.

Chairman Hong Il-sik, in his welcoming address, said that the awardees were selected based on the “founders’ peace principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values.”

In his acceptance speech, Ban Ki-moon commended UPF for mobilizing so many peacemakers in Seoul, in spite of the coronavirus threat looming.  He also thanked the founders for their constant commitment to peace and the unification of the Korean Peninsula.  In particular, he applauded Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for her vigorous investments into solving environmental problems.  “This is exactly in line with the UN Millennium Goals,” he said.

Sunhak Peace Prize laureate H.E. Anote Tong (2015), the former president of Kiribati, attended this year’s award ceremony to congratulate the former secretary-general.  In his congratulatory address, he emphasized that Ban Ki-moon is a leader who proposed a solution to climate change.

The recipient of the 2020 Sunhak Peace Prize Macky Sall, who couldn’t personally attend the award ceremony, gave his acceptance speech through a video presentation and was represented by Senegal’s minister for foreign affairs.

President Macky Sall apologetically stated in his video message that “due to the emergency health issue that had made the whole world in a state of emergency, I suddenly canceled my visit to Seoul.” He said that he accepts the prize “as an incentive to persevere in the culture of peace and human brotherhood.”  He said, “This prize is therefore a tribute to the Senegalese people, and I dedicate this prize to the people of Senegal.”

In his acceptance speech, Bishop Munib A. Younan emphasized that “peace is dependent upon respect for the dignity of the other, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, religious or political affiliation.  All of us are made in the image of God and are children of God.  All of us are one family of God.”

Session IV. Concurrent Sessions (IV – Feb. 4 and V/VI – Feb. 5) There were 11 concurrent sessions representing UPF’s organizational structure and the core sectors of society, namely, (1) ISCP – heads of state/government; (2) IAPP – parliamentarians; (3) IAPD – religious leaders; (4) IAED – business leaders; (5) IAAP – academicians; (6) WCLC – clergy; (7) Balkans Initiative Consultation; (8) IMAP – media (Feb. 2); (9) IAFLP – first ladies; (10) IAYSP – students and youth; (11) Central Asia Forum.

On Feb. 6 and 7, World Summit 2020 participants traveled to the Cheongshim Peace World Center, an indoor stadium about 30 miles northeast of Seoul, for celebrations to commemorate Sun Myung Moon’s centenary and the founders’ 60th wedding anniversary.

Conference Summation: World Summit 2020 was an extraordinary event.  More than 6,000 delegates, representing 170 countries, attended the opening session.  The following sessions and breakouts comprised more than 2,500 attendees, including more than 300 presenters and respondents.  The logistics of mobilizing, transporting, and caring for such an illustrious group of international delegates required an enormous effort and the coordination of more than 500 volunteers.  The World Summit 2020 successfully fulfilled its objectives.

Distinguished leaders from around the world responded to the invitation of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and UPF International.  UPF would like to express its deep appreciation to all the speakers, attendees and so many who contributed to this great endeavor, including the Secretariat of Dr. Moon, the regional group chairs, the UPF regional chairs, and countless others.

In this era of the Pacific civilization (the Asia-Pacific Union), the work of UPF has prospered throughout the world.  It is not due merely to some administrative or communications strategy, even though we try our best.  At its core, UPF is guided and driven by a spiritual vision as articulated in UPF’s five principles of peace.

Participants’ Reflections

“I appreciated the focus that Ambassador Ban Ki-moon places on multilateralism.  These are dangerous times that we live in.  Multilateralism is under attack.  Ban Ki-moon wants to use his time and experience to help develop better relations between people and to reduce conflict.  Mother Moon embodies the link between spirituality and humanity.  She is the most unselfish person I’ve ever met. She is willing to share all her resources with the world.  She is wonderful.”

“Mother Moon talks about us all being rivers leading to one sea.  I feel we are a tiny tributary, but I and many others have made it from our tiny tributary to the ocean.  Whether we live in Africa or Europe or any place in the world, we have made it here.  Mother Moon has made this all possible; she holds the vision, and this conference has manifested it, bringing together people who normally wouldn’t come together. In the same way, people everywhere can come together, and thus we can work for peace.”

“Words can’t describe my deep appreciation to Mother Moon and to this incredible organization.  Your holy work and absolute dedication for peace and friendship among all humankind deserve endless praise.  I agree wholeheartedly that governments and leaders should play a role in making the world a safer place and that the world’s faiths have a crucial obligation to work together for world peace.  As it is written in the Talmud, whoever saves a single life is considered to have saved the whole world. Mother Moon, you are saving millions.  I salute you and all who assist you and will be always happy to be a loyal partner to you.”

Partial List of Media Coverage and UPF’s Press Release

Cambodia Tribune

My Republica – Nepal

Premium Times – Nigeria

The Washington Times – USA

UPF International Press Release

Staffan Berg, Leslie Rigney, Alan Jessen, Renee Corley, Kristina M. Seher, Arlene Candelaresi, Hannah Alexander and Bakyt Toktorov contributed to this report.

Sources: UPF International