Renewing the United Nations
to Build Lasting Peace
Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon
Founder, Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace
Friday, August 18, 2000
The United Nations, New York
Distinguished leaders, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Today, in this beautiful and solemn building where the United
Nations General Assembly meets, I greet you with deep gratitude for the
opportunity to express my passionate concerns and views about the future
direction of the world and the United Nations.
The sole purpose of all my undertakings in many areas over the
past forty years has been the realization of a peaceful world that is
the desire of God and humanity. This longing for a peaceful world has
also been the core reason I have dedicated myself to the promotion of
interreligious harmony and cooperation.
In the twentieth century, humanity has experienced many severe
conflicts and unspeakable acts of violence, especially through the
horrors of the two world wars, and through the seventy years of the Cold
War and communism. When the Cold War ended, the world had a brief moment
of celebration, as if peace had arrived. But, then, very soon humanity
realized that the end of the Cold War did not automatically mean the
advent of an age of peace. Even at this moment, fierce wars and brutal
massacres are going on in numerous places around the globe.
Conflicts arise for many reasons. But one of primary factors
contributing to their emergence is the deep-rooted disharmony that
exists among the world's religions. Therefore, when we witness the many
global tragedies occurring around us, we should recognize how critically
important it is that the religions come together, dialogue with one
another, and learn to embrace one another.
In the modern age, in most nations, religious ideals have come to hold
a place wholly separate from the centers of secular political power, and
most people have come to accept this reality as the way things ought to
be. I believe, however, that it is time that international organizations
whose purpose is to support the ideal of world peace reconsider their
relationship with the great religious traditions of the world.
On this point, the United Nations, more than any other international
organization, can set a good example and lead the way. The world
has great expectations for the United Nations as an organization
embodying humanity's aspiration for peace. In the United Nations, the
representatives of all nations work in concert to promote peace and
Of course, the conscientious efforts to establish peace, undertaken by
these national representatives at the United Nations, often meet stubborn
resistance. The accomplishments and achievements attained through the
United Nations have been significant. However, there is much room for
improvement. I believe there is an urgent need today, within the United
Nations and through its many activities, to encourage mutual respect and
increased cooperation between the world's political and religious leaders.
The original ideal for human beings is that we live with our mind
and body united in resonance with God's true love. It is because human
beings resemble God as His sons and daughters that the mind and body
of each individual can truly unite without struggling against each
other. Within God there is no disharmony between internal and external
characteristics. This is so because the absolute God has no contradiction
or conflict within Himself.
The human ideal to achieve oneness of mind and body can be realized
only when people completely possess God's true love. The biblical verse,
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God,"
illustrates this point. Peacemakers are persons whose mind and body are
in unity centering on the true love of God.
As a result of the fall, human beings lost the standard by which our
minds and bodies could be brought into oneness and harmony, and humanity
has lived in internal strife and self-contradiction. The clashes of
the mind and body within the individual have expanded and now manifest
themselves in the family, society, nation, and the world. For example,
this unresolved struggle between mind and body is what precipitated the
elder brother Cain's murder of his younger brother Abel.
All the conflicts and wars in history have been essentially battles
between a Cain camp, relatively tending towards evil, and an Abel camp,
relatively tending toward goodness. Humanity must end these struggles
between Cain and Abel camps and restore the original state of harmony
and love. To do this, each of us must end the conflict between our mind
and body, and bring them into harmonious union.
The principle that mind and body must be united should be applied
and practiced not only by individuals, but it should be applied on the
worldwide level. For this purpose, I founded a number of organizations to
achieve world peace. For example, I established a number of interreligious
initiatives, such as the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace,
to promote cooperation among religions, which represent the internal
world of the mind. Also, to address the external management of human
affairs, representing the body, I have worked to promote harmony among
nations through the activities of the Federation for World Peace,
the Federation of Island Nations for World Peace, the Federation of
Peninsula Nations for World Peace, and the Federation of Continental
Nations for World Peace. Most recently, signifying the emergence of an
era when mind and body, or religion and rational governance, can work
together cooperatively, I founded the Interreligious and International
Federation for World Peace.
At their root, human problems are not entirely social or political,
and so social and political approaches will always be of limited
effectiveness. Although secular authorities rule most human societies,
religion lies at the heart of most national and cultural identities. In
fact, religious faith and devotion have far greater importance in most
peoples' hearts than do political loyalties.
The time has come for religion to renew itself and manifest true
leadership in the world. People of faith should feel responsibility for
the plight, suffering and injustices experienced by the world's peoples.
Religious people have not been good examples in the practice of love
and living for the sake of others, and for this reason should engage
in deep self-reflection. It is time for religious people to repent for
their preoccupation with individual salvation and narrow denominational
interests. Such practices have prevented religious bodies from giving
their utmost to the cause of world salvation. Our age more than any other
demands that we go beyond our faiths, and the interests of particular
religions, and put our love and ideals into practice for the sake of
In particular, God calls upon us leaders, especially religious leaders,
in hope that we will stand against the injustices and evils of the world,
and bestow His true love upon the world. Hence, all people of faith must
become one in heart in order to give full expression, both in words and
actions, to God's passionate desire for humanity's restoration and peace.
World peace can be fully accomplished only when the wisdom and efforts
of the world's religious leaders, who represent the internal concerns
of the mind and conscience, work cooperatively and respectfully with
national leaders who have much practical wisdom and worldly experience
about the external reality or "body." In this light, it is time for
us to give serious consideration even to the prospect of restructuring
the United Nations. For example, perhaps it is possible to envision the
United Nations as a bicameral institution.
The existing United Nations structure, composed of national
representatives, may be regarded as a congress where the interests of
each member nation are represented. However, I submit that serious
consideration should be given to forming a religious assembly, or
council of religious representatives within the structure of the United
Nations. This assembly or council would consist of respected spiritual
leaders in fields such as religion, culture, and education. Of course,
the members of this interreligious assembly will need to have demonstrated
an ability to transcend the limited interests of individual nations and
to speak for the concerns of the entire world and humanity at large.
The two chambers, working together in mutual respect and cooperation,
will be able to make great advances in ushering in a world of peace. The
wisdom and vision of great religious leaders will substantially supplement
the political insight, experience and skill of the world's political
Even at this moment, more and more conflicts are breaking out across
the world over disputed borders. As a result, the world is sustaining
substantial loss of human life. In addition, the money poured into
war-making and peacekeeping runs into the billions of dollars. So many
resources and efforts are being wasted. Yet, comprehensive solutions
have not been fully achieved with respect to any given conflict.
To solve this problem, I would like to make some proposals for your
I propose today that the United Nations and religious leaders join
their hearts and work to create peace zones in areas of conflict. Whether
the disputed borders pass through rivers, mountains, fields, or the sea,
we can create buffer zones or peace zones along these borders.
These zones would be governed directly by the United Nations. People
from around the world dedicated to the establishment of peace would be
allowed to settle in these zones. The United Nations would be responsible
to provide guidance to those living in these areas so that they come to
embody the founding ideals of the United Nations and comply with its
declarations for peace. These peace zones would be havens that exist
for the sake of peace, prosperity, and reconciliation. They would be
free of racial and sexual discrimination, human rights violations, and
war. These areas would also be ecological and environmental havens for
the entire natural world.
To create such zones of peace, freedom, and ecological harmony,
the concerned nations would have to be willing to provide the necessary
land. This is not a simple matter, for there will be resistance to the
surrender of land, even for a peace zone. I have dedicated much effort
toward finding solutions to this problem, particularly as it applies to
my native land, Korea.
I have taught that there is a providential significance to Korea's
having been a victim of the Cold War. As you know, both the division
of Korea and the war that followed are outgrowths of the Cold War. The
Korean War, in which the youth of sixteen countries shed their blood
under the United Nations flag to protect freedom, was a righteous war
unprecedented in history. I remain ever grateful to the United Nations
and those sixteen nations. And yet, the peaceful unification of Korea
still remains to be accomplished. For this reason I have continually
pondered about the United Nations' solemn mission for building a world
of peace and how this relates to God's providence.
I sincerely hope that the current mood of reconciliation and
cooperation between South and North Korea, which began last June,
will continue. I hope the entire demilitarized zone along the 155-mile
military demarcation line that crosses the Korean Peninsula can be
turned into a peace zone under U.N. jurisdiction. I believe the United
Nations will take the lead in this effort and build exhibition halls,
museums, educational sites, and peace parks in this zone in order to
teach visitors important lessons regarding peace.
I am purchasing almost 1.2 million hectares of fertile land in South
America's MERCOSUR countries to help compensate countries for any land
they may lose as a result of the establishment of U.N. peace zones. I
have already notified leaders of North and South Korea that I am prepared
to turn over to them portions of that land in South America for their use.
As I make this proposal public, it is my fervent hope that world
leaders of good will can understand this purpose and join with me. In
particular, I hope that they will join me in willingly donating their
land and money for use in creating U.N. supervised peace zones. These
zones, under U.N. leadership, will give rise to ideal moral societies
where nature and people live in harmony.
Already in December 1998, I proposed the founding of an International
Peace Fund in an address I gave to religious leaders gathered for
an international conference that had as its theme, "Realizing the
Interfaith Ideal: Beyond Dialogue into Practice." All the leaders who
participated in that conference resolved to initiate a movement in which
the world's religious people would lead the way in making donations for
world peace. I proposed that donations be given in amounts related to the
number seven. Because various individuals and countries face differing
economic realities, one person might find it difficult to give even seven
dollars, whereas someone else might be able to give even $7 million. I
believe that if all religious people on earth become one in heart, they
will actively participate in this fundraising effort. The funds thus
created would be used to establish peace zones and to teach the ideals
of peace and the methods to achieve it. In addition to religious people,
the United Nations too could encourage all nations and their peoples
to make annual contributions to this fund. These funds might be donated
under the name of the "White Cross Fund."
Wealthy philanthropists, business leaders, and industrialists,
leaders in other fields, along with individuals, and organizations,
would be encouraged to actively participate in the construction of
U.N. peace zones. In this way, they could lead the way in creating an
atmosphere of peace and in raising the necessary funds.
An Interreligious Council at the United Nations
Furthermore, one of the reasons I founded the Interreligious
and International Federation of World Peace was to help create an
interreligious assembly to serve as a senate or council within the United
Nations. To implement this plan, I propose that each nation, in addition
to its current ambassador, send a religious ambassador to the United
Nations to serve as a member of the religious assembly, or U.N. senate.
The mission of the representatives to this U.N. senate would require
that they have a genuinely ecumenical or interreligious consciousness
and that they have the training and ability to teach a universal,
transnational ideal of peace. The nature of their purpose and mission
would prohibit their promoting the narrow interests of a particular
country. Rather, they would carry out their duties for the ideal of
peace in the world and for the sake of all humanity in accordance with
The interreligious ambassador appointed as a member of the United
Nations senate or council should have a global consciousness and take
responsibility to represent the United Nations' global vision and
agenda. In this sense, these persons could be thought of as global
ambassadors from the United Nations. Wherever they go in the world,
these ambassadors would promote movements dedicated to the realization
of peace and social welfare. Moreover, in all nations, they would serve
as conscientious guardians of lofty ideals such as justice, security,
This will provide hope to the citizens of the world, and especially
the youth. People will then have the opportunity to see with their own
eyes the emergence of young people around the world seeking true love and
lasting peace. Those selected as ecumenical and transnational ambassadors
will also be able to help guide and supervise various U.N. sponsored
projects in health, education, welfare, and other fields.
Commemorating Ideals of True Love,
True Parents and True Families
I have worked through many groups and organizations to educate people
around the world about the meaning and value of true love and true
families, transcending religious denominations and nationalities. By use
of the term "true," I mean centered on God's original will and purpose. My
continuous investment in this area and ongoing efforts for dialogue and
reconciliation over the last decades have demonstrated beyond any doubt
that the strongest foundation for the unity of humanity is the universal
and essential love generated through the ideal of the true family.
Based on these considerations, I urge all the organizations connected
to the United Nations to uphold and promote the ideals of true love and
true families. For this reason, I would like to make another proposal,
that the senior decision, makers at the United Nations proclaim, in
accordance with existing procedures and regulations, a special day to be
commemorated worldwide. I understand that the United Nations has made
proclamations such as the International Year of the Family, and that
it has declared various ten-year objectives such as the "Decade to End
Poverty." Along these lines, I propose that the United Nations establish
an official commemorative day to uphold the ideal of the family, so that
the world can remember and celebrate this day every year.
Specifically, I propose that True Parents' Day be established as a
day of global celebration. I have already initiated such a day that
has been signed into law by the United States Congress. Each year,
in America, model parents and families from throughout the nation are
honored. By celebrating such a day each year, transcending barriers of
race, religion and cultural differences, and loving and cherishing each
other, we will be able to fully experience our true and common human
roots, and understand the preciousness of true families. This day will
be a special day of truly global commemoration, and a beginning of the
celebration of the oneness of the world as one global family, leading
us beyond all confrontation and strife.
Respected world leaders, let us join our hands and hearts to improve
our institutions and organizations so that the precious wisdom of
religion, along with that of scholars, statesmen, and people of insight
and knowledge, can be mobilized to solve the serious and urgent crises
of the world.
I believe solutions to world problems can come about if we establish
the proposed council composed of religious leaders, in cooperation with
the political leaders and diplomats of the current United Nations. The
Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace will promote
this ideal, for religion can offer great service in providing guidance
in matters concerning the Absolute Being, the world of transcendence,
our eternal life and the spirit world. For this purpose, the IIFWP
will make devoted and sacrificial efforts to attain the goal of world
peace. It will strive to establish the Kingdom of Heaven of eternal
love and harmony, and the fatherland of God, where the United Nations'
efforts for peace are honored, and where all humanity forms one universal
family as brothers and sisters under God, the Parent.
I believe that the world leaders and officers of the United
Nations, who possess knowledge, experience and wisdom, can offer many
recommendations for implementing the proposals I've presented to you
today. If we work together and make continuous efforts, peace and
happiness will surely be realized on Earth.
I pray that God's blessing be with your families and your
endeavors. Thank you.