The following speech was delivered during the Global Peace Leadership Conference on August 1, 2018 in Kampala, Uganda by Dr. Junsook Moon, chairwoman of Global Peace Women, the women's division of the Global Peace Foundation.
Peace Begins in the Home: Women-led Initiatives for Peace and Development
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good morning, and welcome to the 2018 Global Peace Leadership Conference. This gathering is a historic and timely event for Africa and the world.
In this blessed country endowed with majestic natural beauty, called the Pearl of Africa, it is befitting that we have gathered under the theme, “Peace Begins in the Home: Women-Led Initiatives for Peace and Development.”
I want to thank the President and the government of Uganda for the warm hospitality and for making this convening possible. I am very inspired to be among many great leaders from around the world.
Without exception, all of us long for peace in our homes, our nations and our world. Yet, this peace which all of us desire has eluded us for most of human history. Conflicts in the name of religion have killed millions upon millions. Ethnic bloodshed and genocides have plagued our beautiful lands for ages. Daily violence is perpetrated against women and children in every corner of society. We even face the threat of nuclear conflicts between nations, leaving us to question our very survival.
Nonetheless, we still strive to attain peace in our homes and nations. Such desire resides deep in our original DNA, and all of us, at different levels, have experienced the profound and fulfilling effect that peace brings to our soul and to our surroundings.
My husband, Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon, the founder of Global Peace Foundation, emphasizes that true peace can only come about when we recognize that we are all sons and daughters of one Heavenly Father. That is the common basis on which we can transcend the human trappings, whether they are racial, ethnic, national or even religious, which have caused hatred and division.
In support of this vision of One Family under God, Global Peace Women, since its founding in 2011, has been addressing the critical roles that women must play in building peaceful families, communities and nations.
Unique Value and Role of Women
Naturally, women are peace-builders, harmonizers and healers. This is because we are endowed by our Creator with innate qualities of empathy, grace and caring for others. This is most evident in motherhood, when a mother is completely committed to the wellbeing of her child, giving every ounce of her body and soul. With unconditional love, she makes any sacrifice for her child, no matter how great. A mother’s heart to empathize, to forgive and to embrace is driven by divine qualities that are beyond reason and calculus; it is pure love pouring down, effortlessly and eternally.
The father’s role is undoubtedly critical. However, women’s innate nurturing qualities allow them to impress upon her children, especially during all-important formative years, the value of unconditional love, human kindness and life. We, at Global Peace Women, seek to uplift those qualities and recognize that women have the most important responsibility of raising and educating children to become seekers of peace.
While women have assumed various duties beyond the immediate care of their families, we must remind ourselves that our intrinsic value is not determined by professional success or socio-political status. The true value of a woman, which is unique and irreplaceable, resides in the fact that she can bring new life into this world, infuse her children with genuine love, and allow them to experience the dignity and divinity of human life, beginning in the home and expanding into society and the world.
In my own motherhood journey of raising nine children, I became deeply and fundamentally moved by this realization. I must admit, as a young girl growing up in a traditional Confucius household and observing, for instance, my grandfather’s seemingly preferential treatment of my brother, I sometimes felt less important and lacking in some ways. Why was my brother getting more attention, (or more sweet treats than me), I remember wondering. Should I also have been born as a boy?
Yet, over the course of several years and eventually when I became a mother, I came to appreciate woman’s true value as God intended. Along with tremendous joy and inner fulfillment that comes from being a wife and a mother, with my genuine love and devotion, I was able to become the emotional center of my family. It is in this spirit that Global Peace Women initiated the “Peace Begins in the Home” international movement, recognizing home and family as the foundational bedrock to impart these essential values and principles.
Women’s Role and Contribution to Family and Society
The family is the first place where children learn and experience trust, love and respect. Children also learn the virtues of righteousness, integrity and living for the greater good, as well as the lessons of self-sacrifice, hard work and responsibility.
Simply stated, a virtuous family built on true love embodies the essence of what all people cherish, forming the basis for civil, ethical and prosperous societies. It is the school of life, and women are its most important teachers.
GPW celebrates women’s fundamental role in the family and seeks to expand such a role to societies so that more women can lead as peacemakers.
Currently active in 15 chapters around the world, GPW is conducting the Global Peace Women Leadership Academy (GPWLA) in Nepal, Mongolia and Kenya, among others, to raise young women through mentorship programs. We are hosting seminars and conferences in Paraguay, Uruguay and Korea to engage women leaders who champion the value of family, and to recognize those who exemplify such efforts. GPW is also organizing peace education campaigns in the United States and Korea to mobilize mothers to teach their young children about the need for the unification of the Korean peninsula as the cornerstone of peace in today’s world.
In addition, we are also addressing the issues that affect women on a practical level. One such project, which was implemented here in Uganda, was called the Clean Cookstove Project. Another project launched in Nigeria is a successful drug intervention program to address the growing problem of drug abuse in women. We also organize projects for women of Mongolia and Kenya to make and sell local handcrafted products.
Surely, there are other areas of major concern to which GPW hopes to make a positive impact by tackling the root causes. The devastating AIDS epidemic and domestic violence, for example, are significant problems that erode the foundational social fabric and deny those who are affected by the basic God-given human dignity and value. These problems cannot be fundamentally resolved without the individual families, as a school of life, first instilling the innate values of and respect for oneself and others. Along with the values-based teachings at the family level, the tribes, the faith communities and the government bodies must reinforce and support those efforts through appropriate policies and assistance. The combination of education and practical solutions that emphasize the value of family as well as women’s indispensable role in homes and in communities will undoubtedly make a lasting, positive impact on our world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In promoting the profound vision of building One Family under God, GPW recognizes that “family” is fundamental to the meaning and fulfillment of that dream. We are proud to champion the value of family and to engage in works that promote this vision because home is where peace begins. (Can we all say together, Peace Begins in the Home?)
I am honored to be among leaders who deeply love God and are dedicated to building peace. It is my hope that all of us can join together in committing our hearts, effort
and unique faculties to this noble cause of creating a world of peace by raising families of peace, one family at a time.
Thank you very much, and may God bless you and your families.