Below is the transcript of Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon’s address at the Sustainathon award ceremony at Manav Rachna University at the opening of the Global Peace Leadership Conference Indo-Pacific 2023.
Good morning, everyone. It’s a tremendous pleasure and an honor for me to be here today. First, I’d like to offer my humble thanks and appreciation to Dr. Prashant Bhalla, the president of this illustrious university, as well as Professor I. K Bhat, the Vice Chancellor, and Professor Sanjay Srivastava, Vice Chancellor and Director General R. K. Anand. Let’s give them all a round of applause. And, of course, my great friend and partner in this path of building global peace centered upon the vision of One Family Under God, Dr. Markandey Rai. Let’s give them all a round of applause.
When I came here today, I asked the illustrious guests that invited me here what I should speak about. There are so many things that I could speak about, but I wanted to know what was relevant for young people here today. I got a clue as to what I should speak about based upon the introduction that was given here today and how much the vision of One Family Under God resonates with Indians and that basic philosophy that is innate and part of the civilization. More so than ever before in human history, it is a vision that can transcend all the divides that separate the human family, so needed at this important hour in the history in which we’re living.
The world is becoming a more dangerous place. Our ancestors, your grandparents, your great-grandparents, believed that with the end of the 20th century, all the horrors of wars and conflict and the bitter ideologies and philosophies that led humanity to commit unspeakable crimes against their fellow men would be left in that century. And that the 21st century could offer a new horizon in terms of what human potential could be based upon the lessons learned from the last century. And yet, as we now have entered the third decade of this century, we still face the same old problems that have plagued the last century and human history.
A vision that can transcend the divides – whether they be racial, national, ethnic, or religion – is more necessary today than ever in the time of human history. This is what excites me about speaking to young people; if I can inspire the next generation, then you can fulfill the hopes of your parents and of your grandparents, who are now in their fifties and in their seventies. You, as young people in your twenties with a future ahead of you, a lifetime ahead of you, if you can take ownership over a vision, a dream that can transcend all of the divides that currently exist in the world, imagine what the possibilities could be. That is a message that I want to give to you, young people. Do you want to hear it? Yes or no? (Yes)
It is the dreamer that changed the world. All the great men and women of history who have made a fundamental change in the lifetime of their era, such as Mahatma Gandhi, who believed that a grassroots movement based upon nonviolence and rooted in high principles could bring down an empire – the most powerful empire, an empire where the sun never set – come to heel and come to terms with the very principles and the very values that they have preached in their faith tradition, that all men are equal under God; that all of us have the ability to have sovereignty over not only our individual self, our families, but our nation. If Great Britain wants to uphold and live by the principles that it espouses, it must recognize Indian Independence.
One of the things that many of you young people or even your faculty might not know is that Gandhi was also inspired to enact and adopt that paradigm that fundamentally changed this nation. He was inspired by a nation called Korea. When World War I ended, and Wilson, the President of the United States, promoted his vision for a new world order. It was based upon the Fourteen Points, one of which stated that all colonized nations should eventually have the pathway to their own national sovereignty. There were contingents sent to the Paris Peace Talks from India, as well as all other colonized nations, including Korea. Although the great powers at that time supposedly were meeting under that auspice, that new vision of a new world order, many of those colonized nations were all omitted from participating in those peace talks.
One nation, Korea, even before those Peace Talks ended with a Versailles treaty on June 1918, took the initiative and started a movement that eventually matured into the March 1, 1919 movement. They wrote a Declaration of Independence that was unlike any other declaration of independence, which traditionally would list the grievances that the victim nation had towards the oppressor nation and want to seek vengeance or some type of retribution. But the Koreans did not do that based upon the high ideals of even “loving thy enemy” and being introspective because of their spiritual principles rooted in the ideal of Hongik Ingan. They looked inwardly, and even in the Declaration itself – proposed that Korea work with its oppressor, Japan, not only to build a great nation on the peninsula but work with Japan for peace in the region and the world and become the inspiration for all mankind. There were those here in India who took note, adopted the principle of nonviolence, grassroots movement, high moral ideals that are universal, that can even move and pique the conscience of an oppressor nation that eventually led to Indian Independence.
If you think about the 20th century, every single nation that suffered colonialism eventually achieved independence, except one nation. Which nation is that? Korea, the very nation that started it all. What if I was to tell you: let’s dream? What would happen if based upon those very principles: nonviolence, grassroots movement, high moral ideas – if Korean unification was to happen at the beginning of the 21st century? Do you believe that that will be the most significant event for world peace of that century? Yes or no? (Yes) Yes or no? (Yes) Absolutely. This is a nation that not only suffered colonialism but was artificially divided by the Cold War. If we can bring about Korean unification, we bring an end to that terrible chapter of human history of colonialism and of the Cold War divide, rooted in a vision that can bring not only peace to a divided people but a divided region and the world. Do you think that is a dream worth living for? Would you want to become an owner of that dream? (Yes)
Remember, dreamers are the ones who change the world. Let us take stock of that dream: One Family Under God. If we were to see it come to fruition in a nation that still carries all the negative legacies of the 20th century and bring about a peaceful resolution in its unification and build a nation that can be a model for the world. If that can happen, do you think that will give hope to every developing nation in the world? Every nation that has faced the travesty of colonialism, that faced the horrors and the tragedy of the Cold War, that has faced all the challenges that any nation or any people – can receive hope from what I call the Korean Dream. And although it’s still a nation that’s far away from all of you here in India, if you guys can become an owner of that dream, participate in that dream, it could have a tremendous impact for your lives, even here in India. Does a lot need to happen here in India as well, too? Yes.
I was told that the competition that you had has to do with some type of technology and how it can lead to peace. Well, let me give you a little word of advice. The most powerful individuals who make the greatest impact are those who recognize the importance of first fixing themselves before they fix the world. That is why character is central to any thesis where one wants to make a tremendous positive contribution to the world. So, I want to challenge all of you, young people, here today. Dream big. But don’t dream a small dream; dream the biggest dream. And that dream is One Family Under God. Let that change start within you, and through your talents and through your ability, change the world. Thank you very much.