Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon, Founder and Chairman of Global Peace Foundation, delivered the keynote address at the Global Peace Leadership Conference 2022 held in Clark Global City, Pampanga, Philippines on December 2, 2022.
I was told that this nation is a nation of young people. Do we, as young people, want to dream a small dream? Or do we, as young people, want to dream the greatest dream of all? (Greatest dream). What about such a great dream that we can bring the human family together as one – beyond all the divides that separate us – whether they be a national divide, whether they be religious divides, ethnic divides, racial divides and recognize our common humanity in the one God. Our common humanity that we are truly One Family Under God. For that is the greatest dream of all.
I was told that the vast majority of our Philippine participants are educators. Am I right? So those of you who are educators, show who you are by raising your hands. Those who are educators, gathered in this room, show your hands.
Let us give all of them a round of applause. For you, for you are the gatekeepers of the young, to take on the responsibility for the future destiny of your nation. Like I said, what excites me here today is that I’m gathered here in a young nation filled with young people, talking to educators that have the ability to guide, mentor those young minds and those young hearts and to give to them a vision that can not only shape their own individual lives, their family lives, their national lives but the entire region and world. This is a time for us to dream.
And that dream should be rooted in the vision of “One Family Under God”. You know, I was told, many times over, when I was growing up, that things cannot change, that things that I wanted to do cannot be done for they were tried in the past and therefore they would not happen during your time. I remember so many times, being told that the great dreams cannot be realized.
And yet, as a student of history and as an observer and participant of someone that I looked at as being the youngest person who I ever met in my life – who, by the way, happened to be my father – so I say that my own father, who was born in 1920 was the youngest person that I had known in my entire life. Why do I say that? Because youth is something that has nothing to do with age. It has everything to do with the ability to dream. Regardless of what experience and what life has taught to you, that there can be a brighter promise in terms of the future, if only we believe, if only we apply ourselves to the achievement of that end, achievement of that goal. And being that the apple does not fall far from the tree, I have also been a dreamer, I have also sought those ends that those most around me believed could never be possible. The most elusive of those dreams is to build world peace, a world in which we can truly live in peace, a world in which we truly recognize the importance and value of every single human life, where we recognize the participation of every single human effort. That type of world can truly be realized.
I was told – and those of you Filipinos or Filipina, you know you have a lot of foreign guests here today – of which, many of them come from my native homeland of Korea. As you know, Korea is still the nation that is divided; a reflection of the tumultuous century of the 20th century. Every other nation has resolved the tragedies inflicted upon them during the 20th century. Except Korea. This year, we launched a movement, rooted in an initiative called Action for Korea United, where we, in the next three years, will mobilize the entirety of the Korean public in the tens of millions to gather on the 80th anniversary of Liberation Day – the same Liberation Day that marked the end of the Second World War here in the Philippines – to mobilize tens of millions of Koreans, rooted in a dream of a unified Korea that harkens its identity back all the way back to the beginning of the founding of the Korean people, rooted in the vision of Hongik Ingan. Hongik Ingan expressed the sovereign destiny, the providential destiny of the Korean people, which is to build a model nation that can be the inspiration to the world.
We, this year, launched that effort over the next three years to mobilize tens of millions of Koreans, rooted in the Hongik Ingan ideal of creating a model nation to bring unification to that land. I gave a speech in Seoul where I said, “Mmm. There is a tsunami that is brewing on this peninsula and that will spread its ways across all of Asia. And that is why I am here in the Philippines. That wave of a tsunami should come to the archipelago of the Philippines and the Philippines should also rise to support that effort.
Should we bring the horrors of the 20th century to an end? So, we – collectively – as a united people of Asia and of the world build, a new history in the 21st century filled with hope and possibility of what the future can become. That is why I am here in the Philippines today: to share with you the greatest dream of all – the dream of building “One Family Under God”, bringing humanity together with a common hope, common vision, that rights all the wrongs of the past that sets the stage clear for a common future of peace and prosperity!
Now I want to teach you one word that my father used – often – it’s called “aju.” It means that “I will be an owner, I will make it happen.” Can you say that altogether with me? Aju! (Aju!)
Where were we? The greatest dream of all. One Family Under God. However, before we are to proceed, we need to correct the wrongs of the past and collectively stand as one unified people with a common future for tomorrow. That is why I am here in the Philippines. That is why I am here to speak to you as teachers, as mentors, as guides, as coaches for the youth of this nation because if you can inspire the youth, the future will substantially change. Instead of imparting in them the doubts of our current generation, we should instill in them the hopes that we were not able to fulfill so that they can carry that dream forward.
For, many times, I have explained, over and over again a very insightful observation and quote by one of the most influential Asians in human history, Genghis Khan. He said, “If one person has a dream it is but a dream but if everyone can be an owner and share in that dream, it will become a reality.” This is what we need to champion, that we make the youth of our nations the owners of the greatest dream of all, to make them the future leaders for peace and prosperity in this nation as well as the world. Do you think Filipino young people should be just leaders in the Philippines or do you want to we make them leaders in the world? (In the world) Nah – just the Philippines! (No) Oh my goodness! Why is it that wherever I go, regardless of whatever type of audience I speak to, every single parent or teacher, grandparent all want their children to be ten times better than them, 20 times better than them, a hundred times better than them? And not only be leaders in their respective homes or nations but in the world? For that is a common human trait that we all share that comes from the eternal Heavenly Father who wants for each and every one of us to live up to our true potential. And that true potential is infinite, if only we allow ourselves to dream. And if only society allows those dreamers to make the type of impact that they can make.
So I want to challenge you here today. Past generations have talked about peace. Past generations have offered utopian visions of what peace can be. And yet they have failed. Can we make this new, current generation realize that dream that this past generation can only – have only – talked about? Can we make that into a reality? Can we make that into something that can come to pass?
But the beginning of that starts with ownership. You need to own the dream. You need to be the owner of that dream.
You know the world is beginning to look very dangerous once again. I can talk about all the challenges that are happening, geopolitically, but I will not today because all of you are fully aware of it.
In this time of tremendous difficulty and turmoil, however, given the fact that you have statist powers on the rise, it is bringing into focus what are the fundamental questions we as humanity to need to tackle, especially here in the West. I believe that this current reality is bringing into focus the fundamental question of where true freedom and true human rights come from. You have to understand that the concept of freedom and human rights has been a recent phenomenon. It has not been part of our human history. Democracies have existed all the way back to the time of the ancient Greeks thousands of years ago, there was a Republic under the Roman Empire, but there was no concept of fundamental human rights and true freedom. It is only with the advent of the common era, rooted in the creation of the United States that these ideas are common today. And we take it for granted.
Let me ask you the question: where do fundamental rights and human freedoms come from? As a student of history, I had the tremendous fortune of studying American history and really seeing how the founders debated this very issue. They realized that they were embarking in a bold experiment that did not exist up until that point in human history. Remember, many of those founders of the United States came from Europe. At that time, under the British monarchy, they had to deal with something in Europe called the “Divine Right of Kings,” that kings and monarchies were given special authority from God. Well, if you look at the Declaration of Independence, it challenges this very notion and this is how they challenged it: the second paragraph of the Declaration says it all, challenging the Divine Right of Kings, they stated that it is the Creator that gives us our fundamental freedoms and human rights, not any human authority, whether they be a monarch or a king, or any human institution. They went on, further, to say that the purpose of government was to make sure that those fundamental rights that are given to us by our Creator, meaning God, is protected by any state-sponsored government. The reason why in the United States you have the Second Amendment, which ensures the public the right to bear arms is because the third part of the Declaration states that if such a government were to rise where they took away those fundamental freedoms and rights, it is your duty, as an American citizen, to get rid of that government and build a government that ensures those God-given rights. It is our human responsibility. Many Western nations today, even in America, and in Europe have forgotten where fundamental freedoms and rights come from because they took God out of the equation. As those nations became more secular, they distorted the very place in which those rights originated. Even today, in the nation of America, they use the concept of the “separation of church and state” to ensure that people of faith are not engaged in the public sphere, that that there is no more mention of God, there is no prayer in schools, there is no expression of our faith traditions. And yet, in terms of the founding of the nation of America, it was religious people who came for religious freedom that made up the basis of the creation of that nation. Religious freedom, or freedom of conscience is the first and foremost freedom that humanity has. And yet, in many Western democracies today, faith is no longer part of the public square.
This is where we, given the fact that now you have the statist powers on the rise, that we examine where true freedoms come from. True freedom comes from God. And thus, all democratic-style governments that want to sanctify and uphold the importance and sanctity of human life needs to recognize that very fact; that those rights, that sanctification of human life comes from God, our Creator. This is what I call “God’s sovereignty” and that in the future, in order to establish a world in which truly there is true freedom and fundamental human rights, we need to deal with this most essential question of where freedom and human rights comes from. It comes from God.
And this is why we need to recognize the importance of God’s sovereignty as the basis of those rights. Do you agree? Now does it mean that those rights are only exclusive to Catholics? No. Does it mean it’s only exclusive to those Christians? No. Does it mean it’s only exclusive to Muslims? No. It should be for all sons and daughters of God, no matter how you identify by yourself. If anything, I would encourage every single Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu to be the greatest practitioner of that faith, because God was the inspiration behind all of those faith traditions. Beyond the theology and pretensions of our differences, 80-plus percent of what we adhere to and what we want to achieve is the same. Because the DNA comes from God. This is an age in which, where if we want to truly find peace, we need to recognize our providential identity as a true son and daughter of God. That is an expression of His love for the rest of humanity. Beyond our differences, our national differences, our racial differences, our religious differences, etc. etc. It is a time where we strip ourselves of the pretensions and recognize our common humanity as sons and daughters of God. As One Family Under God.
Now this is something that as educators and teachers that I want you to take to heart. As we set that precedent in motion, if we set those ideas in motion, then the next generation will be a generation of peacemakers, that have the breadth and the width to be able to digest all the differences and be able to be the peacemakers of tomorrow. Aju. (Aju).
Thank you very much. This is a time in which tremendous transformation can happen.
This is how peace begins. One person at a time. One owner at a time. As you are teachers, you can expand that message to the young people of this nation. For I am going to come back here again. And I want to see how well you as teachers have taught your young people. Those of you who will have A grade, raise your hand. Ooooh, my goodness. I believe in you. That you shall be great teachers that inspire the young people of this nation to become the true peacemakers, going beyond all the divides that separates the human family.
Now I was told that Filipino young people like K-pop. Am I right? Was is it about K-pop that you like? That they’re handsome? What about the Filipino young people? Aren’t you? The Filipinos are a little more handsome. But Koreans are known to be handsome? What about Korean women? Beautiful. So, we all like beauty, right? So beauty comes when we see things in ordered harmony. This is where we build that harmony within the human family, do you think the human family will be beautiful? All the different colors and expressions of the human family will be beautiful? (Yes) Now what happens if K-pop young people come here and bring the vision of OFUG rooted in the Korean Dream of Korean unification, will you stand up and really champion Korean unification? Yes or no?
Oh my goodness. So I guess the K-pop, Korean stars need to come here to the Philippines, huh? So who’s most popular? BTS? (BTS). I’m sorry, I’m of a different generation that doesn’t really know all the K-pop bands. But, I know people who know all those bands. And I’m sure that if all of you young people are seeking that type of leadership that they will come. What about you? What K-pop bands do you like? (Black Pink) Black Pink? That’s – what’s that – that women band, right? And BTS. So how many people like BTS? Raise your hand? Raise your hand? Oh not that many. They’re all over there in that middle section. How many of you like Korean dramas, raise your hand. (Shouts) So are you telling me as teachers, you like Korean Drama more than K-pop? What about your students? Do your students like K-pop or Korean drama? (Both). They like both. Why do you like Korean drama? (I love the stories). You love the stories. And what kind of stories does it tell? (Inaudible… The most popular drama in the Philippines is “Crash Landing on You”). Why is that drama so popular in the Philippines? Explain it to me. (It because for most Filipinos it is our only chance to learn something about life in North Korea.) And when they see what life in North Korea looks like, through that drama, what is their visceral reaction? (Well, we are wondering why Korea cannot be unified. Because the South is so prosperous and the North has got a lot of poverty because they are spending a lot of their money on arms).
So it’s really the story of a dysfunction of a family, is it not? We are one people, yet we are divided. The South is tremendously prosperous and in the North they are just surviving. And it’s because of a clash of ideas that was imposed upon the Korean people. It was not the will of the Korean people. The reason why 1945, or Liberation Day, for the Korean people is so significant because Liberation meant the hope of realizing the Korean Dream of building a model nation that could have been the unified hope of the entire Korean people. Yet the Cold War, ideological divisions, was artificially imposed upon the Korean people and they have carried that burden up until to this day. The Korean Dream that harkens back to our founding ideal of Hongik Ingan, to build a model nation that was the inspiration behind the Liberation movement in Korea where generations of Koreans gave their life during the occupation under Japanese colonial rule. And this is something that most Filipinos need to know.
The founder of North Korea, Kim Il-sung, was part of that Independence movement that tried to achieve the very dream, the Korean Dream that I’m talking about today with a whole new generation of Koreans. My father, and my father’s family were intimately tied to the Korean Liberation movement. My great grand uncle was one of the conveners of Korea’s Declaration statement that was put forth and he was one of the leading leaders of the Independence movement. My father was imprisoned in Japan when he was a student for participation in the Independence movement. This is real in my family. And yet we never lost sight of that hope, as well as the DNA of every Korean that still to this day – especially the older generation, and now with the Korean Dream work we are educating the younger generation – that there is an innate DNA within every Korean people, to unite our family and to make it whole. To throw away the artificial yokes that have nothing to do with our destiny, nothing to do with our identity and realize the God-given mandate that Heaven has given to us as a people to build a model nation that can be an inspiration to all.
Do you think that if the Philippines people participated in that act to bring about that unification, that Korea can truly be a leader in this region and in this world? (The Philippines is the first country in Asia to fight for Korea, to fight for you). That is exactly right! So remember the Korean War was the first conflict in the Cold War, where the UN forces came in aid of the Korean people. And that is not lost. So the destiny of Korea is part of the Filipino story. The destiny of Korea is part of the story of the people of this region. The destiny of Korea shall be the most significant peace event in Asia and the world. And you were part of that story. (Applause)
We have so much in common in terms of our destinies and in terms of what should inspire us to make those marks in history that leads to peace, that can inspire another generation to look at this generation to be inspired by we have done, what we have sought to do. This dream should be a dream of dreamers that are willing to be owners, that are willing to even put their neck out on the line. It happened. For the world has always changed because of dreamers. Not because of those who so-called did not dream because they wanted to be realists. It was the dreamers that changed the world. And in the work of peace, we need to inspire a generation of dreamers that can dream the greatest dream of all. And what is that dream? (One Family Under God).
Now, before I end, I’m going to leave you with a song. Now how many times do you come to banquet such as this and the main speaker not only comes down from the stage but then makes you participants part of that event and then ends up singing, doing his own karaoke? But I want you to join me as well.
Now how many of you are fans of Elvis Presley? Raise your hand. Raise your hand, I can’t see. You don’t have to be shy. Raise your hand. Is it only the older teachers or are there any younger teachers who are fans of Elvis Presley – or do you even know who he is? Raise your hand so I can see. Oh my goodness. Well you know, not only was Elvis the king of rock and roll. But he also won a Grammy in every single music genre, one of which was gospel. This song is a song that he wrote to unite a fractured people in the United States at the height of racial tensions in the 1960s and it united a nation and gave rise to a possibility of what Americans become. When I look at the United States of America, I look at that really as a melting pot of the world, of what humanity can do on a national level, if we strip ourselves of our pretensions and recognize our common humanity in God. The song that he sang was called, “If I can dream.” (Closes with singing “If I Can Dream.”)
Thank you very much!