Esteemed dignitaries, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
It is a great pleasure to be with you here in Asunción this evening. Thank you all for coming tonight to the 4th Annual Global Peace Festival Foundation awards in Paraguay. What higher honor could one receive than to be recognized as a person who exemplifies the ideal of “Living for the Sake of Others?” Tonight we are honoring seven such outstanding Paraguayan women, making this truly a special occasion.
Last November, at the Global Peace Convention in Korea, my husband, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, founder and chairman of the Global Peace Festival Foundation, proposed the launching of Global Peace Women. At that time he said:
“The dream of peace cannot be achieved without the support of women who constitute half of the world’s population. The original nature and the experience of women strengthen social activities and are essential to realizing the dream of establishing One Family under God.”
I am sure you will agree that women have increasingly important roles to play today in our communities and nations. In fact, many today talk about this being the “age of women.” I believe you will also agree that women bring unique qualities to whatever roles we play. In fact, it has been said that women hold up one-half of heaven.
But for women to fully realize this potential, and for humankind to truly become “One Family under God,” the innate, God-given dignity and value of women must be recognized and respected. In this age of globalization, we hear much about the need for resources, energy resources, mineral resources, and so on. But the most important resources for the future of our planet are human resources, not only for material progress, but also, and more importantly, for moral advance and social harmony.
Women, as a little over half of the world’s people, represent a great and often untapped resource that humanity can no longer afford to ignore. It is time to set this “woman resource” free for the sake of peace in families, communities, and the world.
We have seen all over the world how women in poor communities, given just a little more, make it go a long way. A microcredit loan, learning to read, marrying a little later in life, all these things boost the dignity and self-reliance of poor women, to the benefit of their families and communities.
There are many initiatives to empower and uphold the rights of women around the world today. At Global Peace Women, we are focusing on two issues in particular. The first is family values and character education that enhance the dignity of women, and of their children as responsible future citizens and leaders. The second is utilizing the innate characteristics of women to develop new, creative, approaches to peace at every level.
Our first task, therefore, is to encourage and empower women in their unique roles in the family. Mothers nurture and educate the next generation, and invest the heart that binds the family together. The love within a healthy family teaches children to build trust between one another, find meaning in life, as well as develop good character, and a good heart that has experienced love, and knows how to give it in return.
Such an experience within the family, by teaching and modeling responsibility, prepares children to become productive and responsible members of society. In so doing, it addresses the problem of family breakdown, and is the absolutely essential foundation for solving problems in our societies and our world.
So the effect of this approach does not end at the family level. Just as the roles of a father and a mother are needed in a family, we need to harmoniously integrate both male and female leadership in today’s society.
Empathy, compassion, resourcefulness, aiding in reconciliation, having the ability to see what is best for the family and wider community, are all strengths of women’s leadership. If these virtues can be established as the public ethic in our modern-day society, we will be able to find new and creative approaches to critical issues that have remained unresolved until now.
This approach should not be thought of as “conservative.” Properly understood, which means looking at the whole context, including spiritual principles, moral values, and qualities of character, this is the truly “progressive” approach. Only an approach that cultivates human moral qualities, as well as addressing material concerns, can hope to make progress toward the peaceful future we desire.
Global Peace Women are dedicated to addressing the unique challenges that face women, children and families in each of the local regions where we work. In each area, we aim to develop programs that will provide the greatest positive impact.
In some places this might mean providing support for victims of human trafficking; in others literacy programs or after-school activities to help get youth off the streets and into constructive activities. The possibilities are endless. All that we need is your participation and support.
Our troubled world so sorely needs our commitment, our effort, and most importantly, our love. I hope that you can join together with me in advancing this noble effort.
May God bless you and your families abundantly. Thank you very much.