October 8, 2015
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Annyeong hashimnikka!
My warmest thanks to our host, Ambassador Tae-Ik Chung, Chairman of the Korean Council on Foreign Relations.
And to my friend Kim Young-Mok, KOICA President who joined our GPF-CSIS forum in Washington on the role of Korea in Global Development.
To the Right Honorable Raila Odinga, former Kenya Prime Minister and founding father of Africa Peace Service Corps, whose daughter Rosemary recently addressed the International Young Leaders Assembly at the UN in New York.
And His Excellency former President Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala, head of the Latin America Presidential Mission.
It is my distinct honor to join you today in launching the Northeast Asia base of the Asia-Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance here at the prestigious KCFR.
Our dear friend Dr. Marco Roncarati, UN ESCAP youth officer from Bangkok, has championed this agenda, along with Ingill Ra of the Global Peace Foundation, as co-chairmen of this Alliance since its launch at the Asia UN headquarters in Bangkok one year ago. The initiative has had a crucial impact in Kathmandu, Nepal, where Rise Nepal advanced massive youth volunteerism after the recent earthquake tragedy and in Ulaanbaatar, with the launch of a “green Asia” service movement.
APPDSA in Seoul is being called into action to help lead and support this movement of young people who are working to promote sustainable development. I join with Yeqing Li of the Global Young Leaders Academy, Alliance Secretary General Nicholas Lee from Malaysia, Leonard Faustino from Manila, and Miss Tanzila Khan of Pakistan, in recognizing David Yoo, secretary general of this Northeast Asia service alliance.
David is a visionary innovator who has joined with a spectrum of partners, including:
Love in Light Foundation and Service For Peace, Asia Development Relief Foundation, Utokapat Foundation of Thailand, KOICA, Peace Corps, the Blue House Youth Council, Korean Society for U-City, Scientists, Engineers and Educators without Borders, the Hydro and Afro-Information Institute, IAVE as well as many others here today.
Let’s give them all a round of applause and warm appreciation!
We are honored that Douglas Ragan has joined us from UN Habitat headquarters in Nairobi. We are assembled here today for a conference that will generate important action, just days after the UN adoption of the new 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
As Pope Francis stated well, the critical elements involved in saving our planet—from addressing climate change, to working to eradicate poverty and bring peace–are inextricably linked, and we must each exert all of our effort in concrete steps after today’s meeting to achieve these noble goals.
The poet John Dunne declared “No man is an island.” From a prison cell in Birmingham, Alabama, Civil Rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
In the words of Global Peace Foundation Chairman Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, we are truly One Family under God. As outlined in his book Korean Dream, the unified family of North and South Korea can become one of the world’s most prosperous and dynamic nations in promoting peace and development in our lifetime.
How can we learn today from the unique experience of the Korean people who rose from the ashes and tragic division of the Korean war 70 years ago, and whose country was transformed from a nation of abject poverty to a modern donor nation?
The answer is rooted in the Korean people’s commitment to their universal, founding principles of hongik ingam: “Korea in service to the world”.
While we are here today to study and learn from the unique Korean model of development, we are also here to further build this movement of multi-stakeholders – led by youth, powered by the private sector, and infused with faith in the universal principles of unity and service that are the essence of the Korean Dream.
Today, you are embracing the twin engines of moral and innovative youth leadership, powered by new technological advances.
Tomorrow, 50,000 young people will take a stand for unification and peace at Seoul World Cup Stadium at the One Korea K-pop concert broadcast across the nation by SBS TV and around the world. Young people of Africa, Latin America, and Asia are joining with your movement, one act of service at a time, with the Asia Pacific Service Alliance.
My warm commendations to each of you as you join the noble ranks of volunteers reaching out across the Korean Peninsula and to the world, infused with what the poet Tagore called the Light of Asia. As the first Asian Nobel Laureate for Literature he declared:
“I do not put my faith in institutions but in individuals all over the world who think clearly, feel nobly and act rightly. They are the channels of moral truth.”
Kamsamnida. Thank you very much