Serving as co-chairs of the International Advisory Committee, former Philippine President Gloria Arroyo and former Guatemala President Vinicio Cerezo extended greetings to the assembled leaders. President Arroyo especially acknowledged the efforts of GPF Chairman Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon to build support for Korean unification.
She noted that during her presidency the Philippines hosted sessions of Six-Party Talks on resolving divisions on the Korean peninsula, and that GPF’s work in Nigeria to bridge religious divides also corresponded to efforts initiated in southern Philippines.
She thanked GPF for its work to bring solar lights to villages in the Philippines through its All-Lights Village projects. Interfaith cooperation and grassroots development projects are “tried and true approaches” to achieving positive change, she said.
GPF Chairman Dr. Hyun Jin Moon movingly paid tribute to the Philippines national motto: Maka-Diyos, maka-tao, maka-kalikasan, at maka-bansa, “For the love of God, people, nature and country.”
Dr. Moon said that the convention theme, “Moral and Innovative Leadership: New Models for Peace and Development” was timely and relevant not only in the context of the United Nations campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 but also in the human quest “for genuine peace based on liberty, individual rights and just governance.”
Underscoring the role that scholars can play in finding common ground for peace, Professor Madhav Das Nalapat, Director of Geopolitics and International Relations and UNESCO Peace Chair at Manipal University in India, said, “This ambitious agenda [for world peace] might find some skeptics, but what seems impossible today may very well become commonplace tomorrow.” Dr. Nalapat suggested that discussion of Korean unification was even more important than concern about terrorism and religious extremism. Millions of people lack basic rights and suffer severe privations under the North Korean regime, he said, while the DPRK’s nuclear weapons capability threatens the global security.
Korean National Assembly representative Jin-Pyo Kim used the opportunity to express thanks for the global foreign aid that assisted Korea in its rise from an impoverished, war-torn country into a prosperous modern democracy.
Heritage Foundation founder Dr. Edwin Feulner emphasized the commitment of the United States to the Philippines and Korea in times of war, and America’s role in fostering growth and the improvement of living conditions in recent decades.