The second plenary drew attention to two key global strategic priorities: Korean reunification and resolving identity-based conflict, while underscoring the central importance of shared values in building social cohesion and transcending differences.
Panelists encouraged dialogue and consensus building around shared values as they presented approaches that address mounting religious and ethnic tension and the rise of violent extremism, as well as the threat to global security and posed by the ongoing conflict on the Korean peninsula, a topic addressed in depth in later conference sessions.
Honorable Hwa Gahp Hahn, President of Korea Peace Foundation addressed the global urgency of bringing peace to the Korean peninsula. He called for a reunifying vision to advance peace processes in his homeland, and around the world.
Six-time Grammy award-winning production team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis also lent their support to the cause of reunification, testifying to the power of music to move people’s hearts and bridge divisions. The producers also collaborated on a landmark Unification Song, presented for the first time with leading K-pop entertainers at a concert at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Other experts on reconciliation and peaceful engagement addressed the ongoing threat of violent extremism and identity-based conflict.
Dr. Leonard Swidler, founder of the Dialogue Institute and, with theologian Hans Küng, a primary author of efforts to advance a “global ethic” to promote peaceful coexistence, told the convention that it was important to recognize that we do in fact have the same ethical principles in common. We must not “share ignorance, but search together deeply for the truth.” he said. He presented the Golden Rule, a Christian tenant encouraging adherents to love one’s neighbor as oneself, as an example of a value shared by most faith traditions.
Dr. Marsudi Syuhud, Chairman of the Central Board of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest civic organization, concurred, adding that in Islam peace is a primary purpose in life. Where the fundamental principles of faith traditions have been hijacked by violent extremists, Dr. Syuhud urged religious leaders to seek out shared values and understand the original purpose of their religions.
Honorable Diosita T. Andot, Undersecretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, described the principles that drive the various initiatives supported by the office asking the audience to “embrace these three values: inclusivity, transparency, and unity.”
READ the session report HERE.