Nordic Rally of Hope. «Interdependance and mutual prosperity»
Sonday, 11th April 2021
Welcome to our Nordic Rally of Hope program organized by the Universal Peace Federation together with partners. I am Steinar Murud, and I'm going to be the host for the program instead of Lynnda Houston. She has unfortunately caught a cold. The Rally of Hope is an international program series that has been held five times since last August. The program is focused on bringing people together based on the principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universal values. And the international programs have gathered heads of state, members of parliament, relief workers, youth leaders, academicians, and others to address this topic. The rally of hope programs has reached millions all over the world via many TV stations.
This time, we are organising a Nordic program, with speakers from Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Norway. And we hope you will appreciate the program.
We are lucky to have Dr. Michael and Fumiko Balcomb with us tonight. They are the regional director of our region, which is large. There are 72 nations in Russia, Europe and Middle East. And Dr. Michael Balcomb will start the program with a greeting. So please welcome him.
Dr. Michael Balcomb:
Thank you very much Steinar. Good evening, everybody.
Wow, what a great video that was. And as we were looking at it, I thought to myself that I must travel back to Scandinavia, right away. But then I realized, of course, I can't do that. It's illegal. It's illegal to travel out of the United Kingdom right now. In fact, we can't even meet one person in his home. We are under a total lockdown.
In a way, this rally of hope series is a great response to the pandemic. The thinking behind it began back in Korea about a year ago, when over 7,000 people, leaders from religion, politics, NGOs, all kinds of organizations, gathered together to consider how the world can come closer together. Looking back, it was the calm before the storm. While and after we all came back to our countries, the pandemic spread all over the world. But amazingly, we've managed to keep the momentum going, and as Steinar mentioned, there have actually been five large international Rallies of Hope. There have been some wonderful speakers – Ban Ki-moon, several US vice presidents, leaders from Africa, from Russia, from the Middle East. It's really been very good.
When you think about hope, you might think, well, is this a luxury? Is this a luxury of wealthy contented, happy nations in Northern Europe? After all, here in the UK, we're always being told that the Nordic countries are the happiest countries in the world. And certainly, we feel that we're very blessed. We have a pleasant climate. We have peaceful societies. We live and tolerate each other.
But elsewhere in our region – I also have responsibility for countries like Yemen, Syria and Iraq – peace sometimes seems very far away. But the thing is, people in those countries and people in our countries all actually want the same things. We want the same things for our children. We want the same things for our grandchildren. We want them to live in peace, and prospects to be better than for ourselves.
In fact, I think this is because that is actually the dream of all humanity. And even – as you'll hear from our founder, Mother Moon, it's the desire, the dream of God.
I'm really happy that we're gathering this afternoon for this Rally of Hope. One of the speakers who made quite an impression on me during the fifth rally, which was about a month ago, was Frederik de Klerk, the former president of South Africa. Of course, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela. Mandela got most of the acclaim, and rightly so. But de Klerk had his role too, and in his speech at the Rally of Hope, said there were times when it looked dark and impossible. There were so many forces trying to derail a new start in South Africa. But we never gave up hope. And because we kept our hope, the impossible became possible.
This is a small beginning, but I'm sure it's going to be meaningful and go well. So thank you all for coming. Please, do not only enjoy watching, but as you do, think to yourself, “What can I do to bring peace and hope to our country, continent and the world?”
Thank you very much.
This evening's program will focus on the theme “Interdependence and mutual prosperity”. Or another way of saying it, with the UN terminology: “Leave no one behind!” That is the spirit behind the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In a globalized world, as ours, it is imperative to have an awareness that we all depend on each other in some way or other. And in all the relationships, we need to strive for win-win situations. As an illustration of this principle, we will now open the program with an interreligious or intercultural ceremony. We want to show that we are all part of a large human community, and we all need to contribute to the wellbeing of that large community. Every nation, culture, religion, should find a way to contribute to the larger whole.
We need to realize that there is only one race, and that is the human race.
So, in this ceremony, which we are going to see now, each representative, will pour a jug of water into a larger common bowl. The small jug of water symbolizes one's own contribution into the larger bowl, which symbolizes the global society. Wherever we come from, we all have something that can serve the world.
Video with ceremony
Hildebrandt is professor emeritus of Management Studies at Aarhus School of Business at the University of Aarhus. He is also the author of the book “Bæredygtig global udvikling” (Sustainable Global Development). He has lectured on this topic several times. So please welcome, Professor Hildebrandt.
You may remember John Lennon’s song “Imagine”. There it is said, “Imagine all the people living life in peace.” And later, he says, “You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”
That was a beautiful song, and a wonderful dream and hope. Hope is an important and beautiful feeling, a feeling of heart, an expression of heart. We cannot live without hope. Hope is mobilizing, actuating, initiating. Hope is moving the world. Hope is keeping me alive and is moving me forward.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced and learnt a lot. Especially two lessons are important.
One – what you do now is making a difference. Two – everything on earth is connected.
We are in reality, living in a cluster of crises. And as we all know, a crisis is also a possibility. We are living in an era of possibilities. We may be able to handle the climate and global warming crisis. We may overcome the migration crisis. We may be able to reverse the trend to reduce the biodiversity. We may be able to loosen the geopolitical tensions. We may come to a position where the United Nations are given our authority to work more actively and specific for peace in the world. We may hope for all that, and we may work for all that.
You will remember John F. Kennedy's famous speech on the 4th of July 1962, the US Day of Independence, where he called for a declaration of interdependence.
And that is exactly what we are. We depend on each other. Five years later, Martin Luther King expressed something similar when he said, “In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”
We live in a period of great instability. And we know from experience that such periods can result in a radical reordering of our societies. What that reordering is going to look like, depends on us, on our institutions, on our leaders, and on you and me as citizens, consumers, workers, voters, parents, and grandparents.
Over the last years, we have seen many assumptions, values – and increasingly – the institutions and norms that have shaped our world, fall apart. We have experienced huge improvements in people's daily lives, all over the world. And yet, in so many parts of the world, citizens are disappointed. And this has revealed itself in politics, in the media, and in public discourse.
Rising levels of anger and anxiety are associated with people feeling more insecure, and lacking the means or power to shape their future. On the international scene, we see more and more nationalism and protectionism.
In a recent book called “What we owe each other”, the author Minouche Shafik is talking about the concept of a social contract. She defines the social contract as policies and norms govern how we live together in a society. This concept, she argues, is a useful construct for understanding and defining alternative solutions to the challenges we face. Indeed, there are alternatives. There are pathways towards a better world. There are good reasons for hope. Allow me to remind you of the Sustainable Development Goals, the so-called SDGs, decided by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 – 17 goals, 17 criteria, 17 policy areas, for moving the world forward to become a better world for billions of people. The fundamental principle behind the 17 sustainable goals is “Leave no one behind”. In reality, it's about solidarity, and about a deep understanding and acceptance of the principle or the declaration of interdependence, or an expression of an understanding of the Martin Luther King quotation. The Sustainable Development Goals are hopes, are peace, hopes for peace, and more than that, they are critical policies and explicit recommendations for moving the world in the direction of peace and prosperity.
Mrs. Anneli Jäätteenmäki is the former prime minister of Finland. She was even the first woman Prime Minister in Finland. She has also been Minister of Justice and a longtime member of the European Parliament.
It’s great pleasure for me to be part of this Nordic Rally of Hope. Just now, we really need hope. We live in a challenging time. In the Nordic countries, we have tight restrictions to meet each other. In Finland, only six to 10 persons may come together. Restaurants are closed. Civil societies have difficulties in their work. They can hold only virtual meetings, virtual talks, without personal contact. We wait for a roadmap to ease the lockdown. But still in the Nordic countries we can be happy. The vaccination programs are going on. The healthcare system is working. The Covid-19 situation is much worse in many other countries, and also without hope of vaccines.
Ladies and gentlemen, [The International Association of] first ladies for peace met in Seoul one year ago. I had the honor to be part of this excellent group and give a short speech. We discussed the situation of women in the world. Since then, the pandemic situation has been making pre-existing inequalities worse. Even limited gains made in the past decades, are at risk of being rolled back. Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impact of Covid-19 has made the lives of women and girls even more vulnerable. There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies in the future. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. Also civil society groups can do much to help the situation, and they do much.
This pandemic has been a strong and a painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe. Now it is time to seize the opportunity to come together as a global community for peaceful cooperation that extends beyond the crisis. The civil societies can do their best to help the situation and give hope to people.
Now, more than ever, it's crucial for people to feel that they are stronger together. Ladies and gentlemen, it was a pleasure to be able to give my presentation today. Thanks!
Peter Åkerbäck has a doctorate in history of religion and conducts research on new religious movements at Dalarna University. He also works as the director of studies in sociology at Stockholm University.
Dear friends, I'm very happy to be here. I'm very excited to be a part of this evening. I have also for many, many years taken part in the great work that Mother Moon and Father Moon have done over the years. And I have had the privilege of following the Unification Church and the Family Federation for a long, long time. So I'm very happy to be here and very happy to be a part of this program.
I've been asked to approach and address the subject of mutual values. There is a lot of conflict going on in the world today. In order to find sustainable solutions, we need to find common values, common morals, and common goals. I think these can only be achieved if we understand each other in a real sense. And if we can agree on some sort of mutual values.
As a scholar of religion, I automatically do this from an academic standpoint, maybe also, with a philosophical point of view. When you as a scholar are approached about a subject, you automatically want to make a definition, you want to grasp the subject and make it as good a definition as you possibly can. That's what we do. That's our biggest strength, but as scholars, it is also one of our weaknesses. Sometimes we get stuck there. We work on our definitions for years. And it takes us a very long time to find a definition.
Now, I've tried to do this with mutual values. And I promise you, I won't talk for long. I will keep myself short; I promise you. I sat down and started thinking about the many aspects of mutual values – because there are many aspects to this subject. From the beginning – what I started out with – it means that we are talking about a group of people involved, in perhaps a country, or maybe even everyone in the world; I don't know. But it has to be a number of people. And it also evolves that there is some kind of agreement, or something mutual for all these people involved. And that's the first step.
The second step I was thinking about is values. And for me, values are a set of guiding principles that help us to decide how to act in certain situations when interacting with other people. Values are no good for yourself; we need them when we interact, and maybe also to help us differentiate between wrong and right. That's especially important for us as parents.
But in essence, we can conclude that this subject is something that mankind has struggled with since the dawn of time. I should say that this has been the central subject to just about all religions that is known to mankind and has been practiced over the years. It is a core thing.
When I sat down and thought about this, I found I had to pick up a paper and a pen. And then I started to write down the things I thought were important to me as an individual, in my interactions with other people. Things like honesty, being sincere, telling the truth, being optimistic, which I find very important for me. Here, I started thinking, “I'm not always optimistic. I'm sometimes pessimistic. What does it mean?”
I had to jot down my list of mutual values, and I put it away for the night. The next day, I started again, over again, and now I have a pretty good list – for myself.
But I will not share this list with you. That would be wrong. Why is this wrong? Well, first of all, I'm not someone who tell other people how they should live their lives, what kind of values they should have. When my kids get together, I tell them all the time to live privately.
Second, I think that this is something that we all should do. Well, my suggestion to everyone that is listening to this, get a paper, a real paper, not digital, and a real pen, and start to write your list. I know that this sounds like I'm your teacher or something. But I'm not. You have to go to university; then I can teach you. But if you try and do this, start your own list. Now, after a while, put it aside, then look at it again. Keep it with you. Show it to someone you trust, maybe someone that has done the same thing as you. And this will be the real starting point for getting further with your list. Now, if we all do this, perhaps then we will get a list together. In the end, it is not only ours, but something that we can really agree on, something that all of us can reach, something that we can share with each other. We ourselves do this list of stuff that we want to have as mutual values.
Mutual values do not come for free. Mutual values do not come without effort. We have to work hard in doing this. Then, and only then, can we truly talk about mutual values – if we all make an effort in this. And I for one, surely hope that we will get there someday, that we will have mutual values that we can share with each other. And I thank you all for your attention. And God bless.
Hak Ja han Moon:
.Hak Ja Han Moon is the inspiration behind the Rally of Hope series, as well as many other peace initiatives, such as the Sunhak Peace Prize, the World Summit, World Christian Leadership Conference, Universal Peace Federation and many, many more.
Hak Ja Han Moon’s speech:
When all the nations of the world, become children of our Heavenly Parent, the Creator, on the day all of humanity can attend God as the Heavenly Parent, that will be the day when we can become one family of humanity under God. All 200 nations around the world can stand as one family, and all nations can stand as siblings to one another, then an era of happiness will be ushered in.
World leaders living today, all of humanity are invited to make a firm resolve, open their heart and ear to the voice of Heaven. Just at the sunflowers align with the sun, may all the nations of the world align themselves with Heaven’s call and realize true peace for humanity, form one family of humanity under our Heavenly Parent. May that day come when all the problems of humanity can be solved. Please, think about this. When all nations think about advancing their national interests, the tremendous amounts of money they pour into national defense and development of military weapons, is astounding. If one tenth of that money could be used for the sake of the citizens, if a nation can live for the sake of its citizens, and for their happiness, can a nation engage in war? It is possible to be wealthy and prosperous without seeking to advance the cause of war. The time has come to let go of the desire to invest resources into weapons.
Heaven is giving us the final warning. Now we can no longer delay or postpone Heaven’s call. The time has come for us to embrace with understanding. As Koreans look to Heaven, to the full moon, revere Heaven and thank Heaven for the bountiful harvest, when all of the siblings living in different parts of the country, gather together and offer gratitude to Heaven, offer gratitude to the parents and ancestors, when families, siblings and neighbours come together and offer gratitude to Heaven together, then this world will no longer need to worry or be concerned about the future. It will be the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, isn’t that so?
Kristinn August Fridfinnsson:
Fridfinnsson is a specialized minister in clinical pastoral care. He has a master degree in mediation and conflict resolution and is certified in clinical hypnotherapy. He is also a freelance lecturer and an independent scholar at the Reykjavik Academia.
Dear friends in Scandinavia and Finland. It’s nice to be with you in this rally. I was listening to Mother Moon, and that was a great experience. I was really happy when I listened to her very good speech.
We want, all residents of the world, to be one family and live in peace and harmony – with each other and with nature. I think that's the common point in all this. But the important question is how that is possible. First and foremost, we have to remember that we are extended “hands of God”, or if you like to express it otherwise, using other phrases, we are the extended “hands of the law of life”.
Therefore, we have to be liable occupants of the earth. Let us keep in mind five very important words we have to use in this discussion. We have to develop this discussion, this dialogue, about the family, peace and balance in the world. Let us remember five words – chaos, cosmos, balance, imbalance. And number five – a new word – homeostasis. What is homeostasis? It is one of the main laws in life. The nature inside us, everywhere, is always aiming for balance. And that process is called homeostasis – when everything in nature is in harmony. This is the law of the whole nature.
Why is it not one of the maybe most important laws of vibrant human societies? I would like this new word to be a synthesist in the discussion of peace, harmony, happiness and prosperity. In other words, life is conflict between cosmos and chaos, and conflict between balance and imbalance. If we are accountable, and we aim for cosmos, we have at least tried our best and been cooperative within nature, within our societies, and within the human family of the world.
All activities of peace-makers, of peace movements, all honorable people with good will, are aiming to go from chaos to cosmos. Cosmos is the real life where everything is in law and order. It’s called the “spherical” state of the world. If the nature aims for balance, why don't we use it in our dialogues about peace and happiness in the world? Homeostasis and cosmos describe the situation we want. In other words, balance in human life, in nature, and between the nations of the world, is the healthy state of all life.
Being in agreement with that, I suggest two things. First, that we keep the law of nature in mind. Second, learn from “adequate space” methods in mediation and conflict resolution between common people, institutions of the world and companies. Therefore, we have to give nature the benefit of doubt, and number two, help nations find common interests through dialogue. […]
We know that all parts have to be willing to participate in mediation. If not, mediation is not possible. That is our difficult task – to convince and persuade the authorities of all nations to join the movement of love and justice.
Lars Rise was a Member of the Norwegian Parliament from 1997 to 2005. He is still a peace activist, who has engaged himself in support of many causes for peace and justice around the world.
Lars Rise’s speech:
Thank you very much, Steinar! Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the invitation to participate in this very important meeting, the Nordic Rally of Hope.
When we look at the continent of Europe, we are facing serious challenges. I would say that the refugee crisis for instance has challenged our value system. We have seen the growth of the political extreme right in many countries. And our question has to be, “How can we deal with this modern clash between civilizations?”
In a way, we are observing that Samuel P. Huntington’s theory of “Clash of civilizations”, that he launched in 1992, is materializing. We have to admit that the last century was the worst in human history. In fact, the British historian Eric Hobsbawm called the 20th Century the Century of extremism. He calculated that approximately 188 million people died because of extreme ideologies – Marxism-Leninism, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Nazism. Huntington believed that while the age of ideologies had ended, the world had only reverted to a normal state of affairs characterized by cultural conflicts. In his thesis he argued that the primary axis of conflict in the future will be along cultural and religious lines. This is what I think we see a lot of today.
Huntington did not mean to advocate that conflicts between civilizations were desirable. He was more interested in analyzing what the future might be like. The question we have to ask, is how we, participating now in this conference as political and religious leaders, can contribute to an atmosphere of dialogue and peaceful co-existence, instead of just observing clashes after clashes between great civilizations.
We have seen lately – let’s say the last 20 years – that most conflicts in Europe have been between orthodox Christian cultures and Islamic or Muslim cultures. But I would say that many leaders will tend to see Islam as the big threat today, maybe the biggest threat in international politics. But let us not forget that all the ideologies that I mentioned, that impacted last Century – called the Century of extremism – had one common factor. All those ideologies had their roots in societies in the Christian West. Islam had nothing to do with the development of ideologies that killed 188 million people just in one Century. Karl Marx came from a Jewish family, which later became Protestant Christians. Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin both went to theological seminary to become priest. And we know that Adolf Hitler was for years singing in the Catholic boys’ choir in the local Catholic monastery in the Austrian city where he grew up.
What can we learn from this to bring into today’s enormous challenges with integration for the thousands of migrants on our doorsteps? Leaders in politics, culture and religion will carry a heavy responsibility on how to show a pathway to a sustainable co-existence.
The most simple recipe for creating an atmosphere of dialogue instead of hate and rejection, would be to find the best in each other’s religions and cultures. This was actually the recipe presented by Mahatma Gandhi when he met the famous Christian missionary E. Stanley Jones in India. E. Stanley Jones writes about this in his book. Gandhi asked him, “Why don’t you look for something positive in the religion that you find here in India, instead of just thinking about how to promote your own religion?” That made an enormous impact on E. Stanley Jones.
Or we could follow the example of the late president Boris Trajkovski (president in Makedonia 1999-2004) and look at the teachings of the historic person of Jesus. That is the strategy that united the heads of state in one of the most troubled regions in Europe – the Balkans. There Orthodox, Muslims, Catholics, Atheists and Protestants met together as heads of state.
Let me give you a small example from a book I’ve read, by the Norwegian philosopher Guttorm Fløistad. He wrote about the art of cooperation. Let’s look at this in the broader European or global context: “On How to Cooperate.” It will actually be a fantastic recipe for all 7,6 billion people to be united around. And I think this would actually meet the standards which Peter Åkerbäck from Sweden stated that he wanted. He wants the common values, the common standards.
I’m quoting what I found in the book of Fløistad, derived from the teachings of Jesus, “1. We believe that all human beings have equal value. 2. We forgive each other. 3. We clearly express our expectations to each other. 4. We love each other.
Our biggest challenges as leaders would be to create an agreement that these values will not only lead to an effective co-existence, but, if practised, to fellowship, unity and love.”
Thank you very much for this opportunity!