An Article from “Joongang”, a Korean Magazine
Monthly Joongang – September 2018 Issue (Mainstream Korean Monthly Magazine)
translated by PR Department of Tongil Group
- 3 years since Central and South America’s Pioneering
- Family Federation for World Peace and Unification’s Peace Rally
- Festival yearning for world peace by overcoming religious and national barriers
- Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon holds a Peace Conference for Central and South America in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
- The proposal for the World Peace Highway linking North and South America to Eurasia was also discussed in detail.
On August 4, a crowd of 30,000 people packed the Allianz Parque Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil. These people bore flags from about 40 different Latin American countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay and Paraguay, joined hands and sang a song yearning for peace. Influential figures, including nine former presidents from Latin American countries, ten former and current Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of Congress, as well as 78 members of the Congress gathered in one place. Various religious leaders from Protestant and Catholic Churches, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Latin American Folk Religions also joined hands. Anthony Carmona, former President of Trinidad and Tobago said, “Let us practice each other’s good without fear or prejudice.” Religious leaders pledged to practice the love of humanity that transcends religion by pouring holy water into one bowl, according to their religious rituals. This is the scene of Latin America’s Peace Rally (Family Festival 2018) hosted by the Brazil Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (hereinafter referred to as FFWPU).
Especially since this conference marked the first time in six years since Reverend Sun Myung Moon had passed away that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon officially visited Latin America and held an event, it garnered a lot of attention. Reverend Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han have been making efforts to pioneer in Latin America for over 40 years. In her keynote speech, Dr. Hak Ja Han stated, “South and North America have each in the form of heart and body, pursued for faith and material; the heart pursued for faith, and the body pursued for material” and that the “33 South American Countries and the 50 states of North America must become one and lead world peace.” Dr. Han stressed that “National egocentrism does not bring peace or future,” and further emphasized on the importance of global unity by overcoming national borders.
30 thousand people gather and call out for Peace in Latin America
This peace conference is equivalent to the finale of events held in Sao Paulo from the 2nd to the 5th, marking the 6th year since the Seonghwa (religious term for ascension) of Family Federation’s Reverend Sun Myung Moon. During this period, the Family Federation collaborated with various non-governmental organizations (NGO), including the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD), Youth and Students for Peace (YSP) and Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), and held international conferences and events continuously throughout San Paulo. The participants’ attention was focused on world peace and prosperity in Latin American countries, as well as harmony among religions. Prior to the peace conference, from the 2nd to the 5th, 450 powerful political, religious, as well as social influencers from 41 countries around the world, gathered at the Latin America Summit 2018, hosted by the UPF as a preliminary event. Some influential politicians from each country, including former U.S. Congressman Dan Burton, who has been active in the world of politics also participated in efforts to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. The participants searched for solutions under the theme, “Peace and Development in the Latin Americas: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.” UPF, which Reverend Moon established in 2001, is a global NGO aiming to break down the barriers of religion, nationality and ideology in the 194 countries around the world, through various peace movements.
The participants cited family values and healing family breakdown as their top priority issue. Former Uruguayan President Julio María Sanguinetti Coirolo (82) who attended the summit said in an interview with the Korean press, “South America is not yet a peaceful continent. The value of family, which is the basic unit of society is shaking. The peace movement, trying to recover the system of family, which is currently in a dangerous position, is playing a major role here.” In 1984, former President Sanguinetti became the president after the military dictatorship in Uruguay came to an end and became democratic.
“The only way we have a future is by protecting the original environment of the Amazon, which is like the lungs of the earth,” and further emphasized on the importance of environmental protection in Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon’s speech during the summit. She continued saying that she wishes “This blessed continent of South America stands in a responsible place for world peace,” and asked the leaders of Latin America to unite. At the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) Latin America General Assembly, which was held as one of the sub-events at the summit, current and former Congressman gathered to discuss and find solutions for the dictatorship, corruption and national disputes currently seen throughout Latin American countries. José Alberto Alfaro Jiménez, Chairman of the Latin America IAPP (former Chairman of the Costa Rican Congress) emphasized, “It is important that two or more people gather to discuss peace, and humans should seek peace in an instinctive manner, just as animals instinctively seek to protect life.” Costa Rica is a country that has abolished its military.
Senator Nelson Marquezelli, Brazil’s seventh – term Congressman who also belongs to the Brazil Workers’ Party (PTB) also attended the conference. In an interview separate from the Korean press, Congressman Marquezelli referred to himself as the “UPF’s Number 1 Peace Ambassador from Brazil.” After coincidentally meeting Reverend Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han on the plane 35 years ago, the Congressman has been going back and forth between Korea and the USA, and has been participating in the peace movements run by the Family Federation. He stated, “The peace movement that Reverent Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han has started in South America is highly regarded in the Brazilian Congress” and continued passionately, “To solve issues such as drug smuggling, public safety and violence that South America is facing, the establishment of laws with conservative values at its core is more important than anything else.”
“International Peace Highway” Starting from the Southernmost end of the American Continent
Young Latin American students also gathered under the banner of “Peace and Family Recovery.” This was through a three-day Youth and Students for Peace Latin America Establishment Conference. More than 1,000 youths and students from major Latin American countries attended the event at the Latin American Family Federation Headquarters in Sao Paulo. During the conference, Sun-Jin Moon, Family Federation International President and Sang-Seok Kim, Family Federation Latin America Continental Chairman, also joined to encourage the young people’s genuine passion. The youths yearned for peace realized through large global family values, transcending ideology and formalities.
In this conference, Dr. Hak Ja Han’s proposal to build a “International Peace Highway (Peace Road),” which begins in the Central and South American continent and connects the world by land, drew much attention from the participants. Dr. Han stated in her keynote speech during the Peace Conference and the summit, “I hope you will join us in starting the construction of the International Peace Highway, which will start from South America’s southernmost Santiago Chile, and will go through North America on to Alaska, and then to Eurasia and on to Korea.”
The plan to build the International Peace Highway has been rapidly progressing since Dr. Han visited Senegal, Africa last January. At that time, after Dr. Han proposed the construction of the International Peace Highway, 80 memorandums of understanding were signed with African countries. The International Peace Highway is divided into three main roads that go through Central and South America and North America, Africa and finally Europe. The final destination is Korea. The Peace Road project began in 1981 when Reverend Moon advocated the International Peace Highway plan, an idea of a road which would penetrate all land and ocean floor borders around the world as the base for realizing the idea of “One Family under God.” It was the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel that was first proposed at that time. Reverend Moon planned to extend it by 20,000 kilometers from Japan to Britain through the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel. In the year 2000, Kim Dae-Jung, the Korean President at that time, made a formal proposal to the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, and their talks expanded into a national business matter.
The plan for the construction of the International Peace Highway, which was announced by Dr. Han, is the remodeled, more-detailed version of the plan Reverend Moon proposed 37 years ago. Regarding the plan to connect South and North America to Siberia, it is highly likely that the Bering Strait (85km) between Alaska and Siberia will be connected by a bridge. However, it is highly believed that that the project will be carried out as a long-term project since cooperation between the US and Russia is necessary.
A source from Family Federation says it is likely that the project will start from the areas where the project is likely to be promoted. Dr. Han stated that she “will probably hold a shovel to start off the construction of the International Peace Highway” at the African Summit, which will be held in South Africa at the end of this year. With Family Federation’s interreligious and social movements working actively, Africa is well- equipped to induce cooperation from governments of each countries. This also goes for the Latin American countries. Dr. Han announced her plan to create a non-profit organization (HJ Magnolia Foundation), which will oversee the construction of the International Peace Highway and induce further international cooperation. The plan announced by Dr. Han can be interpreted as a complete version of the Central and South American development plan that the Family Federation has long pushed for. Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s interest in developing Central and South America, their efforts dating back to 1995. That time, Reverend Moon said in Sao Paulo, Brazil that he “will set an example of an ideal village and the ideal country in South America.” It is the so-called “Sao Paulo Declaration,” which Reverend Moon announced as he finished his 40-year course establishing Family Federation in 1945, and officially began his new 40-year course to pioneer the world.
Efforts to construct an ideal village after pioneering Latin America in 1995
After the Sao Paulo Declaration, Reverend Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han started building a billion-square meter farm called “New Hope Farm” in Jardim, Brazil, and stated that he needs to “educate us on how to build a community of love beyond skin color, culture and country,” and that “international cooperation is necessary to deal with the world’s environmental issues.” Rev. Moon has announced his intention to make this place a testing ground to try and develop an ideal, peaceful community. In the Chaco region, which is an undeveloped plain in central South America, the area of the city Leda in Paraguay, which amounts to 1.3 times the area of Seoul, Korea (605㎢), was purchased to pioneer a farm project. From then until fairly recently, the total amount of land the Family Federation has owned in South America adds up to 1.2 million hectares (12,000㎢), which is 20 times the size of Seoul, including the land in Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and others.
The land was ideal for raising livestock because it was fertile, with natural meadows. In addition, it was used as a research base to solve hunger by utilizing abundant marine resources from the nearby Paraguay River. Since 1998, Reverend Moon has built a fish farm, and developed “fish powder” by processing fish into powder-like substances and distributing them to developing countries struggling with starvation, including Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan, through the International Relief and Friendship Foundation (IRFF). A senior pastor of the Family Federation who was sent to pioneer Jardim, Brazil, in 1995 stated, “The reason why Reverend Moon and Dr. Han chose the land of Jardim, Brazil, was not because of economic benefits, but rather for providential reasons, to show a vision of what an ideal community would be like for the future of humanity.” In 2000, five years after Rev. Moon began his pioneering of South America, he hinted at his plans to use part of the frontier for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
Reverend Moon proposed that “All borders in the world should be designated as zones of peace” during the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace’s (IIFWP) General Assembly held at the UN Headquarters in Manhattan, New York, on August 8, 2000. Former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, President of U.N. Economic and Social Council Makarim Wibisono and North Korean Ambassador to the U.N. Lee Hyung-Chul attended the Assembly.
After announcing the idea through a lecture titled, “The Direction for the World and the United Nations,” he especially emphasized his idea of putting Korea’s buffer zone (de-militarized zone DMZ) surrounding the military demarcation line which is 155 miles long, under the UN’s supervision and make it a peace zone, with exhibition halls, museums, education center and a peace park inside. He also notified leaders of North and South Korea that he will donate portions of land in South America for their use in place of the land they may lose as a result of the establishment of the peace parks. An authority of FFWPU says, “North Korea, which was facing food shortages, was quite favorable to the proposal to receive fertile farmlands of South America.”
“Although Reverend Moon’s plan was not realized, it was proven that his plan was not just a groundless concept when President Kim Dae-Jung proposed the peace park in the DMZ plan to the North Korea after the Inter-Korea Summit on June 15, 2000. It was a turning point in which Rev. Moon’s gift of foresight was again acknowledged after the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel proposal,” stated a source from Family Federation.
Taking the lead in solving structural problems in Latin American society
The Family Federation’s exploration of Latin America has expanded not only into farming and fishing enterprises, but also into the entire surrounding society. The representative movements are those of the Confederation of the Associations for the Unification of the Societies of the Americas (CAUSA) and Association for the Unity of Latin America (AULA), which started in the early 1980s. The CAUSA movement, in particular, which marked a major milestone in the Family Federation’s exploration of South America, demonstrated against the atheistic Communist ideology that swept the entire South American region in the 1980s to the 90s. Former heads of state from major countries such as Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil, joined together to prevent the expansion of Communism.
Latin America, at that time had a left-wing majority, due largely to socialism triggered by the Cuban Revolution, as well as radical farmers’ movements, such as redistribution through land reform, which were spreading rapidly. Antipathy against the exploitation of resources by the capitalist entities, such as the U.S., has fueled the spread of leftist ideology. Socialism gained popular support as a means to tackle the structural problems, including starvation and inequality, which has planted its roots deeply in the South American society.
The religiously-organized Catholic liberation theology supported leftist ideology. The foundation for the liberation theology was established as the Roman Catholic Church redefined the social responsibility and importance of the church during the Second Vatican Council held from 1962 to 1965. In particular, the Second Episcopal Conference of Latin America in Medellin, Colombia, soon after, became the decisive factor in adapting Catholicism, which bases its values on working for neighbors and social justice, as the basic spirit.
The CAUSA movement, which revolted against it, faced intense oppression by the Catholic and Socialist camps throughout Latin America; but now it has become a peaceful movement that goes beyond religion and ideology. By January, 2014, the relationship with the Catholic Church had gradually improved, with the International Chairman of UPF Thomas Walsh being invited as a keynote speaker at a seminar held in Vatican City on how to resolve the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
Dr. Hak Ja Han’s Special Emissary and UPF Central America President Chang-Shik Yang stated, “At one time, the left-wing government that started from guerrillas won support from major Latin American countries with radical policies; but now it is changing its direction towards seeking actual benefits,” and also stated that, “Rev. Moon and Dr. Han’s vision of building cooperative relations between the U.S. and the Latin Americas is gradually becoming a reality.”
Recently, education and social contribution of young people and of women are gaining positive responses. The Family Federation acquired the Sorocaba Football Team, a professional team in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as the Cene Soccer Club based in the Pantanal region. The Sorocaba Football Team was promoted to the first division league in just two years, and the Sene Soccer Club achieved remarkable growth by establishing the grand feat of winning six regional leagues. They run a program that aims to support youth education and rebuild the Latin American Indian Village through the two soccer clubs. In the case of the Sorocaba team, international peace movements have been carried by means of soccer, such as vising North Korea and having friendly matches with the North Korean soccer team to improve their soccer skills, and expand soccer throughout Asia.
This wide-range pioneering of Latin America was possible because of the sweat, tears and devotion of numerous unsung pioneers who worked along with Rev. Moon and Dr. Han’s grand conception. Kim Sang-Seok, Chairman of Family Federation Latin America, who was put in charge of the Conference in Latin America, was dispatched to South America in 1994 to seek out a site for pioneering the providence. “In the early days of the pioneering in South America, there was strong antipathy from both Catholicism and Protestantism. Families were falling apart and societal problems, such as drugs and homosexuality, were serious. However, the perception towards Family Federation changed as more and more people sympathized with the continuous family recovery, purity and peace movements. Workers dispatched from Korea and Japan played a major role in this process,” stated Chairman Kim.
In the 1990s, when the New Hope Farm was pioneered, 80 missionaries from 40 countries were sent empty-handed to fight the deadly, tropical environment. In his autobiography, “As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen,” Rev. Moon recalled his days of the pioneering of Jardim, Brazil; “The weather is hot and bugs, whose names I do not know, bite me mercilessly. If anyone saw me, I was a plain farmer walking around without any shoes on. It was something you cannot do by living in a clean, comfortable bed for eight hours, eating three meals and lying in the cool shade of a tree.”
Events in line for the 6th Anniversary of Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Seonghwa
120 Japanese missionaries were sent to pioneer Leda in Paraguay. They built farms by staying in pigsties in a primitive environment where no kind of development was made. Minoru Nakata, a Japanese missionary who was sent at that time was told by Reverend Moon, “From now on, don’t think about ever going back to Japan. If you all experience hell, you will miss and start to believe in heaven.”
Thanks to such efforts, more and more leaders in Latin America have begun to sympathize with the values of Family Federation. “There have been many achievements, such as renowned political leaders like the former President of Paraguay, Federico Franco, acknowledging Family Federation’s values and Unification Principles,” stated Chairman Kim Sang-Seok. The Family Federation believes that the younger generation will be leading Latin America in the future, and is putting a lot of effort into their education and social movements. This is one of the reasons why Youth and Students for Peace (YSP) Latin America was established through this conference. “In the future, groups and organizations that move the young and students will lead the world,” a source with the Family Federation firmly stated.
The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of Reverend Moon’s birth. It is a year of extraordinary significance to the Family Federation. With the 100th anniversary coming up, it is expected that the Family Federation will hold a series of events to shed light on the footprints and achievements of peace movements that brought Reverend Moon and Dr. Han into the spotlight.
On August 27 (July 17 on Lunar calendar), which marks the sixth anniversary of Reverend Moon’s ascension, Reverend Moon’s 6th Seonghwa Anniversary Ceremony and the International Blessing Ceremony will be held at the Cheongshim Peace World Center in Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi Province. About 30,000 people, including political, economic and religious figures from home and abroad, are expected to attend. The Family Federation has been holding festivals to commemorate Rev. Moon’s Seonghwa, following Rev. Moon’s teachings that, “Death is the entrance to the spiritual world to the land of joy and victory, while you carry the fruit you have grown during your life on earth.”
The International Blessing Ceremony, which will be held along with the Seonghwa Ceremony is Family Federation’s long-standing traditional event, which began in 1961 with 36 couples. After Reverend Moon’s Seonghwa, Dr. Hak Ja Han has inherited the traditions as the sole officiant. In addition, cultural performances hailing from different continents, including the Hyojeong Cultural Festival, the International Leadership Conference and international conferences of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), as well as the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD), will also be held.
On this day’s event, a detailed blueprint for the construction of the Peace Road will also be unveiled.