A New World of Peace
This Week in History, September 7-13
- True Mother becomes the first Korean woman to speak at the United Nations.
- True Father receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Bridgeport and a Doctor Honoris Causa degree.
- True Father saw a new world rising from the devastation of 9/11.
- True Father established the Universal Peace Federation.
September 7, 1993
True Mother Speaks at the United Nations
True Mother gives her address at the UN September 7, 1993.
True Mother delivered the speech “True Parents and the Completed Testament Age” at the United Nations on September 7, 1993. This followed her delivery of the same speech at the U.S. Capitol on July 28 before representatives from 115 congressional offices and was the springboard to her world tour in which she delivered the same message at 25 rallies in Japan in September, on 40 Korean college campuses in October and in 40 nations during November and December. Prior to her Capitol Hill and UN speeches, on April 10, 1993, the movement published “True Parents and the Completed Testament Age” in the newspapers of 160 nations. True Father delivered the “Completed Testament Age” proclamation in 12 U.S. cities during May 1993 and True Mother in 21 more during late May and June. At the UN event, 105 nations sent embassy and consulate representatives, including more than 60 UN ambassadors. His Excellency Stoyan Ganev, president of the UN General Assembly, introduced True Mother. She was the first Korean woman to speak in the United Nations.
September 7, 1995, September 12, 2006
True Father Receives Honorary Doctorates
True Father receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Bridgeport September 7, 1995.
The University of Bridgeport awarded True Father an honorary doctorate on September 7, 1995. In addition to honoring his work as a religious leader, the award was an acknowledgment of his role in saving the financially troubled university in 1992. Dr. Richard Rubenstein, the school president, stated, “Without him, the university would have died.” The head of the faculty council was quoted in The New York Times as saying she was “happy the university could formally thank a benefactor who had given so much.”
The Universidad Santa Maria in Caracas, Venezuela, awarded True Father a Doctor Honoris Causa degree on September 12, 1996, the first anniversary of the founding of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). The university’s vice president, Dr. Carlos Enrique Pena, who conferred the degree, explained, “When I learned about the life and work of Rev. Moon, I felt that it was the sacred duty of our university to offer the highest honor to recognize an extraordinary contribution to the field of human rights.”
September 11, 2001
Attack on America
The terror attacks of September 11, 2001, impacted the Unificationists as it did people worldwide. Prior to 9/11, True Father had called for a 12,000 couple World Clergy Holy Marriage Blessing scheduled for September 22 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The events of 9/11 not only forced the cancellation of the September 22 blessing but also challenged the interreligious and world peace premise upon which it was based. In the days after the World Trade Center’s destruction, Unificationist leaders and American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) clergy who were gathered in New York to prepare for the September 22 Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony, ministered directly to bereaved families as well as to police, firefighters and others at the site. Many went, starting from the first night.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Unificationists looked to True Father for guidance as to its meaning. He was in Kodiak, Alaska, at the time of the attack and learned of it through a note that was passed to him during morning devotions. Dr. Chang Shik Yang, currently the Special Emissary to the Americas, reported then that True Father “remained by himself and prayed” for the next three days, not appearing in public. He then made the decision to cancel the clergy Marriage Blessing and flew to New York on September 18. On arrival, he offered his interpretation of the tragedy. In his words, “Jesus was on the cross, now America stands on the cross of the world.” The question was, how would America respond? According to True Father: “Now is the time to change everything. America and Americans must take the lead in practicing ‘Love your enemy.’” As he saw it, religious leaders needed to take the lead. They “must unite beyond their religion and guide the political leaders of their nations.” He directed Unificationists convene an assembly on “Global Violence: Conflict and Hope” in October, and on November 15 he proclaimed Cheonju Pyeonghwa Tongil Guk (the Nation of Cosmic Peace and Unity). Just as Christianity emerged from the crucifixion and the Unification Church from the rubble of the Korean War, so True Father saw a new world rising from the devastation of 9/11.
September 12, 2005
Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Founded
True Parents at the inauguration of the Universal Peace Federation on September 12, 2005.
True Father established the Universal Peace Federation on September 12, 2005, prior to the United Nations’ 60th anniversary. Its inaugural convocation was held before 376 delegates from 157 nations at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York. Its mission, True Father declared, was “to renew the existing United Nations and provide a new level of leadership as an ‘Abel-type’ United Nations.” As part of the launch, he also proposed a “World Peace King Bridge Tunnel” to “build a passage for transport across the Bering Strait.” He described this as “a truly providential and revolutionary project” and envisioned it as a crucial “link” in “an international highway system connecting the world as a single community.” UPF was a successor organization to the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP, established in 1999). In addition to its UN renewal and Bering Strait initiatives, UPF led the movement’s Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI), which sponsored interfaith “Pilgrimages for Peace,” and its Northeast Asia Peace Initiative (NEAPI), which supported Korean unification.