Remaining True to Our Pledge
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon died early Monday morning, September 3, in South Korea. He was 92. We want to thank those scholars who have written to express condolences on his passing, and to issue a statement on behalf of Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA).
Rev. Moon’s numerous international humanitarian and multi-cultural contributions include the founding in Korea in 1973 of the PWPA and in 1983 the founding of PWPA-International. He encouraged and contributed substantially to several major international conferences and publications addressing critical global political, societal, and cultural issues. These included a conference on the coming collapse of the Soviet Union, held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1985, a conference the Future of China held in 1987, a conference on the Future of Liberal Democracies in 1989, and another on the Future of the Family held in 1995.
In December 1983, on short notice after an International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, Reverend Moon called high ranking scholars from 72 countries to organize PWPA International. Gathered in Seoul, they issued a document titled “Our Resolution and Pledge” in which they proclaimed their resolve to work with the Rev. Moon “towards the establishment of a God?centered world of universal fellowship and harmony in which the terrible wounds of the past arising from differences of history, culture, nationality and race will be bound up and healed.”
Following that gathering, Reverend Moon spoke to the new PWPA leadership and others gathered at the Little Angels School, in Seoul, Korea, a school for culture and the arts which he founded, giving them his vision for PWPA. Excerpts that encapsulate this vision follow:
I am pleased to have this opportunity to share with you some of my convictions on the occasion of this International Congress of PWPA. I have long thought that in addition to their scientific achievements, scholars must be pioneers in the realm of conscience, inspiring mankind by their bold and determined actions… I founded the PWPA to be a trailblazing organization at this critical moment in human history, able to mobilize those intellectuals who have devoted their lives to the advancement of human wisdom and enable them to play a leading role in overcoming the dangers of the age and opening new pathways to world peace. The ultimate goal of PWPA is to help create a just and harmonious world order by encouraging scholars to search for new ideas and methods of achieving peace and prosperity. The PWPA should provide scholars and other concerned leaders with the resources they need to solve the fundamental problems facing humanity. I believe that the PWPA should be international, multidisciplinary, future-oriented and action-oriented. No single discipline, no local prescription, can solve the problems facing humanity in this century. Mutual cooperation beyond national and regional boundaries and interdisciplinary study beyond limited specializations are absolutely necessary.
If the world is to overcome its many problems, it needs leaders. I sincerely hope that the members-scholars of the PWPA will participate actively, not passively, in the search for and realization of universal human ideals. The PWPA exists not only for the advancement of the sciences, but also for the practical promotion of the well-being of mankind, thereby differing from most other scholarly institutions. Its members should become social activists, orienting their students in a positive direction, seeking to influence public opinion and playing a leading role in public affairs. I encourage you to grapple, in a non-violent manner, with the most difficult and pressing social and philosophical issues of the age, in order to provide humanity with the leadership it needs to cope with the seemingly insoluble problems it faces…
It is an absolute requirement in this era that education for the coming generation be shaped by the firm moral convictions of their professors, who must communicate a clear sense of values. This must be the basic attitude of educators. From this point of view, the role of a professor is the same as that of a religious leader. We educators must assume the responsibility not only for transmitting facts, but also for sharing with our students the meaning and purpose of human life.
In the nearly 30 years that have passed since Rev. Moon provided this vision to PWPA leaders, the world has changed significantly: the Soviet Union has collapsed. China has become an economic powerhouse. Many of the newly indigenous regimes replacing the former colonial powers in Asia and Africa have not fared well politically and several of the established liberal democracies have been burdened with unsustainable debt and suffer from out-of-control bureaucratic expansion.
During the same years, PWPA chapters were established in over 100 countries, hundreds of conferences have been held, and countless books and other publications have been prepared and issued under PWPA sponsorship. The International Journal on World Peace has become an established journal in the field of peace studies.
Today Reverend Moon’s vision and hopes need to be applied to contemporary problems more than ever. On his passing, PWPA wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the vision and mission set before it, and express its thanks to its Founder for his generous spiritual and material contributions. It is incumbent upon the PWPA today to vigorously continue its several initial missions for advocating the causes of global and inter-religious tolerance and understanding, eradicating poverty and suffering, and challenging the growing scientific knowledge to better serve the causes of societal progress and peace.
Dr. Morton A. Kaplan, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago
Dr. Neil Albert Salonen, President, University of Bridgeport
Dr. Gordon L. Anderson, President, Paragon House Publishers
Dr. Hugh D. Spurgin, President, Bridgeport International Academy
Larry Orman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, University of Bridgeport
Frank Grow, President, CEO Focus Chesapeake
Professor Nicholas N. Kittrie, KStJ, The Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Justice & Peace, Washington D.C.