World leaders talk global issues at Rally of Hope

Millions of viewers from 150 countries joined the live online broadcast of the 5th Rally of Hope sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) on Saturday, February 27.

The virtual event featured world-class entertainment and globally renowned leaders including Cape Verde President Jorge Carlos Fonseca, Guyana Prime Minister Mark Phillips and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (2017–2021).

Others included United Nations World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley, City of Refuge Church Bishop Noel Jones, South Africa President F.W. de Klerk (1989–1994), India Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari (2007–2017). Oxford Vaccine co-developer Dr. Sarah Gilbert and East Timor President Xanana Gusmão (2002–2007).

UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon shared an inspiring message of hope in her Founder’s Address, as speakers focused on key global issues—including COVID-19, race relations, poverty, and inequality—under the theme “Building Partnerships for Peace Based on Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity, and Universal Values.”

Nearly two million people worldwide registered for the 5th Rally of Hope, with viewership reaching 320 million people on more than 455 platforms.

Dr. Moon emphasized the importance of global peace and unity to prevail over the world’s challenges, calling for citizens to cultivate a “sense of reverence” for our God-given blessings and fulfill our responsibilities by creating ideal families.

“Let us join hands in making a new resolve to advance God’s providence today,” said Dr. Moon.

“If the Korean Peninsula can be reunified and become one people, and if all of the Asia Pacific can be united into a heavenly civilization and connect the entire world, we can become a force for good that will expand to all of the continents and oceans of the world . . . . I encourage each of you to join me in marching forward victoriously.”

Bishop Noel Jones quoted the Beatitudes in his opening prayer and peace message, saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God,” and cultivating “the love for peace … is the function of those who walk with God.”

He noted that February 28 marked the birthdays of Dr. Moon and her late husband, the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, as well as the 30th anniversary of their historic 1991 visit and talks with Kim Il Sung to “encourage the North Korean leader to bring peace” to the Korean Peninsula.

Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said, “A unified Korean Peninsula would contribute greatly to a more stable, peaceful Pacific region and that goal is within reach.”

“We will stand firm against our common adversaries, even as we work in good faith to turn our adversaries into friends,” said Vice President Pence.

“In so doing, I believe we can lay a foundation to bring about the peaceful unification of Korea within our lifetime. That vision of freedom, peace, and prosperity is the same vision the people of the United States and the Republic of Korea have shared for nearly 70 years: A Korea united by the universal values of human dignity, liberty, and economic freedom.”

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency working to end global hunger, knows from its work that, “where peace exists, fewer children go to bed hungry,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

“We exist to serve our brothers and sisters in need. In other words, to love our neighbor wherever they may be.”

The program assisted some 114 million people in more than 80 countries last year, earning the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

Health care, such as a vaccine for COVID-19, is also aimed at “protecting each other” and “saving lives,” said Oxford Vaccine co-developer Dr. Sarah Gilbert, whose vaccinology work in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom has garnered world attention.

“The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective, and it is approved for use in almost 60 countries,” she said.

“The values that resulted in this vaccine being made available align with those of the Universal Peace Federation. This is a vaccine for the world … to protect each other and ourselves.”

Other world leaders outlined the necessities for global peace.

“Thirty-five years ago, the situation that confronted us in South Africa appeared to be hopeless,” said F.W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa and 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner with the late South African President Nelson Mandela.

South Africa was isolated, filled with unrest, protests, lawlessness, and under siege by pro-communist forces before having its first fully inclusive election in 1994, leading to the inauguration of President Mandela and “the adoption of a truly inclusive and democratic constitution,” said Mr. de Klerk.

Challenges continued, “but above all, we have learned the importance of never losing hope.”

“What does a future built on peace look like?” asked Guyana Prime Minister Mark Phillips. The answer lies in “world leaders, decision makers, and even religious leaders joining to collectively plan and develop ways to respond to the requirements of peacebuilding … and building strong partnerships.”

“The challenges being addressed by [the 5th Rally of Hope] go beyond national borders and address concerns which are critical for human well-being,” said Mohammad Hamid Ansari, former vice president of India.

Cape Verde President Jorge Carlos Fonseca said, “More than just the mere absence of war, peace, as a value and as an asset, is a blessing that is achieved through tolerance, solidarity, and respect for people’s differences.”

He added that entrepreneurship among youth is becoming “extremely important,” and said, “I believe that in order to build a better world, to strengthen democracy and encourage citizenship, it is not only the economy that is important; values are also fundamental and … change must begin now.”

“There will be no peace for people who do not take ownership of their own destiny and who do not work together to achieve it,” said Xanana Gusmão, former president of East Timor.

“I can say with certainty that fair peace means much more than the absence of conflict. It is paramount to also free people from hunger, disease and poverty,” he said, adding that peace and development go hand in hand.

The Rally of Hope series, launched in August 2020, is dedicated to “building a unified world of peace,” said UPF Chairman Dr. Thomas G. Walsh.

UPF, which was founded in 2005 by Reverend Moon and Dr. Moon, has chapters and programs worldwide and is an NGO in General Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.