Making the World Better for Future Generations

2017Sunhak Peace Prize
Award Ceremony

February 3, 2017
Lotte Hotel World, Seoul, Korea
2017 Award Ceremony
2017 Award Ceremony
2017 Award Ceremony
2017 Award Ceremony
2017 Award Ceremony
2017 Award Ceremony
2017 Award Ceremony
2017 Award Ceremony
2017 Award Ceremony
  • Sunhak Peace Prize Introductory Video
    선학평화상 소개영상 썸네일
  • Award Ceremony Video
    시상식 전체영상 썸네일

Welcoming Address

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Dr. Il Sik Hong
Committee Chair

Your Excellencies, distinguished guests,

Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon! Members of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee! Leaders of the Universal Peace Federation and the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation, distinguished members of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, Participants in the World Summit 2017, Ladies and Gentlemen. Good morning to you all.

I sincerely thank you for attending the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony and helping to make it a success. Furthermore, I would like to thank the current and former heads of state, parliamentarians, legislators, and various other representatives of civil society here with us today. I feel particularly honored to host this memorable ceremony together with our founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.

Above all, I would like to congratulate and express deep gratitude to this year’s laureates, two outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to promoting peace for the sake of humanity. Congratulations Dr. Gino Strada. Congratulations Dr. Sakena Yacoobi.

The Sunhak Peace Prize was founded at the behest of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the wife of the late Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, to honor and preserve his ideals and achievements. Rev. and Mrs. Moon have devoted their lives to promoting a global community founded on the principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values. In particular, Rev. and Mrs. Moon have emphasized the need to develop a global civilization of peace based on a love for humanity that transcends divisions of race, nationality, ideology, and religion. Throughout their lives, they have advocated and led a movement whose aim is to create a world without borders.

In many ways in recent decades, the founder’s foresight can be felt in today’s world where barriers are being lowered, and more nations live together respectfully as neighbors to one another. There are some indications that we are moving toward becoming one global village. Indeed, I myself have also proposed the theory of cultural territory to the academic community, arguing that nations should focus on developing closer ties based not on geographical territory but building villages based on culture. Unfortunately, in recent times, national border fortifications are being strengthened as a means of dealing with the record-breaking global refugee crisis. Fleeing the terror and starvation of war, refugees are crossing oceans and seeking refuge in other nations; yet, when faced with strong anti-refugee sentiments, these refugees cannot help but fall into even greater despair.

Dear distinguished guests! 

The refugee issue should not simply be seen as a reality peculiar to modern times. We must approach and understand this issue from the higher vantage point that is the history of civilizations. Diaspora, throughout the ages, has been one of the oldest adaptation strategies of humankind. Migration is a strategy for survival. Hence, going forward, migration will be an even more important issue in the effort to establish a world of peace for all. The Sunhak Peace Prize Committee selected these two laureates with the expectation that humanitarianism and morality will be given the highest priority.

The international order in the 21st century must not be a struggle among the super-powers to expand their spheres of influence, but should instead be reorganized to promote the benefit of weaker countries and those in disadvantaged positions. The world should be characterized by righteousness ruling on a foundation of peace and respect for democracy and human rights. Throughout their lives, the founders have emphasized that the 21st century will be a century of peace only when all people remove divisive barriers from their hearts, and practice compassion for all the people of the world.

The two outstanding humanitarians we honor today, Dr. Gino Strada and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, have devoted their lives to providing basic and fundamental solutions to the refugee crisis. In order for the world to become a peaceful community, no one should be excluded from the right to medical aid and education.  

The world in the 21st century must overcome an order that is based on the logic of force, which begets enmity, conflict and discord, and establish itself as a community of peace and coexistence, reconciliation and cooperation based on universal principles. Under the banner of "Making the World Better for Future Generations," the Sunhak Peace Prize will continue to recognize and honor courageous and righteous people who live for the sake of others, loving all human beings as members of one human family.

I would like to thank you again for joining us today and wish you and your families good health, peace and prosperity.

Thank you.

Acceptance Speech

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Sakena Yacoobi
2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate

I am very honored to be chosen as one of the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize laureates along with Dr. Gino Strada. I thank our host, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, members of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee and my family and colleagues. Let us not forget, this prize established by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, honors and represents the peace ideology of the late Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon. Reverend Moon believed we are “one global family.” This is true. We are living in a time where peace, love and wisdom needs to be at the forefront. God’s love does not discriminate by race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. Reverend Moon reminded us of this. We must embrace peace as the road to resolving conflicts, building gender equality, and respect for all human beings.

I, myself, became a refugee in 1979 after the invasion of my country. My family all became refugees. I know what it feels like to be in a place where all of your rights have been taken away from you. I know how it feels to lose everything you have, including your dignity and self-confidence.

That is why I founded the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), and that is why I have chosen to work with Afghan refugees and the resettlement of Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan for the last 26 years. I wanted to find a way to help Afghans rebuild their self-respect and self-confidence; I wanted them to be able to trust again, rebuild their communities and reestablish their core values; I wanted them to be able to live in peace and harmony and have a sustainable way of life.

We are living in a world where people are being judged by religion, ethnicity, race, and gender. People are being labeled wrongly and being targeted by hate groups. We must rise above the hate. We must use our voices for good. We need to remove the injustice and eliminate poverty. War is not the answer to any problem. We must work together collectively to bring peace in this world. In order to do this, we need to share our knowledge and build a support system that provides sustainable results.

We see all around the world, millions of dollars are poured into countries that create an environment that does not bring peace or sustainability. The money is given to the government or organizations with no system in place to progressively develop the country. And sadly, the countries that need the most critical help are ignored. I truly believe that if we want to make a difference, we must set forth a creative program that involves the people. We must reach out to all community members; women, men and children. We need to give them all the necessary tools in life. We need to address education, health, skills, job opportunities, economics, environment, and above all human rights as it relates to responsibilities, values, compassion, love, and peace.

As I have shared previously with some of the United Nations and European Union organizations, when we give an opportunity to people and ask them what they know, what their skills are, how much they can give, you would be surprised to see the outcome. People want to feel valued. They want their voice to be heard. When they are heard, people gain confidence and want to take an active role in your program to ensure the success of the community and country. From the beginning you gain an important asset - the support and trust of the people. The human resources of the community will serve as the foundation that will build up the community and bring the people together.

When you share love, compassion and wisdom, you provide humanity with an indestructible base for living in peace and harmony that no one can take away. You create an environment where everyone respects each other’s rights and appreciates different cultures, traditions, religions and ideas. With love, compassion and wisdom as your base, then everyone globally can live in harmony and peace.

Thank you all.

Acceptance Speech

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Gino Strada
2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate

Ladies and gentlemen, It is an honour for me to receive the Sunhak Peace Prize, particularly in times increasingly marked by war and violence when speaking of peace is perceived as unrealistic and utopian. I wish to thank Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for devoting their lives to achieving universal peace and promoting the fundamental values of peace, dialogue and cooperation in the name of the human family.

Now more than ever, there is a compelling need for building a better world for future generations and sustainable peace. I have personally seen the atrocities of war and its devastating impact. I have spent the last thirty years of my life in war-torn countries, operating on patients in Rwanda, Peru, Ethiopia, Somalia, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan. In these and other countries, EMERGENCY – the humanitarian organization I founded 23 years ago - is committed to providing free and high-quality medical and surgical care to the victims of war, whose effects are not limited to the wounded and refugees, but have severe repercussions on the future of entire generations.

Many of the conflicts that are currently ravaging countries reducing populations to misery and hunger are often undeclared or deliberately silenced. The massacres are increasing, to the point that it is hard to remember them all. For most of us, they seem so far and alien from our daily life. It is so easy to listen to the news without realizing that after every bomb, after every shell there are people struggling to survive. Ninety percent of the victims of the wars of our time are civilians, people equal to us, with the same needs, the same hopes and the same desire for their beloved ones: living safely, staying together, and being protected.

According to recent estimates, “eight individuals own as much as the poorest 3.6 billion people. Meanwhile, every day 1 in 9 people go to bed hungry.” Are we still surprised that people increasingly embark on perilous journeys and strive to find a better future? Last year over 60 million people were forced to leave their homes, looking for protection and safety. They had the dream of living in peace, but we are deaf to their hopes. “What did I do wrong?” a Somali guy landing in Sicily asked me. I could not give him an answer.

Even though migrants arriving in Europe represent a small portion of the migrant population scattered across the globe, the so-called “migration crisis” has shed light on the hypocrisy of the European approach to human rights. On the one hand, we firmly promote the principles of peace, democracy and fundamental rights, while, on the other, we are building a fortress made of walls and cultural barriers, denying access and basic help to thousands of people fleeing war and poverty.

The case of Afghanistan serves an emblematic example. In the last 15 years, Afghanistan has been devastated by a new war. Every year in our hospitals around the country we register a new record of war wounded, one third of them are children. Afghanistan has been the source country of the second-highest number of refugees worldwide (only recently surpassed by Syria), with almost 3 million Afghans living mainly in Pakistan and Iran. This tragedy has been ignored for many years by the Western countries and has become a priority only when Afghan refugees have turned to Europe as their final destination. In response to this increasing flow, rather than investing in welcoming and integration programs and addressing the root causes of the conflict, European leaders have signed an agreement with the Afghan government to legally deport asylum seekers back to Afghanistan in exchange for financial aid.

The broken lives of all of them urge us to reflect, ask us to take action to get out of the spiral of war and violence. If we wish to work for the survival of humankind, the abolition of war is necessary and inevitable. It falls within the mandate of the UN, founded over 70 years ago, but still today very little has been done to fulfill their core mandate.

EMERGENCY has come to believe that the abolition of war is the only realistic and humane solution to end human suffering and promote universal human rights. With this objective in mind, EMERGENCY is working to launch an international campaign involving world-renowned personalities as well as ordinary citizens. It might sound utopian, but in fact it is a realistic and achievable objective. It is up to the world citizens to take action and conquer peace. Renouncing the logic of war and practicing fraternity and solidarity is not only desirable but urgently needed if we want the human experiment to continue. Today I am very happy to have the chance to warmly invite all of you to join us in this effort.

Thank you.

Congratulatory Speech

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H.E. Anote Tong
Former Kiribati President

As is customary in my country, allow me to share with you all our Kiribati traditional blessing of “Kam na bane ni mauri,” “May we all be blessed with good health.”

It is with great pleasure that I covey warm greetings to all who have gathered for the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony, and I congratulate this year’s laureates on receiving this prestigious and much deserved award. On behalf of all those who have gathered here today, thank you, Dr. Gino Strada and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, for your life-long dedication to the wellbeing of refugees and war victims.

I am particularly honored to recognize these laureates, as their accomplishments are very much in the spirit of the vision of the founder, Rev. and Mrs. Moon, to build “One Family Under God,” and compliment their global work for peace and development. I am convinced that they will go on to make even greater strides toward peace for future generations.

Dear friends,

Today we have gathered here, not only to celebrate the great achievements of these extraordinary people, but also to participate in this discussion and to exchange views on one of the major global issues of our era. The world continues to be affected by major forced displacements. Rising sea levels and serious food insecurity, currently worsened by climate change and other calamities, is particularly affecting refugees. Indeed I also have dedicated my life to addressing this issue, to ensure that the rights of my people, and those in similar situations at the front line of this global calamity, are upheld. We face a very real possibility that our islands, our homes, our identity as a people, may cease to exist within this century, rendering us all the more vulnerable to becoming climate refugees.  

These are not easy times for any of us. The challenges are truly unprecedented. At the same time we know that it is our moral obligation and duty to help the refugees coming to our shores. These people are not fleeing their homes by choice. They are fleeing because they were forced to. Migration must be recognized as a shared responsibility of countries of origin, transit, and destination. We need to strengthen the resilience of both the host and the refugee communities by investing in job opportunities, education, infrastructure and social protection. The refugee crisis requires a global response, and therefore we must enhance the global effort through cooperation and coordination between all actors.

All of this reminds us that we need to work together. Collective action is not a luxury. It is a prerequisite for effective policies. Being a co-recipient of the inaugural prize in 2015 gave me great hope that the world has taken heed of my people’s struggles. I am glad that the Sunhak Committee recognizes the importance of the oceans in food security, environmental integrity, and overall socioeconomic development, not just for refugees but the world over, as essential prerequisites for a peaceful society. Since then, I have been given numerous opportunities to speak at events organized by the Universal Peace Federation, and through their network, I have been given a new window by which to spread my message. This has encouraged me all the more to pursue my life-long goals of peace and tranquility through addressing issues related to climate change.

To that end, I am certain that you will find this experience most rewarding. Iwish to close my message by expressing my best wishes for a memorable event and stimulating convention by sharing with you all our traditional blessings of “Te Mauri, Te Raoi, and Te Tabomoa; health, peace, and prosperity.

Thank you.

Press Release


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    2017 Award Ceremony
  • 수상자 연설 썸네일 1
    [Performing] Jae Rim Choi & Little Angels - I Believe
  • 수상자 연설 썸네일 1
    [Performing] Jae Rim Choi - Bring him home
  • 수상자 연설 썸네일 1
    [Performing] Little Angels - Tomorrow
  • 수상자 연설 썸네일 1
    [Performing] Kolleen Park - Nature Boy
  • 수상자 연설 썸네일 1
    [Performing] Kolleen Park & Jae Rim & Little Angels - The Prayer


Sunhak Peace Prize

Future generations refer not only to our own physical descendants
but also to all future generations to come.

Since all decisions made by the current generation will either positively
or negatively affect them, we must take responsibility for our actions.