The following address was delivered by Dr. Moon at the Asia-Pacific Conference for the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) held at the Changwon Convention Center on October 29, 2011.
I was very impressed with Dr. Lee’s talk on the importance of interfaith harmony and dialogue especially in the post 9/11 era. And I was very impressed with his emphasis on the need to educate a generation of young leaders to carry on a new global ethic of volunteering that can help transform not only the respective nations of which the participants are members of but the region of Southeast Asia more importantly.
I will just like to explain about how I founded Service For Peace. I think the name Service For Peace kind of explains what the mission of that organization is about. Because the way that I look at service is that service is a means to an end. The question is what end is the end that we wish to accomplish? For me, when I started Service For Peace, the end that I would like to see accomplished whether it be in an individual, in a family, in a community, in society, in a nation, in the world was that certain end or the conclusion of eventually coexistence, harmony, and most importantly peace.
Being a person of great faith my affinity to serve comes from my faith in which human beings are the sons and daughters of our almighty God and therefore are people that have the ability, or people that have the potential, people who have the capacity to be able to do altruistic things because they are essentially spiritual in nature.
So for me my journey especially in the field of volunteering, as was mentioned previously by the two former speakers, came from a spiritual orientation rooted in a deep fundamental ethic, universal ethic that has been the basis of time-worn wisdom and traditions from countless years of human growth and civilization.
I am glad to report that from those intentions Service For Peace after ten years, this year marks the ten year anniversary of Service for Peace, has become a global entity recognized by the UN, as well as working with the US government in cooperation with the National Day of Service, as well as continues here in this nation of Korea, has garnered the support and the partnership of many, many, service based organizations, as well as service intended volunteering individuals here in this nation of Korea.
What I am most proud of is the efforts that we have made in terms of bringing the culture of serving others to our brothers and sisters in North Korea. Service for Peace is the one of the first organizations that pioneered not just offering foodstuffs and humanitarian aid to the North but pioneered the ethic of service and volunteering. Because as you actually engage with the indigenous people what is actually happening, as former speakers have mentioned, is that through engaging we are actually learning and teaching about the ethic of serving others, of living for the sake of others and how that can build better and more sustainable communities, families, and even nations.
I would like to say that especially in this IAVE conference, which is a deep honor for me to come and attend, that you are all very special people on the frontline of making fundamental changes. You know volunteering is an individual act. Nobody told me to go and serve a different community, different family, or different nation. You are doing it because you are guided by some – let’s say passion, some belief that serving your mankind can ultimately bring about not only your spiritual enrichment, enrichment to your individual lives but to the lives of others.
This is a very personal act can have the potential for larger consequences down the road, consequences that can have positive or negative influence. In the past many times organizations that tried to offer service through humanitarian aid failed to recognize the importance of education and the need to serve others. So I would like to state, many times service organization in the past have the orientation of offering somebody a fish instead of teaching them how to fish. So as we look at the service world today, many in the developing world today wonder whether or not all the foreign aid they’ve been given to their respective nations have truly been productive or not. This is really where I believe that a higher understanding and ethic needs to be established in recognizing the importance of service as a means to an end.
We’re not serving just for the sake of serving. We are serving in order to build a better world, to meet fundamental needs of human beings around the world. This is really where we need to ask the question, “What is the end that we are trying to achieve?”
For me, I believe that service will play a pivotal role in changing the global ethic that currently is in the world. I really emphasize the importance of principles and values. Another organization that I founded, the Global Peace Festival Foundation, is rooted on the vision of building One Family under God, and is emphasizing the importance of principles and values as the pillars upon which that vision can be substantiated.
It has a tri-fold platform of building interfaith partnerships, of restoring the family, because the family is the fundamental institution of any society, nation and the world, and more importantly utilizing service as a vehicle to bring about sustainable community development in regions around the world.
I am glad to report that these efforts have brought about tremendous changes in the nations and the regions that we have been participating in that is aligned with the challenges the world is currently facing today.
As service leaders we need to deal with the interfaith issue. Here in Southeast Asia it is more a reality than any other region in the world. As service leaders we need to deal with the issue of the breakdown of the family and the traditional ideal of the family all around the world, especially in the developing nations of the third world economies. As service leaders we need to recognize that service is a vehicle to an end. That we need to have a goal orientation in terms of our service initiatives.
So with that, I am deeply honored and deeply touched that I am invited to speak at such an illustrious gathering of leaders in your own right. I am sure that you come from different backgrounds, different faith communities, different nationalities, different ethnic groups, etc. Yet we hold one common aspiration and vision together, and that common aspiration and vision is that truly through serving others, through loving our human brothers and sisters that we can make a fundamental change in the world. And thus I want to applaud you for all of your efforts and also specifically to really think, to challenge ourselves. How I act and serve can not only transform myself and the constituents of that which I am a part of as a group but the community in which you are engaged in, the nations that you are engaged in, the regions that you are engaged in to bring about a better humanity a more sustainable solution for this 21st century.
Thank you very much.
Learn more about Dr. Moon’s efforts to promote service and volunteerism here: https://www.hyunjinmoon.com/service-and-volunteerism/