The culminating events of the 2023 Global Peace Convention were held in Manila, Philippines from December 10-14, 2023. The Main Plenary was on December 13th, during which Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon delivered the keynote address.

In 2023, the bi-annual Global Peace Convention was held as a series of interactive events, forums, and programs under the theme, “One Family Under God: Vision for National Transformation and a Civilization of Peace.” Unlike previous Conventions, the program’s concurrent sessions were held in an hybrid online and in-person format, which allowed for wider global engagement over a six-week period spanning from November 1 to December 14.

Find a transcript of Dr. Moon’s speech below.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Mabuhay!  Thank you for joining us here in Manila, Philippines for this very significant Global Peace Convention, our first with an in-person gathering since the COVID pandemic. How much the world has changed in the meantime!

I want to thank all our partners and stakeholders here and from around the globe who are adding their insights and expertise in the key issue areas that we are tackling together. And I especially want to express my great appreciation to our Filipino hosts, colleagues, long-time friends and volunteers for their spirit, sincerity and dedication to the cause of building One Family under God.

The theme for this Global Peace Convention – as well as for every one of our Conventions going forward – is “One Family under God: Vision for National Transformation and a Civilization of Peace.” I ask you all to pause for a moment and reflect upon the scope and significance of that theme. Some might think it far too ambitious, but the world is in crisis and calls for a great vision to chart a path forward.

The Cold War and Loss of Spiritual Roots

Ladies and gentlemen, we see confusion and conflict all around us today, in domestic and international politics, economics, religion, and the realm of ideas. Old certainties are being called into question everywhere, and the methods of the past are proving incapable of meeting the challenges of the present. The world of peace and harmony that we hoped would emerge in the last decade of the 20th century with the collapse of the Soviet Union has failed to appear.

The roots of this confusion lie in the over-simplified framework of the Cold War. It was framed as an ideological war between two competing political and economic systems – democracy and free markets on the one side and tyranny and communism on the other. The West proclaimed the end of the Cold War as the triumph of their systems over its rivals, often over-emphasizing their merits.

However, those victorious voices had forgotten the spiritual foundations upon which westerndemocracy stood. There is no inherent virtue in either democracy or capitalism, for they are systems. It is the aspirations, principles and values that one pours into them that instills theirunique quality. In the case of the West, it was its Judeo-Christian heritage that defined its unique character.

In the absence of an overarching and unifying moral vision, democracies and free markets simply become an arena where competing interest groups game the system and vie for an advantage at the expense of their rivals. The potential for “mob-rule” and the tyranny of the majority had always been a weakness of democracy going all the way back to the ancient Greeks and later the Roman civilization. There have been many examples in the modern era where democratically elected governments have gradually extended their power and became autocratic regimes, most notably the rise of the Nazi party during the Weimar Republic in Germany.

The American Founding and God’s Sovereignty

The American Founders understood that the success of any political system was intimately tied to the moral character of its citizens. John Adams, the second U.S. president, famously said,“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The 4th U.S. president, James Madison wrote that the Constitution requires “sufficient virtue among men for self-government,” otherwise, “nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another.”

Such views were the common understanding among that generation who were heavily influenced by Enlightenment philosophers. They find their clearest expression in the second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence, in which America’s Founding Fathers sought to assert their freedoms in the face of an obdurate British monarchy.

There they explained the foundation of their claim, declaring that all human beings are “endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights” among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These immortal words articulated a fundamental truth: that our essential rights and freedoms come from a transcendent Creator, and that no human institution or government can revoke or restrict them.

Without recognizing a transcendent source for these ideals, imperfect human beings and their institutions will inevitably curtail them, citing some greater collective purpose decreed by the almighty state. The American founders clearly understood such flaws in human nature; they countered human claims to ultimate authority with the sovereignty of God.

The United States thus became a new type of nation, founded upon an idea, rooted in the JudeoChristian principles that permeated the culture. That founding idea was the political expression of a deeper understanding of the relationship between God and human beings – that we are created in the image of God, who is the Source of our value and unalienable rights.  The American aspiration to become One Nation under God, and thus be the “land of the free,” was directly linked to the understanding that freedom is the God-given right of all people.

God and the universal principles He created must be at the center of human existence. Recognizing and living by those principles creates true human value and dignity. That is the attainment of true freedom, and the meaning of living under the sovereignty of God. 

The Current State of Conflict and Confusion

Assertive statist regimes such as China and Russia clearly reject this framework and actively challenge it. Despite the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Union, both governments uplift the power of the state above all else, with little regard for the rights of their own citizens or even of their neighbors.

Such systems cannot be sustained indefinitely. In the end they undermine their own authority by exercising it with total disregard for their citizens. Nevertheless, they remain a constant threat to peace and freedom, and their advances make it more important than ever for democracies to affirm the source of true freedoms and rights.

“One Nation under God” was meant to be a model on the national level of the world God desireswhere people of all religions, nationalities, races, cultures and ethnicities could live together as one. In America today we are witnessing what happens when “under God” is taken out of daily life. Society loses its moral compass, as well as its sense of absolute values rooted intruth, righteousness and goodness. Losing its unifying center, it fragments and devolves into different identity groups fighting each other for power.

The same phenomenon is happening on the global level. Globalization promised to deliver a future of peace and prosperity, but it was focused purely on material values and needs. Understandably, it faced a serious backlash, because it failed to recognize the importance of the moral and spiritual dimension necessary for an ethical and cohesive global society.  As a direct result, religiously framed extremist and reactive nationalist movements have sprung up among groups who fear that globalism will erase their cultural traditions and local identities. That is why the world is fragmenting around us, lacking any overarching, harmonizing vision.

One Family under God: Forging a New Global Identity

Clearly, we need to forge a new global identity that can embrace and harmonize the positive elements of more localized identities. Such an identity must be rooted in the universal principles that all the great spiritual and ethical traditions share.

The world’s great cultural spheres stand upon the foundation of the major faith traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. The elements of truth which they express was a cohesive force that bonded local societies to have civilizational impact.  The time is ripe for a movement that can unite these traditions on universal principles and values and establishes a similar civilizational impact on a global scale; that builds on the American ideal of One Nation under God and expands it to build One Family under God on the world level.

We all share common DNA. Beyond our external differences, we are, essentially, all members of one human family who share the same origin, the Creator God. Our Convention theme is bold. It is visionary. It is challenging. It can be a powerful catalyst for what humanity needs today: A transformative movement aligned with universal principles that renews hearts and minds, inspiring vibrant new and lived experience of how we relate with each other – to our fellow human beings, to the varied cultures of the human family, to the natural world that sustains us, and, ultimately, to the One God who is the source of our being and in whose image we are made.

All of these aspirations are contained in our simple yet profound vision statement “One Family under God.”  The pursuit and achievement of these aspirations can lead to the transformation of nations, guided by transcendent principles and the values grounded in them, and the emergence of a civilization of peace. The vision of One Family under God shows us the pathway to true global unity in diversity and is the basis for future peace and prosperity.

Building Models for National Transformation

Realizing such an auspicious dream is no simple task; it takes concerted action by those who embrace the dream and make the cause their own. Already the work is underway, through the initiatives of Global Peace Foundation and our many partners, developing effective models to transform communities and nations. Those initiatives are engaging moral and innovative leaders and utilizing a multisector, values-based approach with remarkable impacts, demonstrating that the vision of One Family under God can indeed be the catalyst to transform nations.

Here in the Philippines, GPF has long worked with the Department of Education and other stakeholders to infuse character education, youth leadership development, and service learning into the educational experience of Filipino students. Philippines is becoming a global leader in transforming education. Just yesterday here at the Global Peace Convention, key educators announced the launch of Transforming Education 2050, a new global initiative promoting a practical plan for equipping the new generation to become moral and innovative citizens.

On the divided Korean peninsula, tremendous momentum is building for major breakthroughs for peaceful reunification, based on the Korean Dream framework as outlined in my book of that name. The Korean Dream movement that I am guiding is spearheaded by Action for Korea United (AKU), a coalition of civil society activists, organizations, NGOs and associations that represents millions of South Koreans. To date, we have more than a thousand partners united in the largest grassroots movement for unification in the history of South Korea.

Central to our work around the world is engaging youth and building character, and I have always stressed the importance of learning through experience. At our first Global Peace Convention in 2009 held here in Manila, I called for the creation of a Global Peace Corps. And I am very happy to announce that today we are launching that Global Peace Corps to be an important force in transforming nations and addressing global challenges.

The goal for Global Peace Corps is to tap into the idealism of youth and give it the tools to become the moral and innovative leaders who can promote social transformation through service, development, and peacebuilding projects.

As a first major initiative beginning in 2024, I am calling for Global Peace Corps volunteers to support the Korean Dream campaign for building a new Korea that is free, unified and a global model for peace. Imagine if young leaders from throughout Asia and around the world go to Korea and join with Korean youth in this great cause; amazing breakthroughs are possible, with enormous positive impacts for peace and prosperity for the region and entire world.

A unified Korea in which the vision of the Korean Dream is given practical expression will be a new nation of high ideals.  It will be a powerful witness to the fundamental principles expressed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence as well as being deeply rooted in its own historic cultural identity. In short, it will draw on the best lessons from the West while also looking to the ancient wisdom of Asia for new insights in the 21st century.


Today we stand at a crossroads that will impact the future in profound ways. The choices we make today about the principles and values that will direct our lives, societies and nations, will determine whether humanity takes the path toward peace and human flourishing, or to further conflict and chaos.

In particular, the true spiritual leaders among the great faith traditions should take up this charge as a divine commission. I challenge such leaders to come out of their separate religious boxes and work together to make the world of God’s original ideal a reality.

The work of the Global Peace Foundation, motivated by our compelling vision and rooted in universal principles and values, is more needed today than ever before. We have made important strides in our foundational work so far. Now I urge you to redouble your commitment to building a future where the ideals and principles we uphold are put into living practice. The time is short. The need is great. Let us take up our tools and get to work.

Thank you and may God bless you and your families.