Service has been an integral part of all of Dr. Hyun Jin Moon’s peace efforts, from Service for Peace, which he founded in 2002, to the Global Peace Foundation. Dr. Moon has described service as a powerful peacemaking tool that puts the value of living for the sake of others into action, and starts a process of personal transformation and social harmony.
A recent blog post by the Global Peace Foundation referenced an article by Fortune Magazine that wrote, “Service – whether elected, military, faith-based, or in the non-profit sector – brings people from across the country and across the aisle together to see eye to eye and learn from each other as they work for a shared purpose.”
The article pointed to a recent Pew Research report that showed the United States to be the most politically and ideologically divided as it has been in the last two decades. Fortune called on the millennial generation to engaged in more service to heal the rift and re-engage in public leadership. The article also pointed to a study by American University that said one in ten college students would choose to be mayor, even if the pay were the same amount as a business owner, sales person or teacher.
Political divide, inter and intra-religious conflict, ethnic tensions and apathy are international issues. Aisyah Hanah of Malaysia University of Science and Technology observed, “Youth nowadays are segregate in so many ways, they need to re-learn to have empathy and the deep sense of inter-connectedness.”
Global Peace Foundation combines interfaith cooperation, strengthening the family and service to mitigate extremism, assuage tensions along identity-based fault lines and build moral and innovative leadership. As Dr. Moon has identified, service is a powerful hands-on tool that puts universal values learned in the family and faith communities into action. This process transforms individuals and breaks down barriers.
The blog on the Global Peace Foundation featured testimonies from a recent Global Peace Volunteer camp that was held in Malaysia. The leadership camps held across Asia Pacific in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia use outdoor challenge programs, leadership skills workshops and service projects to raise young peacemakers.
GPV Camps provide a place for participants to serve together, grow together, and become leaders together. A participant of the Malaysia program reflected, “At this camp you learn to step back and let other people step in. And as a group you collectively achieve better results. And I think that is the start of leadership that I want to pursue.”
Beyond leadership and self-development, the experience of serving together is a real experience of peacebuilding. Nadeyya Rahmat a participant of a GPV camp in Malaysia reflected, “My perception of other religions is changed. Despite different faith and practices we have a creator. Hence, there shouldn’t be an issue with religion.” Service transcends traditional divides and unites individuals as they serve based on common values and experiences. One begins to realize that everyone in the human family cries and laughs in the same language, and that everyone in the human family is family.
These testimonies demonstrate that every small or large act of service begins a process that builds out into lasting and global peace. And that service should be considered a powerful tool for peacebuilding on all levels, whether in the community, the nation or the world.