Stressing their shared moral and spiritual roots, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Chairman Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon called for closer cooperation between the nations of North and South America, in Asuncion, Paraguay, on June 11, 2013. “Leaders in both the U.S. and in Latin America need to understand the import and opportunity that can be found in the mutual relationships of the Americas,” he told participants at the international conference on “Government, Ethics, and Development.”
“Most importantly, enduring relationships that yield good results must be based upon ethical principles and shared values, for these provide the foundation that fosters mutual respect, collaborative efforts, and shared benefits.”
The one-day conference was sponsored by Instituto de Desarrollo del Pensamiento Patria Soñada, a GPF-supported research institute in Asunción, and Global Peace Foundation Paraguay, with support of the Latin American Presidential Mission, Esquipulas Foundation of Guatemala, the Leadership Conference of Uruguay, and others. The conference included the participation of former Presidents Juan Carlos Wasmosy of Paraguay, Vinicio Cerezo and Alvaro Colom of Guatemala, Ernesto Samper of Colombia, and Carlos Mesa of Bolivia.
The program presented sessions of the challenge of consolidating democracy in Latin America; economic investment to advance stable democratic governance and social development; the tension between democracy and populism; and economic investment to moderate conflict and instability.
“Enduring relationships that yield good results must be based upon ethical principles and shared values, for these provide the foundation that fosters mutual respect, collaborative efforts, and shared benefits.”
Dr. Jose Altamirano, Director of Instituto de Desarrollo del Pensamiento Patria Soñada, said that the incoming government will need to emphasize effectiveness and efficiency as an “inevitable direction, because otherwise efforts disperse.”
He stressed the need to seriously and comprehensively address issues such as security and social inequity in the country. “Many people are looking to Paraguay after years of international isolation,” Dr. Altamirano said, “and for the first time this forces the country to think strategically.”
In his remarks, Dr. Moon also recalled his experience among the Paraguayan people, especially fireside talks at camps on a cattle drive through Alto Paraguay amid some of the poorest towns and indigenous communities. “Paraguay's history reflects the heart of a peace-loving, inclusive people who, unlike other nations in the Americas, embraced the native population, even adopting their language of Guarani as part of the national heritage,” he said.
The Global Peace Foundation Chairman Hyun Jin Moon further underscored the importance of the founding of the Latin American Presidential Mission, comprised of nearly 20 former Heads of State, at the Global Peace Convention in Atlanta in December 2012. He said the Presidential Mission is committed to strengthening relations between the North, Central and South America and the Caribbean as well as promoting a hemispheric spiritual awakening centered on universal principles and values.
Other focus areas of the Latin American Presidential Mission are trade and investment and education. “With proper education that emphasizes vision, principles and moral values, a new generation of leaders will set a new paradigm of leadership far removed from the continent’s feudal systems and traditions and its subsequent problems with corruption,” Dr. Moon said. “As President Carlos Antonio Lopez, the first president of Paraguay, said, ‘Schools are the best monuments that we can offer to freedom.’ In other words, education should be fundamental and total, transforming the cultural and historic underpinnings of the region’s challenges and providing equal opportunity for all.”
Following the one-day conference, international representatives went on a fact-finding tour of GPF’s economic development initiative in Paraguay’s remote Chaco region.