Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I wanted to write to you as we open this new year of 2015 and pray for success in all your endeavors in the coming year.
As we reflect on events of 2014, it seems that the challenges facing our diverse and disparate global community grow ever more daunting. Yet such challenges also push us to find the deeper basis of our interconnectedness. Thus, today, a vision that points toward a shared future based on our common humanity – as expressed in the simple yet profound phrase “one family under God” - is more compelling and relevant than ever before.
Like you I am profoundly disturbed by polarizing divisions that can diminish our confidence in a future of peace and shared prosperity. Extremists distort religious precepts to justify unspeakable acts of inhumanity against innocent people. Political passions have boiled over, leaving little capacity or incentive for partisans to bridge divisions for the common good. The Ebola epidemic has again underscored the special vulnerability of Africa and the disproportionate burden of suffering that Africans have borne in modern times.
Yet in the midst of such dire problems is also hope, found in the legions of men and women everywhere whose lives manifest the noble qualities of the human spirit. They are people of integrity on every continent, in every culture and faith tradition, who live for the greater good and strive to uplift the dignity of all. They are found among us, and among our friends and colleagues; though they may speak different languages, they share a passion for peace and resonate with the essential perspective that we all belong to the one human family with a common spiritual heritage.
The examples are many. This past year I was honored to join Nigerian Muslim and Christian leaders who came to Northern Ireland to examine the lessons learned in ending 30 years of armed conflict between Catholic and Protestant factions, and to confer on building social cohesion during a time of turmoil and violence in Nigeria.
Through our Global Peace Leadership Conference in New Delhi last year, we saw a moving example of India’s diverse faith leaders coming together on the deepest levels, affirming that “Truth is one, although the wise call it by many names.” At our 2014 Convention in Paraguay, we met champions of national transformation like GPF’s social impact coordinator, Marlene Ocampos, who won the governorship of Alto Paraguay, the country’s poorest state, based on her record of service to the people and commitment to utilize the instruments of government solely in the public interest.
And I was deeply encouraged by the promise of a rising generation when I addressed young professionals on the importance of moral and innovative leadership at the International Young Leaders Assembly at the United Nations in New York.
Our work to promote universal shared values as the foundation for peace, to cultivate healthy families and communities that nurture positive qualities of character, and to advance a culture of service, is still young. But it is vigorous and growing, and drawing new energy and inspiration from you, our partners and stakeholders.
This new year will no doubt bring us both expected and unexpected challenges. But we are certainly gaining ground, despite the potent forces that foment hatred and division, especially as we work together with shared vision and common purpose to uplift the entire human family.
We greatly appreciate your endeavors and contributions for the noble cause for peace. We look forward to a new year filled with renewed commitment, redoubled efforts and productive collaboration as we continue our work together.
Best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful and prosperous new year.
James P. Flynn
Global Peace Foundation