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Dr. Nona S. Ricafort Global Peace Women Leadership Conference 2014

“Women’s Leadership in Social Transformation through family values”

Your Excellencies, Government Officials, Honored Guests, Distinguished Speakers, Delegates most especially our Korean Friends. A pleasant good morning! 

It is a great honor and privilege to be part of this conference, together with 35 active women leaders from the Philippines here in Korea. This is a great opportunity for us to be able to join this gathering of Peace Women Advocates and Leaders of great minds, who will foster partnership and work out meaningful results from the issues and concerns particularly on the conference theme “Women Leadership in Social Transformation through Family” that will surface at this conference. 

In behalf of the Global Peace Women Philippines, we wish to convey our sincere appreciation and commendation to the organizers who have worked tirelessly in preparation for this women gathering here in this beautiful city of Seoul, Korea. The excitement and joy are seen in our faces, for indeed, we have looked forward to this trip since last year, in November 19, 2013, when we had our memorable luncheon get-together at the Manila Hotel with Dr. Shinsook Kwak Lee. At that luncheon gathering, we all promised to come to Korea and here we are enjoying your warm hospitality and the cool pleasant weather with the beautiful sceneries upon our arrival. “MAEWO GAMSAHAPNIDA”!

Global Peace Foundation International Chairman, Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon once stated; “Our future depends on what we do today…this is the way for true Global Peace and the dream of peace cannot be achieved without the support of women who constitute half of the world’s population.” New social and environmental challenges have emerged, confronting society and placing new demands on us all.  Effective Peace Leaders at various organizational levels had an indispensable role in equipping Peace advocates to take on their important task. While aware of the challenges on the current situation, Peace Leaders are often ill equipped to deal with global issues especially affecting women.  Some dismissed them as irrelevant to their personal responsibilities and accountabilities. Others steer clear of questioning government systems upon which their working environment is based. 

It is recommended, if peace leaders have to introduce changes and develop new perspectives, it is imperative that their respective organizations must be involved together with them a broad range of key stakeholders in creating a favorable climate for change. This statement underscores the great mission placed on every individual, especially the women and their family. In actual life, social transformation and peace building may be experienced wherever we are, be it in the work place, in business, in school, in the home and most important of all, in family relationship.

Education, Peace and Parenting  are so inter-twined together, that it comes as natural to all parents, that soonest a baby is born in a family, as parents, innate in us…instill the needed assurance and peace during our children’s growing years. Little do we know, along the way, as our children learn to be at peace within, they are able to see the reality of others and act in accordance with their conscience, principle and compassion that were inculcated in them during their growing years with their family. Just as the roles of a father and a mother are needed in a family, we need to harmoniously integrate both male leadership and female leadership in today’s society. This practical paradigm can lead to creating social transformation and peaceful relationship not only within the family but in the world. What we show and teach our children is what they will be in the future (responsible parenting). Whether we like it or not, the family is the ground upon which the seed that our children’s character can sprout and grow. By teaching and modeling responsibility, the family prepares them to become productive members of society. Indeed, our conference theme, “Women Leadership in Social Transformation through Family” is the call of the time because as stated by many: the worth of a country is to be gauged by the worth of its women. This implies the vital role that women play in every society especially in the family.

 Family Values and Educational Institutions are issues that has been relatively overlooked in the social transformation of the family that resulted to the breakdown of family values. Losing these values undermines the integrity of marriage and the family unit, which weakens the personal bond between generations. Solving the societal and world issues goes hand in hand with solving the problems of the family breakdown. Of course, there are many factors outside the family that can likewise contribute in the molding of our youth. If the educational institutions are to effectively play its unprecedented role in the present day society to be vital component of economic, social technological and political development in our respective countries, the issues and challenges facing education leaders are increasingly transcending national borders that requires a new paradigm shift to promote unification of ideas, values, beliefs and practices, responsive to national goals and quest for harmony and unity. 

The call to educate humankind as we traverse the 21st century because of its growing capacity to inflict destruction on itself and its environment and in the priority of the ethical over the technical, the primacy of the person over things, the superiority of the spirit over matter, and the regulation of science by the universal norm of conscience:  it is in this regard, that we should teach our youth how to live as global citizens, in the broadest and most profound sense of the term who are proud of their cultural legacy, peace-loving, responsible and free:  A generation prepared to live under the rule of law, guided by the tenets of truth, justice, freedom and peace. The role of conscience and values as ingrained in family life. 

Recognizing the true value of women and developing women’s leadership are necessary not only for the improvement and well-being of the families but for the nation and the entire world. Women’s leadership development therefore is a crucial necessity of this century. The call to uplift the true innate value of women given to us by God which is to be shared freely is not just for “conservatives”; instead it could be understood as a “progressive” effort for a brighter, healthier and progressive future. GPW Philippines for the past five years has been at the forefront towards making this a reality. These are all reflected in the various activities of the GPW Philippines, categorized in four issues: 1) Women and Family (Rights of the family, Family Values and Health); 2) Women and Poverty (economic empowerment, Alllights Village Project and poverty alleviation) 3) Women and Youth (education) 4) Women and Peace (Social Problems and Complementary Roles of Men and women) (per attached country GPW Philippines Report).

In response to all these, it is at this point, that  we wish to recognize and commend  Dr. Hyun Jin Moon and Madame Jun Sook Moon for founding the Global Peace Foundation and Global Peace Women and making it the core of transformation of families, communities and nations which is the great demand of the time. This is a breakthrough in the field of education, these are the challenges facing university leaders to build this foundation, to carry on the torch and extend the character-based and peace education program at all levels, focusing on the transformation of the individual, family, society and the nation, towards building world peace together  through women leadership as we pledge to commit to this noble cause for a world of lasting peace, wherein not only human rights are respected, and democratic values are enjoyed, where material abundance is secured and spiritual values fulfilled. God bless us all.