CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Peace and Security
Retired Military Generals Launch Asian Peace and Unity Corps in Bangkok
Written by Dr. Robert S. Kittel, Director of Education, UPF-Asia, and photojournalist
Friday, December 13, 2013
Bangkok, Thailand - Retired chiefs of staff from the armed forces of Thailand, the Philippines, India and Nepal joined 38 active and retired generals from 13 Asian nations to launch the Asian Peace and Unity Corps in Bangkok, Thailand, on Dec. 13, 2013.
The conference was co-hosted by the prestigious National Defense College Alumni Think Tank of Thailand (NDC-TTT) and the Universal Peace Federation. Gen. Terdsak Marrome (ret.), president of UPF-Thailand, said this pan-Asian body of security forces would be a “network of peace-builders.”
The president of the NDC-TTT and chief guest at the launching, Gen. Charan Kullavanijaya (ret.), said that human beings tend to have selfish minds. To counter this, he emphasized, we need to be self-governed and therefore “morality is our best armor.”
Gen. Dionisio R. Santiago (ret.), chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, highlighted education as essential for nations to have peace and prosperity.
Gen. V.N. Sharma (ret.), chief of staff of the Indian Army, held that the cause of violence is selfishness. Hostility starts “when we want the money or resources of our neighbor,” he said. He therefore stressed that to control violence, we need to control our tendency toward greed.
Gen. Sanat Kumar Basnet (ret.), the former inspector general of the Armed Police Force of Nepal, drew on personal experience. During Nepal’s insurgency he was ambushed and shot. His troops captured the person who shot him, but Gen. Basnet forgave his enemy. Although he recovered from his injuries, he reiterated that “forgiveness is the true healing.”
Dr. Charles S. Yang, chairman of UPF International, outlined the purpose of the corps as envisioned by the UPF founder, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon. Members of the Peace and Unity Corps, he said, “would not carry weapons or use ‘hard power.’ Rather, they would build character in young people. They would teach self-discipline, loyalty and patriotism.”
Dr. Chung Sik Yong, regional chairman of UPF-Asia, compared filial piety with patriotism, saying they are both essentially attributes of true love. “Patriotism is filial piety on a larger scale,” he explained. “Each generates the willingness to sacrifice for others. Even you can sacrifice your own life, if needed.”
Altogether 280 participants attended the opening of the three-day conference on the theme “My Family and My Country: Towards Unity, Peace and Prosperity.” The second and third day of the conference shared UPF’s basic Principles of Peace and special sessions for “best practices” and interaction among the distinguished delegates.
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