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2017 Award Ceremony

SUNHAK PEACE PRIZE

2017 Award Ceremony

2017 Award Ceremony

Date : February 3, 2017 10a.m.
Venue : Lotte Hotel World, Crystal Ballroom

ⓒ 2017. Sunhak Peace Prize

Welcome Address – Dr. Il Sik Hong, Committee Chairman

Committee Chairman Dr. Il Sik Hong give the Welcome Address during the Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony.
ⓒ 2017. Sunhak Peace Prize

Your Excellencies, distinguished guests,

  Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon! Members of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee! Leaders of the Universal Peace Federation and the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation, distinguished members of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, Participants in the World Summit 2017, Ladies and Gentlemen. Good morning to you all.

  I sincerely thank you for attending the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony and helping to make it a success. Furthermore, I would like to thank the current and former heads of state, parliamentarians, legislators, and various other representatives of civil society here with us today. I feel particularly honored to host this memorable ceremony together with our founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
Above all, I would like to congratulate and express deep gratitude to this year’s laureates, two outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to realizing peace for the sake of humanity. Congratulations Dr. Gino Strada. Congratulations Dr. Sakena Yacoobi.

  The Sunhak Peace Prize was founded at the behest of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the wife of the late Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, to honor and preserve his ideals and achievements. Rev. and Mrs. Moon have devoted their lives to realizing a global community founded on the principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values. In particular, Rev. and Mrs. Moon have emphasized the need to develop a global civilization of peace based on a love for humanity that transcends divisions of race, nationality, ideology, and religion. Throughout their lives, they have advocated and led a movement whose aim is to create a world without borders.

  In many ways in recent decades, the founder’s foresight can be felt in today’s world where barriers are being lowered, and more nations live together respectfully as neighbors to one another. There are some indications that we are moving toward becoming one global village. Indeed, I myself have also proposed the theory of cultural territory to the academic community, arguing that nations should focus on developing closer ties based not on geographical territory but building villages based on culture. Unfortunately, in recent times, national border fortifications are being strengthened as a means of dealing with the record-breaking global refugee crisis. Fleeing the terror and starvation of war, refugees are crossing oceans and seeking refuge in other nations; yet, when faced with strong anti-refugee sentiments, these refugees cannot help but fall into even greater despair.

Dear distinguished guests! 
The refugee issue should not simply be seen as a reality peculiar to modern times. We must approach and understand this issue from the higher vantage point that is the history of civilizations. Diaspora, throughout the ages, has been one of the oldest adaptation strategies of humankind. Migration is a strategy for survival. Hence, going forward, migration will be an even more important issue in the effort to establish a world of peace for all. The Sunhak Peace Prize Committee selected these two laureates with the expectation that humanitarianism and morality will be given the highest priority.

  The international order in the 21st century must not be a struggle among the super-powers to expand their spheres of influence, but should instead be reorganized to promote the benefit of weaker countries and those in disadvantaged positions. The world should be characterized by righteousness ruling on a foundation of peace and respect for democracy and human rights. Throughout their lives, the founders have emphasized that the 21st century will be a century of peace only when all people remove divisive barriers from their hearts, and practice compassion for all the people of the world.

  The two outstanding humanitarians we honor today, Dr. Gino Strada and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, have devoted their lives to providing basic and fundamental solutions to the refugee crisis. In order for the world to become a peaceful community, no one should be excluded from the right to medical aid and education.  

  The world in the 21st century must overcome an order that is based on the logic of force, which begets enmity, conflict and discord, and establish itself as a community of peace and coexistence, reconciliation and cooperation based on universal principles. Under the banner of "Making the World Better for Future Generations," the Sunhak Peace Prize will continue to recognize and honor courageous and righteous people who live for the sake of others, loving all human beings as members of one human family.

  I would like to thank you again for joining us today and wish you and your families good health, peace and prosperity.

  Thank you.

Awarding of Medal and Plaque

A commemorative photo shoot following the awarding of the medal and plaque during the Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony (from left to right : Founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, laureate Afghan educator Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, laureate Italian surgeon Dr. Gino Strada, Committee Chairman Dr. Il Sik Hong)
ⓒ 2017. Sunhak Peace Prize

Congratulatory Address - H.E. Anote Tong, Former Kiribati President

H.E. Anote Tong, Former Kiribati President give the Congratulatory Address during the Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony.
ⓒ 2017. Sunhak Peace Prize

As is customary in my country, allow me to share with you all our Kiribati traditional blessing of “Kam na bane ni mauri,” “May we all be blessed with good health.”

  It is with great pleasure that I covey warm greetings to all who have gathered for the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony, and I congratulate this year’s laureates on receiving this prestigious and much deserved award. On behalf of all those who have gathered here today, thank you, Dr. Gino Strada and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, for your life long dedication to the wellbeing of refugees and war victims.

  I am particularly honored to recognize these laureates, as their accomplishments are very much in the spirit of the vision of the founder, Rev. and Mrs. Moon, to build “One Family Under God,” and compliments their global work for peace and development. I am convinced that they will go on to make even greater strides toward peace for future generations.

Dear friends,

  Today we have gathered here, not only to celebrate the great achievements of these extraordinary people, but also to participate in this discussion and to exchange views on one of the major global issues of our era. The world continues to be affected by major forced displacements. Rising sea levels and serious food insecurity, currently worsened by Climate Change and other calamities, is particularly affecting refugees. Indeed I also have dedicated my life to addressing this issue, to ensure that the rights of my people, and those in similar situations at the frontline of this global calamity, are upheld. We face a very real possibility that our islands, our homes, our identity as a people, may not exist within this century, rendering us all the more vulnerable to becoming climate refugees.  

These are not easy times for any of us. The challenges are truly unprecedented. At the same time we know that it is our moral obligation and duty to help the refugees coming to our shores. These people are not fleeing their homes by choice. They are fleeing because they were forced to. Migration must be recognized as a shared responsibility of countries of origin, transit, and destination. We need to strengthen the resilience of both the host and the refugee communities by investing in job opportunities, education, infrastructure and social protection. The refugee crisis requires a global response, and therefore we must enhance the global effort through cooperation and coordination between all actors.

  All of this reminds us that we need to work together. Collective action is not a luxury. It is a prerequisite for effective policies. Being a co-recipient of the inaugural prize in 2015 gave me great hope, that the world has taken heed of my people’s struggles. I am glad that the Sunhak Committee recognizes the importance of the oceans in food security, environmental integrity, and overall socioeconomic development, not just for refugees but the world over, as essential pre-requisites for a peaceful society. Since then, I have been given numerous opportunities to speak at events organized by the Universal Peace Federation, and through their network, I have been given a new window by which to spread my message. This has encouraged me all the more, to pursue my life-long goals of peace and tranquility through addressing issues related to Climate Change.

  To that end, I am certain that you will find this experience most rewarding, and wish to close my message by expressing my best wishes for a memorable event and stimulating convention, by sharing with you all our traditional blessings of “Te Mauri, Te Raoi, and Te Tabomoa; health, peace, and prosperity.

  Thank you.

Congratulatory Song - Ms. Kolleen Park, Mr. Jaerim Choi, The Little Angels

Music choreographer Kolleen Park, musical actor Jaerim Choi, and the Little Angels sang “Prayer” during the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony.
ⓒ 2017. Sunhak Peace Prize

  • 난민 및 전쟁희생자들의
    ‘치료받을 권리’ 지켜낸 영웅

    The Hero who Fought for the Right to Medical Care
    for Refugees and War Victims

  • 난민 재정착의 근본 해법 제시한
    난민 ‘교육’의 어머니

    The Mother of Refugee Education Who Proposed
    a Fundamental Solution for Refugee Resettlement

“The 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony”
Gino Strada (Italian Surgeon), Sakena Yacoobi (Afghan Women's Educator) Jointly Awarded
  • Held on February 3 (Friday) at 10 am, at the Jamsil, Lotte Hotel World, Crystal Ballroom
  • Over 800 people from more than 100 countries around the world in attendance, including current and former parliamentarians, national and international VIPs, music choreographer Kolleen Park, among others from all walks of life
  • The “laureate lecture” will be held at a special plenary session later that day on February 3 (Friday) 5:30 pm at the same venue
The Sunhak Peace Prize Committee (Chairman, Dr. Il Sik Hong, former president of Korea University) held its “2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony” on February 3 (Friday), at 10 am at the Jamsil, Lotte Hotel World, Crystal Ballroom (3rd floor).

Dr. Gino Strada, an Italian surgeon, and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, an Afghan women’s education professor, were selected as co-recipients of the prize. On November 29, 2016, the Committee officially announced its laureates to the world at a press conference in Washington, DC.

Dr. Gino Strada is highly regarded for his humanitarianism transcending national borders, saving the lives of eight million people over the past 28 years, providing "urgent medical relief" to refugees and war victims at the forefront of global disputes. Dr. Sakena Yacoobi has been greatly recognized for her efforts to "educate" 13 million refugees at Afghan refugee camps devastated by the war, and offer a solution for their resettlement.

Each laureate received a prize of $500,000, to go along with a medal and plaque presented by the founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and Committee Chair, Dr. Il Sik Hong, during the award ceremony.

The award ceremony was attended by more than 800 delegates, including former President of Kiribati HE Anote Tong who gave the Congratulatory Address, current and former presidents and vice presidents, among others representing various governments, academia, businesses, media, and religions.

Committee Chairman Dr. Il Sik Hong, former president of Korea University said, “As a prize founded on the vision for peace to build ‘One Family Under God,’ the Committee presents the ‘refugee crisis’ as its core theme for the 2017 awards.”

Chairman Hong stated in his Welcoming Address that, "Presently as we face the largest number of displaced persons on the global level since World War II, the international community must make a transnational effort for the common benefit of humankind." He added, “In order to create a world of lasting peace, the award’s founder emphasized the love for humanity that transcends divisions of race, national borders, ideology, and religion, and campaigned for a world where we no longer needed borders, because we recognize that we are all members of one human family.”

Chairman Hong asserted that, “At a time when the global refugee crisis seems to be worsening by the day, these two laureates, who have devoted their lives to fundamentally rebuilding the lives of refugees through providing the most essential of our rights to ‘medical aid’ and ‘education,’ are the heroes of this era.”

Through his Congratulatory Address, H.E. Anote Tong asserted, “The refugee crisis requires a global response, and therefore we must enhance the global effort through cooperation and coordination between all actors.”

Meanwhile, the celebration stage was arranged by musical arts director Kolleen Park, with the theme of “overcoming the global refugee crisis with respect and love for humanity.” The collaborative performance, with musical actor Jaerim Choi, Kolleen Park, and the Korean traditional arts school Little Angels, created a fantastic harmony that highlighted the mood of the award ceremony.

The Sunhak Peace Prize biannually recognizes and honors individuals or organizations that have made enduring contributions to peace and human development for future generations.

The two laureates will have a busy schedule in Korea, including a special plenary lecture at the “World Summit 2017” international conference on February 3 (Friday) at 5:30 pm, following the award ceremony at the same hotel.
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