WFWP’s Co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon established the Sun Hak Peace Foundation in 2014 in order to continue her husband, the late Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s, legacy of peace. Together, they promoted the vision of “One Family under God,” a world wherein all people live together as one global family, transcending barriers of race, religion, nationality, and culture.
The theme for the 2017 prize focused on the global refugee crisis. This is the first reason I was so excited and curious who would be chosen as recipients. Seeing so many people having to flee from Syria breaks our hearts and sheds light on the global crises of people being displaced. So on February 3rd, when the Award Ceremony was held in South Korea, I was glued to my TV. I had read up about both Laureates: Dr Gina Strada who provides medical and surgical care to the victims of war and refugees around the world, and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi who presents an innovative solution for refugee resettlement through education.
Most striking was the “radical” point of view both have in regards to their “why” for their work. Both are making a difference to people who are in a most desperate situation not of their own doing. Both dedicated their work to conflict areas torn apart by war or disaster. Both hold human rights in such high regard, that they had to take action.
A few points stand out about both Laureates. Dr Strada’s point of view—which challenges most people's ideas about how aid works—is quietly revolutionary. At Emergency, the organization he founded, he says “we want to establish good hospitals, but how good should a hospital be to be good?" The hospital should be “good enough that you would be happy to have one of your family members treated in it” (from The Guardian, July 2013).
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Strada points out, “Even though migrants arriving in Europe represent a small portion of the migrant population scattered across the globe, the so-called ‘migration crisis’ has shed light on the hypocrisy of the European approach to human rights. On the one hand, we firmly promote the principles of peace, democracy and fundamental rights, while, on the other, we are building a fortress made of walls and cultural barriers, denying access and basic help to thousands of people fleeing war and poverty. . . . The broken lives of all of them urge us to reflect, ask us to take action to get out of the spiral of war and violence.”
I was also excited that one of the awardees this year was a woman. I was very touched by Dr. Yacoobi’s acceptance speech and still remember the points which moved me the most: “I, myself, became a refugee in 1979 after the invasion of my country. My family all became refugees. I know what it feels like to be in a place where all of your rights have been taken away from you. I know how it feels to lose everything you have, including your dignity and self-confidence.” She said as a refugee one loses everything: one’s possessions, one’s family and friends, and even one’s dignity. God looks at refugees the same way as all humans. Providing education gives the opportunity to build one’s life up again and gives dignity back. Her answer to the problem is reflected in another quote: “We must rise above the hate. We must use our voices for good. We need to remove the injustice and eliminate poverty. War is not the answer to any problem. We must work together collectively to bring peace in this world. In order to do this, we need to share our knowledge and build a support system that provides sustainable results.”
What can I do to make an impact? 2015 Sun Hak Peace Prize Laureate, H.E. Anote Tong noted in his congratulatory address that we all believe in human rights and human dignity for all, equal opportunities for all, especially for women. He encouraged everyone, that we can make a difference. Peace starts from within us. Let the extraordinary work of the 2017 laureates be the challenge and inspiration for us to strive to live by the “logic of love” in our everyday life and guide us when making decisions.
To find out more about the Sun Hak Peace Prize please go to the website http://sunhakpeaceprize.org.