UN-designated International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace
The Light of Conscience Illuminates the World
Exchange Motivated by True Love Fosters Global Peace
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Apr. 24, 2022
April is the month of conscience. From April 1, World Citizen Day, to April 5, International Day of Conscience, and thereafter, we have held a series of forums and daily commemorative activities. We appreciate the participation of global citizens of conscience from different parts of the world who have shared their words and actions of conscience. Today, all living creatures are facing devastating natural and man-made disasters, such as regional wars, new COVID variants, and extreme weather. The world is full of uncertainty, while misfortune and good-fortune goes hand in hand. To ensure humanity’s survival and the Earth’s sustainable development, it is imperative that all global citizens practice multilateral unity to promote world peace and defuse crises with conscience and good deeds.
After the Second World War, nations around the world strived to resolve conflicts through peaceful means so as to save humanity from the scourge of war. As a result, the United Nations was established to improve communication and conflict prevention. On December 12, 2018, the UN General Assembly declared April 24 as the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.
"Multilateralism" refers to the inclusion and consolidation of all forces, treating all countries fairly, and working together to maintain global security and stability on the basis of mutual respect, reciprocity, and equal consultation. “There is no winner in a war." The war between Russia and Ukraine erupted and has lasted for a long time, displacing over ten million innocent people and resulting in the loss of countless lives and families, causing panic and grief throughout the world. The war has caused division and exacerbated global warming, environmental degradation, and the spread of the virus. This highlights the importance of conflict prevention. In other words, prevention is better than cure, as the ancient Chinese classic of medicine The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon states, “First-rate doctors treat those while they are still healthy, second-rate doctors treat those who are about to get sick, and third-rate doctors treat those who are sick.” It is imperative now for world leaders to use their wisdom to practice multilateralism and diplomacy, as well as facilitate communication among various parties to stop war and create peace while reducing global human costs and economic damage. We, as citizens of the world, can also start to take concrete actions to protect our own peace.
The sorrow and pain brought by the war leave scars that cannot be readily healed, and coupled with the multiple crises facing the world, how do we alleviate the chaos and build peace? The key lies in everyone’s conscience. The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.”
Conscience is a natural endowment built in everyone's heart. It is a bright and precious treasure bestowed upon everyone by Heaven, shining like a compass reflecting the law of Heaven and pointing to the right direction for decision-making. When selfish desires and evil thoughts appear, the five poisons of greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt contaminate the conscience and obscure the light of guidance, resulting in imbalance in the human heart and disorder in the world, allowing the black-hearted and greedy to take advantage of and profit from the situation, and seriously violating the rights and welfare of all beings.
Such human rights violations are not limited to the suffering resulting from international wars. Abuse of power and violations of international human rights covenants can also seriously undermine people's dignity and fundamental rights, deprive them of their freedom of belief and expression, and even rob them of their property. Under an unjust system, victims are left without remedy and trapped in an endless cycle of pain. Such barbaric atrocities through the abuse of governmental authority are no different from the acts of invaders in war, and the damage caused is even deeper and more far-reaching.
All things follow the law of nature. The origin of Heaven, Earth, and human beings are one. A genuine heart conveys genuine love. We have traveled around the world to foster peace. We understand that we are all interconnected. How can we awaken people’s conscience to achieve sustainability? Over the years, my dizi (disciples) and I have visited leaders of all fields in over 100 countries, spreading the idea of promoting a culture of peace with love and conscience. The Bell of World Peace and Love has been rung around the world, and bell ringers have made their wishes for peace, inspiring the awakening of conscience and actions for peace. We have witnessed the compassionate contributions from leaders in many countries who have followed their conscience and carried out their wishes for peace by mediating and defusing border wars and quelling civil unrest.
Along the path we have seen more and more like-minded people joining our ranks to practice the ideas stated in the Declaration of International Day of Conscience: “Love and peace advance the well-being of the people of the world, and they are the most important cornerstones of global sustainability. All world citizens are encouraged to nurture love in their hearts to strike a balance in the enhancement of economic, social, cultural, spiritual, technological, and educational development.” We are all members of the human family, and all countries in the global village share a common destiny. Economic and social operations and cultural development are closely related. We hope that all countries will use their conscience-inspired compassion and fraternity, as they put aside their selfish desires, and use their multilateral diplomatic relations to guide decisions for peace in the face of international disputes while using sincerity and genuine love to actively assist in creating equality, respect, and harmonious dialogue to restore balance in the world, heal the rift of war, resolve all crises, and save all living creatures as soon as possible!
The heart is the master. Our hearts determine our destinies and the destiny of the world. Times of crisis become critical moments to test one's conscience and help others. Maintaining global stability and harmony is not only the responsibility of world leaders, but also the duty of every citizen of the world. We pray that everyone will exercise their conscience, do good deeds, meditate, and self-reflect daily, as well as seize every moment during their limited time on Earth to benefit all beings so that the light of pure conscience will always guide the path to peace and create a peaceful and happy world for themselves and future generations.
In closing, I would like to express my gratitude for the participation of the leaders, experts, and scholars in all fields, who have contributed their conscientious and wise advice for the benefit of world citizens and global sustainability and peace.
May you all be blessed with safety, peace, and happiness. May the world be blessed with lasting peace.
*Presented at the ICDAY’s virtual event in support of
UN International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace