Global Governance: A Post-COVID Imperative
Promoting the Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience
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
November 7, 2020
At this critical time when the pandemic is still severe and the world is in chaos, Dr. Gandhi and City Montessori School have organized the 21st International Conference of Chief Justices of the World, as they have done in the past 20 years. Today, through this virtual conference, heads of state and chief justices of various countries have contributed their life-long experience and wisdom to enhance the lives and happiness of all mankind, including 2.5 billion children and the generations yet to be born, regardless of national boundaries. For this reason, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and best wishes to everyone.
The Earth is our common home. Love and peace are the common aspirations of all humanity. As the concept note for the conference states, “Our collective welfare and well-being depends upon us being able to work together in harmony and agreement to deal with all the seemingly insurmountable problems of social insecurity, climate change, human rights violations, gender and economic inequalities, etc.” Therefore, we encourage people to exchange ideas with each other in a peaceful, rational, and pragmatic way, highlight the value of democracy and human rights, and create an opportunity for progress for the world. We believe that only when conscience, love, and peace coexist can we consolidate the power of goodness to change the world, resolve conflicts and global crises with wisdom, and create peace together.
Be it reform of global governance structures or world citizenship education, its core values are people-oriented and focus on respect for human rights and equality. Government frameworks, laws, education systems, and cultures based upon such values will benefit the people, and there will be no injustice, such as deprivation and bullying, caused by prejudices based on race, religion, or gender. Whether it is government reform, self-innovation, or dealing with the disturbing pandemic, the key to managing these is like that to practicing medicine. According to an ancient Chinese saying, “First-class doctors treat the country, second-class doctors treat people, and third-class doctors treat diseases.” It described governing a country as treating a patient. Social norms and discipline are like pulses. Morality, decrees and laws are like prescriptions and therapies. Talents are like good medications. Implementing people-oriented governance and listening to the voices of the people allows a leader to give the right prescription and administer effective medications. Respect for human rights must be emphasized in the reform of governance institutions and structures. World citizenship education based on a culture of conscience is the inducer, which can cultivate talents and make a sustainable future take root. Only with this inducer can the medications work.
During the 73rd UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary-General launched the youth strategy — “Youth 2030,” inspiring youth aged between 10 and 24 to push for global peace, justice and sustainability with creative thinking. The pressing issues of climate change, ecological imbalance, conflicts between countries, and competition for resources and fights between people have intensified the already tense situations. Coupled with the threat of emerging infectious diseases, the younger generations are facing unprecedented challenges and shouldering greater responsibilities and missions. The core value of education is to inspire the kindness within people’s hearts, enabling them to reflect upon themselves and attain self-awakening. As such, I launched the movement of "An Era of Conscience'' in 2014 and advocated the endorsement of the “Declaration of International Day of Conscience.” FOWPAL worked with the Republic of Kiribati, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and UN ambassadors of various nations on a draft resolution. Our collective efforts made it possible for the United Nations to adopt the draft resolution, declaring April 5 the International Day of Conscience in 2019. Let's incorporate conscience-driven education into our daily lives and develop a habit of conducting self-reflection every day so that our daily actions are guided by our conscience. Be it cultivating one’s moral character, managing one’s family, governing a country, or even fostering world peace, it all starts with oneself. We should integrate knowledge with practice. By doing so, we will create a culture of conscience to change the world and usher in a sustainable future with infinite possibilities.
As the zhang-men-ren (leader) of Tai Ji Men, which is an ancient menpai (similar to school), I have inherited the philosophy of yin and yang passed down from thousands of years ago. At this crucial time when the continued existence of the Earth and humanity are at risk, the importance of awakening everyone's conscience cannot be over emphasized. The invisible conscience lies within the depths of our hearts and is covered with persistent and hard-to-remove dust of greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubtfulness. The brightness of each thought and act of kindness will shine on every streak of darkness caused by evil. The heavenly law is about true equality and justice without selfishness. Life is like a dream. It may look real or fake, and it may seem empty or full. Where do we go when we wake up? Only with a heart willing to rectify our wrongs and do good deeds will we be able to see through the illusions of life. Let's all reactivate our conscience, light up our hearts, and save our souls.
Individuals and governments all need to learn from history and avoid repeating the same mistakes. This requires a thorough review and complete reform to look at the challenges with creative thinking. What is more important is global solidarity, which is urgently needed to solve the world’s problems. We are all world citizens living on the same planet. Every one of us is a leader of conscience, and our thoughts of good or evil at any split second hold the key to changing the world. All are responsible for safeguarding our common home and leaving a sustainable planet for future generations.
Education has long-term effects, and education based on a culture of conscience is the best prescription for changing the world. It is imperative to nourish younger generations with love. We should start doing this ourselves. Love and conscience make us stronger, give us immense power, and allow the positive influences of kindness to ripple across the world. Let's promote the culture of peace with love and conscience and resolve disputes and hatred with wisdom so that we can build a sustainable future of love and peace and create a pure land of stability and harmony.
*Presented at the Online Conference of 21st International Conference
of Chief Justices and Judges of the World in support of
City Montessori School, Lucknow, India