Inauguration Speech by Rev. Nemoto
[This speech was delivered at ACRP/RfP Asia Executive Committee Meeting on 20th May, 2017 in Beijing, China]
Distinguished religious leaders, your eminencies, excellencies, all friends. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity of sharing my thought on this very honorable and important occasion.
It is a great honor for me that I have just been appointed as a Secretary General of Asian Conference of Religions for Peace and would humbly like to take this very important and sacred responsibility for the betterment and peaceful conviviality of peoples in the world, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region from now onward. I would truly appreciate it to you all, distinguished religious leaders for your generous support and guidance in fulfilling my mission as ACRP SG.
As we all are fully aware of, the mission of ACRP is to promote interreligious harmony and collaboration as well as global and regional cohesion in the pursuit of peace, justice and human dignity and to uphold and develop the religious heritage of the Asia-Pacific Region in accordance with the values of religion and spirituality.
Today, we are facing and witnessing many issues in the category of the direct violence such as conflict and terrorist actions, as well as in the category of structural violence such as poverty, environmental degradation, discrimination, disparity etc., which have been and are being caused mainly by misunderstanding and distrust among peoples and nations.
Then, how could we humans overcome these misunderstanding and distrust?
I assume, as one of the members of the human family, firmly believes in interreligious dialogue and cooperation, open-minded and respectful dialogue with people of different faith, ethnicity, language, culture and ideology plays a crucial first and foremost stepping role.
Without mutual trust and understanding between peoples, all such other means as political dialogue, economic or cultural cooperation and interaction etc. might end up with being superficial and non-substantive. Here exists the critical role and responsibility of people of faith and religion in the world. We have faith in oneness of being a child of God, Buddha, or whatever we call an ultimate source of all forms of life. When we stand upon this faith and philosophy, we humans can nurture and foster mutual trust and understanding, I believe. This is a light and hope of interreligious dialogue and cooperation, in guiding humankind toward building convivial societies in a true sense.
ACRP’s mission exists in this realm. We are having different faith, but we are seeing common vision and sharing common mission. Namely, it is the pursuit of happiness and peace of all based upon justice and respect of equal human dignity every human being possesses and deserves.
My personal vision as SG of ACRP is to further fuel this important interreligious movement of ACRP towards fulfilling its mission in realizing peaceful and common living societies in this region, based upon justice and equal dignity of all humans. It surely requires mutual trust and understanding, which should eventually substitute distrust and misunderstanding. In this context, I believe, our movement, ACRP could contribute to strengthen social, regional and global cohesion through its born nature of open-minded dialogue and actions.
Let me allow to look back on to the founding spirit of ACRP. The first ACRP conference was held in Singapore in 1976. During the conference, ACRP leaders heard the breaking news that the Indochinese refugees were drifting off the coast of Singapore for a long period without food and drinks. They decided to take an immediate action for rescuing them by chartering a ship. This convinced and brave action paved a way for neighboring countries to open their doors for refugees.
Yes, ACRP started its dialogue with very concrete action. Dialogue without action may easily become talk-only interaction. The founding sprit of ACRP lies in the motto of “Different Faith for Common Action, in realizing Peace and Justice for ALL”. Let us always bear in our minds the founding spirit of our movement, ACRP.
Action requires wisdom, courage as well as social capital, such as human and financial resources etc. Should we follow the founding spirit, treasured by the forerunners of ACRP, we should also sincerely pursue securing such resources.
I think it will be a first step for ACRP to further grow to be an action oriented organization by putting into practice the commitments and promises we ourselves made and expressed in Incheon Assembly Declaration and “Strategic Action Plan” adopted at the last EC meeting such as protection of rights of women and children, as well as a tree planting project etc.
My vision of ACRP is “Open-minded sincere dialogue, and Action oriented movement for people in need”.
My thought on the mission of ACRP is “Contribution toward realizing peaceful, just and equal societies for all without exemption”.
My belief in fulfilling ACRP’s mission and realizing vision of ACRP exists in love and compassion for all beings, regardless the many distinctions and boundaries.
Dear distinguished religious leaders, your eminencies, excellencies and friends, gathering at the Executive Committee meeting here in Beijing, generously hosted by CCRP, please help and guide us secretariat in together advancing the sacred way of ACRP lying ahead of us, which may lead to more brilliant society and world.
With my sincere appreciation to you all for giving me this chance of working together toward the common end.
Peace in Dharma