The idea of a “Peace Road” or an international highway that physically connects all people of the world together, was the enduring vision of the founder of the Family Federation, the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon. In 1981 at an international science conference in Seoul he suggested the construction of a highway between Korea and Japan, two former enemy nations, and from 2005 onwards he began to advocate a more ambitious project: the building of the “Peace Tunnel” to cross the Bering Strait.
In an address at the United Nations in Geneva he said:
“This tunnel can help make the world a single community at last…Think of how much money the world is wasting on war. The time has come for nations to work together, pool their resources and, as the prophet Isaiah taught, beat our swords into plowshares and pruning hooks.”
Throughout recorded history, humanity has built roads. Some, like the famed Silk Road from Europe to China, were created to foster trade, exploration and cooperation. The Roman road system was built to allow the Roman legions to administer a vast empire, leading to the saying “all roads lead to Rome.”
In 1919, Dwight D. Eisenhower, then a lieutenant-colonel in the US Army, was appalled that a military convoy from Washington to San Francisco took two months to complete a journey that today takes less than a week. Later, as President, he signed legislation to create today’s interstate system. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, British and French engineers toyed with the idea of a tunnel across the British Channel for almost 200 years before finally completing it in 1994.
Yet, until today, there has never been a road or highway specifically conceived and built as a highway to world peace. It was one of the great visions and dreams of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
In life, Rev. Moon was known as a complex and controversial religious and spiritual leader who led an energetic and unorthodox new religion but was also an early champion of interfaith unity, dialogue and understanding.
Long before it was common, he advocated interracial and cross-cultural marriage as an instrument of peace, marrying millions of his followers and those of other faiths in his homeland of Korea and around the world in such Marriage Blessings.
He created numerous peace organizations and called for the United Nations to add an interfaith council at the highest level well before the 9/11 attacks and the emergence of religious conflict and terrorism came into mainstream focus.
The idea of the International Peace Highway exemplifies Rev. Moon’s conviction that humanity is really one family under God. He believed that if people could meet each other in daily life, through culture, trade, and travel, they would come to break down the historic fears and misunderstandings that often divide us from our closest neighbors.
In 2015, the 10th Anniversary of that speech and the 3rd Anniversary of Rev. Moon’s passing in September 2012, thousands of supporters and friends of peace all around the world walked, rode and drove the proposed course of the Peace Highway in honor of his memory and his dream of peace. His widow, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, spearheaded the effort to rekindle interest.
Here in the US, the Peace Road 2015 program began with an event in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Rev. and Mrs. Moon spent much time in the final years of his life. In July and August, a series of events were hosted along the Peace Road course in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Anchorage and finally Nome, Alaska, on the shores of the Bering Sea. The effort was further commemorated with special programs and bike rides at the United Nations Headquarters and the 9/11 Memorial in New York, and on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
The American and the international teams finally converged in Rev. Moon’s still-divided homeland of Korea in late August, with a final stop in Imjingak, right on the 38th Parallel where the North and South remain divided. The organizers long to see the day when the highway will stretch to the ends of the earth without checkpoints or borders, as foreseen in the founding vision.
The annual Peace Road tour is keeping that vision of peace alive by traveling as much of the Peace Road as possible each year.
Today more than ever, we see the need for a bold peace initiative. Become a part of this historic event!