Next Article in Journal
Sufism and Shari‘a: Contextualizing Contemporary Sufi Expressions
Next Article in Special Issue
‘Genderism vs. Humanism’: The Generational Shift and Push for Implementing Gender Equality within Soka Gakkai-Japan
Previous Article in Journal
The Ideology of Patronage and the Question of Identity in the Early Dādūpanth
Previous Article in Special Issue
Nodes and Hubs: An Exploration of Yiguandao Temples as ‘Portals of Globalization’
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

“Kingdom-Building” through Global Diplomatic and Interfaith Agency: The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Unificationist Millenarianism

Lukas K. Pokorny
* and
Dominic S. Zoehrer
Department of Religious Studies, University of Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Religions 2022, 13(5), 448;
Submission received: 27 March 2022 / Revised: 5 May 2022 / Accepted: 10 May 2022 / Published: 16 May 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Globalization and East Asian Religions)


The Universal Peace Federation or UPF is a United Nations-affiliated NGO launched in 2005 by the late Mun Sŏn-myŏng, self-proclaimed Messiah and founder of the South Korean Unification Movement. Mun considered the UPF as the pinnacle of Unificationist political and interfaith engagement. Envisioned as a complement to and, eventually, a future replacement of the United Nations, the globally operating UPF spearheads Unificationist millenarianism. This paper first traces the formation history and genesis of the UPF as a merger of decades-long international political and interfaith activities under the banner of multiple Unificationist organisations and initiatives. Subsequently, it examines the Korea-centric millenarian purpose assigned to the UPF by Mun. It is ultimately argued that embracing globalism is not only doctrinally crucial to Unificationist millenarianism, but systemically relevant.

1. Introduction

  • “A world of peace can be fully established
  • only when the experience and practice
  • of politicians and diplomats representing the body and the external world,
  • and the wisdom and efforts of the world’s religious leaders
  • representing the heart–mind and the internal world are combined.”
  • —Mun Sŏn-myŏng1
Between 11 and 13 February 2022, virtually all major South Korean media outlets covered the Summit for Peace on the Korean Peninsula (Hanbando p’yŏnghwa sŏmit 한반도 평화서밋).2 The high-profile hybrid event was orchestrated by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF; Ch’ŏnju P’yŏnghwa Yŏnhap 천주평화연합/天宙平和聯合),3 the Unificationist flagship NGO founded in 2005.4 Its main venues were the Lotte Hotel World, Seoul, and the Ch’ŏngsim Peace World Centre (Ch’ŏngsim P’yŏnghwa Wŏltŭ Sent’ŏ 청심평화월드센터), the Unification Movement’s chief indoor arena located about 50 kilometres from Seoul in the eastern Kyŏnggi province.5
Prominently chaired by the former United Nations (UN) General Secretary Pan Ki-mun 반기문/潘基文 (b. 1944), the “World Summit” (as it was internationally promoted) reportedly drew participants from 160 nations. Video addresses were submitted by former United States President Donald J. Trump (b. 1946; p. 2017–2021) and former Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzō 安倍晋三 (b. 1954; p. 2006–2007 and 2012–2020). Despite quarantine mandates upon arrival from abroad, several political celebrities attended the event in person to share their remarks. For example, Mike Pompeo (b. 1963), former United States Secretary of State, recalled challenges of his diplomatic engagement with North Korea. Mike Pence (b. 1959), former United States Vice President, spoke about religious freedom, the rule of law, and family values as the foundations of a stable, prosperous nation. “We know that peace can only be fully achieved through faith” (UPF International 2022), said televangelist and Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White-Cain (b. 1966), who regularly appears as a speaker at UPF events. Moreover, messages in video or in person were delivered by over 80 (mostly former) high-level politicians from abroad as well as eleven South Korean political and civic leaders. Weeks before, the summit received public endorsement (via social media) by Pak Yŏn-mi박연미 (b. 1993), a well-known North Korean defector. If only one key characteristic of the UPF had to be picked, it must be the seeking of mass attention to events filled with bombastic symbolism. This is a feature that might also describe the general modus operandi of the Unification Movement’s (and UPF’s) late founding figure, Mun Sŏn-myŏng 문선명/文鮮明 (1920–2012).
Admittedly, American conservatives (or representatives of nations allied with South Korea) are not the only politicians catered to by the UPF. On the second day of the summit, Han Hak-cha 한학자/韓鶴子 (b. 1943)—Mun’s widow, present leader of the Unification Movement, and UPF co-founder—presented the so-called Founder’s Special Award to Samdech Hun Sen (b. 1952), Prime Minister of Cambodia for the past 37 years.6 Among Unificationist adherents—some of them bewildered by Han’s choice of a strongman with a notorious record of human rights violations—it is speculated that Cambodia’s close ties to North Korea could open up a diplomatic backdoor. Given its former stance of unapologetic anti-communism, this episode proves that the Unification Movement is honing its skill of “track-II-diplomacy”.7
This paper traces the background and genesis of the Universal Peace Federation, an organisation whose goal is to translate and echo Unificationism in the global diplomatic arena. According to Mun, this institutionalised culmination of previous decades-long interfaith and political activities—ultimately designed to supersede a malfunctioning UN—“is truly the most revolutionary and wondrous event since God’s creation of humankind” (MS 2006b, p. 30).8 Finally, the paper examines a dimension ever-present within Unificationism and, as such, also systemically inhaled by the UPF: Korea-centric millenarianism (Pokorny 2020, pp. 301–2).9

2. The UPF’s Backstory

The Unification Movement is a vast cluster of organisations, enterprises, and initiatives all centring on a messianic congregation founded by Mun in 1954 as Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA; Segye Kidokkyo T’ongil Sillyŏng Hyŏphoe 세계기독교통일신령협회/世界基督敎統一神靈協 會).10 Among the plethora of (mostly short-lived) Unificationist NGOs, the UPF has emerged at the vanguard, serving as an umbrella for a range of peace and dialogue initiatives within the broader movement. Whereas the FFWPU (at its heart) cherishes doctrinal exclusivism and (institutional) Korea-centrism, the UPF (outwardly) celebrates interculturality and religious inclusivism (Pokorny 2018b, p. 328). Put in simple terms, the Unification Movement consists of an inner, explicitly religious, and an outer, cultural, economic, political, and civil social circle, with the former ensouling the latter.
One interpretational key to Mun’s overarching range of activities can be found in a public address he first held on 8 July 2010 at his residential palace—the Ch’ŏnjŏnggung 천정궁/天正宮 or Palace of Heavenly Righteousness11—and repeated on several occasions since.12 Mun sketched his lofty vision of realising world peace in characteristically monumental terms:
“Now is the time to reveal and praise the name of the True Parents [that is, Mun and Han, who unite in their messianity] throughout the entire world. The time has come to honour and inherit the tradition and spirit of the Korean people, among whom the True Parents have arrived, establish the heavenly tradition, and anchor world peace through uniting the 6.5 billion people of the world with the United Nations”.
(CSG XIII.4.1.15, pp. 1445–46)13
This brief passage contains two central elements of Unification thought: (1) The True Parents (ch’am pumonim 참부모님), representing the highest fruit of Korean (and world) history, are supposed to be revered as the messianic couple by all of humankind; and (2) the UN must play a role in facilitating this providential event.
Mun’s entire religious enterprise—transferred to Han with his demise in 2012—is single-mindedly aimed at the goal of what Unificationists call “kingdom-building”, that is, establishing a literal Kingdom of Heaven on Earth (chisang ch’ŏn’guk 지상천국/地上天國; or in Unificationist parlance, Cheon Il Guk or ch’ŏnilguk 천일국/天一國) with the Korean peninsula as its navel point.14 Hence, the gateway to world peace is a reunified Korean peninsula under the helm of True Parents, the living embodiment of God on Earth. The outstanding providential mission of the Korean people as the “third Israel” (chesam Isŭrael 제3 이스라엘) runs like a golden thread through Mun’s teachings (cf. WK II.6.3, pp. 551–52). Most poignantly, this belief is expressed in Mun’s above-quoted public address of 2010, where he declared that “Korea will now become God’s fatherland and hometown” (CSG XIII.4.32, p. 1450).15
Apart from Korea’s providential significance, Mun also understood the UN to be instrumental in the process of ultimately realising world peace or Cheon Il Guk. Considering his biography, he had good personal reason to do so. Due to a bombing raid by UN troops on the night from 13 to 14 October 1950, dozens of prisoners incarcerated in the North Korean Labour Camp of Hŭngnam 흥남/興南 were freed; among them, Mun.16 Soon after his escape, with the Korean War (1950–1953) being in full swing, Mun fled as one of the millions of civilian refugees to the southern harbour city of Pusan, where he first systematically formulated his doctrine that became the bedrock of his ministry. Mun’s experience of liberation has been interpreted as divine intervention and became a standard element in his hagiography (cf. Mun 2009, pp. 108–25).17
Often extolling the sixteen nations that intervened in the Korean War under the UN banner and their relative success in pushing back the communist forces, Mun presaged the UN’s greater peacebuilding potential. At the same time, he was vocal about the UN’s dysfunctionality and ineffectiveness. He particularly criticised the UN’s secular nature, which would make it vulnerable to the propaganda of member states from the Communist Bloc, and diverted the institution from its providential purpose (Mickler 2008). In his view, the existing UN’s political establishment represents the body at the world-level and is involved in continuous conflict with religion, which would represent the world of the heart–mind. Hence, to restore the unity of mind and body at the global level, he suggested that the UN should integrate a religious dimension (CBG VIII.3.1.2, pp. 910–11). To develop an organisational tool that could reform (or actually supersede) the UN, Mun oversaw a global web of interfaith and political projects over the period of several decades. These activities laid the groundwork for the creation of the UPF.

2.1. Interfaith Efforts

Mun’s declared motives to engage in interfaith work included: (1) the forming of an alliance opposed to communism; (2) to bring an end to interreligious strife; and (3) to advance world peace (CBG XI.2.1.1–5, pp. 1276–77). He saw the establishment of a world-level religious council within a UN framework that would contribute to policy making as an essential step towards peace. This idea matured over several stages, resulting in a vast number of initiatives and organisations.
In 1966, Mun launched a supra-denominational association of Christians in order to promote ecumenical activities with the aim to mend the strained relationship between the HSA and mainline churches (Gray 2011). Four years later, the HSA joined the Korean Religious Council (Han’guk Chonggyo Hyŏbŭihoe 한국종교협의회/韓國宗敎協議會), South Korea’s earliest interreligious organisation. Its founding members represented the six traditions of Buddhism, Wŏn Buddhism 원불교/圓佛敎, Confucianism, Ch’ŏndogyo 천도교/天道敎, Catholicism, and Protestantism. As of 1988, the Korean Religious Council leadership has effectively been run by the Unification Movement. Since November 2017, the Council has been closely associated with the UPF via its sub-group entitled Association of Religious Leaders for World Peace (Segye P’yŏnghwa Chonggyoin Yŏnhap 세계평화종교인연합/世界平和宗敎人聯合 operating internationally as Interreligious Association for Peace and Development).
Mun continued interfaith activities shortly after arriving in the USA through the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), which he founded in 1975. The Seminary’s initial faculty, headed by Kim “David” Sang-ch’ŏl 김상철/金相哲 (1915–2011) as president, was highly diverse and invited scholars from across the Judaeo–Christian spectrum, ranging from Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Dutch Reformed, and Methodist to Jewish Death of God theologians. Moreover, the UTS hosted speakers from non-mainline traditions including, among others, Evangelical and Charismatic Christians, Latter-day Saints, Islamic scholars, indigenous African Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists. Held on the premises of the UTS in Barrytown, New York, interreligious weekend dialogues attracted scholars, dignitaries, and students alike. In the early 1980s, these meetings evolved into larger conference settings (Mickler 2019).
The first truly global Unificationist interfaith project was the New Ecumenical Research Association (Sae Chonggyo Ilch’i Yŏn’guhoe 새종교일치연구회) or New ERA (Nyu Era 뉴 에라), incorporated with the support of the UTS in New York in 1981.18 In December of that year, New ERA organised a conference at Maui in Hawai‘i, entitled “God: The Contemporary Discussion”, which was attended by 160 scholars from the fields of theology, religious studies, and philosophy, hailing from 33 countries and embodying major religious traditions (Sontag and Bryant 1982). This format of “academic ecumenism” was followed by a series of annual “God conferences” (Hananim’ŭi hoe 하나님의회) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (1982), Puerto Rico (1983/1984), and Seoul (1984) (Smalls 1984). Taking its interfaith work to the next level, in 1985 (15 to 21 November) New ERA organised the first Assembly of the World’s Religions (AWR; Segye Chonggyo Hoe 세계종교회/世界宗敎會). Over 600 selected religious dignitaries, scholars, and scholar-practitioners gathered to attend the event held at the Americana Great Gorge Conference Center in McAfee, New Jersey. Participants came from 73 countries and represented mainline traditions as well as new religious movements (Bryant et al. 1986, pp. 274–76). Featuring less theological discourse and a more experiential focus, the AWR’s programme allowed for ceremonial and artistic expressions of religious unity, including supra-confessional prayers, meditation sessions, and a ritual where religious representatives solemnly poured glasses of water into a large bowl. These elements would become key features in subsequent Unificationist-led interfaith gatherings.19
In the founder’s address, entitled “Dialogue and Alliance”, Mun laid out his understanding of the essential task of religion:20
“[… T]he ultimate purpose of all these religions is only to realize God’s will, that is, the ideal world of peace and happiness. Religions should be concerned with God’s will for world salvation more than with the salvation of the individual or the welfare of their own denomination. […] Today God is trying to embrace the whole of humankind as His children. Through interreligious dialogue and harmony we should realize one ideal world of peace, which is God’s purpose of creation and the common ideal of humankind”.
In short, Mun deems religions to hold the key to world peace. However, as he reminds his co-religionists, to realise God’s kingdom, religious groups cannot just focus on the world beyond, but must actively carry its value perspective into the fields of “politics, the economy, social programs and education” (ibid., p. 100). Taking the UN as the standard, Mun envisioned the AWR to grow into a significant platform of religious leaders in good standing, who would actively engage in a collective this-worldly process of kingdom-building (ibid., p. 101). Or, to take up the metaphor employed in his farewell remarks to the AWR: rivers representing the various religious traditions should ultimately flow to their final destination, that is, the great ocean signifying the millenarian kingdom (ibid., p. 223).
Mun’s long-term intent was to import international expertise on interfaith matters back to his homeland and, thus, equip the Korean Unification Movement with a competitive edge. Thus, he did not shy away from mobilising considerable financial and human resources for his projects. The AWR was sponsored by the International Religious Foundation (IRF; Kukche Chonggyo Chaedan 국제종교재단/國際宗敎財團), founded by Mun two years earlier (1983), which continued to support the Unificationist interfaith outreach throughout the 1980s. The first event was followed by two other assemblies in San Francisco (1990) and, finally, in Seoul (1992). Attended by reportedly 2000 international religious dignitaries, the AWR in Seoul was embedded into the programme of the World Culture and Sports Festivals (Segye Munhwa Ch’eyuk Taejŏn 세계문화체육대전/世界文化體育大典), a series of mass conventions inspired by the 1988 Seoul Olympics and held in irregular intervals between 1992 and 2007.21 Launched in 1991, the US-based Interreligious Federation for World Peace (Segye p’yŏnghwa chonggyo yŏnhap 세계평화종교연합/世界平和宗敎聯合), headed by Frank Kaufmann (b. 1952), succeeded the IRF. It functioned as a temporary umbrella for the Unification Movement’s expanding international interfaith work and co-hosted the World Culture and Sports Festivals in South Korea. Furthermore, the Interreligious Federation for World Peace inspired pilgrimages, interreligious service projects, and grassroots interfaith meetings, thus, laying the foundations on which UPF would continue to build in the 2000s and thereafter (cf. CBG XI.2.2.1–8, pp. 1285–88).
By holding interfaith conferences along with interreligious sports competitions and large-scale blessing ceremonies in South Korea drew public attention to Mun. However, being no stranger to controversy and breaking both diplomatic and interfaith protocol, Mun also dared to use the stage provided by the first World Culture and Sports Festival in order to publicly declare his messiahship (cf. Moon 1992). Such tendencies of self-aggrandisement did not always sit well with the guests. Several longstanding friends of the Unification Movement were put off by this “provocation” and consequently severed their ties with the movement; others, however, respectfully declined his bolder claims while witnessing to the “spiritual power” and charismatic “energy” of Mun’s works, and continued their collaboration (see, e.g., Gregorios 1992; Rubenstein 1992). Bravado was a distinguishing feature of Mun’s ministry, and from this “charismatic audacity”, sprang forth his idea of reshaping the UN.
Going beyond the centenary celebrations of the World’s Parliament of Religions of 1893, Mun sought to build a global interreligious forum that aimed at nothing short of world peace (cf. MS 2002, p. 275). The institutional basis for this endeavour would be complementing the UN General Assembly. On 1 October 1993, Mun declared: “I am planning to create a UN of religions that is aligned with religious people. We are entering such a stage” (MS 1999, p. 212).22 Thus, since the early 1990s, reforming the UN became an essential aspect of Mun’s millenarian masterplan. Technical questions of how religious representatives would be selected, who would preside over the “UN of religions”, and how exactly the organisation would operate were of little concern to Mun. After all, it was obvious—or so he thought—that he was designated by heaven to represent the absolute oneness of God. Thus, if all religions connected with him as the nodal point of the providence, a world of peace would unfold (ibid.).

2.2. Political Agenda

Since its inception, the Unification Movement has decisively pursued a political agenda with a spirit of utmost urgency. Mun’s millenarian vision was unapologetically this-worldly, which had clear political implications. Differing from its interfaith work that usually operated under overarching organisational frameworks, Unificationist political activities spread across various projects, organisations, and publication bodies. The more apparent examples of Mun’s political work include his open defence of US President Richard Nixon (1913–1994; p. 1969–1974) at the height of the Watergate crisis in 1973 (Kim 1974, pp. 177–225), various anti-communist initiatives including CAUSA (K’ausa 카우사 or Nambongmi T’ongil Yŏnhap 남북미통일연합/南北美統一聯合, established in 1980),23 and protests at the Berlin wall during the 1980s by the Unificationist student organisation CARP or Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (Chŏn’guk Taehak Wŏlli Yŏn’guhoe 전국대학원리연구회/全國大學原理硏究會, founded in 1966) (Dubisz 2010). Most saliently showcasing Mun’s alignment with the US Republicans was the founding of the Washington Times in 1982 (cf. D’Souza 1985, p. 28), which he rapidly established as a conservative daily newspaper still in print today. Jeffrey M. Bale, scholar of religious extremism, has made a strong case for the assumption of ties between the Unification Movement and the Korean CIA as well the World Anti-Communist League, an international umbrella organisation encompassing numerous right-wing groups (Bale 1991). Such associations notwithstanding, Mun’s political pursuits were not subject to external directives but thoroughly driven by his own idiosyncratic brand of millenarianism.
In the final years of the Cold War, Mun made meticulous preparations to meet the shakers and makers of communist states. As the Communist Bloc began to show signs of waning, Mun toned down his anti-communist rhetoric and entered high-level diplomatic endeavours. In the spring of 1987, Mun launched the Summit Council for World Peace (Segye P’yŏnghwa Chŏngsang Hoeŭi 세계평화정상회의/世界平和頂上會議) in Seoul. This first summit reportedly drew twenty former heads of state and was followed up by a series of four more summits, organised by the Federation for World Peace.24 In 1990, one year prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mun met with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (b. 1931) in Moscow, followed by another “providential” meeting in 1991 with North Korean President Kim Il-sŏng (1912–1994) at a time when formal diplomatic relations between the Koreas were absent.
Although these high-level encounters carried great symbolic value to Mun and his adherents, the success of the Unification Movement’s grassroots political work remained limited. In the 1990s, his focus had shifted from ideological warfare to the promotion of family values. After having relocated from the US to South Korea, Mun launched the Family Party for Peace and Unity (P’yŏnghwa T’ongil Kajŏng Tang 평화통일가정당/和統一家庭黨) in 2003 and entrusted the project to his right hand (and later apostate) Kwak Chŏng-hwan 곽정환/郭錠煥 (b. 1936).25 However, as the party’s campaigns focused almost exclusively on the themes of family values and Korean reunification while showing little expertise in broader political and economic questions, the party failed to win a seat in the South Korean general election of 2008. Unificationist party politics was, thus, soon put on hold. Nonetheless, Mun preferred the world as his stage. Throughout the 2000s, he completed several world tours to present his vision of an “Abel UN” (Abel yuen 아벨 유엔).

3. Merging the Religious and Political Spheres

For the purpose of synthesising the Unification Movement’s international political activities with its interreligious initiatives, Mun launched the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP; Segye P’yŏnghwa Ch’ojonggyo Ch’ogukka Yŏnhap 세계평화초종교초국가연합/世界平和超宗敎超國家聯合) in the Lotte Hotel, Seoul, on 6 February 1999. The IIFWP was tasked to serve as an overarching entity, uniting various organisations and initiatives of the movement. In particular, Mun envisioned the merging of two spheres: the political realm represented by the Federation for World Peace, with the religious and cultural realm represented by the Interreligious Federation for World Peace.
By way of presenting his new organisation as a model, he suggested to restructure the UN to form a “bicameral system” (yangwŏnje’ŭi hyŏngt’ae 양원제의 형태), bringing together both religious and political leaders from every nation of the world. Their co-operation would signal the unification of politics (the realm of the body) and religion (the realm of heart–mind) (MS 2000, pp. 103–7).
Mun’s idea of restructuring the UN as a bicameral system entailed the division into an upper and a lower house. Whereas the current UN body, which, according to Mun, had been subverted by communist ideologues, would constitute the lower house as “Cain UN” (Kain yuen 가인 유엔), the upper house should be formed by the “Abel UN”. The latter was supposed to represent the conscience of the world and would function as an umbrella for the UN of religions, together with a “Parents’ UN”, a “Women’s UN”, a “Youth UN”, and a “Students UN”. Whereas the “Cain UN” had allegedly proven to be a paralysed and impotent organisation with regard to the advancement of its founding purpose, the “Abel UN” was to form the vanguard for ushering in a new global era of peace (CBG VIII.3.1.6–32, pp. 911–19).
Having a penchant for exuberant symbolic events, Mun laid out this idea publicly at an assembly of the IIFWP in a hall of the UN headquarters in New York City on 18 August 2000.26 The following year, on 27 January 2001, Mun held a mass blessing ceremony in the UN headquarters in New York City to underscore his proposal of connecting the “traditional family ideal” with the political sphere as the cornerstone for world peace, with 210 couples participating, all dressed in ethnic garb or national costumes representing 135 countries. However, as the celebration of religious events was considered a serious breach of the UN facilities’ protocol, Mun was barred from holding further gatherings at the UN headquarters. As a consequence, Mun sidetracked the idea of reforming the UN and resolved to create an alternative version of the UN (Mickler 2008).27 In an address to Unificationist leaders on 24 September 2003, Mun performed his role as the Commander-in-Chief in the operation of reshaping the world through introducing an “Abel UN”:
“There is no one who can fix the world except Teacher Moon. […] After having made perfect preparations, the conquest of the current UN is an all-out attack. As the world became united through World War II, we are now preparing to mobilise all of Asia through the UN and the advanced nations of Europe to become one with Teacher. After this is completed, the Abel UN will be formed. It is also good to have the Cain UN. […] Centring on a new world that resembles the time when enemies became one after World War II, the Abel UN is going to be an organisation that attends God beyond the universe”.
After a brief period of six years, the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace finally merged into the UPF, which was formally launched in 2005 to represent the UN’s “able” or “Abel” counterpart.

4. The UPF’s Millenarian Raison D’être

Interfaith on the one hand and political activism on the other were two hallmarks of the Unificationist NGOisation process. These two lines of development were first consolidated through the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace with the purpose of connecting religious and political leaders, thus, creating a model to reform the UN. The torch was passed on to the UPF in 2005, which was solemnly inaugurated by Mun on 12 September 2005:29
“Thus, today, I declare before all of humankind the creation of a new international organisation capable to exert the function of the Abel-type UN along with the renewal of the existing UN for the realisation of world peace, which is God’s eternal ideal of creation. It will be launched under the name of ‘Universal Peace Federation’, […] having received the mandate of heaven”.
In Mun’s understanding, the mandate of heaven (ch’ŏnmyŏng 천명/天命)—which, incidentally, is an explicitly Confucian notion—is tantamount to his (or, more accurately, True Parents’) providential calling. His ministry and Unificationism at large would be the only means for humankind to accomplish God’s ideal of creation (ch’angjo isang 창조이상/創造理想), that is, the very purpose why God had created the cosmos and humans in the first place. This purpose is Cheon Il Guk, which refers to personal, communal, and civilisational harmony and harmonisation centring on God and, by extension, True Parents (Pokorny 2014, pp. 154–61). Unificationism manifesting in a vast concert of activities is what would bring Cheon Il Guk to pass.31 In other words, lived Unificationism means kingdom-building. In this, Mun assigned a crucial role to the UPF. To him, the foundation of the UPF is the culmination of “True Parents’ blood, sweat, and tears” (MS 2009b, p. 247), that is, his (and his wife’s) triumphant millenarian life course, virtually every part of it being celebrated in altogether hundreds of soteriological proclamations (O 2012). Speaking “their language”, the UPF shall convey Unificationism to the world’s political and religious leaders, and consequently, the people of the world, aligning their mindsets towards kingdom-building. That the UPF—being marshalled as the diplomatic mouthpiece of Unificationism—would prevail is deemed to be certain, for it already epitomises “God’s victory” (Hananim’ŭi sŭngni 하나님의 승리) in creating Cheon Il Guk (MS 2009b, p. 247).
In the years following the inauguration of the UPF, Mun—then in his late 80s—time and again stressed the utmost millenarian significance of this providential organisation. He did so, for example, in a “peace message” (p’yŏnghwa meseji 평화메세지) in 2007:
“Ladies and gentlemen, on 12 September 2005, I proclaimed to all under heaven the establishment of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), which will bring God’s providence to blossom. The Universal Peace Federation may now serve as an Abel-type counterpart to the UN in the Era of the Creation of the Latter Heaven. It will renew the existing Cain-type UN and mobilise tens of thousands of ambassadors for peace everywhere in the world, who have inherited my teachings, ‘Heavenly Fatherism’ [ch’ŏnbujuŭi 천부주의/天父主義], that is, the principles of true love and the true family, and who will fulfil heaven’s decree of ‘One Family Under God’”.
By drawing on the notion of the Era of the Creation of the Latter Heaven (huch’ŏn kaebyŏk sidae 후천개벽시대/後天開闢時代), Mun clothes his millenarian vision in a Korea-centric fashion (Pokorny 2013a, pp. 177–79), typical for Korean new religious movements (Pokorny 2018a). Huch’ŏn kaebyŏk refers to the successful millenarian transition that has the Korean peninsula and its people as the lynchpin. This shift, which allegedly came to fruition in essence in February 2013 (see note 31), would ultimately have the UPF take the place of the UN.
From its conception, Mun was clear about the UPF’s purpose in line with his Korea-centric millenarianism. For example, on 5 September 2005, a week before the formal founding of the organisation, Mun stated during the daily morning devotion—called hundokhoe 훈독회/訓讀會 (literally, gathering for instruction and studying)—with his adherents:
“That is the Universal Peace Federation, and that is why Satan has disappeared from the earth […]. The Earth is to be embraced within the boundaries of a peace in perfect blossom! Now, the goal of our activities is to establish the Universal Peace Federation, and, thereby, to restore the territory of the fatherland [i.e., Korea]. Setting this as the goal of our future lives we should move on. Now, do you understand?” .
God’s fatherland is the Korean peninsula and the UPF will be decisive in its millenarian restoration. Three selected instances nicely illuminate how Mun linked the UPF with his Korea-centric millenarian vision in more practical terms.
First, before Mun could stage the UPF as the global herald of peace to his core clientele in South Korea and Japan, he needed to make the point that abroad his ideas were already being wholeheartedly welcomed. Therefore, shortly following the UPF’s inauguration, Mun and Han embarked on a world speaking tour with the purpose to widely disseminate the news of this latest millenarian project that took them to 120 nations and formally ended on 23 December of the same year. Meetings with various political leaders, including a number of current heads of state of smaller countries, were arranged during their tour. In early 2006, Mun (then at age 86) continued his campaign throughout the Republic of Korea and choreographed several “Conventions for the Restoration of the Fatherland and Hometown” (Choguk Hyangt’o Hwanwŏn Taehoe 조국향토환원대회/祖國鄕土還元大會) where he delivered his (only slightly modified) UPF inauguration address. Immediately following these rallies, Mun dispatched his wife as well as several of his children, their partners, and four grandchildren to embark on another world tour in order to disseminate his speech. Finally, in October 2006, Mun concluded this three-generational mission ceremoniously in the Ch’ŏnjŏnggung, the construction of which was completed just a few months prior.
Second, in commemoration of the UN troops that had participated in the Korean War, Mun emphatically promoted the idea of a Peace Army and Peace Police (p’yŏnghwagun’gwa p’yŏnghwa kyŏngch’al 평화군과 평화경찰) in October 2005 in Kiev, Ukraine, during his 120-nations speaking tour. Whereas this idea has not been implemented yet, it served a highly symbolic purpose: The Peace Army and Peace Police was to explicitly honour the legacy of the UN soldiers who had sacrificed their lives for the Korean people. Thus, the task of this Abel UN force would be to serve the safety of the “heavenly nation” (hanŭl nara 하늘나라), that is, Korea as the centre of the future Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, and be dispatched to wherever conflicts would erupt, however, without carrying any weapons apart from education and “true love” (ch’am sarang 참사랑; i.e., piousness) (CBG VIII.3.4.26–33, pp. 943–45).
Third—and more fundamentally for Mun’s Abel UN vision—is Mun’s dream of nation-forming, interlaced with the somewhat abstract idea of a complementary (later turning into a substitute) UN structure. Modelled after the Vatican, which has a permanent observer status in the UN general assembly, Mun envisioned a city-state endowed with the status of a nation that would represent at the UN not only Unificationism but the entire “religious and cultural realm” (chonggyo munhwagwan 종교문화권/宗敎文化圈) (MS 2003, p. 93). The idea of a utopian city-state that could function as a “World Religions UN” (Segye Chonggyo Yuen 세계종교유엔) (ibid.), while at the same time being fully integrated into the UN system, stood at the outset of Mun’s plans to create the UPF. Subsequently, the UPF was meant to effectively supersede the UN overall. Naturally, South Korea was his first choice for the territory on which such a multicultural mini-state would be built.34 Notably, through the efforts of the (later ousted) Unificationist “court medium and exorcist” Kim Hyo-nam 김효남/金孝南 (b. 1952), the Unification Movement, from the 1990s, started to develop several hectares of land at the southern banks of the Ch’ŏngp’yŏng Lake in Kap’yŏng county 가평군/加平郡 into a veritable Unificationist Holy See (Pokorny and Zoehrer 2023), which would (and is, in fact, presently deemed to) serve as the governing centre of Cheon Il Guk (Pokorny and Zoehrer 2018, p. 238).35

Concluding Remarks

Mun promoted Unificationism as a millenarian desideratum. Humankind hitherto failed to realise God’s apparent plan for creation, winding up in a hellish world instead. Not only does Unificationism elucidate this very plan, but it is meant to represent the only fully fledged theoretical and practical programme to bring the original purpose of everything to pass. Unificationism is, thus, understood as a cosmic providential necessity. However, this universal claim, which is pursued from the outset, is wed with a distinct Korea-centrism. Koreaness is thought by Mun to essentially represent the most exalted earthly vis-à-vis of the divine. Hence, the global agenda of Unificationism is inherently turned towards Korea. In other words, the Korean agenda spells out in global terms. This is true for Unificationism as a whole as it is for its individual parts. The UPF is a case in point. Being the result of a wide range of (occasionally institutionalised and ephemeral) Unificationist interfaith and political endeavours over many decades, the UPF is the chief (religio-)diplomatic translation agency for the Unification Movement’s idiosyncratic millenarianism. The UPF’s “bilingualism”, where global interreligiously driven diplomatic peace work meets Unification theological exclusivism, serves the Unification Movement to disseminate and propel its millenarian scheme. This not only involves actual “kingdom-building”, but feeds back to the morale of the group’s core clientele in South Korea and Japan, for global visibility and (apparent) high-profile endorsement (see, e.g., the Summit for Peace on the Korean Peninsula mentioned in the Introduction) engenders motivation, which entails continuous or rising social and economic contribution among rank-and-file Unificationists. The latter specifically are the sine qua non for kingdom-building and for retaining a global presence. Moreover, it is this elitist peace work globetrotting by the UPF which is much conducive particularly for the (hitherto markedly negative) image of the Unification Movement among South Korea’s general public and, more importantly, the stakeholders of domestic politics and civil society.
Overall, Unificationism is intrinsically globalist. For one, the world (in fact, the whole cosmos) would need Unificationism for accomplishing millenarian perfection. Concurrently, the Unification Movement needs the global discourse for both consummating the Kingdom of Heaven and keeping its core religious business in full operation. In this, the UPF plays a key role.

Author Contributions

Conceptualisation, L.K.P. and D.S.Z.; methodology, L.K.P. and D.S.Z.; writing—original draft preparation L.K.P. and D.S.Z.; writing—review and editing, L.K.P. and D.S.Z. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Japanese and Korean Names
Abe Shinzō 安倍晋三Shinzo Abe
Han Hak-cha 한학자/韓鶴子Hak Ja Han Moon
Kim Hyo-nam 김효남/金孝南 Hyo Nam Kim
Kim Sang-ch’ŏl 김상철/金相哲David S. C. Kim
Kwak Chŏng-hwan 곽정환/郭錠煥Chung Hwan Kwak
Mun Hyŏn-jin 문현진/文顯進Hyun Jin Preston Moon
Mun Sŏn-myŏng 문선명/文鮮明Sun Myung Moon
Pak Yŏn-mi박연미Yeonmi Park
Pan Ki-mun 반기문/潘基文Ban Ki-moon
AWRAssembly of the World’s Religions
CARPCollegiate Association for the Research of Principles
CBGCh’ambumogyŏng 참父母經 (Segye P’yŏnghwa T’ongil Kajŏng Yŏnhap 2015)
CSGCh’ŏnsŏnggyŏng 天聖經 (Segye P’yŏnghwa T’ongil Kajŏng Yŏnhap 2013)
ECOSOCEconomic and Social Council of the United Nations
FFWPUFamily Federation for World Peace and Unification
HSAHoly Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity
IIFWP Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace
IRFInternational Religious Foundation
MSMun Sŏn-myŏng sŏnsaeng malssŭm sŏnjip 文鮮明先生말씀選集 (Mun Sŏn-myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm P’yŏnch’an Wiwŏnhoe)
NGOnon-governmental Organisation
UNUnited Nations
UPFUniversal Peace Federation
UTSUnification Theological Seminary
WKWŏllikangnon 원리강론 (Segye P’yŏnghwa T’ongil Kajŏng Yŏnhap 1999)


몸과 외적인 세계를 대표하는 정치인이나 외교가들의 경륜과 실천만이 아니라 마음과 내적인 세계를 대표하는 세계 종교지도자들의 지혜와 노력이 합해져야 평화세계가 완전히 이룩될 수 있습니다 (MS 2000, p. 106).
The romanisation of Korean follows the McCune-Reischauer system. Names are written according to the East Asian custom: Family name precedes personal name. The romanisation of Japanese follows the Modified Hepburn System. For the conventional (emic) rendering of Korean/Japanese names, see the Glossary of Japanese and Korean Names at the end of the paper.
The term ch’ŏnju천주/天宙 is a neologism coined by Mun (alongside many others), literally meaning “cosmos”. According to UPF chairman Thomas G. Walsh, who had been engaged with the UPF since its inception, the English rendering “universal” was chosen since the literal translation from the Korean as “Cosmic Peace Federation” would sound “too New Agey” (Personal Communication with Walsh on 2 February 2022). Briefly (MS 2009b, p. 112), Mun had in mind to call the new organisation Cosmic Peace Kingship Federation (Ch’ŏnju P’yŏnghwa Wanggwŏn Yŏnhap 천주평화왕권연합/天宙平和王權聯合).
The UPF’s self-description reads as follows: “[A]n international and interreligious network of individuals and organizations, including representatives from religion, government, civil society and the private sector […] dedicated to achieving world peace” (UPF International 2021). The organisation openly endorses the mission of the United Nations, which it supports “particularly in the areas of interfaith dialogue, education for peace, and the strengthening of marriage and family” (ibid.). In 2018, the UPF attained “general consultative status” at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). The UPF’s immediate predecessor, the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (see discussion below), had already attained the “special consultative status” as early as 2004 and transferred this status to the UPF after the latter’s founding (Balcomb 2008, p. 3). The ECOSOC functions as the United Nations’ central platform for discussing economic, social, and environmental issues. NGOs with consultative status are able to formulate policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system (United Nations 2018). As of March 2021, 140 organisations worldwide are accredited with general consultative status, which signifies a large membership and substantive contributions in accordance with ECOSOC’s concerns. The less influential special consultative status has been acquired by 4341 organisations (United Nations Economic and Social Council 2021).
According to David Fraser Harris, secretary general of UPF for the Middle East, an earlier plan was to hold one session of the summit in the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea as in previous years, which ultimately could not be realised this time due to COVID-19 restrictions (Personal Communication on 18 February 2022).
The first Founder’s Special Award was given to Pan Ki-mun in 2020. Pan agreed to serve as the honorary chairman of “Think Tank 2022”, a UPF-facilitated network of politicians, experts, and influencers aimed at discussing strategies for Korean reunification (; accessed on 15 March 2022). Another award had been introduced by Han in 2013 to honour the legacy of her late husband—the biennial Sunhak (Sŏnhak) Peace Prize (Sŏnhak p’yŏnghwa hwasang 선학평화상/鮮鶴平和賞). Laureates of this prize are selected for extraordinary achievements in one of three areas: welfare and education, conflict resolution, and ecological sustainability. The award includes a monetary prize of one million USD (see; accessed on 15 March 2022).
Former heads of state and government that spoke in person at the Opening Plenary included Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (b. 1959; p. 2006–2015), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (b. 1945; p. 2006–2009), and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena (b. 1951; p. 2015–2019). Video addresses were delivered by Senegalese President and African Union Chairman Macky Sall (b. 1961, 2012–present), former EU Commission President Romano Prodi (b. 1939; p. 1999–2004), and former Brazilian President Michel Temer (b. 1940; p. 2016–2018). Needless to say, the UPF remunerates high-profile speakers very generously.
이것이야말로 하나님의 인간 창조 이래 가장 혁명적이고 경이적인 사건이 아닐 수 없습니다.
Whereas this paper focuses on the context, birth, and millenarian anatomy of the UPF, a follow-up paper will examine the organisation itself, its past and current activities, and its post-Mun guise.
Informally (and, briefly, even officially) called the Unification Church, this religious core organisation underwent several name changes. With breaks, since the mid-1990s it operates as Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU; Segye P’yŏnghwa T’ongil Kajŏng Yŏnhap 세계평화통일가정연합/世界平和統一家庭聯合). Notably, in May 2020, Han inaugurated the Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community (Hanŭl Pumonim Sŏnghoe 하늘부모님성회), an organisational entity that is to comprise the FFWPU and its affiliated NGOs. A comprehensive, albeit incomplete list of institutions, cultural and educational initiatives, and enterprises encompassed by the Unification Movement can be found, for example, on the website (accessed on 15 March 2022).
Consecrated in June 2006, this neoclassical building was erected on a hill overlooking the Ch’ŏngp’yŏng 청평/淸平 area, the chief Unificationist sacred ground and pilgrimage site.
The somewhat wordy title of his address reads “Assembly for the Settlement of the True Parents of Heaven, Earth, and Humankind, and for the Proclamation of the Substantial Word” (Ch’ŏnjiin ch’ambumo chŏngch’ak silch’e malssŭm sŏnp’o taehoe 천지인참부모정착실체말씀선포대회 /天地人참父母定着實體말씀宣布大會).
여러분 모두는 참부모님의 이름을 만천하에 드러내 놓고 자랑하고 칭송해야 할 때입니다. 참부모님께서 출현한 한민족의 전통과 정신을 존경하고 전수받아 하늘의 전통을 정립하고, 유엔과 65억 인류가 하나가 되어 세계평화를 정착해야 할 때가 왔습니다.
Cheon Il Guk is a neologism devised by Mun and an abbreviation for ch’ŏnju p’yŏnghwa t’ongilguk 천주평화통일국/天宙平和統一國 or Kingdom of Cosmic Peace and Unity.
이제 하나님의 조국과 고향은 한국이 됩니다.
Accounts regarding the reasons for Mun’s conviction vary. Unificationist officials claim that he was convicted for espionage on behalf of the South Korean government; other sources state allegations of bigamy and/or adultery.
Another more mundane experience could have contributed to Mun’s vision of the UN as the harbinger of an era of peace. From 1983 until 2006, Mun’s Korean residence was located in Hannamdong 한남동/漢南洞, a neighbourhood in Seoul. Affectionally called “mini global village”, Hannamdong is known for its international flair as many expatriates including business executives and diplomats live there (Han 2008). Mun’s mansion, now operating as an international training centre of the Unification Movement, belongs to a residential area called “UN Village”.
New ERA drew upon the Unificationist outreach efforts towards high-ranking academics during the 1970s. The kick-off for the movement’s international interfaith work was the formal proposition to form a “Global Congress of World Religions” in 1977, an idea that was discussed over the course of three conferences in Boston (1978), Los Angeles (1979), and Miami (1980) (Braybrooke 1992, pp. 270–73).
Despite this emphasis on experience over discussion, one significant publication output that grew out of the first AWR and a year-long intense exchange with scholars from a range of traditions was World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts (1991), edited by the Unification theologian Andrew Wilson (b. 1950). In the anthology’s foreword, the well-known Scottish scholar of religion Ninian Smart (1927–2001) states that World Scripture “provides us with a collection which is illuminating. […] It is compiled in the spirit of reverence for all spiritual paths. Such a spirit is needed if we are to live at peace with one another” (Smart 1991, pp. xi–xii). Smart was involved with various Unificationist interfaith projects throughout the 1990s. He served as the President of the Interreligious Federation for World Peace (see discussion below) from 1998 until his passing in 2001, a position he retained even after he was elected the President of the American Academy of Religion in 2000. As one of the few high-ranking academics regularly invited to Unificationist conferences, Smart attended a Unificationist (marriage) blessing ceremony (ch’ukpoksik 축복식/祝福式) together with his wife Libushka Baruffaldi in August 1992 (Personal Communication with Frank Kaufmann on 22 March 2022). Smart illustrates the remarkable level of prominence that early Unificationist interfaith projects were able to attract as contributors and advisors, an aspect that would deserve an independent investigation. Among the scholars who attended the AWRs were, among others, the influential American scholar of religious studies Huston Smith (1919–2016), the German-British theologian Ursula M. King (b. 1938), and the German scholar of religion and Protestant theologian Michael von Brück (b. 1949). The ordained Presbyterian minister and professor of theology Herbert W. Richardson (b. 1932) significantly sharpened the profile of the Unification Theological Seminary, whereas the Holocaust theologian Richard Rubenstein (1924–2021) served as the President of the (formerly church-affiliated) University of Bridgeport from 1995 to 1999.
A publication series under the same name has been issued continuously under various publishers since Spring 1987. From 2005 onwards, Dialogue & Alliance has served as the UPF’s official interfaith journal, featuring articles of scholars and religious dignitaries alike. A more decidedly academic publication was the International Journal on World Peace, edited by UTS alumni Gordon L. Anderson (b. 1947). The journal was dedicated to peace studies and published between 1983 and 2021. The UPF and its preceding organisation sponsored the journal from 2000 until 2009.
From 1992 onwards, these events also included several international and interreligious blessing ceremonies, to this day the most well-known (ritual) characteristic of Unificationism.
종교인들을 중심삼은 종교 유엔을 만들려고 계획하고 있어요. 그런 단계에 들어가고 있습니다.
23 (accessed on 15 March 2022).
Three decades later, in February 2019, Han relaunched the SCWP in Seoul as a UPF project under the name International Summit Council for Peace (Segye P’yŏnghwa Chŏngsang Yŏnhap 세계평화정상연합/世界平和頂上聯合).
Kwak belonged to the closest circle around Mun and held key leadership positions within the Unification Movement. He served as chairman of the IRF during the 1980s and was the first FFWPU International President. In the late 2000s, Kwak grew estranged from the Unificationist leadership and is now allied with a breakaway group headed by Mun and Han’s third son, his son-in-law Mun Hyŏn-jin 문현진/文顯進 (b. 1969).
NGOs are able to secure rooms for events at the UN headquarters, provided they have the support of a member state.
This account was corroborated by Walsh (Personal Communication on 2 February 2022), who was an ear witness at the time Mun made his decision. The next attempt to establish an “Abel UN” was the formation of the Interreligious and International Peace Council (Ch’ojonggyo ch’ogukka p’yŏnghwa ŭihoe 초종교초국가평화의회/超宗敎超國家平和議會). Following its inauguration in New York City on 3 October 2003, the new organisation mobilised 84 Unificationists (twelve members from seven nations) in order to set up a diplomatic core of “peace ambassadors” that would contact embassies and deliver information about Mun’s thought and activities. However, the project turned out to be short-lived.
문 선생밖에 세계를 수습할 사람이 없다는 거예요. […] 그렇게 완벽한 준비를 갖춘 다음에 총공격하는 것이 지금의 유엔 공략이에요. 2차대전 때 세계가 하나된 그대로 되었기 때문에 지금 선생님과 하나되어 가지고 유엔이나 유럽의 선진국들을 통해서 아시아 전체를 동원하여 그 준비를 하고 있습니다. 끝나면 아벨유엔이 생긴다구요. 가인유엔은 있어도 좋아요. […] 아벨유엔은 2차대전 때 원수들이 하나된 것과 같은 새로운 세계를중심삼고 우주를 넘어서 하나님을 모시는 단체가 되는 거라구요.
Held in the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, New York City, his address was reportedly given in front of 376 delegates from 157 nations, many of whom were indeed Unificationist missionaries rather than public political figures. Prior to Mun’s inauguration address, congratulatory remarks were offered by José de Venecia, Jr. (b. 1936), Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives, and Makarim Wibisono (b. 1947), Chairman of the UN Commission of Human Rights and Indonesia’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
따라서 본인은 오늘 하나님의 영원한 창조이상인 평화세계의 실현을위해 기존UN의 갱신과 더불어 새로운 차원에서 아벨적UN의 기능을 발휘할 수 있는 새로운 국제기구의 창설을 전 인류 앞에 선포하는바입니다. ‘천주평화연합’이라는 이름으로 출범하게 되겠습니다. […] 이제는 천명을 받들어 출발하는 아벨적UN이 필요할 때가 왔습니다.
Notably, Unificationists believe that—shortly after Mun’s passing—this millennium was indeed ushered in, albeit in an embryonic state. Accordingly, further kingdom-building (especially including UPF activities) is deemed essential to extend it further (or, as mainstream Unificationists would argue, to accelerate its natural growth) (Pokorny 2013b).
여러분, 2005년 9월 12일에는 하나님의 섭리사를 꽃피울 천주평화연합(UPF)의 창설을 만천하에 선포했습니다. 천주평화연합은 이제 후천개벽시대의 아벨유엔적 역할을 다하게 될 것입니다. 가인격인 기존 유엔의 갱신과 더불어 세계 도처에서 본인의 가르침인 ‘천부주의’, 즉 참사랑·참가정주의를 전수받아 뛰고 있는 수만의 평화대사들을 동원하여 ‘하나님 아래 인류 한 가족’의 천명을 반드시 완수하고야 말 것입니다.
그것이 천주평화연합이요, 그렇기 때문에 사탄이 땅에 없어지니 […] 지구성은 완전히 흥하는 평화의 경계 내에 품기는 것이다! 이제 우리들의 활동 목표는 천주평화연합 창설과 더불어, 그다음에 조국강토 회복을 하는 것이에요. 이것이 […] 할 생애의 목표로 정해 나가야 되겠다구요. 자, 알겠지요?
Temporarily, he also considered Uruguay and Paraguay as potential alternatives, where he had bought considerable areas of land in the 1990s (cf. MS 2003, p. 93).
Furthermore, Mun also speculated about redesignating the Joint Security Area at P’anmunjŏm 판문점/板門店, a short stretch of the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, as a possible building site for the Abel UN (CBG VIII.3.1.20–21, p. 916).


  1. Balcomb, Michael. 2008. Building One Family Under God: Improving the Universal Peace Federation’s International Leadership Conferences through Designing and Implementing an Effective Participant Feedback Mechanism. Doctor of. Ministry thesis, Unification Theological Seminary, Barrytown, NY, USA. [Google Scholar]
  2. Bale, Jeffrey M. 1991. “Privatising” Covert Action: The Case of the Unification Church. Lobster 21: 1–16. [Google Scholar]
  3. Braybrooke, Marcus. 1992. Pilgrimage of Hope: One Hundred Years of Global Interfaith Dialogue. London: SCM Press. [Google Scholar]
  4. Bryant, M. Darrol, John Maniatis, and Tyler Hendricks, eds. 1986. Assembly of the World’s Religions 1985: Spiritual Unity and the Future of the Earth. A Report. New York: Paragon House. [Google Scholar]
  5. D’Souza, Dinesh. 1985. Moon’s Planet: The Politics and Theology of the Unification Church. Policy Review 32: 28–34. [Google Scholar]
  6. Dubisz, Claus. 2010. Der deutschen Einheit verpflichtet. Die Aktivitäten der Hochschulvereinigung CARP in den 70ern und 80ern. In 20 Jahre Nach Dem Fall der Mauer. Die Wiedervereinigung Deutschlands, eine Bestandsaufnahme. Edited by Fritz Piepenburg. Stuttgart: Kando-Verlag, pp. 23–35. [Google Scholar]
  7. Gray, Julian. 2011. Father’s Life in His Own Words: A Time of Ideological Intensity. Today’s World Magazine, July/August. 10–14. [Google Scholar]
  8. Gregorios, Paulos Mar. 1992. Religion and the Creation of World Peace. Available online: (accessed on 17 February 2022).
  9. Han, Jane. 2008. Hannam-dong Is Mini Global Village in Central Seoul. The Korea Times. November 21. Available online: (accessed on 23 February 2022).
  10. Kim, David S. C. 1974. Day of Hope in Review. Sun Myung Moon, Part 1. 1972–1974. Tarrytown: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. [Google Scholar]
  11. Mickler, Michael L. 2008. Toward an “Abel” UN? The Unification Movement and the United Nations. Journal of Unification Studies 9: 49–84. [Google Scholar]
  12. Mickler, Michael L. 2019. A Short History of Unification Theological Seminary: The Barrytown Years, 1975–2019. Journal of Unification Studies 20: 1–56. [Google Scholar]
  13. Moon, Sun Myung [=Mun Sŏn-myŏng]. 1986. Founder’s Address: Dialogue and Alliance. In Assembly of the World’s Religions 1985: Spiritual Unity and the Future of the Earth. A Report. Edited by M. Darrol Bryant, John Maniatis and Tyler Hendricks. New York: Paragon House, pp. 96–101. [Google Scholar]
  14. Moon, Sun Myung [=Mun Sŏn-myŏng]. 1992. Becoming the Leaders in Building a World of Peace. Today’s World Magazine, October/November. 4–7. [Google Scholar]
  15. Mun Sŏn-myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm P’yŏnch’an Wiwŏnhoe 文鮮明先生말씀編纂委員會, ed. 1999. Mun Sŏn-Myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm Sŏnjip <che 248 kwŏn> 文鮮明先生말씀選集 <第248卷>. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 成和出版社. [Google Scholar]
  16. Mun Sŏn-myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm P’yŏnch’an Wiwŏnhoe 文鮮明先生말씀編纂委員會, ed. 2000. Mun Sŏn-Myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm Sŏnjip <che 299 kwŏn> 文鮮明先生말씀選集 <第299卷>. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 成和出版社. [Google Scholar]
  17. Mun Sŏn-myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm P’yŏnch’an Wiwŏnhoe 文鮮明先生말씀編纂委員會, ed. 2002. Mun Sŏn-Myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm Sŏnjip <che 133 kwŏn> 文鮮明先生말씀選集 <第133卷>. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 成和出版社. [Google Scholar]
  18. Mun Sŏn-myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm P’yŏnch’an Wiwŏnhoe 文鮮明先生말씀編纂委員會, ed. 2003. Mun Sŏn-Myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm Sŏnjip <che 305 kwŏn> 文鮮明先生말씀選集 <第305卷>. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 成和出版社. [Google Scholar]
  19. Mun Sŏn-myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm P’yŏnch’an Wiwŏnhoe 文鮮明先生말씀編纂委員會, ed. 2006a. Mun Sŏn-Myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm Sŏnjip <che 418 kwŏn> 文鮮明先生말씀選集 <第418卷>. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 成和出版社. [Google Scholar]
  20. Mun Sŏn-myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm P’yŏnch’an Wiwŏnhoe 文鮮明先生말씀編纂委員會, ed. 2006b. Mun Sŏn-Myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm Sŏnjip <che 421 kwŏn> 文鮮明先生말씀選集 <第421卷>. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 成和出版社. [Google Scholar]
  21. Mun Sŏn-myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm P’yŏnch’an Wiwŏnhoe 文鮮明先生말씀編纂委員會, ed. 2009a. Mun Sŏn-Myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm Sŏnjip <che 506 kwŏn> 文鮮明先生말씀選集 <第506卷>. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 成和出版社. [Google Scholar]
  22. Mun Sŏn-myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm P’yŏnch’an Wiwŏnhoe 文鮮明先生말씀編纂委員會, ed. 2009b. Mun Sŏn-Myŏng Sŏnsaeng Malssŭm Sŏnjip <che 507 kwŏn> 文鮮明先生말씀選集 <第507卷>. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 成和出版社. [Google Scholar]
  23. Mun, Sŏn-myŏng 문선명. 2009. P’yŏnghwa’rŭl Sarang Hanŭn Segyein’ŭro 평화를 사랑하는 세계인으로. P’aju 파주: Kimyŏngsa 김영사. [Google Scholar]
  24. O, T’aek-yong 오택용. 2012. Mun Sŏn-myŏng sŏnsaeng’ŭi sŏnp’osig’ŭl t’onghan hananim’ŭi sŏmni ihae 문선명 선생의 선포식을 통한 하나님의 섭리이해. Ph.D. thesis, Sun Moon University, Chungcheongnam-do, Korea. [Google Scholar]
  25. Pokorny, Lukas. 2013a. The Millenarian Dimension of Unification Thought. In Korea 2013: Politics, Economy and Society. Edited by Rüdiger Frank, James E. Hoare, Patrick Köllner and Susan Pares. Leiden and Boston: Brill, pp. 161–89. [Google Scholar]
  26. Pokorny, Lukas. 2013b. “The Millenarian Dream Continued”: Foundation Day, Vision 2020 and the Post-Mun Unification Movement. Vienna Journal of East Asian Studies 4: 123–57. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  27. Pokorny, Lukas. 2014. Millenarian Retrospects and Prospects: The Post-Mun Unification Movement in Austria. In Religion in Austria, Volume 2. Edited by Hans Gerald Hödl and Lukas Pokorny. Vienna: Praesens Verlag, pp. 127–79. [Google Scholar]
  28. Pokorny, Lukas. 2018a. Korean New Religious Movements: An Introduction. In Handbook of East Asian New Religious Movements. Edited by Lukas Pokorny and Franz Winter. Leiden and Boston: Brill, pp. 231–54. [Google Scholar]
  29. Pokorny, Lukas. 2018b. Unification Movement. In Handbook of East Asian New Religious Movements. Edited by Lukas Pokorny and Franz Winter. Leiden and Boston: Brill, pp. 321–42. [Google Scholar]
  30. Pokorny, Lukas. 2020. The Millenarian Myth Ethnocentrized: The Case of East Asian New Religious Movements. In Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth: Contributions in Honor of Robert A. Segal. Edited by Nickolas P. Roubekas and Thomas Ryba. Leiden and Boston: Brill, pp. 299–316. [Google Scholar]
  31. Pokorny, Lukas, and Dominic Zoehrer. 2018. Austrian Unificationist Perspectives vis-à-vis the Cheon Il Guk Constitution, with an Annotated Bilingual Translation of the Text. In Religion in Austria, Volume 4. Edited by Hans Gerald Hödl and Lukas Pokorny. Vienna: Praesens Verlag, pp. 205–88. [Google Scholar]
  32. Pokorny, Lukas K., and Dominic S. Zoehrer. 2023. "All evil spirits must be brushed off": Possession and Liberation in the Unification Movement. In Ancient and Modern Ideas of Possession: An Interdisciplinary Study on Possession in Historical and Contemporary Contexts. Edited by Nicole Maria Bauer and J. Andrew Doole. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming. [Google Scholar]
  33. Rubenstein, Richard L. 1992. Response to Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Announcement of the House of Unification for World Peace. Today’s World Magazine, October/November. 8–9. [Google Scholar]
  34. Segye P’yŏnghwa T’ongil Kajŏng Yŏnhap 세계평화통일가정연합. 1999. Wŏlli Kangnon 원리강론. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 성화출판사. First published 1966. [Google Scholar]
  35. Segye P’yŏnghwa T’ongil Kajŏng Yŏnhap 세계평화통일가정연합. 2013. Ch’ŏnsŏnggyŏng: Ch’ŏnilguk Kyŏngjŏn 天聖經: 天一國經典. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 성화출판사. [Google Scholar]
  36. Segye P’yŏnghwa T’ongil Kajŏng Yŏnhap 세계평화통일가정연합. 2015. Ch’ambumogyŏng: Ch’ŏnilguk Kyŏngjŏn 참父母經: 天一國經典. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 성화출판사. [Google Scholar]
  37. Smalls, Yolanda. 1984. God: The Contemporary Discussion. Today’s World Magazine, March. 24–26. [Google Scholar]
  38. Smart, Ninian. 1991. Foreword. In World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. Edited by Andrew Wilson. New York: International Religious Foundation, pp. xi–xii. [Google Scholar]
  39. Sontag, Frederick, and M. Darrol Bryant, eds. 1982. God: The Contemporary Discussion. New York: Rose of Sharon Press. [Google Scholar]
  40. T’ongilgyo 통일교. 2009. P’yŏnghwa Sin’gyŏng. P’yŏnghwa Mesiji-wa Yŏnggye Bogosŏ 平和神經. 평화메시지와 영계보고서. Sŏul 서울: Sŏnghwa ch’ulp’ansa 성화출판사. [Google Scholar]
  41. United Nations Economic and Social Council. 2021. List of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council as at 1 September 2019. Online: E/2019/INF/5. Available online: (accessed on 21 March 2022).
  42. United Nations. 2018. Working with ECOSOC: A NGOs Guide to Consultative Status; New York: United Nations. Available online: (accessed on 21 March 2022).
  43. UPF International. 2021. About the Universal Peace Federation. Available online: (accessed on 16 December 2021).
  44. UPF International. 2022. Day 2 World Summit 2022 Press Release: Global Leaders Seek Peace on the Korean Peninsula. February 12. Available online: (accessed on 22 February 2022).
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Pokorny, L.K.; Zoehrer, D.S. “Kingdom-Building” through Global Diplomatic and Interfaith Agency: The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Unificationist Millenarianism. Religions 2022, 13, 448.

AMA Style

Pokorny LK, Zoehrer DS. “Kingdom-Building” through Global Diplomatic and Interfaith Agency: The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Unificationist Millenarianism. Religions. 2022; 13(5):448.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pokorny, Lukas K., and Dominic S. Zoehrer. 2022. "“Kingdom-Building” through Global Diplomatic and Interfaith Agency: The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Unificationist Millenarianism" Religions 13, no. 5: 448.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop