|The world seems to be entering the next century in peace, but "there is a way to go yet," said King Constantine II, presidential guest speaker at the Annual Meeting in Atlanta.|
In his speech, "The Long Road to Peace," the former King of Greece said the "roads" are being opened up in Bosnia, South Africa, and the Middle East from Gaza to Tel Aviv.
But many nations "are faced with a crisis of leadership unable to offer acceptable and workable solutions to the pressing problems of the day, and who are called upon to break through the shackles imposed by a long-established practice of government by methods and mentality of the 19th and early 20th centuries."
The world has reached a point where "the coming millennium is beginning to have a moral, even religious aspect," he said. "Surely, now it's a time to be done with war, religious or otherwise, and to fight disease and famine instead of each other."
The Olympic Games, whose 100th anniversary is celebrated in Atlanta this year, are the only international symbol for peace that our world truly recognizes, he said. "We need such symbols to remind us of our past and point the way to a more peaceful future," King Constantine said.
"But one thought troubles me about the Olympics. After the speeches and the medals and the parades, we all go home and all too frequently those symbols of peace, the national flags we carried so proudly, are used for another purpose. They become symbols of conflict."
Later, he remarked, "National patriotism is a noble thing - world patriotism is nobler, for it is beyond self."