“The world is at a stage today when the enmities of the past have not completely disappeared and new enmities have appeared,” Riza said.
He spoke about the “larger part of humanity that lives, perhaps not in subhuman conditions, but certainly in dire poverty.”
In describing the goals of the United Nations, Riza quoted the so-called “four freedoms” first expressed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941: Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
Riza said religious institutions could do much to “improve the lives of the deprived, poor, disadvantaged, dispossessed.” But, he added: “No one can do it all. Each must do it in their own way, to the extent of their own capacities.”
He noted especially the Adventist Church’s emphasis on health and education, saying that education is absolutely crucial in opening minds and allowing people to live fuller, more meaningful lives.
Riza also expressed appreciation for the multi-cultural environment of the Adventist world church headquarters, where workers represent more than 100 nationalities and ethnicities.
In response, Adventist Church president Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson said Adventists are “are dedicated to serving humanity in every way that Jesus did — physically, mentally, socially, and spirituality.”
He thanked the Riza for visiting the church headquarters and for his willingness to discuss issues of common concern.
“We hope as you have opportunity to interface with Adventists you will better understand our perspective: that we are here to honor God and to serve our fellow human beings,” Wilson said.
Wilson first met Riza in April during a visit with UN Secretary-General Ban at the United Nations headquarters in New York. That meeting was the first between an Adventist Church president and a UN secretary-general. Riza’s visit to the Adventist headquarters followed an invitation extended by Ganoune Diop, director of the church’s public affairs and religious liberty department.