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World nations would be wise to ask themselves what the purpose of life is as they assess their commitment to peace.

John Huddleston, author and former International Monetary Fund senior staffer, told participants Saturday at International Peace Forum '95 at the University of Utah that life's purpose is "to become noble and grow toward God.""When we embrace that our goal is to accumulate nobleness . . . and pass it on to our children, then we can create a just society."

Huddleston, also a former British Defense worker and Manchester University professor, said, "If you want a just society, you have to create just people."

The self-described "non-American who's been living in America for 30 years" focused on this nation's strengths and inherent responsibility toward ensuring global peace. He based his argument on a three-part answer to the question: "What is it that is special about America?"

Huddleston said America's place as the world's first government-democracy, its experiences enacting that federal democracy and its melting pot moniker make it ripe for leading the world toward peaceful solutions.

"When we are true to ourselves, we don't see the world as foreign. The doctrine `Everyone starts off equal' makes the United States a fit leader," Huddleston said. "And America is significantly more religious than any other nation of comparable size. It is that diversity that makes it unique."

Huddleston said that historically, all progressive movements have their basis in religion. He noted that although "it took a long time," America has learned tolerance.

In addition, he said problems of the environment and population/

immigration, disease, global-social disintegration (consumerism), ethnic conflicts and weapons of mass destruction do not stop at U.S. borders. He said Americans can choose to withdraw, work with other nations when it suits our purposes or develop a strategic vision to engage in long-term analysis of the issues.

"It's very interesting how the rest of the world sees us," Huddleston said. "When America acts like a European nation, it makes a fool of itself and is hated. When it is true to itself, we can lead the world toward the establishment of world peace in a very practical and systematic way."

Huddleston also called for a stronger, volunteer-based world federation.