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September 2018
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World Leaders Affirm the Mission and Work of UPF

International Leadership Conference 2018

Building a World of Lasting Peace:
Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values

Universal Peace Federation
International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace
Interreligious Association for Peace and Development

Report covering the first half of the conference: 
Spirit of Optimism Evident at International Leadership Conference

Schedule and Speakers | All Photos

 

Seoul, Korea—The 2018 UPF International Leadership Conference closed with participants expressing a high degree of satisfaction with the presentations and discussions.

More than 550 participants from over 90 countries met at the Lotte Hotel World from February 18 to 22 to discuss the 2018 ILC theme, “Building a World of Lasting Peace: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”

 

Session 5 - Special Presentations: Focus on Asia and Northeast Asia

On the third day of the conference, February 20, Session V featured presentations on the critical challenges facing Asia and, in particular, the Korean Peninsula.

Many geopolitical issues remain unresolved among the principal nations of the region, including both Koreas, as well as China, India, Russia, Japan, Southeast Asia and the United States. Speakers addressed these challenges and proposed ways to work toward lasting peace and stability in the region.

Dr. Vladimir Petrovskiy, the chief researcher at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, said that North Korea’s nuclear and missile program significantly impacts the inter-Korean dialogue. He noted that the North Koreans have reached a high degree of progress in their nuclear missile program, so it is unlikely they would curtail their program after so much effort and money, yet this is a key requirement of the United States toward negotiating a treaty and establishing diplomatic relations.

How can a nuclear non-proliferation strategy be established that can be applied to other nations, such as India and Pakistan, as well as North Korea? Now that North and South Korea are in dialogue, Dr. Petrovskiy said, this “confirms that the solution of the Korean problem lies in the path of gradual development of political dialogue, nuclear non-proliferation, bilateral relations in all areas in a favorable external environment, and reliable international guarantees—with the unification of Korea as the ultimate goal.”

Hon. Yoshinori Ohno, former minister of defense, Japan, said it is important to pay attention to nations that are making strong statements about nationalism. He fears these sentiments might turn into fascism. It is the responsibility of the mass media to educate the public and make sure the populace is enlightened by the objective facts. Traditionally peace comes through power, he said, and this may be true particularly in the special case of North Korea. On the other hand, Hon. Ohno said, he was pleased to see the positive results of sports diplomacy in the case of the Olympics. He said he hopes that with the thawing of tensions, nations will take advantage of this opportunity to push for closer relations with North Korea. “Peace comes through power but more especially through human relationships,” he said. He recommended student exchange programs and other avenues such as culture, entertainment, education and sports to enhance relations.

Mr. Vijay Jolly, a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, India, offered warm greetings to the ILC participants: “Three cheers for you.” He commended the leadership of UPF co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, whose name contains “sun,” which represents sunshine, and “moon,” which reflects the sun’s warmth. He noted that Rev. Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, traveled to 120 countries in 120 days in the pursuit of world peace. “I came from India to be a foot soldier for UPF. We support peace in this part of the world. Not a single drop of blood should be shed. Every drop of blood is precious. I am ready to work in any part of the globe in the name of peace,” he said.

Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul from Thailand, the vice chair of UPF-Asia, said: “The root cause of the critical challenges for peace and development comes from the breakdown of true love in the family and the extended problems of the young people under the influence of the materialistic, free-sex culture in our modern global society.” These problems can be seen in greater trends of domestic violence, unwanted teenage pregnancies and illegal abortions among many nations in Asia, he said. “Family is the cornerstone of society,” he stated, declaring further that UPF is calling on all leaders to work together as peace ambassadors to start a new revolution of heart and bring about a world of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values.

Hon. Datuk Johari Abdul, a member of parliament in Malaysia, said that the victims of war are the innocent people – women and children. When nations battle, there are no real winners, he said. The people of Korea (both North and South) are at a crossroads, he said. During the Korean War, the powers of the world “played out a chess game on this country,” but now, he said, “it is time for this divided nation to reunite.” He called on South Korea to “talk to your brothers and sisters to the north. Engage with them. Open all windows.” It is important that the agenda be set by the Koreans and not any outside country. “Only you know what you want and where you are going,” he said.

Dr. Gulnora Ganieva Solieva, the chair of the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan, Academy of Sciences, Uzbekistan, reported on the history and culture of her country. Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic, gained its independence in 1991 after the breakup of the USSR. The nation has a diverse culture, she said, and is known for its mosques, mausoleums and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean.

Mr. Sung Soo Cho, special advisor to UPF, stated that the principle of reconciliation can be found in the biblical book of Genesis, in the story of Jacob and Esau. After 21 years in exile, Jacob returned to his brother. In order to ease Esau’s anger, he sent in advance gifts and members of his family and then bowed before him. After he said, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God,” Esau stopped trying to kill Jacob and instead embraced him.

Something similar happened, Mr. Cho said, when Rev. Moon met with Kim Il Sung in 1991. Although Rev. Moon had been tortured and imprisoned by the North Korean leader, he showed love and forgiveness so that when they met, they embraced as long-separated brothers. Out of that meeting came many promises for joint investment and tourism. Mr. Cho was involved in one of those projects when he served as secretary to Dr. Bo Hi Pak of the Segye Times newspaper. Together they visited North Korea and developed several important projects. He said Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon has sent him to UPF and wants him to hold an ILC world summit at the Peace Center in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Session 6 - Special Presentations: Focus on the Middle East

Session VI featured presentations that addressed the critical challenges facing the Middle East, from Israel and Palestine, to Syria and Iraq, to relations among Jews, Christians and Muslims, to the intra-religious challenges that each of these religions faces. Speakers explored the ways in which we might move toward lasting peace in the region.

Mr. David Fraser Harris, regional secretary general of UPF for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “We are all in the same boat,” referring to the many problems affecting the world and the interrelatedness of a global world. All the people of the world and all the nations are facing numerous challenges, he said, but the root cause is selfishness. He recounted a number of testimonies of participants in the Middle East who were able to reconcile with historical enemies through the practice of the UPF Principles of Peace.

Father Tesfa Gabreselassie, a monk and the foreign relations coordinator of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the Holy Land, stated that peace comes from God and peace is the master key of harmony. We have to ask God to give us peace in the Middle East and to allow Israel and Palestine to live together in tolerance and coexistence, he said. These are necessary for nations. “We have to ask God to give these qualities to the people. We have to ask God to give peace to the Korean Peninsula, just as he brought East and West Germany together.”

Mr. Koby Nehushtan, an interfaith scholar and Judaic teacher, said that love is the essence of human existence. He called on the people of Israel and Palestine to reach out to one another in the spirit of friendship. He expressed appreciation to the founders for the vision of one family under God and offered a blessing that the vision of Rev. Moon may become a reality.

Hon. Mohamed Anass Al Shami, an assemblyman from Syria, said, in regard to the situation in Syria and the Middle East, that a new standard of leadership was needed. “What we need today are persons like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Hafez Al-Assad to achieve the peace of the brave.” He ended his remarks with the words of Allah: “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together, and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you—when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers.”

Father Georges Iskandar, the president of the Inter-eparchial Tribunal, Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Lebanon, said that political intolerances, religious persecutions, unemployment and poverty cause people to seek ways to change their situation. The people of the Arab world want the living and economic conditions enjoyed by the developed countries in Japan, the European Union and the United States. Since the Arab Spring in 2011, a new reality has emerged. A new approach has emerged, he said. “We must stop the violence, restructure the government, adopt democratic principles, and focus on a solution to the Palestinian situation and the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

Professor Mari Katayanagi, a former political advisor to the Office of the High Representative, Bosnia and Herzegovina, referred to the Hiroshima [Japan] Peace Memorial City Construction Law, which was enacted on August 6, 1949, the fourth anniversary of the atomic bombing. According to Article 1 of that law, the city would be rebuilt to “symbolize the human ideal of sincere pursuit of genuine and lasting peace.” Recovery – both psychological and economic – requires leaders who can project a shared vision for the future, encourage peace education and involve religious leaders to provide counseling, Professor Katayanagi said. These lessons were applicable to the devastation that followed the Bosnian conflict (1992–95), she said.

 

Session 7 - Special Presentations

 

Session VII provided an opportunity to hear from heads of major programs, organizations and peace initiatives that are affiliated with UPF, including Marriage, Family and Interfaith Blessings; Youth and Students for Peace; the Hyojeong Character Education Curriculum; the World Peace Road Foundation; and Women’s Federation for World Peace.

Mrs. Ursula McLackland, the regional secretary general of UPF for Asia, spoke on UPF’s Marriage, Family and Interfaith Blessings. The Interfaith Blessing Movement promotes marriages based on absolute sexual ethics as the key to creating an ideal family. There are three principles: Keep sexual purity until marriage; love and be faithful to your spouse at the risk of your life; and live for the sake of each other to enjoy a happy married life.

Mrs. Lynn Walsh, director of the UPF Office of Marriage and Family Education, UPF International, commented on the presentation by Mrs. McLackland. She reported on research into children raised by a single parent: They are “five times more likely to live in poverty, have an increased risk of dropping out of school, emotional and behavioral problems, alcohol and drug use.”

She also pointed out that mothers and fathers have different strengths as parents. “Research affirms that children do better on many levels when raised by their mother and father. Girls raised without a father experience more depression, poor self-esteem, and earlier sexual activity,” Mrs. Walsh said. “All religions see marriage as having a divine purpose.” Character and relationship education centered on God’s principles needs to be supported by laws to protect and promote the family, she said.

Dr. Robert Kittel, president, Youth and Students for Peace, gave a presentation on Youth and Students for Peace and Hyojeong Character Education. Education is needed to fulfill our responsibility as good citizens, he said; however, education has a dual nature. Dr. Kittel said schools teach young people to be a genius, but there is also a need to learn to be moral. Religious scriptures are the best teachers of what it means to be good. He gave numerous examples from the different faiths that encourage the development of good character. This is a universal principle, he said. “You don’t need to change your religion to be good,” he said.

Hon. Mo’ale Finau, a member of the Legislative Assembly, Tonga, commented on Dr. Kittel’s presentation. “If we want to achieve peace, we must first have peace in our hearts; then it can be expanded to the community. God loves us. God is the only real giver of peace. There’s no other source for peace. It cannot be bought. If we want peace, then we must go to God. Parents must be sure to educate their children not just with facts and figures but with the education of heart. Peace will come when we put God in our hearts.”

The World Peace Road was introduced by a video. Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, who serves as chair of the World Peace Road Foundation, then spoke about the practical need for the world to become one family, not just in a philosophical way. The world must become connected through an international system of transport, maritime trade, highways, tunnels, roads – the arteries and veins of the world, he said. Rev. and Dr. Moon have invested in research about building a tunnel between Korea and Japan and an ambitious bridge/tunnel to cross the Bering Strait between North America and Eurasia. These projects are part of the International Peace Highway, which first was proposed by Rev. Moon to an audience of leading international scholars, including Nobel laureates, at the 10th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences held in Seoul on November 10, 1981.

Hon. Osamu Uno, a member of the House of Representatives (2003-09) of Japan, said the starting point of the Peace Road is the Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel, which would connect Japan with South Korea, crossing the Korea Strait using the strait islands of Iki and Tsushima. Hon. Uno serves as the chair of the National Council for the Japan-Korea Tunnel.

A presentation on Women’s Federation for World Peace was given by Mrs. Moriko Hori, president of WFWPI Japan and director of WFWP International Humanitarian Services. WFWP was founded in 1982 by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. WFWP International has been an NGO in General Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1997. It has projects in more than 150 countries. Most of the volunteers are women. The prime work is in the improvement of the status of women, eradication of poverty and education based on the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Session 8 - Closing Session

 

Session VIII provided an opportunity to hear reflections on the benefits and outcomes of the ILC, as well as recommendations for the ongoing work of UPF, through its many projects and affiliated organizations.

Hon. Robert Coffin, a member of the Las Vegas City Council in the United States, said the volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula must be resolved by the Korean people. “Neither America nor any country can come in to fix the problem,” he said. He emphasized that the safest course is moderation, not extremism. At the same time, he admitted, we cannot make peace from a position of weakness. “Peace through strength, but peace through reason and moderation.”

Dr. Slawomir Redo, a senior advisor to the Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS), Austria, said the ILC program has many benefits. Dr. Redo said he feels the spirit of the Golden Rule, which is referred to in the UN’s charter. ILC participants project the attitude to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Dr. Redo showed a picture of the famous Norman Rockwell painting The Golden Rule, which hangs in the UN’s headquarters in New York City.

Hon. Grida Duma, a member of parliament, Albania, said the UPF organization is to be praised for taking on the task of bridging the political and religious realms of society. She described the situation in the Balkans and her country of Albania, which were under communist control for four decades. Fear controlled the people, she said. Morality and beliefs were absent under communism. History has shown that progress can come only through freedom. Leaders are needed to lead from the conscience.

Hon. Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, president, National Assembly, Madagascar, said his country has many problems, including HIV/AIDS, as well as the overwhelming number of refugees and the effects of climate change. Poor governance and corruption are other major problems. “Our country must find ways to be more tolerant and to share what we have,” he said. “UPF has many innovative solutions and programs, including IAPP [International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace], IAPD [Interreligious Association for Peace and Development] and Hyojeong Character Education. We must incorporate these endeavors; then surely progress will follow.” Hon. Rakotomamonjy said he wants to work with UPF to achieve interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values in his country.

Dr. Stephen Thurston, president, National Baptist Convention of America, said, “There is one God, one faith and one baptism.” He called on the religious leaders to find ways to work together and be tolerant and open-minded. He recalled the words of Jesus, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold.” Dr. Thurston called on the participants to open their hearts to other faiths and backgrounds. “Our God is a God of peace. We must have the peace of God that centers our hearts and minds on Him. Let us extend our peace to everyone we come in contact with.”

Ven. Rev. Dr. Sumana Siri, chief sangha nayaka (Buddhist cardinal) for the United Kingdom and Europe, reminded his colleagues that it is better to unite and respect our differences and beliefs. “Respect begets respect. Give respect, take respect.” He called for the end of the persecution of the Rohingya, the Muslim minority in Myanmar. He noted that there are many contradictions in society: for example, the United Nations is not united, and the Commonwealth is not common. The speaker concluded his remarks by singing the Korean song of unity, Tongil.

On the fourth day of the conference, February 21, participants attended the birthday celebration for the UPF founders, which was held at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong County. The conference then closed with a Farewell Banquet.

 

Founder's Birthday Celebration

 

Dr. Sun Jin Moon, the president of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an organization affiliated with UPF, gave the welcoming remarks followed by a commemorative video and a spectacular Broadway-style musical about the founders’ life course.

 

Farewell Banquet

 

At the farewell banquet Ambassador R. James Woolsey Jr., a former director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, recalled the words of political writer George Orwell: “You can always find peace, as long as you are willing to live with a boot in your face.” Ambassador Woolsey said, “We will never have freedom without peace, and peace without freedom. Both are critical.” He relayed his own experience as a young volunteer in the summer of 1963 with the March on Washington. On that day Martin Luther King Jr. gave the “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King called for the freedom of all Americans and not just one group. “Freedom is for all people,” he said. Referencing the people of North Korea and their lack of freedom, Ambassador Woolsey asked the audience to rise and join him in saying those prophetic words. “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

Dr. Tong Yun Kai, the chair of the International Confucian Association and president of the Hong Kong Confucian Academy, spoke about the value of Confucianism. The Confucian cultural sphere incudes mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and Korea. Dr. Tong attributed the economic development of these nations to their Confucian values. Confucianism advocates self-control, benevolence and self-respect, he said. Practiced on the social level, these lead to concern for others, collective benefits and peaceful coexistence between nations. “It implies mutual respect and a mutual commitment to the search for a win-win solution to any conflict. It is the antithesis of tyranny or dominance over others.”

Hon. Shri Bhubaneswar Kalita, a member of parliament, Rajya Sabha and the vice chair (Penel) in Rajya Sabha, India, said that parliamentarians, religious leaders of all faiths and civil society leaders play a pivotal role in finding solutions to complex issues and problems. “Parliamentary institutions engage in international affairs in three major ways: (1) by influencing foreign policy through national parliaments, (2) by conducting parallel diplomatic relations, known as parliamentary diplomacy, and (3) by establishing and empowering parliaments as representative bodies of international, often regional, organizations,” he said. People want peaceful solutions to their problems, and that is the role of the world’s parliamentarians, he said. “They cannot disappoint the people. They have to rise to the occasion.”

Summary

The International Leadership Conference of the Universal Peace Federation convened in Seoul, Korea, on February 18-22, 2018.

More than 550 experts and officials from over 90 countries and international organizations assembled to discuss the theme “Building a World of Lasting Peace: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”

Two UPF initiatives were featured: the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) at the National Assembly, and the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD).

Special events included the launch of the nomination process for the 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize and the founders’ birthday celebration at the CheongShim Peace World Center (February 21).

The major programs, organizations and peace initiatives that are affiliated with UPF were presented for discussion and review, including: Marriage, Family and Interfaith Blessings; Youth and Students for Peace; the Hyojeong Character Education Curriculum; the World Peace Road Foundation; and the Women’s Federation for World Peace.

There were sessions dedicated to specific regions of the world.

(1) Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula

  • Most participants agreed that the good will generated from the Winter Olympics should be the foundation for future discussions for lasting peace. The attendance at the opening ceremony of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and their ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong Nam, represented a major diplomatic breakthrough in relations.
  • Participants expressed hope that the peaceful Olympics can transition to improved inter-Korean relations.
  • Many foreign participants see relations between North and South Korea as a paradigm of sibling rivalry. The religious leaders pointed to examples from the Bible of brothers who struggled with each other — Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau. Particularly in the case of Jacob and Esau, it was through forgiveness and God’s love that they could transcend their estrangement and ultimately reconcile.
  • Religious leaders have the role to transmit this message. Religion is about dialogue and
  • Participants mostly agreed that name calling or demonizing the other party should be avoided.
  • The basic guiding principle should be through diplomacy and open dialogue. Discussions should be carried out in an atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and transparency.
  • Diplomatic and economic sanctions, incentives, UN resolutions and reliable international guarantees need to be maintained.
  • Participants are not naïve about the situation of the people of North Korea and the human rights abuses, but a step-by-step approach toward normalizing relations should be followed, beginning with the nuclear issue.
  • Participants felt that ultimately the issue of Korean reunification must be driven and decided by the Korean people.
  • “Soft power” solutions are essential to peacebuilding and programs centered on human relationship such as sports, student exchange, culture and education.
  • For the siblings to reunite, it will take time and dialogue to build trust, but the Olympic Games appear to be a God-given opportunity for a new age of bilateral peaceful relations.

(2) The Middle East

  • Participants conveyed the sense that in a globalized, interconnected and interrelated world we must find solutions to our problems. As one participant put it: “We are all in the same boat.”
  • Examples were given of historical enemies reconciling through the principles of peace—namely, we are one human family created by God and the way to rise above the pursuit of self-interest is to recognize our common humanity, given to us by our Creator.
  • Tolerance and forgiveness were mentioned as key requisites for peaceful
  • A new ethics of leadership is needed, following the examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Sun Myung Moon, people who were servant leaders and lived for the sake of others.

Conclusion

After attending the birthday celebration of the UPF founders and the ILC, participants expressed a high degree of satisfaction with their experience. There was a unanimous vote of approval for the activities and strategic approach of the UPF and gratitude to the founders for their generosity and lifelong dedication to world peace.

Report covering the second half of the ILC: Spirit of Optimism Evident at International Leadership Conference

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