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IAPP Launched in Costa Rica

San José, Costa Rica—The Costa Rica branch of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) was launched on July 8, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel in San José.  More than 190 people, including members of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, Ambassadors for Peace, civil society leaders and students, attended the one-day event, whose theme was “Let´s Make Peace Our Responsibility as Leaders in Establishing a Lasting Peace.”

Mr. Eliécer Araya, secretary general of UPF-Central America and the Caribbean, coordinated the program.

Mr. Gerardo Brenes, president of UPF-Costa Rica, gave the welcoming remarks, and introduced all the speakers and special guests.

Rev. Sang Suek Kim, president of UPF-Central America and the Caribbean, spoke about the role of the IAPP and goal of opening chapters in every country in the region. These chapters can be bridges that foster communication and understanding between parliamentarians in the region, he said.

The first session addressed the theme: “The Role of Parliamentarians and Sustainable Peace.” Hon. José Alfaro Jiménez, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica and chair of the IAPP-Central America and the Caribbean, spoke about the importance of UPF’s vision and mission in Costa Rica; the role of leaders; and the importance of family unity, especially for raising children.

Hon. Juan Luis Jimenez, a member of Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, talked about the role of political leaders and other leaders in building peace: “I [believe] all leaders should set aside pride and [status] to seek to help the neediest, because peace is a state where all human beings coexist in harmony.”

Hon. Paulina Ramirez Portuguez, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, said that “We… women…contribute to building and developing peace daily, in our homes, work and in any area with which we interact. [From] the first years of human life, we cultivate the essence of peace—which is why I am convinced of the importance of women becoming more involved in public affairs.”

Hon. Lorelly Trejos Salas, another member of the Legislative Assembly, said that, “As for the third perspective, on personal peace, I say this is most important [for building peace]. I believe that as long as someone is at peace with himself, he will be at peace with those around him. And, as long as we have social relationships built on mutual respect, tolerance and inclusion, our countries as well as the planet will be a better place to live.”

After a video about the launching of the IAPP in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic were shown, Dr. Charles S. Yang, secretary general of UPF International, gave the keynote speech. He highlighted the achievements of the IAPP in different countries around the world and spoke about the founding vision and purpose of the IAPP.

He said: “The legislative body is the most important component of a state’s organization. It is, in fact, a lifeline of democracy, centering on the people’s aspiration. Though [they have] different names, legislators in either elected or appointed assemblies, share a common goal and play crucial roles in shaping the future of their nations and people.”

Hon. Alvis González Garita, president of Tribunal de Elecciones Internas del PLN, remarked: “When someone participates in altruistic campaigns, they have the chance to reflect on their own life, their relationship with the environment and become a promoter of social welfare. Not doing so is a missed opportunity to feel the immense satisfaction that comes from investing time and effort in and share with and teach others the wonderful ideas that are generated when working for the common good.”

Afterwards, members of the Committee of the IAPP-Costa Rica signed the declaration launching the branch.

The program concluded with members of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica appointed as new Ambassadors for Peace.

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