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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

October 2018
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Latin America Summit Includes Founder's Address and Peace Rally

To read the reports of the previous dates, please click here: Day 1Day 2

Para leer en español, haga clic aquí.

São Paulo, Brazil—The first Latin America Summit concluded on August 4, 2018, with a stadium speech by the UPF co-founder and the signing of the São Paulo Declaration of Peace.

Session V: Inauguration of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) of Latin America
Moderator: Miguel Werner, president, UPF-Argentina

Rev. Hyun Young Lee, president of the Korea Religions Association, offered congratulatory remarks on the occasion of the IAPD’s Latin America launch. He said, “Religions are like tributaries of a river. As the river flows downstream, the number of tributaries decreases and all eventually combine into one river.” Rev. Lee gave an overview of the historical background of his organization, beginning in 1972 with the first Korean-Japanese interreligious conference leading up to the current organization.

Words of congratulations also were offered by Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, the international vice president, and also the regional chair for the United States and Canada, of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an organization that is affiliated with UPF.

Dr. Kim, representing Unificationism, also was one of the participants in the Water Ceremony which followed. It was particularly moving when each religious representative poured a glass of water into a larger container, symbolizing the flow of rivers to the ocean of universal love, life and peace. There was an atmosphere of solemnity and unity when each religious leader stepped forward to allow their faith to join with other traditions.

Cardinal Kelvin Felix, the Roman Catholic archbishop emeritus of Castries, Saint Lucia, said he considered it “an honor and a privilege to have been invited to this distinguished meeting and summit” and said he hoped that his “brief intervention contributes to the fruitful result of these deliberations.”

Cardinal Felix mentioned the Vatican Council of 1965 as a precedent for working for “unity among the churches” and the current work of Pope Francis for dialogue and interreligious cooperation for peace. He recalled what the pope told Muslim imams about the importance of listening with the heart: “Religious people should listen to one another and talk to each other as brothers and sisters.”

When the pope met religious leaders in South Korea, Cardinal Felix said, he encouraged them to initiate, promote and accompany processes for “the well-being and reconciliation of all people,” rejecting violence and the “rhetoric of hatred.”

Cardinal Felix ended with a call to action and a short video to encourage prayer for dialogue and interreligious cooperation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKuQqHMhJdY

Qarashé Félix Díaz, president of the Consultative and Participative Council of Indigenous Peoples of the Argentine Republic, spoke of the worldview of the indigenous peoples he represents in his country, specifically the Qom community of South America’s Chaco region.

“Our parents bequeathed us their love,” he said. “That is why our existence is closely linked to our ancestral territories. These physical spaces are those that make their own balance in each living being. That is why you have peace with nature itself. There is life and hope for a better and more encouraging future for our future generations,” he said.

He described his gods and the close relationship of his community with Mother Earth. “It is not good to leave a contaminated environment, because there will be no future,” he said. For this purpose he advocated a dialogue between peoples of different cultures.

Archbishop Rafael Ruiz Gaona, primate bishop of the Paraguayan National Catholic Apostolic Christian Church, praised the efforts of the UPF founders and asked in his prayer that “all world leaders live in peace and educate for peace.”

“Today we want to honor all those predecessors who dreamed of a lasting peace,” he said, “and remember all those who dedicated their lives in favor of peace, like Jesus Christ, who told us, ‘Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you.’”

Brother Agricol Lozano Gómez, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former vice president of the Interreligious Council of Mexico, began by quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “We have learned to fly like birds, to swim like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living as brothers.” He thanked UPF, its affiliated organization FFWPU and UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon “for their immense, strenuous and transcontinental work in favor of peace, family and religious freedom.”

After citing other religious leaders, he praised the surprising steps taken toward the reunification of Korea. He considered that “we can stop this monstrous advance of violence” and pointed out that “the problem of the world is not a problem of laws, territories, agreements, treaties; it is a problem of ethics and morals.” He advocated a “revolution of ethics” and “service to others with love.” 

Rev. Dr. Guillermo Osorno, minister of the Assembly of God and former president of the National Council of Pastors of Nicaragua, gave a presentation on the theme of being united in our desire for peace and development. “Our differences do not divide us, they enrich us,” he said. Reverend Osorno said we should transcend our differences and find ways to work together for the common good of society. To achieve this goal, he emphasized the importance of “fluid communication,” the ability to listen, and the interaction of different creeds.

Imam Muhammed Shafiqul Islam, imam of the Masjid-As-Salaam Mosque of Jamaica, said that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) traveled a lot and quickly because there were no immigration laws or other requirements to deal with. The world was not segregated or divided into migrants or refugees, as it is today. We were all part of the human race, he said. The imam spoke of the plight of refugees, of those who drown in the Mediterranean Sea, and urged leaders to work on prevention, not on symptoms. He regretted that “today there is no peace,” but stated that “everyone wants to live in peace” and that “peace is our birthright.”

The session concluded with the reading, by UPF Chair Dr. Thomas Walsh, of the inaugural declaration of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) of Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. Walsh was accompanied by Rev. Dong Mo Shin and Dr. Charles Yang, the UPF regional directors of South America, and Central America and the Caribbean, respectively, and the speakers of the interreligious panel, who signed the declaration. Then, all the summit participants were invited to do the same.

The declaration begins with the statement: “We, participants of the Inaugural Assembly of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD), affirm the unique and essential role that religions are called to play in the realization of a world of lasting peace, a world in which people can live together in peace, mutual prosperity, interdependence, harmony and cooperation, as a family under God, in accordance with universal values.”

Session VI: Closing Session: Where Do We Go from Here?

Moderator: Dr. Neudir Simão Ferabolli, regional secretary general of UPF-South America

Before the beginning of this session, and in connection with the previous interreligious section, a moment of silence was observed, at the request of one of the summit participants, for the debt and reparation that are owed to the slaves who were brought from Africa and the native Americans who were subjugated during America’s early history. “Peace begins with reconciliation,” Dr. Neudir Simão Ferabolli, the session moderator, affirmed at the end of this gesture.

Hon. Luis Alberto Yika García, a congressman from Peru, spoke about world peace in terms of justice and peace. He expressed his gratitude to the leaders of UPF and to all the participants and said that the people of the world need moral support.

Our main task, he said, is to recover the values and virtues that have been lost in our excessively secular society. He expressed his particular concern for young people and their role in the future of the family. He emphasized the importance of education and the need for our nations to make it a spending priority. 

Hon. Amarilis Santana, a senator from the Dominican Republic and the president of that nation’s chapter of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), began by saying that “Latin America and the Caribbean, despite the improvements registered in recent years, continue to be the most unequal region in the world.” He said that “this inequality impacts human rights, generates violence and is an obstacle to the social and economic development of our countries.”

He gave figures of economic conditions, which, if not improved, will “promote populism and weaken democracy and social peace.” He argued that family instability has led to the rise of organized crime. The family, he said, is the key social institution, based on unconditional love, and is the structure that “represents the future and contributes effectively to peaceful coexistence.”

Participants were shown a video about the Africa Summit that UPF held in Dakar, Senegal, on January 18-19, 2018, in collaboration with the government and the National Assembly of Senegal. A total of 1,200 participants from 60 nations attended the Africa Summit. Several African countries and governments expressed their interest in UPF initiatives and signed memorandums of understanding.

A follow-up regional summit is being planned with the involvement of the son of the late Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Rally for the Hopeful March Forward of the Providence in Latin America

On the afternoon of Saturday, August 4, the summit guests traveled to São Paulo’s Allianz Parque stadium to join thousands of Brazilians and other Latin Americans at a family festival that was held under the slogan: “Peace is a refrain that we should sing together.”

In addition to entertainment, sports exhibitions, and an interreligious ceremony, the rally featured remarks by Dr. Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, a former president of Trinidad and Tobago, and the keynote address by UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.

Dr. Moon called for a revolution centered on the culture of heart, which she said families can spread around the world. Dr. Moon called for the unity of North and South America and for the construction of an International Peace Highway that can bring peoples and cultures together as one family.

“A world of peace can be realized,” she said, “if we practice true love and live for the sake of others.” She expressed concern about the deterioration of the environment and announced the launching of the HJ Magnolia Foundation to develop projects throughout South America. 

Closing banquet

After the rally, the participants returned to the Renaissance Hotel for the closing ceremony of the Latin America Summit. The evening was a time of celebration and fellowship, with musical performances spontaneously and enthusiastically presented by delegations from some of the participating countries.

Ambassadors for Peace were also recognized, and the São Paulo Declaration of Peace was signed. The document concludes: “We affirm and support these peace proposals and declare our determination to continue the work that began here at the 2018 Latin America Summit, and we dedicate ourselves to building a world of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values: a family under God.”

Conclusion

The Latin America Summit 2018, which was held in São Paulo, Brazil, from August 2 to 5, brought together about 400 representatives from nearly 40 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well the United States, Korea, Japan and other Asian and European nations, to discuss the theme “Peace and Development in Latin America: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”

Many important issues were discussed, including climate change, which is having a major impact on food security and even forcing migration in some parts of the world. Displaced people, political oppression and conflict were some other issues that were brought up, as well as challenges to democracy and democratic institutions.

According to UPF Chair Dr. Thomas Walsh: “In many ways we are witnessing the emergence of a new global paradigm. One aspect is a change from a world centered in the Atlantic to an Asia-Pacific world. We also observe the shift from a world centered in the north to an emerging Southern Hemisphere. The change is taking place in the east and west, and in the north and south.

“The Reverend and Mrs. Moon anticipated these changes and understood that it is more essential that these changes occur harmoniously and peacefully. The principles they have taught underline the need for dialogue, understanding, mutual respect and cooperation. These are the principles that underlie the work of UPF.” 

Dr. Walsh said that “UPF is guided and driven by a spiritual vision, and not merely by an abstract vision but by a vision that is embodied in the very person who will speak at this podium. It is not merely a humanistic vision, but a deeply spiritual and providential vision. Dr. [Hak Ja Han] Moon comes to this world as the fruit of divine providence. You will also know her by her fruits.”

Participants were extremely grateful for the opportunity to hear Dr. Moon at the Allianz Parque on the afternoon of Aug. 4, where they joined thousands of others for a rally for peace.

As host of the Latin America Summit, UPF International is extremely pleased with this conference, which demonstrated that governments, civil society, religious leaders, women and youth groups can work together in a spirit of partnership to deal with the common challenges that our nations face.

In reflecting on the more than 50 speeches that were presented on the summit theme, the esteemed experts expressed a positive assessment of UPF’s core programs: interfaith peacebuilding and conflict resolution; strengthening marriage and family; youth and service; and, support for the mission and work of the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Many speakers presented a call to action on a variety of fronts. Some of these were:

UPF should increase its presence and work jointly with governments and affiliated organizations and deploy its initiatives to address current challenges around the world.

Confront poverty and corruption with innovative solutions.

Educate and encourage leaders to avoid the temptations of power.

Governments should not restrict individual liberties; such restrictions serve only to generate social instability and violence.

Must uplift the common values that we share rather than our differences.

Recognize the importance of empowering citizens and families in the vitality of spiritual values.

Develop new models of education with a focus on character development that emphasizes living for the sake of others.

Initiate interreligious dialogue and interaction.

Practice bold leadership with a solid foundation of spiritual principles and values.

Dedicate ourselves to creating a culture of heart.

At the close of the Latin America Summit 2018, many participants said that—despite the many challenges in the world—the three-day conference gave them hope that by working together, learning from one another, and valuing each other, they can return to their homes feeling they have contributed to building a better world.

 

To read about day 2 of the summit, click here.

To read about day 1 of the summit, click here.

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