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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

November 2019
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Session IV: Working Groups by Sector

KOREA-2019-08-16-Session IV: Working Groups by Sector

Session IV: Working Groups by Sector

  1. International Summit Council for Peace and International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace

Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, the regional chair for UPF for the Asia Pacific region, served as moderator for the working group.

Opening remarks were given by H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, president of Nigeria (2010-15) and president of ISCP-Africa, who expressed gratitude for the work of UPF in Africa. “Our continent has more countries in conflict than any other part of the world. It is for this reason that the UPF’s peace efforts resonate more with us.”

Hon. Jose de Venecia Jr., the special envoy of the Philippine president to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and international co-chair of IAPP, said everything must be done in pursuit of peace “because the alternative, which is violence and war, would be immeasurably costly and make all of us losers.” He reminded the audience that “UPF introduced and pushed in the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council a proposal to create an Interfaith Council.” Speaker de Venecia called on the leaders to “work together in carrying out Father Moon and Mother Moon’s vision of world peace and promoting peace and reconciliation, peaceful settlement of disputes, sustainable human development; and in fighting poverty, disease, and climate change and environmental degradation.”

The session continued with statements from global political leaders. H.E. Jaime Paz Zamora, who was president of Bolivia from 1989 to 1993, called for an embrace of universal values in order to achieve lasting peace. Many of the world’s democracies are corrupt, fraudulent or stagnant, he said, and institutions alone are not able to change the world; rather, we must empower ourselves first. He stressed the necessity of universal values, interdependence and mutual prosperity, in order for politicians to be able to benefit the people they serve.

Hon. José A. Jiménez, president of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica from 2016 to 2017, spoke on the responsibility of parliamentarians to bring not just short-term peace but rather, peace that will last far into the future. Parliamentarians must shun corruption and populism, he said, bringing the calling of God into themselves. Hon. Jiménez stated his appreciation for the younger generation, for their hope in the face of ongoing catastrophes, particularly environmental disasters caused by older generations’ reckless exploitation of nature. “The only way to respect the masterpiece of God, the earth, is to take care of it,” he said. Hon. Jiménez closed his remarks with a call for parliamentarians of peace to work together.

Next, Hon. Yehiel “Hilik” Bar, former deputy speaker of the Knesset in Israel, spoke on the need for a renewed promotion of the idea that peace is achievable and necessary. In his view, calls for peace have become less and less popular in his home country since he was inspired to enter politics after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Political parties have removed peace from their agendas, replacing the phrase “conflict resolution” with the defeatist “conflict management.” He likened the promotion of peace to the promotion of a product: Peace must not be an expensive and prestigious luxury, but something that all people can understand and hope for, something that workers discuss “on the production floor of a factory.” There is no better time than the present to begin working toward peace, he said, and there is no point waiting around for a “better partner” for negotiation – the “partner” for peace is the “enemy”! Peace will have a chance only when conversation about peace is happening among the common people.

Hon. Yoichi Anami of Japan’s House of Representatives (National Diet) remarked on the state of relations between South Korea and Japan. Economic and cultural clashes have left relations between the two nations in a worse place than they were just a few years ago, a state of affairs which, Hon. Anami pointed out, does not benefit South Korea or Japan but does benefit North Korea. He said he believes the anti-Japan movement in Korea is collaborating with the Japanese Communist Party; the conflict undermines security and liberal values in both countries. The launch of IAPP-Japan has given UPF an opportunity to support the strengthening of trilateral relations between South Korea, Japan and the United States, Hon. Anami said. UPF sponsored a three-party security symposium in May 2017 and a fact-finding tour in July of that year. Hon. Anami closed his speech reminding the audience that good Korea-Japan relations are necessary for the security of East Asia.

Next, Mr. Oraib Mohammed Al Rantawi, general director of the Al Quds Center for Political Studies in Jordan, spoke about World Summit 2020. He expressed his wonder at the incredible diversity and influence of those in attendance at the ILC, and called on the participants to consider how best to capitalize on the assets and network of UPF to promote peace. In particular, he called for the creation of a “peace task force” to bring humanitarian aid to the places where the most dangerous conflicts on earth are occurring. World Summit 2020 can be an opportunity for a new start, at which global efforts are focused on helping the millions of refugees and displaced people of the world, he said.

Mr. Abdourahaman Zakaria, ministerial spokesperson for the government of Niger, spoke next on the interrelationship between peace and development. Peace is necessary for development, he said, and development is an asset toward peace. Mr. Zakaria’s experience working in Niger has led him to consider a third concept equally important in the interaction between peace and development: security. Terrorism is a global problem, which demands a global solution, he said.

Hon. Cynthia Tarragó Diaz, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Paraguay, spoke on the ongoing political crisis in her country. Leaked records indicated that the presidents of Paraguay and Brazil were involved in a secret energy-selling scheme. The leaks implicated a great number of Paraguay’s politicians. Hon. Tarragó Diaz requested letters and expressions of support for the people of Paraguay at this difficult time. She went on to stress the importance of communication to development, and the need for words about peace to be backed by action.

Finally, Dr. Delfim Santiago das Neves, president of the National Assembly of São Tomé and Príncipe, emphasized the particular effect on children and teenagers of global issues such as alcoholism, human trafficking, domestic violence and conflict, and he called for the creation of an adjunct to IAPP for young people. He went on to speak a little about his own country. São Tomé and Príncipe is a very small country and one of Africa’s most stable democracies, he said. Wryly, Dr. Neves remarked that countries become well-known globally when they are rich or when they face disasters and conflicts. São Tomé and Príncipe is peaceful, secure, and liberal and, therefore, not very well-known. But, he said, once a bigger and richer country becomes like São Tomé and Príncipe, that country can become a model of peace and security for the whole world.

Following these remarks, the floor was open for questions and comments. Rabbi Kevin De-Carli of Switzerland, who helped revive a dormant UPF youth project in Geneva, echoed Dr. Neves’ call for a “youth IAPP.” Rabbi De-Carli warned against sheltering youth from the problems of the world, as young people must understand the world well in order to improve it. Another participant emphasized the need for better global access to medicine in order to bring peace. Economic and medical security are required to prioritize resolving conflicts. Hon. Christophe Mègbédji of Benin called for a focus not only on peace between nations and peoples but also within nations and peoples.

Hon. Hydajet Hyseni of Kosovo asked Hon. Bar how truly achievable it is to forget the past and forgive the other side in conflicts. Hon. Bar pointed out that although the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is bloody, it is not the bloodiest conflict Israel has faced: The wars with Egypt and Jordan killed more, and yet Israel has had peace with both of those countries for decades. Another participant called for greater inclusion of women in political and peacemaking processes.

  1. International Media Association for Peace (IMAP)

Mr. Larry Moffitt, the secretary general of UPF-USA, served as moderator for the session. The rapporteur was Mr. Peter Zoehrer, director of media and communications, FFWPU-Europe.

Opening remarks were given by Mr. Thomas McDevitt, the chair of The Washington Times, followed by statements from distinguished media leaders. Mr. McDevitt made a number of salient points. With regard to World Summit 2020, he spoke of the need to be a magnet and bring 200 to 300 journalists, influencers and editors. “Our magnet should be the themes—key topics for discussion could be polarization and fake news,” he said. “We need to create a world-class package.” According to a poll by MRI-Simmons, a leading U.S. research company, The Washington Times ranks among the top 10 most trustworthy newspapers in the country. The credibility of the media must be restored, Mr. McDevitt said, and “your role as spiritually oriented media professionals is essential for accommodating change.”

Mr. Kosh Raj Koirala, a senior correspondent of Nepal Republic Media Limited, described the potential of the media as a tool for information while also having the ability to incite violence. After the end of World War II, nations tended toward multilateralism in their international relations, he said, but since the end of the Cold War, the trend is toward isolationism and keeping the affairs of other countries at a distance. He said the media are always interested in conflict scenarios, and, most importantly, the media are guided by capitalist thinking—in other words, “making a profit.” It is important, he said, for journalists to exercise self-censorship, strive for accuracy—listen to both sides—and promote objectivity, credibility and accuracy in reporting. Most crucially, he said, there is a need to promote the building of bridges, not walls. In Nepal, he said, there used to be programs to teach moral education, but those were terminated about 10 years ago. “We must bring back value-based education,” he said.

Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, a media adviser to the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation in Nigeria, spoke about the role of the media in peacebuilding, conflict management and prevention. Mr. Eze said that “societies fare better when government activities, policies and projects are adequately communicated to the people through the mass media.” In other words, he said, “freedom of expression is therefore an important tool for the sustenance of democracy. It also serves as a guarantee for good governance and lasting peace.”

Mr. Frederico Umbelina, director of the public television channel Televisão São-Tomense, São Tomé and Príncipe, called for the media to be better represented in the Parliament. It is the responsibility of journalists to inform the public with truth, not falsehoods or misstatements. Fake news in the mainstream media must be exposed, he said. It is the duty of journalists, and all good citizenry, to be responsible to bring peace. Where there is no democracy, he said, there is no peace. Mr. Umbelina promised his full support for UPF.

Mr. Larry Moffitt, the former executive director of the World Media Association, made several recommendations for World Summit 2020. First, he said, there should be a few speakers; then everyone who has something to say can speak. Second, he said, the full range of diversity must be represented. Diversity wasn’t as important 50 years ago, he said, but for 2020, diversity is a top issue. “Diversity is essential to equality,” he said. Other comments and suggestions: a religious leader and a newspaper reporter are basically the same—both are seeking for the truth; a press office should be set up immediately in preparation for the 2020 events; and there are only war correspondents but no peace correspondents.

Mr. Masahiro Kuroki, the president of the Japanese newspaper Sekai Nippo, spoke about the role of the media and the need to report factual and in-depth stories to better inform our society. The media must not do anything to make the situation worse, he said. The Sekai Nippo (Japan), The Washington Times (USA) and the Segye Ilbo (South Korea) represent a vital axis that can influence governments and civil society. It should be part of the media’s job description to create a good relationship with the different governments.

Further comments were made by Dr. Michael Balcomb, the regional chair of FFWPU for Europe and the Middle East, who made the point that the world outside is not aware of the activities of UPF and the worldwide FFWPU movement. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is needed to identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities in which one can play a role.

Mrs. Mirilda Tili, a journalist from Fax News in Albania, spoke about the upcoming Southeast Europe Summit in Albania. She also noted that changing habits have led to shorter articles and the increasing value of social media.

Mr. Peter Zoehrer, the director of media and communications for FFWPU-Europe, asked, “Where are the young people in this conference?” He emphasized the need to bring “young influencers” to World Summit 2020 but cautioned, “How will we manage young influencers to play a significant role in the new International Media Association for Peace?”

 

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