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IAPP Launched in Solomon Islands

2017-10-30-Solomon Islands- IAPP Launched in Solomon Islands

Honiara, Solomon Islands—The Solomon Islands chapter of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) was inaugurated on October 30, 2017 at the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel in Honiara. UPF organized the event in partnership with affiliated organizations Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) and Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU).

Around 70 guests, including four former members of parliament (MPs), 21 executive members of the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly as well as their deputy premier, leaders of different political parties; faith leaders and representatives of various NGOs in Honiara, attended the event. Due to the political situation in the country—a motion of no confidence was launched in the parliament, eventually resulting in the removal of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare—no current MPs were able to attend.

The theme of the event was “Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time and the Role of IAPP in the Solomon Islands.”

Rev. Gregory Stone, secretary general of UPF-Oceania, gave three presentations. The first presentation introduced UPF and its work in Oceania. For most of the participants, this was their first time learning about UPF’s work and its philosophy of peacebuilding.

The chair of UPF-Oceania, Rev. Shang Seon Park, was also present and gave the welcome address. Following Rev. Park’s speech, the deputy premier of Guadalcanal province gave remarks in which he commended UPF’s vision and its work in the Solomon Islands.

The second presentation was on the “Need to Educate for Character.” It inspired many of the participants, who expressed a great deal of interest in UPF’s character education initiative. The chief education officer of the Guadalcanal Provincial Government also expressed support for the initiative and mentioned that his office was already preparing to introduce character education into the school curriculum.

The third presentation was on family and world peace. Rev. Stone highlighted how strong families contribute to peaceful communities and world peace. Solomon Islands is a country with strong family values, but recently it has been experiencing a lot of family breakdown as now families living in urban areas are beginning to lose hold of traditional family values. One participant recommended that the teaching of family values be introduced into the country’s school curriculum.

Panel of Local Representatives

In the fourth session, a panel of three representatives from local institutions, presented their perspectives on the critical challenges facing the country. Pastor Geoffrey Alacky of the Full Gospel Church highlighted churches’ guidance in the government; the second speaker, a representative from civil society, called attention to the land boundary disputes and involvement of foreign investors in the isolated islands; and the third speaker, a representative of the People’s Alliance Party, stressed the need to address corruption in the government. The presenters also underscored the need for a character education curriculum in the education system.

Resolution Launching the IAPP

The last session of the event was the reading of the resolution launching the IAPP and signing of it by all the participants, who agreed that parliamentarians play a very important role in society, having the power to address issues that affect human lives both locally and globally.

Many of those who participated in the event plan to run in the upcoming general elections in 2018, and one political candidate shared that this event had really given him a clear vision on the challenges faced by his country.

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