Asian Interfaith Clergy Network Launched in the Philippines
Written by Dr. Robert S. Kittel, Director of Education, UPF-Asia, and photojournalist
Friday, January 10, 2014
Manila, Philippines - The Asian Clergy Leadership Conference, a project of the Universal Peace Federation, was launched in Manila, Philippines on Jan. 10, 2014. The ceremony was part of an International Interfaith Peace Conference that brought together 218 delegates from 19 nations to share ideas on the theme, “Transforming Families, Rebuilding Nations, Creating a World of Peace.”
Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Confucianists, Muslims and Christians (Catholic and Protestant), along with government officials, members of parliament, media representatives, educators, laymen and women celebrated this historic event at UPF’s recently renovated Peace Embassy building in Quezon City in metro Manila.
They sought to find common ground in addressing common concerns that transcend racial, religious and national barriers.
Hon. Francisco S. Tatad, former senator from the Philippines and journalist, spoke on the fruit of peace. “Peace” he said, was “not only the absence of war but above all the Tranquillitas Ordinis, the tranquility of order.”
Senator Tatad praised UPF for its visionary leadership because it has not forgotten “the smallest yet most important player in our search for peace.” He was referring to the focus on “the natural human family, which remains the basic unit of society… the least common denominator of all human civilizations.”
Highlighting the theme of the peace conference, the Filipino senator reiterated that, “only by transforming the family can we hope to rebuild the nation, and only by rebuilding nations can we create a real world of peace.”
He concluded his remarks by exhorting those from the Christian and Muslim traditions, “We all need to return to God, whom many of us have excluded from our private and public lives.”
In his congratulatory remarks, Dr. Charles S. Yang, Chairman of UPF International, talked about UPF Founder Father Sun Myung Moon’s concern that a global nightmare might unfold if the conflicts in the Middle East expanded into an all-out religious war. For this reason the Middle East Peace Initiative was launched. Dr. Yang explained that since its beginning in 2003, thousands of people from all over the world have participated in these interfaith pilgrimages of peace that sought to build harmony among people of the Abrahamic faiths.
But Father Moon’s efforts to usher in a world of peace did not end there. To address the tensions on the Korean peninsula he established the North East Asia Peace Initiative. Other peace initiatives followed.
In the United States, the American Clergy Leadership Conference was launched to tackle the simmering racial and religious hostilities, and Dr. Yang was its first chairman and today it has thousands of members. Father Moon then began a speaking tour in the US—taking him to all 50 states in 50 days. The motto for his unprecedented journey was: “Rebuild the family, restore the community, and renew the nation and world.” It focused on fostering interreligious peace, dialogue and cooperation.
The UPF International Chairman concluded his remarks by saying, “For true unity and lasting peace among the world’s great religions, we need to go beyond mere tolerance and acceptance of our differences; we need to find common ground for meaningful interaction and cooperation.”
The Asian counterpart to its American elder brother organization inaugurated in the Philippines adopted a similar name in order to inherit and build on this legacy.
Following this, representative leaders came to the stage and in oneness of heart and solidarity of commitment stuck a gong officially launching the Asian Clergy Leadership Conference.
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