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|We may call that God different names but we remain one nation.
|UPF Founders' Tour to Ten Nations, 2011|
|By UPF International|
|Saturday, May 21, 2011|
On April 24, in Incheon, Korea, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon initiated the Founders’ Tour 2011 dedicated to the theme of Building a World of Universal Peace at a Time of Global Crisis. The tour took them to Europe and concluded in Las Vegas in the United States.
Among the tour party were UPF’s International Chairman, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon and Mrs. Yeon Ah Moon, UPF President Dr. Thomas Walsh, and Secretary General Taj Hamad.
Father Moon spoke with great passion about the dawn of a new era of peace that can be built on the foundation of a great spiritual awakening that starts within the individual and the family. He consistently encouraged families to begin each day by reading God’s word together, and to take seriously their responsibility to be peace-builders.
Madrid, Spain - The more than 700 people who attended are unlikely to soon forget the compelling sight of a man giving all he had despite being well into his tenth decade of life. His vitality, his parental love expressed through his caring words, profound insights, joyful stories, sad reflections, thrilling moments, facial expressions—all this drama brought the audience to an intimate closeness. “Spain is a land of passion,” Father Moon kept repeating, “and you should use this passion for God’s will.”
The program opened with music from Raul Antequera, a pianist who became blind in the middle of his piano career yet turned disaster into victory by developing a very sensitive ear for music. Three Ambassadors for Peace prayed: Silvia Cerrada, a young Muslim woman active in interfaith forums; Abraham Haim, a Jewish historian; and Fr. Isidro Hernandez, a Catholic monk of the Trinitarian Order, who has been Media Director of the Spanish Federation of Catholic Orders.
Rome, Italy - The prestigious conference facility of the Marriott Rome Park Hotel was filled with around a thousand people who came from all over the country, many having traveled from cities in northern Italy early that same morning. Religious leaders representing Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, and Buddhism offered readings and prayers expressing the essence of their religions in a most spiritual and beautiful way. A nun who had served as a missionary in poor countries for 45 years moved the audience to tears through her reading of the prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.
“I’m grateful for this night’s life-changing experience,” commented Antonio Imeneo, High Commissioner of the World Parliament for Security and Peace. “Rev. Moon is a true man of God who lives what he preaches.”
Oslo, Norway - The visit of Father and Mother Moon coincided with the UPF and Women’s Federation for World Peace European Leadership Conference taking place in the Stortinget (Parliament) in Oslo the same weekend, including top speakers from Norway’s International Affairs and Peace Institutes.
Major Nils Steen Egelien, who served in the Korean War and is President of the Norwegian Korean War Veterans, spoke of his love for Korea, its people, its culture, and the phoenixlike life of Rev. Moon. Dr. Wim van Eekelen (former Dutch Defence Minister) placed Father Moon’s UPF work in the context of European efforts to make peace after the devastation of two world wars.
“I am over 90 years old, why should I come all the way to Norway?” said Father Moon. “I was taught by God, and have the responsibility to teach the world. I can’t bear to keep it to myself. I thought I would die, and now I am talking about these things in Oslo, the home of the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Athens, Greece - Father Moon announced that he particularly wanted to give his proclamation message in Athens, the birthplace of European civilization. Congratulatory remarks were given by Prof. Dr. Aliki Mitsakos, President of Women in International Security in Greece and founder of the Youth Leadership Camp in Greece. “Peace is the fruit of faith and imagination and of keeping our personal values, particularly in the family,” she said.
Father Moon delivered his text with many additional remarks and did not conclude until after 11:30 pm, which was wonderful news for the more than 150 Albanians who had left their homes very early that morning but due to delays at the border had not been able to arrive till nearly 10 pm. They were overjoyed to find out that they were not too late, even though there was only standing room for many of them.
“Who knows about true love?” Father Moon asked in one of his extemporaneous additions to the text. “People with Ph.D. degrees don’t know about it. Even religious leaders may not know about it. The Acropolis and Parthenon — there are so many gods in Greek history and legend! But you need to have a direct relationship with the one true God.”
Istanbul, Turkey - The Middle East Leadership Conference in Istanbul examined the surprising developments across the Arab countries and the world, on the theme “Divine Winds of Freedom: New Opportunities and New Responsibilities.”
Young leaders described how they saw the events of change unfold in their countries, Egypt and Yemen. Participants from Jordan, Palestine, Kuwait, and Tunisia contributed their experiences, evaluations, and insights to the conference’s quest for better understanding.
The conference was rounded off by a Legacy of Peace ceremony honoring those who gave their lives for freedom, followed by Father Moon’s keynote address, his first-ever in Turkey. “We are living in a historic time of great transition,” Father Moon said. “It is time for a revolution to change history, to unite the spiritual and physical worlds and to create the ideal kingdom of heaven that God has longed for since the beginning of time.”
London, UK - Returning to London for the first time since founding the UPF in 2005, Father and Mother Moon both gave public addresses on May 11. Mother Moon spoke first in a Committee Room of the House of Commons in Parliament. Dave Anderson, MP, opened that gathering by saying that the answer to the world’s problems will come “when people of good faith come together and start to find the way forward.” Another MP, Tom Brake, urged the faith communities in the UK to work together “to identify common ground and common purpose, and get an understanding of where they stand on different issues, perhaps dispelling some of the myths that exist around the different religions.”
Lord Tarsem King, the first representative of the Sikh faith to become a member of the House of Lords, said “If the slogan ‘One Family under God’ really takes off, we will avoid the difficulties that we are going through now.”
During his keynote speech later that day, Father Moon challenged the audience to consider whether, based on their history, many accomplishments, and the great academic tradition of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the British people truly felt qualified to victoriously enter the next stage of life, the spirit world, or whether they still might have something to learn. “This time when God has introduced a new heavenly calendar is a time for a great cosmic revolution,” he said.
Geneva, Switzerland - The majestic circular room of the Palais des Nations, one of the larger of the UN’s meeting rooms in Geneva, was filled on May 13 as Heiner and Carolyn Handschin, leaders of the Universal Peace Federation and Women’s Federation for World Peace based in Switzerland, spoke about how the true root of human security begins not from politics and diplomacy but from a nourishing, intact family.
Father Moon prefaced his own remarks saying, “Do not just think of yourselves as guests here, but rather as my family members – as my brothers and sisters. We are all sons and daughters of God. Become bridges for others to reach Heaven.”
Berlin, Germany - Crowds packed the avant-garde Tempodrom in Berlin May 17 and 18 to see the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet during their thank-you tour to veterans who defended freedom in Korea six decades ago, and to hear the UPF Founder challenge Germany to become known as the nation of true peace.
On previous visits in 1965 and 1981, Father Moon had prayed for German unity on the western side of the Brandenburg Gate. During the 1980s, he often spoke of the divided city and nation, which reminded him of his divided homeland of Korea. Joining the crowds passing freely through the city on his first visit to reunified Germany perhaps brought some closure to the painful memories of the earlier era.
The second evening, a capacity crowd of 2,500 enjoyed music by a band from Düsseldorf, followed by a German choir. Next came a beautiful interfaith water ceremony conducted by representatives of four major religions. Dr. Achim Rohde, former President of the German state of Nordrhein Westfalen, and H.E. Alfred Moisiu, former President of Albania, expressed their appreciation for Father Moon’s ideals.
Las Vegas, USA - Father Moon once again spoke of his ongoing effort to reposition Las Vegas as a more family-friendly tourist destination, a city that can welcome people of all faiths and cultures who will naturally become one family as they enjoy together the world-class entertainment and the outstanding natural beauty of the entire region.
Seeing such a rebranding as being good for business as well, Father Moon has expressed the hope that leaders of the gaming industry will use some of their vast resources to work with him to help Las Vegas gain a new reputation as a city of giving. By way of example, local charities were presented with donations totaling $70,000 for their work among Las Vegas’s neediest families.