CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Argentinian Parliamentarians Share Experiences from Paraguay ILC
Written by UPF-Argentina
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Buenos Aires, Argentina—Argentinian parliamentarians and professionals from different sectors who attended the International Leadership Conference (ILC) in Paraguay shared their experiences participating in the conference in a meeting that was held at the Buenos Aires office of Magnaverum, an e-learning company, on November 17, 2016.
The parliamentarians were Fernanda Gil Lozano (1) and Humberto Benedetto (2) from the Mercosur Parliament (known also as Parlasur), and María Teresa Narváez (3), host of the Argentinian radio program, Relaciones Internacionales (International Relations). Those who sent messages to be shared at the meeting were Argentine senator Dr. Silvia del Rosario Giacoppo, who gave a speech at the launch of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) at the National Congress of Paraguay (4), and Gabriela Abarzúa, a specialist in environmental issues, who spoke on “Environmental Education, Equality for Sustainable Development” at the ILC panel on “Addressing the Critical Changes of Our Time: Climate Change” (5).
At the beginning of the meeting, a video about the IAPP was shown. An initiative of UPF, the IAPP seeks to overcome particularism and nationalism in order to face the critical challenges of our time, such as extremism, ethnic and religious conflicts, environmental pollution, climate change, and poverty, among others.
After hearing the experiences from the ILC Paraguay participants, a passage from UPF International co-Founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon’s speech, which was read at the National Congress of Paraguay by her son, Kwon Jin Moon, was shared. It was read by Rosetta Conti de Castellón, president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) in Argentina and a member of UPF-Argentina’s Peace Council.
Afterwards, Carlos Varga, director of UPF-Argentina, gave a few words and gave the parliamentarians, all of whom were appointed as Ambassadors for Peace at the ILC, a copy of the autobiography of UPF co-Founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon, “As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen.” The hosts of the event, Jorge and Gastón Cuneo, then talked briefly about Magnaverum’s digital educational platforms. Later, everyone enjoyed refreshments.
(1) A video clip of Parlasur parliamentarian Prof. Fernanda Gil Lozano speaking:
(2) A video clip of Parlasur parliamentarian Humberto Benedetto speaking:
(3) A video clip of radio host María Teresa Narváez speaking:
(4) Message from Argentine senator Dr. Silvia del Rosario Giacoppo:
“Argentina is celebrating the Bicentennial of its independence. This period [in which we are living] distances us from the process that brought forth peace in [Argentina as a] new nation.
During the [past] two centuries, Argentinians have walked—with faith, confidence, and some stumbles—the path of “constituting the national union, ensuring justice, preserving domestic peace, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty,” as stated in the Preamble of our National Constitution.
Preserving domestic peace cannot be done once and forever; this requires permanent dialogue and acceptance, and generosity among all citizens, considering human rights and solidarity.
This requires great commitment from social and political leaders, including legislators.
We are convinced that we need to succeed in bringing Argentinians together. This is one of the three pillars of the new government I work for.
Security and hunger are some of the challenges we want to overcome and for which we want to find solutions together.
Certainly, the conflicts that affect world peace also need domestic responses. Among them, as was highlighted [at the International Leadership Conference] in Paraguay (Asunción, November 10, 2016), is climate change. Argentina was one of the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement (UN), which seeks to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
Such an effort is essential, since the reduction of gases on the local, regional and global levels can help reverse the effects of climate change in the long run, and foster sustainable energy.
This process is being developed, and the province I represent is a great example of solar energy usage.
On November 16, the chief of staff to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Edmond Mulet, highlighted that we should address the causes of conflicts, not only the symptoms, if we want to preserve peace. There are many global [threats], such as territorial disputes, the nuclear threat, religious intolerance and terrorism; but I would like to address one issue that affects our country: poverty.
For sustainable development [to be achieved], poverty needs to be eradicated; access to decent housing [needs to be improved]; personal security [needs to be safeguarded]; and the rights of children, women, minorities, elders, and people with disabilities needs to be respected.
We still have a long way to go. Recent reports indicate that one third of the population is poor, many of whom are children. For this reason, there are such programs as the universal allocation per child to alleviate the situation.
Housing and access to sanitation is another goal to provide dignity to Argentinian citizens. The recently launched National Urban Plan faces the disproportionate growth in cities, the proliferation of poor neighborhoods and a housing deficit of 3,800,000.
This plan seeks to reverse the situation of more than 6,000 slums or vulnerable communities and transform them into places with opportunities for economic development. This plan, which is the most significant in South America, was presented at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, which took place in Quito, Ecuador, in October.
However, when we analyze the causes of these issues, we must be aware of the social responsibility in economic policies, the fight against corruption, crime and drug trafficking.
Within democratic institutions, we need to strengthen the rule of law and [be engaged in the international community’s] fight against global issues, to show tolerance and mutual understanding.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, on the International Day of Tolerance on November 16: “Today’s global challenges (anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination) should compel us to reject the failed mindset of “us” versus “them.” Let us see the world and all its possibilities through the prism of “we the peoples.” He urged to find a response for refugees and migrants “Together.” Therefore, I am proud that our country is helping Syria, with the help of [the UNHCR], by accepting refugees.
This analysis shows the importance of meetings among peers, since they provide a good opportunity to share experiences and achievements.
To finish my speech, I want to quote from the speech Martin Luther King Jr. gave when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964: “After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time—the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts.”
Martin Luther King Jr.’s paradigm of rejecting violence among human beings, defending their dignity, is a key to international relations. This point of view is similar to the efforts of the new peace leaders that [UPF] promotes.
The International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace [is an] initiative [that] was formed at the International Leadership Conference in Asunción, Paraguay, which I attended.
Therefore, I would like to show my gratitude for being appointed as an Ambassador for Peace and for being included in this worthy project for world peace.
I had an amazing experience, which encourages me to fulfill this important mandate for humanity.
I know this is possible because we are working on it TOGETHER!
Thank you very much.”
(5) Message from environmental specialist Gabriela Abarzúa:
“Recently, I was appointed as an Ambassador for Peace at the International Leadership Conference, whose theme was “Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: The Role of Governments, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organizations.” This event was held in Paraguay and it was organized by [UPF].
I participated as a speaker representing the Gender and Environment topic, along with professionals from different parts of the world who commit to the principles of common good— [representatives of various faiths], NGOs and government organizations.
Synchronicity, somehow, placed me in such important meeting. I recognize my responsibility for the knowledge I possess, and I show gratitude to God for everything I have received.
Since I was young, I wanted to study and dedicate myself to two causes that motivated me to work on environmental and social realities. Currently, I work in what makes me happy and fundamentally useful… even though I always feel I am not giving my very best.
I am the president of Soroptimist International in Buenos Aires, a global volunteer movement that works to change the lives of women and children. Our worldwide recognized network has 95,000 members in 132 nations, and has consultative status with the United Nations, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). Since 1921, this organization has worked locally, nationally and internationally to educate, raise and allow our fellow humans to have more opportunities.
I obtained a degree in management and public administration, a profession that allows me to make the right choice, despite the contradictions of the system. I acquired experience when I was very young; I held different public positions in rural and urban contexts of this beautiful country. I worked [on the] local, provincial and national levels, [and my experience from the] executive and legislative levels gave me insight into the technical and political ways of public work. I currently work in the area of environmental education at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
I consider myself an environmentalist as my service vocation. My first organization, “Cruz Verde,” [which was established in] 1992, was a milestone in the registers of my life. It allowed me to learn, along with children, the concept of “protecting the place we live,” and [develop an] awareness of the co-responsibility of citizen action as a fundamental [part] of environmental sustainability.
My actions and thoughts are guided by the power of faith, peace and [harmony]. I dearly love my two sons, my parents and my family, who have always supported me. I think good intentions always prevail and overcome bad thoughts. Goodness is an intrinsic attribute of human beings, and affection is a manifestation of life. Earth floods us with abundance we still do not recognize. All of us possess knowledge for coexistence in diversity. Dialogue is a tool for consensus. I am convinced that our passion, service and responsible work for the “common good” can cure the ills that affect us.
I pray for peaceful families, for our freedom, for our leaders who are meant to change this world for the better, and for me, so God can guide me and never allow me to walk away from the path I chose.”
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