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Peace and Security

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July 2020
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Peace and Security

South Asian Friendship Seminar Held in Vancouver

The Universal Peace Federation in Western Canada hosted the Third South Asian Bridge of Peace and Friendship Seminar on August 23 at the Holiday Inn in Metrotown. The theme of this seminar was "Interreligious and Intercultural Approach to Resolving Conflicts."

This was the third seminar this year exploring issues related to South Asian conflict. Alan Wilding, conference organizer and Western Canada District director of UPF, gave the following reasons for holding the seminars:

"A large population of South Asians call Canada home and live side-by-side in peace. They are ideally situated to contribute in a positive manner to bridge-building and dialogue among the various cultures, nationalities, and religious communities that originate from South Asia. Our seminars explore the positive common universal bonds that help create peace, understanding, and dialogue among the various communities. We will continue to hold these seminars periodically to help contribute to positive peacemaking."

The seminar featured guest speakers Professor Mohammed Qadri, the founding director of the Islamic Educational and Cultural Research Centre, who gave an in-depth analysis of the root cause of conflicts in the region.

After singing the National Anthem and presenting interfaith prayers, Franco Famularo, Secretary General of UPF-Canada based in Montreal, gave a presentation outlining common universal principles of peacemaking entitled "Creating a Culture of Peace." The morning session of the program was chaired by experienced former UN diplomat Capt. Augustine Rebello. Ample time was also given for lively give and take among the participants.

Following a lunch of Indian cuisine, Ambassador for Peace Tessie Rebello chaired the afternoon session introducing prominent community leader Charan Gill, CEO of Progressive Intercultural Community Services, known to all as PICS. Mr. Gill addressed the seminar on the theme of "Multicultural Interreligious and Intercultural Approaches to Peace." Mr. Gill gave a heartfelt description of his life journey from his early realizations that he must help better the lot of his fellow man. He described the amazing work he did and is still doing in service to the immigrant community. Alan Wilding remarked, "Not only are we greatly honored by Mr. Gill's presence at our seminar but more importantly Mr. Gill is a shining example of one of the main UPF principles of 'living for the sake of others'; he can teach us all how put our principles into practice."

A panel discussion followed on the theme of the conference among Aziz Khaki of the Committee for Racial Justice, Franco Famularo, Mohammed Qadri, Charan Gill, Dr. Seyeda Zubeda of the Canadian Women Counseling Center, Imam Foruk Elesseily, and Dr. Yuri Pankrats of the Royal Canadian Institute of Technology.

New appointments of Ambassadors for Peace were made at the end of the program. Sharan Gill and Dr. Seyeda Zubeda joined the worldwide community of prominent peace leaders.

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