CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Peace and Security
World Leaders Pledge Peace at Peace Summit
Written by UPF-International
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Two hundred and twenty world leaders, including prime ministers, presidents, government ministers, diplomats, religious and civic leaders participated in the third Summit for World Peace hosted by the Universal Peace Federation in Seoul, Korea, February 9-13, 2008.
The three-day peace conference coincided with the joint birthday celebrations of the UPF Co-founders, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. In a birthday message, Rev. Moon, now 88, spoke with conviction about the coming age of peace that he sees dawning in the early twenty-first century. “The future of humanity and of world peace rests on the future of the Pacific Rim Era,” he declared, echoing a message given around the world in 2007.
In support of this vision of peace starting from the Pacific, two representative prime ministers from Pacific Island states – Samoa and Vanuatu – attended the conference, together with more than thirty other delegates who have held the highest elected offices in their nations.
“I have been waiting for a long time to come to this International Leadership conference,” said the Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Tuilaepa Malielegaoi. “The UPF has done important work in Samoa, and I was interested to learn more of the peace principles taught by Rev. Moon.” Malielegaoi, a champion archer, also took time to practice on one of Korea’s world-class archery ranges.
The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, H.E. Ham Lini, promised the ongoing cooperation of the Vanuatu with the Universal Peace Federation to ensure that world peace prospers in the Pacific Rim: "On behalf of my wife and I, and representing all the people of Vanuatu, I would like to express our gratitude for the sincere investment that the Rev. and Mrs. Moon and the UPF have made to secure world peace for so many years,” he said. “The vision that world peace will begin in the Pacific Rim region is one that resonates in my heart and that of all the Pacific Rim peoples."
Mr. Anton Rop, the former Prime Minister of Slovenia, inspired the summit with the gripping and hopeful story of how peace came so suddenly to his nation after decades of oppression and suffering. Once part of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia became independent in the early 1990s and somehow managed to avoid some of the bloodshed and ethnic conflict that so devastated most of the Balkan peninsula in recent times. Slovenia joined NATO and the EU in 2004, and remarkably the nation now holds the revolving Presidency of the European Union for the first half of 2008.
As North and South Korea enter yet another year of seemingly endless division, the example of Slovenia is one that the Koreas – and many other nations seeking peace – could do well to consider.
Interreligious leaders were also very much in evidence. “As Christians from the United States and Europe met and dialogued with Muslim leaders from Africa and Pakistan, a genuine spirit of brotherhood emerged,” said Dr. Thomas Walsh, Secretary General of the UPF. “Although it may be true that religions have often been the source of world conflict, UPF is confident and hopeful that a new generation of religious leaders will take the lead in reconciliation and peacebuilding."
Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, the Co-Chairman of the UPF, spoke on the Federation’s plans for 2008, which include the holding of “Global Peace Festivals” in dozens of cities and countries around the world. “People everywhere are excited by the vision of the Global Peace Festivals,” he said “and they will help propel the Universal Peace Federation and its many partners into even closer and more successful cooperation in the years to come.”
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Monza, Italy—Peacebuilding through sport was discussed in a conference and demonstrated in a football tournament.
Melbourne, Australia—South Sudanese living in Australia’s Victoria state were urged to unite and to promote peace in their homeland.
Lusaka, Zambia—UPF-Zambia held a seminar to prepare citizens to understand the upcoming referendum on the country’s Bill of Rights.