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June 2019
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Middle East Peace Programs

22 UN Missions Briefed on Middle East Peace Initiative

MEPI Briefing attendees, Ms. Connie Taracena Secaira, (Guatemala), Amb. Zachary Muburi-Muita (Kenya), and Amb. Augustine P. Mahiga (Tanzania) at right holding a copy of the UPF's book, Middle East Peace InitiativeThe Universal Peace Federation briefed representatives from 22 missions about its work in the Middle East and around the world. UPF Assistant Secretary General Jack Corley opened up the May 2007 event by introducing the broad goals of the UPF and its many peace initiatives, including the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI), peace programs in Northeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, service and disaster relief, peace education, and the Bering Strait Project.

The Kenyan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Zachary Muburi-Muita, spoke movingly of his experiences with the UPF during the recent MEPI trip. As a former diplomat with the Kenyan Embassy in Tel Aviv, it was an emotional return to a land he knew well. He said his abiding memory is of a land with a lot of pain and suffering on both sides. "Diplomats and politicians are doing their best, with a good intention, but peace is not there."
 
"It is obvious that political effort has not been enough," he said, "so when we hear of initiatives like this from civil society, we still need to make the effort to take notice. Member states are losing their monopoly, and non state players are becoming increasingly important." Ambassador Muburi-Muita recounted his experiences on the recent MEPI that took place from April 10 – 16 visiting Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho. The UPF North America's director Michael Jenkins also briefed the diplomatic gathering on some of the highlights of UPF's more than 20 MEPI delegations held from 2003 to date.Soprano Seiko Lee

The renowned soprano Seiko Lee, who has performed in Israel and Palestine, and in both North and South Korea, moved the audience as she sang a new composition by David Eaton and David D'Or, "Halelu," which evokes the heart of separation, hope, and longing that characterizes both divided societies. Lee is scheduled to perform the choral work in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles with top recording artist David D'Or.
 
UPF UN Office Director Ricardo de SenaThe 20-year veteran US Congressman and civil rights pioneer Rev. Walter Fauntroy said that his experiences in the Middle East had further convinced him that many of the insights of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., could find new application through the MEPI initiative. "Peace cannot exist without five things," he said, paraphrasing King, "Income, education, health care, shelter and justice. Without those fundamental things, our other efforts will fail." Fauntroy suggested a ‘Marshall Plan' for Israel and Palestine to accomplish these goals.

Altogether, the event was well attended by the representatives of 22 missions. The Secretary-General's office was represented by Mr. Chris Coleman, the Director of Office of the Deputy Chef de Cabinet. "As an NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC, UPF would like to invite more diplomats to our MEPI programs," said Ricardo de Sena, Director of the UPF's Office of UN Relations. "We are here to support the work of the United Nations and to work together for the sake of peace. We also hope to welcome our friends at the United Nations to our ongoing monthly series of UPF seminars."

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