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South Asia Peace Initiative

Book Release: Two Paths to Peace

Kathmandu, Nepal - A new book written by Dr. Robert S. Kittel entitled Two Paths to Peace was presented to the Hon. Nilamber Acharya, Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Constituent Assembly on April 12, 2010. A total of 70 books were given to the committee at a program organized at the Parliament Secretariat. The book offers valuable insights, principles, and experiences to the constitutional committee members. The book also offers insights into UPF Founders, Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, and documents the contributions of their visits to Nepal and the initiatives they inspired to the peace process in Nepal from 2005 to 2009.

This book is a case study highlighting the role which the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) has played, and continues to play, in helping peace return to the Land of Buddha. It is not a history book, per se, in that it is not an overall record of the entire peace process in Nepal.


Parallel Paths

The obvious and most visible path is the political peace process. By bringing a militant group into the political peace process Nepal gained the attention of the world. The unfolding of these events is covered in the daily media and comprises such achievements as: signed MOUs, surrendered weapons, an interim constitution, elections, and the formation of Nepal’s first federal, democratic republic.

In essence, this landlocked nation sandwiched between the world largest democracy, India, and the world largest communist country, China, had gone from feudalism of full-fledged democratic reforms in a matter of a few years. But the jury is still out as to whether this will end up a secular republic modeled after its southern neighbor, or a people’s republic taking after their neighbors to the north.

From this perspective, UPF’s peace initiatives at first seem miniscule especially when compared to others stakeholders such as the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) and other international agencies.

Looking at the size of the political parties—Maoists, the Nepali Congress, the UML, or the growing Madeshi influence vis-à-vis the Nepal Family Party (NFP) a huge disparity is obvious. The NFP was the smallest party to win even one seat in the Constituent Assembly elections. It may seem presumptuous to even assume our efforts matter at all.

But one must remember it is often a single voice, India’s Gandhi, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, and America’s Martin Luther King, who draw inspiration from their religious and spiritual values, swayed public opinion and shaped the destiny of nations. Size is not always the determining factory; it is more important to have the power of righteous on your side. In the Bible one small boy, David, defeated mighty Goliath. And in the epic Mahābhārata as the Kurukshetra War seemed inevitable, Arjuna, on behalf of the Pandavas, chose an unarmed Krishna to be on his side, rather than the well-equipped Narayani sena, or “opulent, Lordly army.”

Over the course of the past five years, UPF has tried to cultivate the climate for the peace process to move forward and we will continue. If sacrifice is any measure of commitment, UPF has invested a higher percentage of its resources in trying to help the peace process move forward than any of the other players. These contributions will be outlined in this book. Importantly, they will be set in conjunction with and parallel to the on-going peace process because that has been the purpose and objective of these activities. There are numerous correlations between these two paths to peace. The validity and meaning will be left for the reader to decide.

Many of the activities of UPF were planned to advance understanding, dialogue, cooperation and reconciliation among the various partners in the peace process; to create the spirit conducive for peaceful reconciliation. This linkage was by design. More astonishing are the numerous corollaries between UPF events—primarily the World Peace Tours of Father and mother Moon and the South Asia Peace Inditative—and the Nepal’s journey to peace. These parallels were not planned by human intent or ingenuity alone. The number of such correlations is too many and the timing too uncanny to be mere chance or coincidence. A special providence has been unfolding in this small Himalayan nation.

UPF’s Role: Peacemaker, Peacebuilder

Traditionally, the term “peace education” includes three categories: peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding.

Peacekeeping can be defined as violence management. Its goal is to respond to situations where violence has already broken out and prevent it from escalating further. Here, the people and Government of Nepal, UNMIN, and other international governmental and non-governmental organizations are the main players. They are the ones moving, coaching and guiding the peace process. UPF applauds and encourages their work.

To support this, UPF has been making significant contributions in the areas of peacemaking and peacebuilding.

The primary goal of peacemaking is conflict resolution. Incorporating a variety of techniques to resolve disputes, peacemaking tries to get the fighting parties to work out their differences rather than resort to military force. UPF and the NFP have focused in these areas with the peace federation working mainly in civil society while the Family Party has been working in the political arena. Some of the main projects in this area include: the World Peace Tours, the South Asia peace Initiative (SAPI), leadership and good governance seminars, inter-religious conferences, reconciliation picnics and inter-ethnic community service programs. Highlighting these will be the main focus of this book and will be covered in the section, “Peacemaking: Parallel Tracks.” The following chapter, “Supporting the Peace Process,” let’s some of the Nepalese leaders who have participated in our programs speak for themselves.

Peacebuilding works to create a culture of peace in the society at all levels, promoting non-violent strategies as legitimate means to address differences and disagreements. Here too UPF has made important contributions. Character education program are taught in school, colleges and universities, women’s micro-finance projects have been launched, young couples are given marriage preparation and family-life courses. UPF and its affiliated organizations operate orphanages, schools, businesses, a trekking company, a travel agency and a weekly newspaper and have on-going international student exchange programs and religious pilgrimages to Nepal. The chapter, “Peacebuiding: Civil Society Initiatives” touches on some of this programs.

Finally, “Our Next Steps” looks at ways to move forward. Essential to overcoming the current impasse, we must find a way to bring the communist and democratic forces together. We must look at the strengths and weaknesses of each system through a new philosophy called “Headwing Democracy.” It is hoped this may lay the groundwork for writing a new constitution building consensus and creating the right set of priorities to help build a new Nepal.

To order the book, click here.

 

 

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