CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Seeking Signs of Peace at Conference in Hawaii
Written by Michael W. Balcomb
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Hundreds of years ago, the wisest elders of Hawaii – the kahunas – would sit atop the mountain peaks scanning the restless oceans below them. Where others, less experienced, might see only the pounding surf and hear the keening of the sea birds, the kahunas were looking for signs that the time was right for one of the astonishing trans-Pacific journeys undertaken by these island peoples.
Studying where stars rose and set on the horizon, weather, times of travel, wildlife species, colors of the sea and sky, and clouds clusters over the islands, the kahunas would pronounce when conditions were right. Then, all that remained was to launch the simple rafts and canoes, and nature would take care of the rest.
For decades, Western scientists were skeptical that such incredible journeys could be undertaken without maps, instruments or even steering mechanisms. Indeed it was not until Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 voyage on the Kon-Tiki from Peru to Tahiti that there was proof of the possibility of such voyages.
This year, when the Reverend Sun Myung Moon visited Hawaii on March 17th he spoke of a spiritual alignment of heavenly fortune and pronounced that the time was right for a new effort for peace for all humanity. He predicted a vast, civilization-changing movement beginning not in the old capitals of Europe or the conflict zones of the Middle East but in the Pacific Rim nations and their 5 billion people.
Like those who doubted the seafaring capabilities of the Hawaiian people, there have been plenty of skeptics as to whether Rev. Moon – or indeed any visionary – can really see hope for peace amid so much conflict. Thus, the Universal Peace Federation invited more than 600 people from the United States, Korea and Japan to come to Hawaii June 17-21 to consider Rev. Moon's ideas for themselves — on site, as it were.
The keynote speaker at the four-day conference in Honolulu was Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, the third son of Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. He is a member of the UPF Presiding Council and also chairs The Washington Times Foundation, the two sponsors of the fast-moving International Leadership Conferences. The Hawaii gathering was actually the fourth conference in just one month, with earlier programs taking place in Washington, DC, the House of Lords in London, and New York City.
The delegates from 56 countries included many diplomats, ambassadors and representatives to the United Nations, as well as religious leaders, academics and elected officials. The astonishing diversity and friendly "aloha" spirit of the group gave everyone a glimpse of what the Universal Peace Federation's vision of a reformed United Nations (sometimes called the "Abel UN" or Peace UN) would be like.
Despite the overwhelming natural attractions of the Waikiki location and the rest of Oahu, turnout was good for the series of 12 presentations that systematically introduced the core values of the Universal Peace Federation and some of the many projects that implement those values. These included the Bering Strait Peace King tunnel project, the Middle East Peace Initiative, and various oceanic enterprises that aim to bring a new model of environmental care and provide food for the growing world population. It wasn't all work and no play, however; conference participants took time to visit Pearl Harbor and contemplate the sad history of conflict, as well as enjoy a traditional luau and tour some of the island's spectacular sites.
Dr. Hyun Jin Moon presented his father's March 17 Peace Message, entitled "A Providential View of the Pacific Rim Era: The Future of the United Nations and the World centering on the United States." He introduced the vision that the United States today must play a role similar to that intended by God for Rome in the first century, namely to be a vehicle for a new spiritual revolution. Jesus was crucified before that dream could become a reality 2,000 years ago, but in the present time the conditions are ripe for a new attempt at building God's Kingdom of peace and unity, he said.
The vision resonated with conference participants.
"I will be delighted to talk to my head of state about this, and I know there are other Ambassadors for Peace in Swaziland with whom I can work. I promise to do my best to ‘sell the idea' to the President and encourage him to be part and parcel of this work," said H.E. Ephraim Mandlenkosi Hlophe, Ambassador of Swaziland to the USA. "It is love that has brought us here. We don't regret an inch of the journey, and we wish you all to go away with this in mind. Let us operationalize the dream and make it work for peace."
"The title of the conference suggests the importance of this time and the pressing needs of our world," agreed Ambassador Negash Kebret-Betora from the Ethiopia Mission to the UN. "There are opportunities and challenges, but the world seems to be moving to crisis. We in the diplomatic corps and the UN must find a way to rise to this challenge. But we wonder: how to face this challenge? I believe that we need to adopt and pursue the teaching of Rev. Moon in our search for solutions. There are three main points: family unity, interfaith harmony, and leadership. All of these are essential to solve the current crisis."
I come from Iraq, and every day I hear of new tragedies. My own cousin was killed with 51 others in a car bomb just two months ago. Today, if we were able to ask Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, "What is our duty in this age?" they would surely all tell us, "we want you to be peacemakers." This is the message of all great spiritual leaders. It is easy to wage wars, but hard to make peace. The road is difficult, but with the blessings of the UPF we can move ahead. We all have the important task to tell people that our religions are not calling for fighting or conflict. The spirit of conflict must be replaced by true love and forgiveness. I have learned from this seminar that if I am ready to forgive my enemy, then I am ready to be a peacemaker. I am going back with a new spirit of hope to teach my followers, to tell them there is hope for peace.
Imam Mostafa Al-Qaswini, Los Angeles, California, USA
I would like to hear Imam Qasvini's sermon preached all over the world. My children were taught in the schools to love Israel; but we need to have friends on both sides. We are all the children of God. We have to care about both sides because both are right and both are wrong. If we are to be an honest broker we must respect and love both sides. The message that we heard here have transformed my life, as God is my witness. We are not going to solve our problems with fighting or aggression. Israeli blood and Palestinian blood are the same color. By the grace of God and with your help, we should go forward from this conference to all corners of the world preaching love and respect, and living for the sake of others.
Ambassador Sam Zachem, former US ambassador to Bahrain
This conference was a unique opportunity to look at the world from a totally new angle, and to meet people who live by these values and succeed in changing the world at various levels. A great personal challenge. About the core values: it is a new and efficient way to go beyond the narrow perception and ideology that has prevailed so far. These values seem useful to people no matter what background they come from. Thank you for the opportunity at a most timely moment
Jean-Jacques Vitrac, International Consultant, California, USA
I believe that Rev. Moon's concept for global peace is most inspiring and needed desperately in a world filled with conflicts and war. The lectures very clearly expressed UPF core values and provided great stimulation and food for thought for those of us grappling with long drawn out national conflicts. The UPF core values definitely help form a different strategy to solve conflict and war that have so far eluded resolution.
Mrs. Rajika Jayatilake, Counselor, Sri Lankan Mission to the United Nations
The son of the Rev. Moon testified about his father's vision and life. How many sons and daughters can testify about their father so confidently and with so much commitment and personal determination to actualize the own father's vision? Rev. Moon is a great man, and Hyun Jin Moon is also a wonderful son and a great leader.
Ambassador Dr. Machivenyika Mapuranga, Embassy of Zimbabwe to the United States
I have learned about true love at this conference. I believe that the power of true love must bring reconciliation and achieve peace. I learned that one of the Japanese goodwill ambassadors is married to a Nigerian man through Rev. Moon's interracial and international marriage. I want to have such a marriage.
Ibrahim Sule, Embassy of Nigeria
I am very impressed by the content of the lectures. This vision and the principle of living for the sake of others is needed in my county. I would like to work with your organization. My country needs peace. I am happy to send your proposal for my president to speak at the UPF general assembly.
Mr. Omar Ghafoorzai, First Secretary of the Embassy of Afghanistan to the USA
The core values expressed here are our best hope to bring back the human race to civility; this is something that we all need. I do believe that God has transforming power in our life, if we will let him. It is the only thing that can change our culture. In this conference I had unique chances to be with others from different backgrounds.
Mrs. Pendra Snyder, Publisher, Christian Citizen Newspaper, USA
The conference is wonderful. If all our world leaders would attend, the world could change instantly. The UPF core values will make all the difference; these values are the fundamental keys to salvation of the world.
Joseph Karn, City Councilman, Georgia, USA
Very inspired—best conference that I have ever attended. So many people of different cultures, faiths and origins, but all with the same desires for peace.
Mike Ghouse, President, Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress, USA
This conference provided a positive crucible for transformative chemistry within and outside the program. The core values are an effective guidance system for enlightenment, equipment and empowerment.
Dr. Michael Lenaghan, Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida, USA
I want to thank God and Rev. Moon for inviting me to attend the conference. My ancestors must have done well. I want to continue to work with your organization.
Mrs. Huguette Moussadou, Counselor of the Embassy of Gabon
I want to work with UPF to organize educational programs in my country, Mali.
Ms. Hawaye Toure, Counselor of the Embassy of Mali to the United States
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