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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

April 2019
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Peace Education

Promoting Faith-Based Values at the Time of the G-20 Summit

London, United Kingdom - Standing room only, in the House of Parliament's largest committee room, this conference, New Vision Amid the Economic Crisis, contrasted the moral and spiritual values promoted by civil society and faith-based groups with the approach of the G-20 Nations Summit held at the same time in another part of London. In the lead up to the G-20 UPF had issued a Statement emphasizing the need for ethical change:

If there is to be lasting change, the G-20 must acknowledge that the current financial crisis did not happen by accident, and it was by no means inevitable. The root cause of the problem has as much to do with moral, indeed spiritual failure, as governmental or financial mismanagement. For this reason, improved fiscal, economic and trade policies alone are not enough. The attitudes and behavior of people, institutions and even entire nations must change.

Lord Tarsem King, a Patron of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) - UK, warmly welcomed a conference to the Houses of Parliament that contained two sections, the perception of faith groups and the analysis of the economic crisis by activist organizations.

International Secretary General of UPF, Dr. Thomas Walsh, presented an overview of UPF's activities. He emphasized the role of character education rooted in the experience of a loving family to build a stable economy within one family of humankind under God.

Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, the International Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation, reading from a prepared text, emphasized that there are many policies we need to follow to stabilize our economy or care for our environment but these will be best built upon the bedrock of loving families. He called for a Global Service Corps of youth that could heal divisions while working to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals.

Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, the Secretary General for the All India Imams and Mosques organization, who represents 500,000 imams in India, spoke on the failures of the G20 agreements. Speaking as a representative of the largest democracy in the world, he has not seen economic growth reaching to the grassroots level. Imam Ilyasi said he will launch Faith in the 21st Century for interfaith action to solve common problems, later this year.

Frank Kantor, the Secretary for Church and Society for the United Reform Church and also one of the Joint Issues Team for the Baptist, Methodist and the United Reform Churches in the UK, had invested much effort in a statement in coordination with the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

He saw three significant roles for faith communities during this crisis: Firstly, a prophetic role to present God's view as we understand it to the world; Secondly, a pastoral role to care for those who are suffering due to lack of money and jobs; and thirdly, a collaborative role to form partnerships with civil society.

Anil Bhanot, the General Secretary of the Hindu Council in the UK, stated that there is nothing wrong with money itself but with business ethics. He called for a three-tier regulation system to prevent abuses.

Civil society leaders, such as Nick Dearden, the President of Jubilee Debt Campaign, saw this crisis as an opportunity to rethink our economic system rather than going back to business as usual after the crisis is over. There is $3 trillion in debt owed by the poorest parts of the world to the richest parts of the world. For every £1 we give in aid, poor nations pay £5 in debt payments.

Ruth Tanner, the Campaign and Policy Officer for War on Want, saw the crisis as a result of the failure an economic system that has left 2.2 billion people living in poverty including 1.4 billion who live in extreme poverty. She added, "What inspires me is how people on the ground are standing up to the system and the local partners of War on Want are setting up unions for the workers to campaign for a living wage."

Moeen Yaseen, founding member of Global Vision 2000, said the root of the problem is not money, but it is truth vs falsehood: "We're living in an age of global deceit; there needs to be a moral and cultural revolution." He saw the world economy as a global casino economy where the house always wins. He added, "We need to clean out this city as Jesus cleaned out the Temple."

Richard Dowden, the Director of the Royal African Society, said that Africa is a rich continent full of poor people because of bad governance. The West has been complicit in this, he stated, although the prime responsibility lies in Africa.

A lot of corruption money from Africa goes into British tax havens and then into the city of London. The city is committed to eradicating drug money, terror money and corruption money. A nation's health budget stolen as corruption money kills more than drug money and terror money put together, but the city has failed to address corruption money, he said.

Jonathan Fryer, Chair of the Liberal International Group, who is currently standing for election as a Member of the European Parliament, said that he wanted to see a genuine new world order rather than a reshuffling of a pack of cards; he called for a sharing of wealth and decisions: "Developing the G-7 to G-8 and G-20 is a good thing in itself, but if we are just reshuffling the pack, 172 nations are still left on the sidelines. We need to work together with common moral principles and goals. Don't just lobby your MP but blog, tweet and make sure your voices are heard."

Inspired by our faith, armed with the experience of so many civil society groups and an unparalleled network of Ambassadors for Peace and partner organizations, the consensus seemed to be that this is an achievable campaign and one crucial step towards one family of humanity under God.

 

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