CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Introducing 'As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen'
Written by UPF-International
Monday, June 1, 2009
Seoul, Korea - Over 3,000 leaders of Korean society and nearly 200 dignitaries from overseas gathered at the COEX center in Seoul to celebrate the publication of, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, the autobiographical memoir of one of Korea’s best-known and most controversial citizens, the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon. Now in his 90th year, the international religious leader was joined at the event by his wife of 50 years, Hak Ja Han, and a number of the couple’s 14 children and grandchildren.
Among those offering congratulatory remarks was H.E. Alfred Moisiu, the recent past president of Albania. The two men first struck up a friendship when Moisiu welcomed the Moons to Tirana during the 2005 global peace tour that launched the Universal Peace Federation.
“The world recognizes Rev. Moon as the type of man who cannot be limited to any one field of activity,” Moisiu said. “He has made significant contributions in the diverse social fields of religion, culture, knowledge, economy, and politics. In particular he did a great deal to help Albania and Eastern Europe transition from the communist era.”
The Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr., the five-time Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives, praised Rev. Moon’s idea to create an interreligious council at the United Nations in order to help end conflicts based on religious and ethnic disputes. “We have made enormous progress toward the realization of the vision first proposed by Dr. Moon,” he said. “The Philippines government, along with many other member states, has taken the lead to make this ideal a substantial reality. But despite the progress that has been made, much work remains,” he concluded, promising ongoing support.
Moisiu and de Venecia were part a delegation of 142 foreign dignitaries from 89 nations who had gathered in Seoul for an International Leadership Conference sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation. The ILC series, held in over 20 world capitals in the last year, including Tokyo, New York, London, Geneva, Nairobi, Brasilia, Moscow, and Manila, examines ways to navigate toward peace, based on the UPF’s objectives of interreligious cooperation, creating a culture of service, and strengthening the family.
With tensions in the region high following North Korea’s most recent nuclear tests, ILC delegates considered the importance of “soft-power” diplomacy, not only on the troubled Korean peninsula but also in other conflict areas around the world.
Neil Bush, the son of George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States and the younger brother of President George W. Bush, spoke about the importance of voluntary service as a means of peace-making. The younger Bush is chair of the Points of Light Foundation and Hands On Network, one of the largest service organizations in the United States with branches all over the world.
Joining Mr. Bush from the United States was Mr. Thomas McDevitt, president and publisher of The Washington Times. The Times has been highlighting the efforts of organizations and individuals taking up President Barack Obama’s inaugural call to service and reconciliation. Other speakers during the three-day conference discussed renewed efforts to bring about reconciliation among religious leaders.
The conference was also notable for the contribution of several outstanding women peace leaders. Dr. Falak Al-Jamaani, a member of the Jordanian parliament and a former general in the Royal Jordanian army, called for an urgent recommitment to peace in the Middle East and an end to the cycle of violence and mutual mistrust. “Only when both sides perceive that neither can be eliminated will they be ready to live in peace,” she said. “For too long now, the Arab-Israeli conflict has thrown its dark clouds over our region. The Middle East desperately needs peace, prosperity, and modernity.”
Mrs. Fauzia Assifi reported about her work with Afghan women and children in Kabul, following her return to the city of her birth after living for more than 20 years in the United States. And Dr. Ruta Pels, representing the Estonian chapter of People to People, the NGO founded by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, spoke of efforts to help impoverished Russian children throughout the nations of the former Soviet Union.
Finally, Ms. Chitraleka Yadav, a senior member of the Nepalese parliament who served as Deputy Speaker from 1999 to 2008, read the conference’s closing “Peace Declaration,” in which delegates pledged to continue the work of the Universal Peace Federation in their nations.
In his remarks at the COEX center, Rev. Moon emphasized both the urgency and opportunity of the current time as an opportunity to launch a transformative effort for peace through what he called a “true-love revolution” and spoke of his conviction in the arrival of a new era of peace.
“In the end, reconciliation and peace will come about through lineage,” he said. “When blacks and whites, Eastern and Western peoples, Buddhists and Christians, and Jews and Muslims intermarry and carry on the tradition that I have established, this world will naturally form the realm of one family that can establish God’s homeland of peace.”
Following Rev. Moon’s remarks, the audience was entertained with performances from the Seoul Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Little Angels Performing Arts troupe, noted soprano soloist Young Ok Shin, and a mini-concert from Jin Ah Tae, one of Korea’s most popular musical artists.
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Ambassador for Peace Hon. M.H. Mohamed, a former speaker and member of the Sri Lankan parliament, passed away on April 26 at the age of 95.
Prague, Czech Republic—UPF held a roundtable in the Czech Parliament to discuss the roles of religious and secular leaders in bringing peace.
Tokyo, Japan—To commemorate UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, UPF-Japan organized an event on the topic, “Clarifying the Role of Religious Leaders Toward Peacebuilding.”