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Peace Education

Promoting Peace Principles in Montreal

Montreal, Canada - Montreal’s Ambassadors for Peace gathered at Hotel Ruby Foos in mid-town Montreal on November 19 to participate in a half-day seminar with a focus on the core principles of the Universal Peace Federation.

Over 25 participants, including clergy from eight different Christian denominations, as well as representatives from the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Scientologist and Unificationist traditions took part in the seminar. Educators, community organizers, and authors also were among those that took part.

Franco Famularo, Secretary-General for UPF-Canada, opened with a video of the UPF’s international peace efforts. He then continued with presentations on the following themes:

  1. Interreligious cooperation
  2. God’s ideal, a vision for one family under God
  3. Religious life and spirituality

Each presentation was followed by lively discussion and debate by the participants.

In his introduction, Mr. Famularo explained that UPF is not interested merely in finding ways for people of different faiths to tolerate each other, but to explore the common principles and values shared by each faith tradition so that upon such commonalities, people of faith can collaborate on issues of common concern.

Rabbi Bright spoke of his recent visit to the UK, where he learned of the efforts by the British state to terminate the rights of religious communities to have religious schools. Such schools are not subsidized by the state; they are free and independent schools. Such an action will indeed have an effect on people of all faiths. This is of particular concern to the Jewish community and should be cause for concern to people of every faith. There are anti-religious forces that are determined to make it difficult for people of faith. The rabbi asked that we stand together.

One participant reminded all present of the words of the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was eventually executed for his faith during World War II in Nazi Germany:

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

As a result of the seminar, the Montreal Ambassadors for Peace have formed a strong attachment to the core values and principles promoted by UPF. Also, a good number have become connected to one another. Some are holding interfaith meetings in their own churches, mosques, and synagogues. The fruit of UPF’s efforts over the past several years is that a spirit of solidarity has been firmly established among the Ambassadors for Peace and a serious contribution toward religious harmony is being made. Similar efforts are being made in major cities throughout Canada.

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