Response to European Leadership Conference
Written by Steinar Murud, UPF-Norway
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Oslo, Norway - Following are some of the profound contributions made by the speakers and responses from the distinguished audience at the May 1 speech by UPF Founder, Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
Mayor Nils Steen Egelien, President, Norwegian Korean War Veterans’ Association:
First of all I love Korea. As a young man of 20, I served in the Norwegian Army Hospital in Korea during the Korean War. Even though 60 years have passed since that time, the experiences during that period made an unforgettable impression on me. I came in contact with a culture which I learned to respect deeply, and I met people who expressed their gratitude more than anybody. The miracle that Korea has accomplished in the time since then is not a coincidence but can be explained by the greatness of the Korean people.
Secondly, many years later I came to learn about Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his work for world peace. I have come to know later that Rev. Moon was a prisoner at that time in a North Korean labor camp and managed to escape only after the intervention of UN forces.
It is fascinating that I am now standing here in Norway and giving a greeting to the man who was freed by the UN forces in Korea that I was a part of 60 years ago.
Just as Korea has been a phoenix, rising from ashes to become a leading nation in the world, Rev. Moon has been a phoenix in his life, rising from misery to become an influential world leader. Due to his unstoppable and uncompromising efforts for global peace, he has run into much opposition. His direct and clear words, regardless of the regime or external circumstances, stirred up problems. But he had the courage to speak, whether it was under Japanese occupation, in communist North Korea, or in the United States. Every single time he ran into trouble he came out of it victoriously. The charges against him proved false, his enemies vanished, and he rose like a phoenix.
His strategy to advance the quest for world peace was not by force or material means but by offering service—often to the degree that his enemies turned around and became his friends and allies. Rev. Moon’s strength is his quality of leading a godly life, regardless of circumstances. He has proved it again and again, and it is this quality that qualifies him to stand as a unique world leader and gives him true authority.
He came from a tiny village in the North but his vision is global. Over and over he speaks about humankind as one family under God. When he started his mission a couple of generations ago these words were too big for many people to relate to, but he has stayed faithful to his vision. By going a course built on realistic principles and values, he has made remarkable progress. His words are not only words, but they reflect his life and stand as an example for all of us. If we all join our forces and support the work of Rev. Moon, I believe the utopia of one family under God will surely be realized.
Dr. Wim van Eeklelen, Former Minister of Defence, The Netherlands:
Ladies and gentlemen, Oslo is a city of "peace," and Norway an active member of the UN with a great performance in peacekeeping. Earlier today, my wife and I visited the Nobel Institute; a postcard we bought there reads: "Life’s most urgent question is what are you doing for others." This is a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but who else have we heard say this again and again and again? Father Moon!
Norway is not a member of the European Union, but its tradition of democracy, transparency, good governance, and NGOs in support of an active life in society are strong. Norwegian society is rules-based, and these rules are established by majority voting. In Europe, we understood that we needed to end wars—and this led to European integration. We can learn from this process. Rather than attacking problems head on, we should change the context and understand the other.
Since being involved with UPF as an Ambassador for Peace, I have admired their principles and balanced programs, such as the UPF Middle East Peace Initiative. My best wishes to the Moon family, and especially to Father and Mother Moon—theirs is a great initiative, which I support wholeheartedly.
Remarks from some of the 120 Ambassadors for Peace who had been attending the European Leadership Conference entitled "Towards Lasting Peace in a World of Rapid Change," which took place in the Stortinget (Norwegian National Parliament) the day before and concluded with the Founder’s Address:
"I was so happy that Father Moon spoke about the abuse of women by some men who take many wives and that there should true love and respect between men and women."
- Mrs. Ola Teresa Johnson, resident of Switzerland originally from Sierra Leone
Distinguished Rev. Moon, they call you Father! I am happy that I was able to know you. We came to see you from the Czech Republic, which is also in a deep moral, spiritual, and political crisis. That is why we are so grateful to have access to your message about the family and the renewal of spirituality in our lives. I was proud to be able to write an introduction to your autobiography in the Czech language and recognize the wealth of inspiration that it offers for our lives. Once again, thank you for your message which we will endeavor to convey to others."
- Mrs. Eva Kanturkova, former Member of Parliament, writer, journalist, and dissident in the communist era
"When I recently read Obama’s biography I found it very boring. However, reading Rev. Moon’s autobiography has been a deep experience: such richness of the heart and life and so many practical details. I could not stop reading till the early hours of the morning."
- Dr. Haseeb Jiryes Shehadeh, University of Helsinki, expert in Hebrew and Arabic languages
"It has been a great meeting here in Oslo. The peak was surely the presence of our beloved leader Rev. Moon. His ideas will surely contribute to stopping conflict based on difference of race, religion, and ethnicity. I am amazed at his energy and ability to speak for several hours as a man of 90+ years."
- Rev. Åke Lion, retired minister of the Swedish Lutheran Church
Comments about the European Leadership Conference
“The presentations have all been very impressive, and I have learned a lot of new things. Above all, I have learned to be more passionate about life in general.”
“Many thanks for organizing the conference to the Norwegian organizers. Conferences like this one bring together the minds, hearts, and spirits of international people. All the speakers brought valuable ideas, especially about resolving conflicts and healing the heart and self-respect. The presentations were varied, informative, inspiring, and uplifting, creating an opportunity for deeper thought and contemplation and hope for change.”
“The conference provided an opportunity to meet personally other Ambassadors of Peace working in Europe.”
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