Peace Education

Conference in Seoul on Hard and Soft Roads to Peace

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Seoul, Korea - UPF’s latest international Leadership Conference, held in Korea over the Chinese New Year holidays, January 21-25, brought together just over 200 participants from 72 nations to consider possible roads to peace. There was a particular focus on peace and security issues related to Northeast Asia and the Korean peninsula. [For the conference schedule and links to presentations, click here.]

In recent weeks, the area has been in a state of heightened alert following the sudden death of North Korea’s long-time dictator, Kim Jong-il, and the accession of his little-known youngest son, Kim Jong-un. Along with the displays of public grief by its citizens, North Korea conducted a variety of missile tests clearly staged to send a message south across the 38th parallel and further afield to Japan.

UPF conference delegates at the interfaith opening plenary held in Seoul’s modern Cheon Bok Goong sanctuary

During the same time, the world’s press drew attention to the launch of China’s first aircraft carrier, the 67,000 ton Varyag. Despite the fact that the ship may be several years away from active service, the well publicized sea trials sent ripples throughout the region and were seen by some as a response by China to US President Barack Obama’s Pacific Rim tour to bolster the US’s strategic alliances in Asia.

In several tightly debated sessions, experts from Russia, the United States, Japan, and South Korea considered the implications of these developments and pondered the relative effectiveness of “hard power” options (political, military, and economic) and “soft power” alternatives including citizen diplomacy, humanitarian, cultural, and even religious and interfaith responses to conflict.

Dr. Aslambek Aslakhanov, Deputy Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the Senate of the Russian Federation, spoke on the growing role of Russia’s foreign policy in the Pacific Rim and Northeast Asia, reminding the participants that two-thirds of Russia’s territory is North East Asia.

Toshio Miyatsuka Kook Jin Moon
Aslambek Aslakhanov Alexandre Mansourov

Prospects for Change in Northeast Asia

Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, Visiting Scholar at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, predicted that a post-Kim Jong-il North Korea will become more dynamic, more pragmatic, and more nationalistic. Prof. Toshio Miyatsuka of Yamanashi Gakuin University in Japan, raised concerns about the persecution of religion in North Korea and the lack of food and health care.

In his presentation “Strong Korea?” Dr. Kook Jin Moon, the fourth son of UPF Founders Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, looked beyond Pyongyang to the broader challenges that the explosive growth of Chinese military and economic power could pose to South Korea and its democratic neighbors and allies. “Freedom is worth defending,” he said, “and the time has come when we cannot solely rely on the good will and assets of other nations – especially the United States – for our own security.”

UPF Delegates in session A question from Robert Vandemeulebroucke, Belgium

Among those considering soft power options was Joyce Davis, long-term foreign affairs correspondent for National Public Radio. Although a free press has been and always will be a necessary and influential part of peaceful democracies, she pointed to the fast-growing impact of “citizen journalism” and the ability of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to facilitate rapid social change, as shown during the “Arab Spring.”

Cindy Courville, the first US Ambassador to the African Union, reflected on some of the growing pains of these new democracies, noting the importance of respecting the will of the people even when elections bring to power parties with values that could be seen as threatening to Western interests, such as the recent ascendance of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. “The United States – and any nation – cannot pick sides,” she said. “That is and must be a matter for the people of each nation to decide.”

Cindy Courville, USA Ran Cohen, Israel
Mahendra Lama, India Agustin Jarquin Anaya

Echoing these sentiments, Ran Cohen, a former member of the Israeli Knesset, said that the best hope for peace for Israel and its neighbors was for ordinary Israelis and Palestinians to find a direct way to peace through a popular referendum, citing evidence that among both Israelis and Palestinians alike, the two-state solution is affirmed by a majority of their citizens. Elected leaders, on the other hand, are dragging their feet.

Another highlight of the conference was a celebration of the second United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week, observed around the first week of February each year. Meeting in the Cheon Bok Goong, a modern interfaith sanctuary, representative religious leaders from nine faiths – Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Sikhism, and Unificationism – offered prayers and lit candles in a spirit of reconciliation before moving outside to light lanterns to welcome in the Chinese Year of the Dragon.

Following the interfaith ceremony, Geetha Rajan, Trustee of UPF-India, spoke of the need for UPF to expand its work in India, and Amb. Sam Zakhem of the USA echoed a similarly passionate call for UPF in the USA. UPF Chairman, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, concluded the session with a keynote address calling on UPF Ambassadors for Peace and volunteers worldwide to expand their service to the world, building a global movement that addresses global problems and brings realistic solutions.

The UPF has long advocated a heightened role for religious and spiritual voices in the peace process. As long ago as 2000, Dr. Moon called for the creation of an interfaith council within the United Nations system. On the national level, UPF chapters have been active in creating or promoting national interfaith councils, and recently Thailand became the latest nation to inaugurate an interfaith council, with representatives of all of the nation’s major faiths. As fate would have it, just weeks after the inauguration, the nation faced unprecedented flooding, and UPF and Council volunteers went into action, bringing food, water, and medical supplies to communities cut off by the rising waters.

Ambassador Krishna Rajan offers birthday congratulations to Father and Mother Moon on behalf of the UPF and the ILC A presentation of flowers to Father and Mother Moon from Senator and Mrs. Aslakhanov

The ILC participants also had the opportunity to join several festivities celebrating the “Year of the Dragon” as well as a banquet, entertainment, and prayer ceremony at the Peace Palace high in the mountains above Seoul, and a downtown parade of friends and members of the wider Unification Movement in honor of the birthday celebrations of the UPF Founders, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, now 93 and 70, respectively.

“Father Moon’s simple but powerful message of boundless love and unconditional compassion, of service and sacrifice, of family values and spiritual leadership, is like a lighthouse which beckons the world,” said Ambassador Krishna V. Rajan of India in his congratulatory message. “His answer to conflict is the realization that we are one human family created by God. Living for the sake of others is the only road to real happiness.”

Some of the faith leaders in the session celebrating the United Nations World Week of Interfaith Harmony
Dr. Hyung Jin Moon at the New Year’s lantern ceremony Two Shinto representatives lighting the peace candles
Sam Zakhem, USA Geetha Rajan, India
UPF Chair Hyung Jin Moon Kastriot Tusha, Albania
UPF braves the cold to join more than 2000 people in a New Year’s parade through the streets of Seoul

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International Leadership Conference Schedule

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For an executive summary of the proceedings, click here.

Schedule
February 28, 2014

Photo Gallery

To see the entire album from February 28: click here

 

Opening Banquet

Emcee: Mrs. Eugenia Kagawa, Executive Office, UPF International
Invocation: Rev. Dr. Johaness Mazibuko, Alliance Church of Swaziland
Welcome Address: Dr. Byung Ho Son, Chairman of UPF Korea

Opening Remarks: Hon. Yoshinori Ohno, Former Defense Minister of Japan

Report of UPF's Work in Nigeria: Mrs. Kathy Rigney, Chair of UPF Africa
Presented by Mr. Adama Doumbia, Regional Secretary General of UPF Africa

Orientation: Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, President of UPF International

March 1

Photo Gallery

To see the entire album from March 1: click here

 

SESSION I: BEYOND THE CHALLENGES OF OUR TIME: TRANSFORMING THE SOCIETY, NATION AND WORLD

This session featured a keynote address on behalf of UPF’s Co-Founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, along with remarks from other high level participants, each focusing on the issues and challenges that we face as a global community, and offering recommendations for the ways in which we can build a better world, transforming our families, societies, nations and the world.

Moderator: Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, President of UPF International

Welcome: Dr. Charles S. Yang, Chairman of UPF International

Founder's Address: delivered by Dr. Sun Jin Moon, Director General, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International

Speakers
Dr. Vladimir Petrovskiy, Senior Advisor of UPF Russia
Hon. Dr. Myrna Madelo Romarate, National President, Provincial Board Member League of the Philippines
Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, Chair of UPF Nepal

 

SESSION II: THE FOUNDERS' VISION: PRINCIPLES OF PEACE

This session offered an introduction into the core values, principles and teachings of UPF’s Founders, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. The primary presenter summarized the spiritual and moral vision of UPF’s Founders and the commentators offered their reflections and insights concerning the value and relevance of the vision.

Moderator: Mrs. Tomiko Duggan, Director, Public Affairs, UPF International

Speaker: Mr. Jacques Marion, President of UPF France

Commentators 
Prof. Masahisa Hayashi, Professor Emeritus, Waseda University, Japan 
Mr. Naokimi Ushiroda, President, CARP (Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles) USA
Dr. Michael Balcomb, President, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, USA

 

SESSION III: OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES FACING THE FAMILY

The natural family is the foundation of all societies and civilizations. At this time in history, however, the family is facing significant challenges and, as a result, our societies and nations are increasingly challenged by a wide range of consequences that derive from family breakdown, including increased promiscuity, crime, poverty, mental health challenges, poor performance in schools, and failures to understand and practice good citizenship. UPF is dedicated to strengthening marriage and family and speakers in this session discussed the significance and value of UPF’s vision.

Moderator: Mrs. Eugenia Kagawa, Executive Office of UPF International

Speaker: Mr. Ricardo de Sena, President of UPF USA

Commentators
Mr. Joseph M. Champagne, Former Mayor of South Toms River, New Jersey, USA
Mr. Kazu Matsui, Former Chairman, Saitama Prefectural Board of Educational, Japan

 

SESSION IV: INTERACTIVE SESSION ON FAMILY

During the first hour of this session, small breakout groups discussed the significance of the family and the ways in which to address and overcome contemporary threats and challenges to the family. Following the small group discussions a rapporteur from each group reported on the major points made during the group discussion.

March 2

Photo Gallery

To see the entire album from March 2: click here

 

SESSION V: OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES FACING RELIGIONS AND GOVERNMENTS

The 21st Century has given rise to a wide range of dynamics related to international relations, the balance of power, sustainable development and peace. These shifting patterns present challenges for governments. In addition, the 21st century has witnessed a global resurgence of religion as a significant factor in world affairs; not simply in the form of extremism or fundamentalism, but also in the growth of interreligious dialogue and the recognition that religion is a force for peace and human development. This session, featuring speakers from both government and religion, addressed these topics.

Moderator: Dr. Tageldin Hamad, Secretary General, UPF International

Speaker: Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, President, UPF International

Commentators
Hon. Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, Former President of Parliament, Luxembourg
Prof. Quan Yi Zhang, Zhejiang Wanli University in China
Prof. Jaap Willem de Zwaan, Erasmus University, Netherlands
Rev. Shuei Kobayashi, Chief Priest, Chairman, Jyuzenji Buddhist Temple, Japan
Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul, Vice Chair of UPF Asia

 

SESSION VI: INTERACTIVE SESSION ON RELIGIONS AND GOVERNMENT

During the first hour of this session, breakout groups discussed the challenges facing both religions and governments, and the ways in which to address and overcome contemporary threats and challenges to the stability of the nation and the integrity of religion. Following the small group discussions a rapporteur from each group reported on the major points made.

 

SESSION VII: ONE FAMILY UNDER GOD: THE BLESSING VISION

At the heart of the lifelong work of Father and Mother Moon is the ideal of the Blessing of Marriage and Family. On March 3 we have the opportunity to witness the Blessing of Marriage. Since 1960, this tradition has been practiced all over the world, involving millions of couples and families, and promoting the ideal of true love, healthy marriages, good parenting, filial piety, and service to others. Speakers shared first-hand experience with the Blessing ideal.

Moderator: Mr. Tuo Huan Chen, Secretary General of UPF-Chinese Region

Speakers
Mrs. Eugenia Kagawa, Executive Office, UPF International
Dr. Tageldin Hamad, Secretary General of UPF International
Mr. Ricardo de Sena, President, UPF USA

 

SESSION VIII: SPECIAL PLENARY: THE WASHINGTON TIMES AND SEGYE ILBO

March 3

Photo Gallery

To see the entire album from March 3: click here

 

COMMEMORATIVE "FOUNDATION DAY" CELEBRATION AND BLESSING PROGRAM

 

CELEBRATION LUNCHEON

 

CLOSING BANQUET