CALENDAR OF EVENTS
First Asian Leadership Conference in Bangkok
Written by Dr. Robert S. Kittel, Director of Education, UPF-Asia, and photojournalist
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Bangkok, Thailand - A total of 56 participants from four nations attended a four-day seminar in Bangkok, Thailand, July 10-14, 2013 that centered on UPF’s Principles of Peace. As financial chaos, political turmoil, terrorism, a cultural litigation frenzy and moral mayhem seem to run rampant globally, the conference theme was very timely, “Peace, Development and Transformational Leadership for Building Nations of Peace.”
Lectures addressed current issues at the social, national and global levels. For example, how do you apply the UPF principles to solve corruption? Or deal with resource depletion and global warming? Or address gender bias, violence against women, and the trafficking of young girls? How do you apply the principles in the political realm to find consensus between the ideologies of communism and democracy that still see each other as enemies?
In the opening session, conference delegates were welcomed by a four-star general from the Thai army, Gen. Terdsak Marrome (Ret'd.), president of UPF-Thailand. He told participants that “Peacebuilding is not the job of any one head of state; it is the responsibility for all of us.” He then closed his remarks by acknowledging the immense contributions of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon in laying foundations for building global peace in so many fields and in so many countries.
In his keynote address Dr. Chung Sik Yong, regional chair of UPF-Asia, asked the right questions:
How do we build nations of peace? What are the fundamental principles that are needed for nation-building? This is a very important question, because if we do not know the principles involved then we are only guessing. And that is not enough. Leaders should not gamble with the future of their nations. We need to know the principles that can help us build societies that are healthy, happy and sustainable.
Former Nepalese cabinet member Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal greeted the guests as part of the largest delegation (26) came from Nepal. Hon. Dhakal explained that the purpose of the conference was to study Father Moon’s teaching in order to help build a “new Nepal.” He also gave a special case study presentation on UPF’s role in ushering Nepal’s peace process forward since its inception on November 22, 2005.
The second largest delegation came from India. Twenty prominent leaders from civil society included internationally renowned artists, legal experts, college professors, businessmen, social workers, an air hostess, elected government officers, and journalists. The Indian delegates were keen to know how their nation could move forward as economic development had widened the gap between rich and poor and unleashed moral chaos in many sectors of its traditionally conservative culture.
Participants from Myanmar (6) and Thailand (4) also attended.
In addition to his remarks on the opening day, Dr. Yong gave powerful and insightful guidance in the morning of each day of the conference. The two main lecturers were Mrs. Ursula McLackland, secretary general of UPF-Asia, and Dr. Robert Kittel, education director of UFP-Asia.
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