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Peace Education

American Leadership Conference Held in Washington DC

Washington DC, USA - More than 80 guests from many walks of life attended an American Leadership Conference in the nation's capital September 26 and 27. “One global family under God” was the theme of the conference, encouraging people to rise above narrow perspectives of race, creed, nationality and religion.

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Mrs. Tomiko Duggan, Acting Secretary General of UPF-North America, welcomed guests and referred to a previous series of American Leadership Conferences during the Cold War era; they had offered a God-centered thought as a counter-proposal to the struggle between Communism and democratic nations. She said that the source of all human problems is selfishness, and that great heroes sacrificed themselves for the greater good.

“Good governance and leadership is based in the idea of living for the sake of others, a UPF theme, which is the cornerstone for lasting peace,” she concluded.

Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Chairman of UPF-North America, welcomed the participants and added his agreement to Mrs. Duggan’s words. He praised this series of conferences in North America, the first in the DC area; UPF-Canada will hold a leadership conference in Ottawa October 3 & 4. Conferences will take place in Miami and Las Vegas in November, and in Chicago the American Leadership Conference theme will be featured as part of the annual True Family Values celebration at the end of the year. He encouraged everyone to contribute to a constructive conversation.

Nation-Building, Good Governance and the United Nations

Dr. Thomas Walsh, President of UPF International, spoke about the need for both internal and external components to world peace. Now, only national interests are being served at the UN. The “Abel UN,” UPF Founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s vision of an interreligious council within the UN, has been proposed as a way to draw upon the wisdom of the world's great faith traditions in deliberations of pressing global issues. He added, “More and more people are realizing that this is a necessary part of building world peace.” He noted that this idea is being studied in universities and discussed in many circles. Dr. Antonio Betancourt, Director of UPF's Office of Peace and Security Affairs in Washington, DC, spoke about developments in North Korea. He said, “We should not demonize our enemies but find a way to work together… war should be the last resort to solve a conflict.”

The Need for Interfaith Dialogue, Mutual Respect and Cooperation

Rev. Jesse Edwards, Vice Chair of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), spoke about his personal experiences of crossing the racial divide in opposition to the expectations of family and peers. Dr. Adina Friedman, associate professor at George Mason University, showed a PowerPoint presentation about her reconciliation trips to Morocco and Israel. The images demonstrated that when people from different backgrounds meet and exchange with ‘the other,’ new doors of the mind and heart begin to open. Mrs. Duggan reported on the Religious Youth Service project for developing young leaders. She showed inspiring photos about the recent program for 20 young people in Washington, DC and last year’s program in Albania. Rev. Tom Cutts, National Executive Director of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, moderated.

Dinner and Session III were held at the University Club in Washington, DC where co-host of the The Washington Times Foundation, Thomas McDevitt is a member. 

Sustainable Peace, Prosperity and Security in Northeast Asia: Creating a Roadmap for the Korean Peninsula

Speakers were Secretary Christopher Hill, former Assistant Secretary of State for Asian and Pacific Affairs; Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, senior advisor to the Director of National Intelligence; Dr. Charles S. Yang, Chairman of the Washington Times Foundation and Vice Chair of UPF International; and Dr. Jun Isomura, Senior Fellow and Director of the U.S.-Japan Strategic Summit Program at the Hudson Institute. This session was moderated by Dr. Alexandre Y. Mansourov, Visiting Scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Dr. Hill spoke on the challenges and victories in the initial North Korea-US discussions in 2005 and the need to build on that foundation and not start efforts “from scratch.” Dr. DeTrani spoke on the need for continuation of past successful strategies and about how Kim Jong Un has established himself as the new ruler. Both men have vast experience working with North Korea and are cautiously hopeful for the future.

Dr. Yang said, “We believe it is time for new creativity, new ideas, innovative approaches, and most of all, a will and vision to go beyond the status quo of old thinking that is insufficient for the new era of the 21st century.” He called for a permanent peace agreement or treaty with the support of Korea’s neighbors and other “catalysts” as the basis for future inter-Korean cooperation and eventual reunification. Dr. Isomura talked about the area’s tensions and disputes and Japan’s role in peacebuilding.

The Significance of Marriage and Family for a Stable and Prosperous Society

On the second day, Archbishop George Stallings, Chair of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, spoke on the family as an essential component for building healthy communities and nations. Dr. Michael Balcomb, President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification-USA, presented a PowerPoint on the need to support and protect the family; and Rev. Angelika Selle, President of the Women’s Federation for World Peace-USA, spoke on the role of women in creating healthy families.

Best Practices and Action Steps with Ambassador for Peace appointments

Susan Fefferman, Coordinator of Ambassadors for Peace in Washington DC, gave a short presentation on the Five Principles espoused by the Ambassador for Peace network. Five new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed by Dr. Walsh and Dr. Balcomb: Mr. Samuel Mall, Reach Out International/Pakistan, Interfaith Christian Ministry; Pastor Justin Ragsdale, Lest We Forget Black Holocaust Slavery Museum and Traveling Exhibit; Ms. Elizabeth Pan, Mid-Atlantic Oneness Organization, which organized the International Day of Peace Global Meditation Celebration on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in September this year; Ms. Velma Ann Ruth, Founder of Independent Review; and Ms. Hali Jilani, an advisor to the US military in Afghanistan facilitating communication with native peoples.

Comments were offered by Mrs. Fawzia Etemadi, an Ambassador for Peace who has been working in her native Afghanistan, Mr. Samuel Mall; Pastor Ragsdale, who with his wife run a museum on slavery, educating youth on the need to remember the past but forge a future based on respect for the rights of others, and Mr. Matthew Redmond, a student who is inspired about the teachings of UPF and how it impacts on his future studies.

Reported by Susan Fefferman

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