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Peace Education

Reflections on the International Leadership Conference in Seoul, Korea, August 2013

Comments by participants from New Zealand in the International Leadership Conference in Seoul, Korea, August 2013.

Morrin Cooper     

Without exception, the 300 attendees at the International Leadership Conference held in Seoul, Korea, from Aug. 19 to 24, 2013, were very caring, professional people of all adult ages. Coming from 120 nations, they were multicultural and certainly represented a wide range of religions.

The speakers, who addressed a multitude of subjects, were of the highest caliber. All the subjects seemed to be enthusiastically accepted, absorbed and taken “on board” for action.

As a result, the attendees committed to work together to achieve world peace. There was an excellent camaraderie among the Ambassadors for Peace.

Prior to the conference I did not have any knowledge of the aims and objectives of the Universal Peace Federation, but now I am convinced of its very worthy motives. Likewise, I had little if any knowledge of Dr. Moon and less of his family and corporate strength. Among the Korean people there is just no one who is more revered. UPF certainly enjoys a superb relationship with the United Nations by virtue of its high accreditation with the UN.

It was my great pleasure to attend such a significant conference with capable and affable delegates from New Zealand, very ably led by Julius Gicole, who holds a very reputable status with his peers in the world peace movement..

Laurie Ross

I was honored to be one of three New Zealand Ambassadors for Peace chosen to attend the International Leadership Conference that took place in Seoul, Korea, from Aug. 20 to 24, 2013.

The major focus of this occasion was the first annual memorial service to honor Dr. Sun Myung Moon, one of the world’s great spiritual leaders for peace and the founder of the Universal Peace Federation, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, and the Women’s Federation for World Peace, which together organized this conference.

The 300 delegates from 80 nations included government, religious and business leaders. We were appointed as Ambassadors for Peace to attend this event because of our dedication and success over many years of work for peace on all levels: family, community and world. The foundation for peace is grounded in the spiritual goodness and truth within humanity which has been professed by every faith.

The purpose of the conference was fourfold:

  1. To celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Moon and develop a genuine understanding of the relevance and applicability of his ideas.
  2. To acknowledge genuine peace leaders from a variety of disciplines, ethnicities, faiths and nationalities.
  3. To bring together peace leaders and develop international support networks to better address and solve global problems.
  4. To empower both individual peacemakers and the global peace movement to bring about the well-being of humanity.

Dr. Moon dedicated his life to building a world of universal peace, as one global family under God. In addition to founding the Unification Church, he created international initiatives to facilitate cooperation and understanding between peoples of different races, nationalities and beliefs.

In addition to honoring the life and work of Dr. Moon, the conference featured speeches by Ambassadors for Peace and other leaders. One of these speakers, Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, a professor at the US-Korea Institute and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, presented suggestions for establishing harmonious relations with North Korea.

A cultural event marking the one-year anniversary of Dr. Moon’s passing was held at the Cheongshim Peace World Center, with 25,000 people in attendance. Dr. Moon’s widow, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, spoke with great presence and authority as a recognized spiritual leader in her own right.

The conference attendees also visited the Cheon Jeong Peace Palace, the last home of Dr. Moon, for a banquet and musical performance.

Recommendations made by the conference participants included the following:

  1. At future conferences, more time could be devoted to focusing on certain issues— for example, breaking up into discussion groups that later would present their conclusions to the whole assembly.
  2. Facilitate more interaction between participants from different regions by sometimes having mixed seating at meal tables, rather than always having meals by regions.
  3. At future conferences, focus more on how peace leaders can work together to fulfill the vision.
  4. Allow time for the formulation of a message advocating the abolition of nuclear weapons as a vital part of our collective action for peace.
  5. More time for questions or comments from the floor in each session after listening to the main speakers.
  6. Include a free day for sightseeing and make an optional sightseeing tour available.

In conclusion, this was a most wonderful peace event and a truly inspiring peace organization that is particularly suited to serving the interfaith communities, which can work more effectively in collaboration. Together we can play a more significant role in facilitating the political and economic decisions required to honor the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We must work together to ban weapons of mass destruction, stop the culture of violence and war and ensure that every human being has food, water, health care, shelter and education. I am honored to be part of this spiritual evolution of consciousness and look forward to the next phase of co-creation for a more peaceful world.

Frank Smith

I participated in the International Leadership Conference “Building a Nation of Peace,” which took place from Aug. 20 to 24, 2013, in Seoul, Korea, as a delegate from New Zealand.

The papers delivered at the conference were varied, but all were concerned with some aspect of peace. Most were related to peace and security issues in the Asian region. But I was glad that socioeconomic initiatives, such as those discussed by the delegate from India, were also included. I believe peace is not merely the absence of war. Peace and harmonious coexistence can be achieved only when social, political and economic equality is achieved. The role of religion in ending conflicts is something that was at the heart of Dr. Moon’s vision.

I admired the centrality of God at the conference, which was evident in having prayers from different faith traditions at the outset.

At the conference I made many friends and exchanged information with many delegates. It was also good to meet delegates from the Oceania region.

The conference gave me ideas about promoting peace that will be included in some of the courses I teach in our programs.

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