CALENDAR OF EVENTS
In Peru, a Vision for Peace in the Andes
Written by Larry Moffitt
Sunday, April 20, 2008
In the past few years, the UPF movement in Peru has focused on teaching administrators, teachers, and students at universities, colleges, high schools, and technical and vocational schools. Under the umbrella of Universal Peace Federation and spearheaded by its affiliates, the Family Federation, CARP, Youth Federation and Women’s Federation for World Peace – and with the active support of Peru’s 200 core Ambassadors for Peace – they have in recent years focused on teaching at the nation’s leading pedagogical university, where the nation’s leading educators receive their education. This focus over the years has sparked an interest in including character education in the curricula.
Ambassadors for Peace, home-grown lecturers and, increasingly, professional teachers have educated thousands of students with the support of the schools. Requests for our character education curriculum continue to grow. There is simply nothing like it out there, and the destruction of hope that is the aftertaste of popular culture makes the need for standards of conduct all the more keenly felt.
There is much creativity, including the Family Centers (centros familiares), of which more than 100 have been set up throughout the capital city of Lima as well as another 100 in five provincial cities. The original inspiration came from Japanese goodwill ambassadors working in Peru and has been continued by Peruvian leaders for the past eight years. These centers, working together with mothers in the communities, help to provide education and food for many people living in extremely poor situations.
The Women’s Federation in Peru has also been working in the area of family values and moral issues in association with the president of the National Mothers Clubs (Clubes de Madres) Ms. Rosa Castillo. This organization has a membership of more than 15,000 clubs throughout the nation. This work began in 2004 under the guidance of the then President of WFWP Faith Jones and still continues today.
During a luncheon with leading Peruvian businessmen Dr. Hyun Jin Moon also learned of the local TV station owned by one Ambassador for Peace which broadcasts a daily UPF educational program to more than 1 million people.
In his keynote address on April 20, 2008 to the International Leadership Conference in Lima, Hyun Jin Moon applauded the creative energy that has launched so many successful initiatives. “Just as your ancestors, the Incas, aspired to greatness as they built that great civilization in the high Andes Mountains, I believe that Peru has a special place today and that the Ambassadors for Peace in this nation have become the owners of their vision.”
The movement in Peru is extremely well-connected, from the grassroots up to the highest levels in government. The last four Presidents of Congress have all been appointed as Ambassadors for Peace in ceremonies within the Congress by Trevor Jones, Executive Director of UPF-Peru. The current Minister of Defense is a member of the UPF Global Peace Council and the Vice Minister of Defense, the Minister for Women, and many sitting Congressmen are all Ambassadors for Peace.
The interfaith work is blessed with a broad network of Christian pastors, mostly Protestant evangelicals, as well as a growing number of Catholic clergy. Muslims are a small minority in the country, but they are generally supportive, and the President of the Islamic Association of Peru is an Ambassador for Peace who came to greet Hyun Jin Moon.
Paying heed to the fact the Americas is a predominantly Christian hemisphere, Hyun Jin Moon emphasized in his keynote address that Jesus was a devout Jew who was bigger than Judaism. “Jesus’ primary purpose,” he said, “was not to start a religion. In fact, he often spoke out strongly toward those who were locked into narrow religious perspectives. He brought a message of universal salvation and a message for people of all religious backgrounds. The essence of his message was not doctrine or the creation of religion, but was about building relationships of true love.”
He added, “This message laid the foundation for our modern concept of human rights, for Jesus had declared that we are all the sons and daughters of God, regardless of race, religion, nationality, culture, or class.”
While the Bible uses different language to express these thoughts, the people we encounter intuitively grasp the truth of what Hyun Jin Moon is talking about.. It seems right to them that God would love all of us and would want nobody left out of this family.
Perhaps the crowning achievement in Peru has been the establishment of an annual national Day of Peace and Reconciliation. It is held on September 12, the anniversary of the founding of the Universal Peace Federation in 2005. With the support of many Ambassadors for Peace within the legislature, congress established this day. In keeping with the vision that guides the Ambassadors for Peace, this observance is not for one organization but an occasion for all people to consider that what unites us as human beings is far greater than what divides us.
That this point is well understood was evidenced by the September 2007 observance in the main hall of congress with the participation of leaders of all faiths and all political parties. Amid nationwide press coverage, the spiritual and secular leaders of Peru jointly lit a candelabra of peace and talked about the blessings of unity. Even if such observances are a momentary respite from business as usual, they are needed, and this one was greeted with an outpouring of support from every sector of society.
While in Peru, David Caprara, executive vice president of Youth Federation for World Peace, met with the Minister of Women to discuss volunteerism and social policy. Michael Marshall, editor-in-chief of United Press International, held a discussion with university professors of communication to explain UPI’s citizen journalism project that will educate students in how to write and contribute news and photos for global distribution, rather than simply be a passive consumers of news.
Nemesio Candioti as an Educational Director for the movement in Peru carried out a character education program for more than 5,000 students in 2007. For Nemesio, the highlight of the recent events in Peru was the opportunity to meet Hyun Jin Moon. “Dream big and then take ownership of your dreams,” Hyun Jin Moon says in his speeches. Dream big, live for the sake of others, and one family under God are the 11th , 12th and 13th commandments of Hyun Jin Moon’s public life.
In his keynote addresses he says, “A vision needs owners. A vision without owners is just an idea. But a vision with owners can transform the world, and I want you to be owners of the dream of one family under God.”
Fellow vision-owner, congresswoman Margarita Sucari, said in her meeting with Hyun Jin Moon, “As Ambassadors for Peace, as children of God, we feel compelled to bring people together (around this shared vision) as we try to be the conscience of the congress.”
Such practical idealism resonates strongly with the youth (and the elderly) of every country visited on this tour. The popular culture in most of the world is a great wasteland, and people’s hearts are hungry for inspiration. In some places, starved is the better word.
What helps the message be so widely received is that it is so utterly non-political. Even our big Global Peace Festival rallies, with bands and speeches, and our youth service projects, are not social activism initiatives. They have a larger quality concerned with breaking down barriers, solving human conflict, and reminding ourselves that we are, all of us, sitting around a global kitchen table we had forgotten about, and that God is the parent who heads this household.
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