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Peace Education

Conference Considers Future Directions for Russia

Moscow, Russia—UPF held a one-day conference on "Sustainable Development of Russia and Modern Challenges."

Meeting at the UPF Peace Embassy in Moscow on April 7, 2018, the participants spoke about the importance of establishing partnerships between various spheres of society at the regional and international levels in implementing the current agenda for sustainable development.

Konstantin Krylov, the regional vice president of UPF for Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East, thanked the participants for their interesting and informative presentations.

Mr. Krylov gave a brief history of UPF activities in Russia, starting from the initial visit to Moscow in 1990 of UPF founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. He quoted Rev. Dr. Moon's words at his meeting with USSR President Mikhail S. Gorbachev: "The secret of the future success of the Soviet Union is to make God the center of all accomplishments. I firmly believe that the view of peace with God in the center is the key to solving problems. Man-centered atheistic theories bring only misfortune and self-destruction. This is the universal principle, both in the East and in the West."

Further in his speech, Mr. Krylov touched upon the special role of Russia in achieving world peace. He talked about the Peace Road, a UPF project, part of which is the construction of a tunnel across the Bering Strait. Especially today, when relations in the world community have become more challenging, it is important to find ways that not only prevent war but also strengthen peace.

Therefore, the Universal Peace Federation is making efforts to prepare a joint conference between Russia and the United States on this project. Mr. Krylov also talked about past mini-projects within the Peace Road in the countries of Eurasia and around the world. At the end of his speech, Mr. Krylov invited the conference participants to join a series of events in Vienna in the context of solving one more challenge of our time—relations between Russia and Europe. To establish cooperation in this matter, UPF has been holding conferences and other projects for several years, including the Peace Road.

The conference was held on the eve of Easter on the Orthodox calendar, on the day of the Annunciation, so the entire conference was imbued with the spirit of this special day. Connecting his address to this special day, Sergei V. Dvoryanov, Ph.D., the founder and president of the Amicability international diplomatic club, began his speech. He said, "The Kingdom of God is a place with warm and trusting relationships that come from our Heavenly Father." Dr. Dvoryanov wished the participants of the conference such family relations and successes in carrying out this important event.

Alexander E. Usanin, a writer, public figure, and president of the charitable foundation For the Sake of Peace, stressed that Russia is called holy, as it is acting to unite and prosper, not to separate and rule. He sees the way out of economic and social crises in development of the so-called "spiritual economy," which allows us to care for each other, avoiding competition.

There were participants not only from Moscow. Evgenia V. Gubina from St. Petersburg, an author and head of eco-education projects, and representative of the public movement Separate Collection—Garbage Is No More, said that unfortunately, humanity has become a machine that takes energy from the earth and turns it into mountains of garbage. Therefore, the ecological theme is one of the most serious challenges of our time. She herself is engaged in environmental education, carrying out a huge number of projects that help care for humanity’s treasure: our planet Earth. In particular, she spoke about the ecological project Let's Do It.

Ms. Gubina emphasized that the current environmental problems can be solved only when the media, government, business and society work together, focusing on the planet's survival. Therefore, it is extremely important to remember that the environmental theme is also one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Gleb V. Tyurin of the School of Innovative Development spoke about the importance of developing the private sector and small businesses for the development and strengthening of the country's economy. Sustainable development and economic development are interrelated, he said. Giving as an example the economic development of the United States, China, India, and South Korea, he proved that in rapidly developing modern world economies the basis is precisely small enterprise and not large corporations. He wrote a book, How to Raise Our Depths: Local Economy in Russia and the World, in which he posed the question: "Is there anywhere an economy or a tradition that would allow rural areas and small towns to live and develop?" He answered that there is such an economy, and in the modern world it plays a key role.

In his speech Mr. Tyurin mentioned Elinor Ostrom, who in 2009 became the first (and so far the only) woman to receive the Nobel Prize in economics. Elinor Ostrom was awarded for research that troubled the scientific world on how people themselves, not governments or large private companies, can successfully manage and use common resources (forests, fish stocks, oilfields and pastureland). Concluding his speech, Mr. Tyurin said that Russia, as the main holder of the planet’s most valuable resources—land and water—should play an important role in preserving the living environment and show the world the "Russian economic miracle."

Guests from the city of Kazan also came to the conference. Engel R. Tagirov, a doctor of historical sciences, professor, rector of the Institute for the Culture of Peace (UNESCO), and president of the Europe-Asia International Humanitarian Academy, stressed the importance of the Universal Peace Federation's activities in establishing world peace.

He reminded the participants that we are living in a particularly crucial time. The actions we take today will affect the future of the planet for the next 300,000 years. He also stressed that the dawn of a new era is coming, and it cannot be stopped.

Very interesting was the speech of another participant from Kazan, Maxim V. Andreev, a professor of law and the president of The Great Volga Road, an international NGO of Volga-Caspian cooperation.

The Great Volga Road historically played an important role in international economic relations, Mr. Andreev said. It not only linked the north and south of Eastern Europe, it also was involved in a complex system of trans-European trade relations. He reminded the conference participants that it was during the conquest of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible that Russia became the most important geopolitical center.

According to Mr. Andreev, today many international, diplomatic sites are closed in the western direction, which is why cooperation with the East is of great importance and the Great Volga Road must have a new birth. In this connection, it is very encouraging that on the eve of the conference, April 6, 2018, documents founding the NGO The Great Volga Road were signed at the United Nations Office in the Russian Federation.

The goal of the newly established NGO is to strengthen international humanitarian cooperation and intercultural dialogue in the Volga-Caspian region, one of the most strategically important regions of Eurasia.

At the end of the conference, a ceremony was held to award Ambassador for Peace certificates to a number of participants.

Artem Verholashin, winner of the Best World Vocal prize at the 2014 Discovery International pop music festival in Varna, Bulgaria, performed for the participants.

The program also featured a fashion show of the new collection of the Russian designer Farrdi.

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