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J. Marion: UPF-Eurasia Peace Initiatives

UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 18, 2010
Unofficial notes of presentation

I want to present some of our key activities and strategies in the Eurasia region. This includes all the countries of the former Soviet Union, plus Mongolia and China. Our regional chair, Dr. Katsumi Ohtsuka, traveled to each country and conveyed our strategies.

The work we have been doing in our regional over the past 10 to 15 years could not have been accomplished without the support of Ambassadors for Peace. The chairman of our Eurasia Peace Council is Dr. Stanislaw Shushkevich. A leading Ambassador for Peace has been elected president of Mongolia. Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky has devoted much of his time over the past two years to this work.

This year is the 20th anniversary of Dr. Sun Myung Moon's meeting with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. This meeting opened many areas of activity. Our work stands on that foundation.

Eurasia has many remaining conflicts. Countries that became independent have had to learn to live together. UPF has been developing many peace initiatives. It is a huge task, and we cannot report great achievements yet because the conflicts are ongoing.

One of the main projects of UPF is the Bering Strait project. It is not just a regional project, but it involves our region. Several meetings have been held by the organization founded by Father Moon, with Russian officials invited to participate in that activity. The Russian government is researching the feasibility of a tunnel under the Bering Strait. Two years ago the Russian government sponsored a conference about developing a railroad link.

We have had conferences in the South Caucasus. It is a very serious problem, with more than a million people being killed or displaced in the various conflicts over territory among Russia, Armenia, Georgia. We have held several seminars attended by high government officials and have met with refugees who help us understand the human suffering caused by these conflicts. Just a few months after the war between Georgia and Russia, a group of Ambassadors for Peace from Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan held meetings to proclaim that people from these nations really want to live together.

I want to give one story that testifies to the power of Ambassadors for Peace. Eduard Yakovlev initiated a marathon. He dedicated himself to promoting peace through sports. As a Russian he participated in the beginning of a run he had organized. He was wearing a T-shirt that had the flags of both Georgia and Russia. To our shock, he collapsed and died. A Parliament leader of Georgia called to offer to bury his body in Georgia with national honors. He truly gave his life to bring together the two nations.

Mr. Oleg Mironov, a former human rights commissioner of Russia, has been using all his talents and experience to keep the dialogue open between these two nations.

We also want to initiate other projects to bring together people from the Baltics. There is no open conflict, but there is latent conflict among people in these countries, and we want to bring them together.

As part of the Northeast Asia Peace Initiative, we want to initiate exchanges of scholars between Russia and Japan. The far edges of the countries are close geographically, but because of their historic relations, people have not learned to know each other well.

We have held celebrations of UN commemorative days, including the Day of Families in Mongolia and the Day of Peace in other parts of our region. We are offering peace education programs in various parts of Russia. Plus, we emphasize human development and family education. We organize service activities in order to move the hearts of people and also to build relationships of trust with the authorities. The Moscow city government sent a letter of recognition to UPF for its contribution to a week of service.

Ukraine, Estonia, and Russia have been promoting Sports for Peace activities. Because of this, we have been able to attract the attention of the government, and we were invited to the annual youth camp to teach our approach to conflict resolution. This is a testimony to the power of Father Moon’s vision and how it can be applied to resolve problems among young people.

The character education initiative started in Russia. We have been using the course My World and I. Many teachers have used that textbook in their schools. Opportunities are more limited now, but we want to develop the character education further. We are working with the city government of Moscow and are able to teach some topics that teachers do not feel comfortable doing.

I want to thank UPF for supporting the publication of UPF Today magazine in Russian and Chinese because they are very important in helping to educate Ambassadors for Peace.

For more information about UPF-Eurasia's Baltic Dialogue Initiative, click here.