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April 2019
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United Nations Relations

Forum in Sydney on UN Day against Drug Abuse

Sydney, Australia - The Universal Peace Federation and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) Australia sponsored a community forum on the topic Building Community to Prevent Drug Abuse in the Jubilee Room at the New South Wales Parliament House on June 27. This event commemorated the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

After welcoming words by the MC, Tracy DeGeer (President of  WFWP-Australia), and by the parliamentary host, the Hon. David Clarke, there were three speakers.

Major Brian Watters is Director of Drug Free Australia and was chairman of the Australian National Council on Drugs and Australian representative to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. His authority is underpinned by his lifetime commitment to helping drug addicts. Major Watters made it clear that the “war” against drugs is not lost, as many would have us believe. Rather, statistics for many places show that effective measures can indeed reduce harmful drug use.

Greg Stone, President of UPF-Australia, used a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate UPF’s strategies in the fight against drugs and to study the reasons people start taking drugs. His analysis detailed “risk factors” and “protective factors” for individuals, families, and societies, emphasizing that prevention can succeed.

Jerry Unser, Director of Getting Connected,* has helped develop successful curricula in Australian high schools to enable students to cope with change and to face life’s challenges generally. He gave a heart-warming testimony of the power of effective mentoring, especially between generations, in building community resilience.

Morning tea followed as participants mingled and shared ideas. Then there was a panel discussion on effective drug prevention for youth in the community.

The 50 attendees included the director of a drug prevention and life-skill program that reaches hundreds of thousands of school children in Australia, the Chairman of Drug Free Australia, the head of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation foundation, liaison officers of the New South Wales police, and several Ambassadors for Peace who are prominent ethnic community leaders.

Everybody came away better informed and committed to resolving the issues associated with drug abuse.

* Getting Connected is a program of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency of Australia. See www.adra.org.au.

UNIVERSAL PEACE FEDERATION AUSTRALIA

 

REPORT FOR JUNE

 

Ambassadors for Peace Meeting

 

The bi-monthly Ambassadors for Peace Meeting on June 6 featured an introduction and explanation of the new Community Connections Project being instigated in Sydney by the Universal Peace Federation. Rev. Greg Stone, President of UPF-Australia, introduced the project. The guest speaker was Gary Christian, Secretary of Drug Free Australia and Director of Getting Connected. Gary spoke about the Resilience program, which has been a success in Australia (e.g., through high schools), as well as in other countries (e.g., Iceland). He shared how one town in Idaho addressed some community issues by learning the names and getting to know personally the youth in the town.

 

The Community Connections Project has two main focuses: community building using the Resilience program and promoting multicultural harmony through interfaith and intercultural programs. 

 

There was group discussion at each table seeking reaction to the Community Connections Project and how it could be used in the respective communities of the 40 Ambassadors for Peace and others present. This went well with overall positive feedback and showing a willingness to work with UPF on this project.

 

UN International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

 

The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) Australia sponsored a community forum in the Jubilee Room at the New South Sales Parliament House on June 27 to commemorate the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

 

After introduction and welcomes by the MC, Tracy DeGeer (President of  WFWP Australia), and the parliamentary host, Hon. David Clarke, there were three speakers – Major Brian Watters (Director of Drug Free Australia), Greg Stone (President of UPF Australia), and Jerry Unser (Director of Getting Connected). This was followed by morning tea and then a panel discussion on effective drug prevention for youth in the community. The 40 attendees came away better informed and committed to resolving the issues associated with drug abuse.

 

                                                                    

 Hon. David Clarke welcomes the attendees          Major Brian Watters addresses the Forum        

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