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World Interfaith Harmony Week Observed in Sydney

Sydney, Australia - UPF-Australia held its bimonthly meeting on Feb. 3, 2014 in observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week. The guest speaker was Dr. Julian Droogan, director of the Macquarie University International Security Studies Program. Dr. Droogan recently returned from the Dec. 19-22, 2013 UPF conference in Jerusalem on the topic of “Interreligious and International Relations in the Middle East: Toward Peace and Stability.” He spoke about his experiences at the conference and on the role that religion can play in contributing to peace and stability.

Dr. Droogan explained how, in recent decades, when conflict has arisen, religion has often been seen as part of the problem, and for this reason, attempts at conflict resolution in places such as Palestine have been largely secular in approach. He suggested that it is becoming clear that transnational, interfaith organizations such as UPF, with their soft power methods of peacebuilding, can make an important and unique contribution to solving conflicts. Dr. Droogan fielded several questions after his talk, making the evening very informative and stimulating.

UPF-Oceania Secretary General Greg Stone also spoke on “UPF and Interfaith, explaining about the more than 50 years of interfaith activity of UPF Founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon. He highlighted Dr. Moon’s passion for interfaith and his unique approach, and outlined the critical importance of interfaith cooperation in today’s world.

The choir rendered two lovely songs about peace, and Sheikh Dr. Mustafa Rashed from Egypt offered to work together with UPF to hold an interfaith conference later in the year promoting harmony and cooperation between the faiths.

It was an inspiring evening, filled with hope for an exciting year ahead in the interfaith arena.

Interfaith Harmony Week 2014 from Universal Peace Federation International

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