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International Day of Peace Celebrated in Cambodia

Battambang, Cambodia - UPF-Cambodia recently opened a branch in the nation’s second-largest city, Battambang, in the far west region of Cambodia, near Thailand. On Sept. 6, 2014, five staff, including Mr. Hajime Saito, Director of UPF-Indochina, traveled five hours by van for International Day of Peace programs at the International University and two other universities there.

Mr. Hut Hen, a representative of the UPF-Battambang office, organized seminars on the International Day of Peace at three universities in Battambang featuring a lecture on “The Need for Moral Education for Peace.”

The first day, Sept. 7, around 100 students at the Cambodian University of Specialties attended a seminar in the morning

In the afternoon, the same lecture was given at the University of Battambang. Around 30 lecturers and staff members, including the rector, attended and affirmed the importance of moral education. The University of Battambang and UPF-Cambodia signed a Memorandum of Understanding for further cooperation.

The next morning, at the International University a powerful message on the “The Need for Moral Education for Peace.” 120 students and three monks filled the lecture room.

Mr. Hajime Saito, sub-regional director of UPF-Indochina, introduced UPF-Cambodia’s activities and the meaning of International Day of Peace. He said that his first experience in Cambodia was at Svay Sisophorn, a city near Battambang and a frequent site of conflict between Thai and Cambodian people. Therefore, he said he believed that the people of Battambang might have a stronger desire for peace than any other places in Cambodia. He added, “Peace means more than a situation without wars among nations. We emphasize on peace within individuals and families as a starting point.”

After showing a video clip about UPF, he appointed both rectors, Dr. Ly Lay and Mr. Saing Sen, as Ambassadors for Peace.

Three representatives of Buddhism, Islam and Christianity were invited to stand in front and offer short prayers for peace. Then all participants offered a minute of silent prayer for world peace and for Cambodian ancestors. Prayers for ancestors were included to connect the International Day of Peace and the Puchum Ben Festival, a time when people welcome their ancestors and spend time together with them.

Mrs. Masumi F. Schmittat, secretary general of UPF-Cambodia, gave the same lecture as at the other two universities. Participants showed a great deal of interest, and the International University expressed a desire to to establish a Memorandum of Understanding with UPF.

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