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Sports Programs

Sports, Peace and Family Celebrated in Spain

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Seville, Spain — In town for the finals of the fourth Peace Cup, the premier international club football competition he launched in Korea six years ago, the UPF founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon took the opportunity to share a vision of peace* for Europe and the world at a celebratory program at the Barceló Renacimiento Hotel Convention Center in Seville. In addition to Ambassadors for Peace from throughout Spain, the large crowd included delegates from more than 30 European nations and from as far afield as the United States, Korea, and Japan.

The history of southern Spain gave a special flavor to the speeches introducing Dr. Moon, a tireless advocate of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. From the 8th to the 15th centuries, this region experienced an extraordinary blending of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish influences, and their interplay, or convivencia, generated one of the most brilliant civilizations of Europe. Downtown Seville is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its magnificent palace, gardens, and cathedral combining Muslim and Christian elements.

Imam Abduljalil Sajid, Chairman of the Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony in the United Kingdom, expressed admiration for Dr. Moon's dedication to loving God. He called Dr. Moon "an extraordinary example for all religious leaders" in loving God above all. "But he also stresses that we should love and serve our fellow men as passionately as we serve the Creator," Imam Sajid added.

Professor Abraham Haim, president of the Cultural Commission of the Sephardic Community of Jerusalem and a member of the Royal Academy of Doctors of Spain, spoke in admiration of the ideal of the Peace Cup. The Jewish scholar expressed confidence that one day the Peace Cup will be played in Jerusalem, with Jewish and Palestinian teams. Praising all efforts to bridge cultures and create peace, he commented that the conductor Daniel Barenboim was giving a concert in Seville that evening with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a Seville-based ensemble of young Arab and Jewish musicians.

Marco Polo del Nero, one of the most influential figures of football in Brazil, talked about meeting Dr. Moon several times during the process of launching the Peace Cup. Applauding Dr. Moon's vision of connecting football, family values, and peace, he described his own work in Brazil to combat racism through sports.

Of course, sports alone is not enough to bring peace, and Rev. Moon spoke at some length about the importance of creating a new culture of moral purity based on strong, healthy families. He urged the religious leaders present to help each other in the face of the pressures of a materialistic and secular society, and to teach their youth the value of “absolute sexual purity” starting with a commitment to sexual purity before marriage and fidelity within it.

“I am asking you to make a commitment to become true families exhibiting our God-given original human nature, three-generation families through which grandparents, parents, and grandchildren can enter, hand in hand, into the Kingdom of Heaven,” he said. “We are entering a new era of hope when the earth can be peacefully governed by a new heavenly way and new heavenly law,” he concluded.

The event also celebrated the European preview of Dr. Moon’s autobiographical memoir, As a Global Citizen of Peace, which has become a surprise best-seller in Korea and is now in the process of translation for worldwide release. A review of the book was given by Professor Ilfonso Ojeda, dean of the Spanish Center of Korean Studies at the Complutense University of Madrid. Professor Ojeda attended a recent International Leadership Conference in Korea, where the book was distributed. “On the plane back from Korea, I could not stop reading the book, even though I was tired,” he said. Professor Ojeda referred to the strong emphasis on family values in the traditional Confucianist culture of Korea. As a professor of Korean studies, he was impressed by Dr. Moon's confidence that Korea can be reunified through mutual respect and love and that the Pacific rim will become the center of world civilization.

On the Atlantic coast of Spain, Seville enjoyed a monopoly of trade with the Americas for two centuries. The explorer Ferdinand Magellan departed from Seville on his voyage beyond the tip of South America and across the Pacific Ocean. Dr. Moon often talks about the flow of civilization from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and now the Pacific Ocean rim.

Aston Villa Win the Peace Cup

On August 2, the Peace Cup Final took place between Aston Villa of England and hotly favored Juventus of Italy. Despite the defeat of pre-competition Spanish favorites and hosts Real Madrid in the semifinals, interest in the contest remained strong deep into the Andalusian night until the very last of the penalties settled the match in Villa’s favor.

*Read excerpts from the keynote speech: English, Español

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