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August 2022
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UPF-South America Hosts ILC 2022 Conference

UPF-South America—On April 10 and 11, 2022, the Universal Peace Federation (UPF-South America) held an “International Leadership Conference.” The topic for the first day was “The Impact of Spirituality on World Culture: Peace and Freedom in Ukraine - A Call to Peace!”

The strategic organizing principle of the ILC program is to work together to build, strengthen and expand each Association under the UPF as a foundation for the ongoing work of creating families, societies, nations and a world of universal and lasting peace. Held online through the Zoom platform and broadcast on Youtube, the event was attended by 552 people from all over South America.

The moderator on the first day of the event was Dr. Simão Ferabolli, secretary general of the UPF in South America and president of the UPF in Brazil. The event began with the reading of a passage from a speech by Rev. Moon about the importance of religious leaders in the search for peace.

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Charles Yang, president of UPF-Central America and the Caribbean, spoke about UPF’s role in building a peaceful society: “The UPF community is committed to doing everything in its power to quickly resolve this tragic conflict. In particular, we encourage and are prepared to support programs dedicated to seeking a ceasefire, withdrawal of military forces, and a return to dialogue.”

Next to give welcoming remarks was Rev. Dong Mo Shin, president of UPF South America. He expressed the philosophy that is present in every construction of UPF: “One of the core values of UPF is that God, the Creator, is the Father of humanity. UPF is a Sacred Community where leaders from all fields attend the Heavenly Parent and seek to put true love into practice to realize a world of peace.”

Rev. Guillermo Osorno Molina, pastor of the Nicaraguan Assembly of God Church, expressed his heart of gratitude: “We thank Rev. Moon and Dr. Moon for the effort they are making. It has been many years that they have been working for peace, overcoming ideological, political and religious barriers, seeking unity among all human beings.”

Hon. Pastor João Campos is assistant pastor of the Church Assembleia de Dios Ministério Nueva Villa, Goiânia Brazil. He is also a congressman from Brazil. He expressed a religious point of view about the war: “I have observed in the news that this war does not have a religious bias; however, the religious leaders in Ukraine have been concerned and have tried to contribute to the end of the war. This shows a courageous attitude and faith. This is the Christian character, the character of faith: we are not called only to the moments of faith in good times. We are called especially in moments of difficulty and struggle, putting our lives at stake, in defense of the most needy, because the Lord has called us to do good and to love our neighbor.”

Rev. Miranda O. Sutherland, Anglican minister of the Diocese of New Westminster in Jamaica, stated: “We need to get around the table once again and clear up the wrong things from our past. It is not an easy task, but it is necessary to right those wrongs. Calling for peace in Ukraine needs more action. Religious leaders must be at the forefront of this journey.”

Dr. Angel Ernesto Moran Vidal, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church of Peru, offered the following: “We cry out to God that the hearts of the rulers, especially of Russia and Ukraine, will truly come to reign in consolation to those who have lost everything. And we ask our Father to extend his mercy to all those who have lost their lives in this conflict.”

Pastor Juan Mateo Valerio Liriano, pastor of the Church of God, teacher and coordinator of the Fe y Alegría School, Dominican Republic, said: “We pray to God and ask him to unite us, so that the world will return to spirituality.”

Dr. David Frol, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Argentina, said: “May I ask each and every one of us today: Put an end to the conflict that is unleashed in your heart, in your place, and in your life. Bury all inclinations to do harm to others. Leave behind all bitterness about someone who has done you harm. That is the example of our Savior, Jesus.”

To close the first day, Pastor Jonas Florêncio, founder of the Christ Volta Church and IRMA - Amor Missions Recovery Institute, said: “God tells us that there is a war that you don’t know and can only fight if you enter the spiritual world. We call the nations to war with the greatest and most powerful weapon: the prayer that mobilizes the spiritual world. God has brought us together at this time to use that weapon to stop this war.”

On the second day, the theme was: “The Impact of Leaders in Word Affairs: Peace and Freedom in Ukrane.” The moderator was Prof. Emanuel Sayavedra, general secretary of UPF and president of the Youth and Students for Peace (YSP) of Argentina, who talked about how we have passed from the pandemic and now we are in another crucial moment in history. He pointed out how it has brought us closer to problems, as well as bringing us closer to acting directly in history.

Bishop Edson Luís, from the Church of Families, Brazil, began with a prayer blessing all the speakers, thanking the seed that was planted by Rev. Moon and Dr. Moon in search of peace. He asked that we carry this seed of Peace to everyone on Earth.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Charles Yang, president of UPF in Central America and the Caribbean, stated: “We firmly reject the attacks on the people and government of Ukraine by the Russian government and call for an immediate return to the dialogue tables. We ask them to allow citizens to safely return to their homes and restore tranquility and the natural development processes for peace.”

In his words of welcome, Rev. Dong Mo Shin, president of UPF South America, expressed: “I hope the tragedy will end soon and peace will come to Ukraine and the whole world. I hope this meeting will be a contribution and a hope in this difficult time.”

Hon. Humberto Benedetto, Mr de Parlasur (MERCOSUR) in Argentina, stated: “Today we are united for human rights, equal education, crying out for these values to the world, amidst the sounds of bombs and the lamentations of victims, the cries of refugees who are here, in Latin America, a land of peace. We repudiate the invasions in Ukraine and pray for a ceasefire.”

Dr. Laura Tassano Dargan, member, National Representative of Uruguay, said: “I am convinced that together we must call for reflection and try by all means to reach out to the entire international community in order to form a consensus that unifies the ideas of a free world. A world without chains, a world free of those who think they own the truth and a world free of influencers who do nothing but generate insecurity and violence among peoples.”

Dep. Milmar Gerardo, National Deputies of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, said: “I believe that to have a supposedly neutral position and to remain neutral in front of an injustice is to take sides. It is not natural to remain silent in the face of aggression. It is not natural to be complicit.”

Journalist Vera Tabach, editor-in-chief of Up News TV, editor in charge of ABIME Portal and president of ABIME, stated: “We, as Ambassadors for Peace naturally have a heart to embrace our Russian and Ukrainian brothers. We have nothing against the Russian people.”

Lic. Esteban Marroquin, member of the Presidential Commission for Peace and secretary of the Presidential, Guatemala, said, “Put away your weapons, and start a paschal truce. But do not reload your weapons and start fighting. Initiate a truce to achieve real peace negotiations.”

Rev. Beverly Sealy Knight, St. James Parish Church in Barbados, said: “We should strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up. We must avoid evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it. All of us can make a difference. We are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters and friends. In God’s eyes we are family. We must take care of each other.”

In his final remarks, Dr. Fernando Valverde, director general of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice in Peru, stated: “The path to peace must be our will and the emergence of leaderships for peace, not armed conflicts. Let us not allow humanity to be destroyed by conflicts again.”

To see a video of the webinar in Spanish, for day one, click here. For day two, click here.

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