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Asia Pacific Celebrates 15th Anniversary of UPF at ILC2020

Bangkok, Thailand—In Session Five, “A Tribute to the Universal Peace Federation (2005-2020): Contributions of UPF in Building a World of Peace,” a distinguished panel of speakers from Korea, Japan and the Asia Pacific region shared their experiences, insights and reflections about UPF, on the exact day of its founding by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon 15 years ago, on September 12, 2005, at the Lincoln Center in New York.

Amb. Chung Tae-ik, advisor of the Korean Council on Foreign Relations, Korea, highlighted that this is a very special year for several reasons. It is the 15th anniversary of UPF and the 100th anniversary of the birth of UPF founder, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon. His wife and co-founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who established the Sunhak Peace Prize, presented the prize in this 100th anniversary year to former UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon.

He stated that UPF was founded to build a global peace community and recently launched seven pillar associations, including the ISCP, IAPP, IAFLP, IAPD, IAAP, IMAP, and IAED.

Amb. Chung, who is also an advisor to the World Peace Road Foundation, noted that in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War this year, about 70 young people from all over the world participated in the “Peace Road” event on the Korean Peninsula, the United States, Japan and Russia.

Gen. Terdsak Marrome, retired general of the Royal Thai Army and president of UPF-Thailand, expressed his admiration of the work and accomplishments of UPF.

Gen. Marrome explained that although the work of the military may seem contradictory, he chose it as his career because of his desire for peace. He has seen firsthand the devastation of war, and from experience could recognize that freedom is not free.

When he retired from the army, Gen. Marrome met UPF and became the chairman of its Thailand chapter in 2010. For the past decade he has taken part in UPF’s activities in the country as well as in several Asia Pacific nations and beyond. 

Gen. Marrome identified that a central teaching of the UPF founders is that every citizen needs to be a patriot. He underlined that we need to create one global family of peace-loving citizens, and as public-minded people, with hearts of love, be willing to sacrifice to create a better future for generations to come.

He also reflected that teaching people to be unselfish, live for the sake of others is a core value of UPF, which is dedicated to advancing peace in the lives of individuals, in families, in communities, in societies and throughout the world. Youth from enemy countries are taught to forgive one another and work together to promote peace and unity. The teachings of UPF have healed broken families and given young people a clear vision of their responsibility to build lasting, loving marriages; stable families; and prosperous communities and nations. UPF’s global foundation is extensive and as a non-governmental organization, especially amazing.

He concluded, “I believe that UPF can open the doors to a world of peace, harmony and happiness for all people.”

Hon. David Clarke, former member of the Legislative Council of the Parliament of New South Wales (2003-2019), Australia, shared that UPF’s vision is for “One Family Under God” and that it promotes peace and harmony between people from different ethnicities, nations and religions. He underscored that it is the only organization to successfully bring together under one umbrella all levels of society.

UPF Founder Rev. Moon understood that such an undertaking would fail if it was not God-centered. He recognized the destructiveness of secularism and atheism against the natural order, and the need to instill good values.

While UPF has been trail-blazing for 15 years, its groundwork was laid over decades by the vision and hard work of Rev. Moon and his wife Dr. Moon, through a great multitude of programs: thousands of religious, political, national and international conferences; great newspapers (such as The Washington Times); numerous magazines and books; extensive use of films, television and the internet; education programs, including those that promote marriage and family life and combat HIV/AIDS, drug addiction and terrorism; cultural enrichment such as the creation and financing of symphony orchestras, music festivals, and ballet companies; promoting sporting festivals; founding education institutions including universities and hospitals to expand medical research, bringing together groups such as scientists and business leaders to find solutions to pressing issues.

Hon. Clarke also spoke of the tens of thousands of UPF Ambassadors for Peace, who are each like a pebble, which when thrown into a lake, produces ripples in all directions.

All these initiatives didn’t happen haphazardly but were brought to fruition by Rev. Moon and his wife Dr. Moon. What a great work and wonder the UPF worldwide movement is, Hon. Clarke remarked.

He added, in conclusion, “What a wonderful thing it is that in the middle of this pandemic which has unleashed such havoc, the UPF presses ahead to work for a better world as ‘One Family Under God.’”

Prof. Thomas Hwang, president of the Chinese People’s Federation for World Peace, spoke about “China and the UPF Mission.” He surmised that those attending the ILC2020 are positive thinkers, like himself, because the conference is about opportunity and hope in a time of crisis.

Although it has been a challenging time with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted many people’s lives, one positive impact of it is that it has forced people to shift their priorities. More specifically, it has caused people to recognize the value of faith and family, and of their relationships with friends and colleagues. Being isolated has caused us to value our connectedness more than ever, Prof. Hwang noted.

UPF has earned the support of the international community through its efforts to connect peoples beyond nationality, ideology, race and religion throughout its 15-year history. Another impact of COVID-19 is that is has exacerbated tensions between the United States and China.

He also shared his thoughts and observations on the two conflicting perspectives regarding how this might play out. He noted the challenge of shifting both countries’ emphasis on national interest towards cooperation and peaceful co-existence for a global purpose. He also commented on the internal instability and “danger of losing soul” of these two countries as a mutual weakness.

In his conclusion, Prof. Hwang stated: “This is where UPF, and our newly founded organization, the Chinese People’s Federation for World Peace, come in … The mission of CPFWP is to remind Chinese people, both inside and outside of China, of their ancient culture, which is deeply rooted in faith and family, and inspire them to reconnect with their roots. Their Chinese ancestors revered Heaven, practiced family ethics based on filial piety, and advocated a universal moral order. They believed in harmony as a way of life….The purpose of all the organizations inspired by Rev. and Mrs. Moon is to address this problem, to offer new spiritual insights that give clear vision, purpose and direction to human life and allow us to live in peace and harmony. We in the UPF and CPFWP families need to strengthen our voices, expand our networks, and stand together for the sake of our one human family”

Amb. K.V. Rajan, former Indian Ambassador, India, shared that he had the privilege of participating in the meeting in New York in September 2005 where a huge international gathering of political and civil society leaders from around the world unanimously endorsed the call of Rev. Sun Myung Moon to establish the UPF.

Since that hopeful beginning, it has been a truly wonderful and uplifting experience to see the UPF grow from strength to strength, year after year.

Today, UPF’s activities cover the entire globe, and a whole spectrum of activities. The UPF alone has institutions with leaders from every specialization working together, inspired by a common overarching vision of building a peaceful, inclusively prosperous and morally responsible world order.

It has separate primary associations devoted respectively to heads of state and government (ISCP), parliamentarians (IAPP), interfaith consultation (IAPD), media (IAPP), academia (IAAP), business (IAED) and first ladies (IAFLP).

Thus, UPF is possibly the one NGO with the wish, the will, the vision, the means and the institutional underpinnings to assist governments and international bodies like the United Nations in confronting the multiple challenges facing the world across the broad spectrum of human activity, Amb. Rajan remarked.

The UPF message is that a world of inclusive prosperity and sustainable peace, can, must and will be achieved because “living for the sake of others” is the only way to achieve a better world for all.

In conclusion, Amb. Rajan expressed his belief that the UPF “will become a cornerstone to building lasting peace around the world”.

Prof. Masahisa Hayashi is professor emeritus of Yokohama City University and Waseda University, Japan. In July 2001, Prof. Hayashi was appointed as one of the first three Ambassadors for Peace in Japan in a seminar that was held in Bangkok, Thailand. Since then he has attended countless UPF events. An academician, he was involved mainly in UPF activities that were related to the academic field. He has been a member of the Professors World Peace Academy since its inception in 1973. In 2011, UPF-Japan established a think-tank, and Prof. Hayashi became the representative director of it.

He explained that UPF-Japan’s activities can be classified into three broad areas: (1) Security – the security situation surrounding Japan has recently been getting more tense due to the fast rise of China and also the North Korean nuclear missile threat. (2) Promoting friendly relations between Japan and Korea through initiatives such as the Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel project. (3) Strengthening the family.

Prof. Hayashi also noted that UPF-Japan has sent many women volunteers to countries throughout the world. Without their dedicated efforts and the enormous contributions they made, perhaps UPF-Japan would have never developed into what it is today.

Rev. Gregory Stone, secretary general of UPF-Oceania, was the moderator of the session.

Before the session concluded, there was a brief time for questions and answers, especially about UPF’s role in the future.

The presenters expressed their positive and optimistic view that UPF will continue to be a unique and world-leading peace organization well into the future.

To go back to the executive summary for the Asia Pacific ILC, click here.

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