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June 2021
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IAFLP-Africa’s ILC2021 Webinar Attracts Hundreds of Participants

Africa—As part of ILC2021, the African branch of the International Association of First Ladies for Peace, an association of UPF and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), held a webinar on the topic “Perspectives From First Ladies: The Role of First Ladies and Women Leadership in Building Bridges of Peace and National Cohesion.” The program, which had a special focus on the Korean Peninsula, had 381 participants: 151 on Zoom, 101 on Facebook, and 129 on YouTube. Speakers included a former First Lady of Malawi and a member of the South Africa Parliament. The moderators were Mrs. May Gaye (WFWP-Africa; television journalist) and Mrs. Thulamsindo Rapotu (WFWP-Africa).

Opening remarks were given by Mrs. Katherine Rigney (Chair, UPF-Africa), who began her speech by welcoming all the distinguished guests and expressing gratitude to the founder of IAFLP, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, for her vision of world peace. Mrs. Rigney said that we all seek to live in peace and harmony as one global family, which is also true in the context of the reunification of the Korean Peninsula: The wish for peace has been expressed throughout the ages by women and mothers who keenly feel the weight and the consequences of war, division and conflict. She stressed that a woman’s motherly nature, her empathy toward the vulnerable, her preference to work in consensus, her natural bridge-building instinct, her commitment to peace and to defending social justice, and her consideration for the roles of nurturing and healing are but a few of many essential character traits needed to bring harmony and reconciliation to a wounded world.

Dr. Julia Moon (President, WFWP International) explained that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon has pursued the dream of creating a world of peace, bringing together heads of state, First Ladies, parliamentarians, religious leaders, scientists and scholars, media professionals, artists and businessmen to address the fundamental root causes of the problems of our world. She explained the history and significance of IAFLP and went on to review Dr. Moon’s activities in Africa, highlighting the 2018 Summit in Senegal. In addition, she mentioned Dr. Moon’s advocacy for the building of an international peace highway from the Cape of Good Hope, north through Africa, then to Europe, east to Eurasia, and Asia, connecting all the way to Korea, explaining that this linkage would improve communications and understanding, helping to create the “Pacific Civilization” era. She concluded by saying, “I sincerely hope that IAFLP can become a platform for First Ladies to go beyond regions and come together on a global level. May you raise the consciousness of people everywhere in order to bring about a world of lasting peace based on interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universal values.”

HIGHLIGHTS

H.E. Mme Maureen Mwanawasa (First Lady, Malawi, 2001–2008) spoke on the importance of people living in harmony regardless of color, race, creed and background. It was a reminder that leaders should lead by example.

Hon. Dr. Patricia Anne Kaliati (Minister of Gender and Development, Malawi) gave a speech on women’s position in making peace and also supporting each other. She stressed the importance of women finding unity and identifying issues affecting their families, communities and nations. She said that women should advocate for their rights and seek solutions for peace. She appreciated UPF’s initiative to bring women leaders together to discuss issues that affect the world.

Hon. Mmakgoshi Clarah Dikgale (Member of Parliament, South Africa) commended the organizers and gave an elaborate speech on the importance of women’s leadership in creating a conducive and peace-oriented environment for national cohesion. She said that when women are in decision-making positions, more comprehensive decisions are made, different voices are heard, and a variety of solutions are created. She stressed, “Women are drivers of sustainable development and peace, not merely beneficiaries, and women are strategic partners as well.” She also hoped for more women to be involved in building peace between North and South Korea and expressed solidarity with women in Korea in their struggle for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

Prof. Dr Jared Onyari (President, Global Peace and Development) offered the opinion that if the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula is to be a reality, then we have cannot leave anyone behind; we must embrace inclusivity by acknowledging that everyone has a role to play towards this noble obligation. His view is that world peace is possible if everyone is involved without discrimination. He pinpointed that First Ladies and women leaders have an important role to play in building and nurturing peace as they have the God-given gift of nurturing and the soft power to mediate peace and reconciliation. His conclusion was that the international community must invest more in the meaningful inclusion of women at all stages from participation to prevention, protection to resolution and recovery.

Mrs. Susan Kone (Coordinator, IAFLP-Africa; International Vice President, WFWP) concluded the conference by thanking the sponsors, participants, attendees, and support staff. She closed the event with a call to action for a unified Korea: “Women leaders and our male counterparts can make a difference by uniting as one. Speaking with one voice, we can create an impact that can change history, even in the unification of North and South Korea.”

The attendance was : Total : 381 participants

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