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ILC2021 Asia Pacific, July 28: Session IV - Best Practices of Faith-Based Organizations and Civil Society

Asia Pacific—The fourth session of the July 28-29 International Leadership Conference 2021 (ILC2021) for UPF’s Asia Pacific region was held on July 28, on the theme, “Toward Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula: Best Practices of Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) and Civil Society.” Four distinguished panelists from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Thailand presented. A total of 4,638 people registered for the session. Three-hundred (300) participants joined it live via Zoom and thousands more did so on various social media platforms.

The opening remarks were given by Mrs. Ursula McLackland, secretary general of UPF-Asia Pacific, who quoted the words of UPF founders Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon emphasizing that world problems cannot be solved with human effort alone. We need to bring in the power of God, our Creator. She also spoke about the motto, “love heaven, love people, love the nation,” taught by Rev. and Mrs. Moon.

Dr. Phramaha Nopadol S. Punnasuvaddhako, assistant professor and senior vice dean, Faculty of Buddhism, MahaChulalongkornRajavidyalaya University, Thailand, spoke about the Buddha’s teachings of wholesome courses of action, principles of virtuous living, noble qualities, righteous bodily conduct, righteous verbal conduct and righteous mental conduct. He also said that the following factors can lead to the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula: (i) meetings between the leaders of North Korea and South Korea; (ii) powerful neighbors giving support; (iii) the United Nations and UPF advocate for and become co-operators of the meeting; (iv) Korean people become key stakeholders, learning from the experiences of reunification of Vietnam and Germany; and (v) non-governmental organization (NGOs), FBOs and non-state actors support reunification efforts through track II diplomacy.

Mr. Digvijay Kharote, director of the Art of Living Projects India, gave greetings on behalf of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar Ji and the International Art of Living Foundation, a humanitarian and educational NGO. He emphasized that the most important role FBOs and civil society organizations can play is provide the psycho-social support and a mindset shift to create an atmosphere of trust. He proposed the Art of Living Foundation host a program for youth from North and South Korea through which they will be given training, given the vision of a violence-free and stress-free society and equipped with confidence building measures that they can take back to their respective countries. Mr. Kharote encouraged others to co-sponsor the program and identify 100 youth, 50 from South Korea and 50 from North Korea, who can come to the NGO’s Bangalore, India campus for it.

The other two speakers were Mr. Palash Mahmud, founder and executive director of the Conscious Consumer Society, Bangladesh, and K.H. Mohammad Nizam As-Shofa, chairman of Indonesia Celebrating Differences.

The program closed with a Q&A session. Mr. Krishna Adhikari, chairman of UPF-India, served as the moderator.

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