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December 2022
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SLC2022: Session VI-A - International Symposium: Opening Session

Seoul, Republic of Korea—The third day of UPF’s Summit 2022 and Leadership Conference featured a one-day international symposium titled “The Road to Peace and Unification: International Academic Conference on the 10th Anniversary Holy Ascension of Dr. Sun Myung Moon, True Parent.”

The conference was held by UPF together with the Hyojeong Academic Foundation and IAAP International (International Association of Academicians for Peace) on August 13, 2022, in the Sapphire Ballroom of the Lotte Hotel World.

The UPF-organized Summit 2022 and Leadership Conference was held from August 11 to 15 under the title “Toward Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Toward a World Culture of Peace.”

The symposium’s opening session, which was also Session VI a of Summit 2022, was moderated by Dr. Robert Kittel, the co-chair of UPF for the Asia-Pacific region, who told the participants: “Peacebuilding is not a spectator sport. It is participatory. It is experiential and engaging, and we will do that today.”

Welcoming remarks were given by Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, the chair of UPF International, and Dr. Sung-bae Jin, the chair of the Hyojeong Academic Foundation and the international coordinator of UPF’s International Association of Academicians for Peace.

In his congratulatory remarks, Hon. Dan Burton, a U.S. congressman (1983-2013) and the international co-chair of UPF’s International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), said that in 1983, as a new congressman, he met Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon at an event in Florida where he was invited to speak.  He was much impressed by Reverend Moon’s love and his efforts to make peace and freedom prevail around the world, just like Mother Moon, who has carried on that fight so well since her husband passed away in 2012.

The first keynote speaker, Ambassador Joseph DeTrani from the United States, who had been a special envoy to the Six-Party Talks with the DPRK (2003-2006), shared the insights into North Korea that he gained from years of negotiating with North Koreans.

Opinions differ widely on how to deal with North Korea, Ambassador DeTrani said. There are two options: Either we resign ourselves to the fact that North Korea is a nuclear power, or we seek for verifiable denuclearization and peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The first option could encourage other states to become nuclear powers, with a risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons or fissile material for dirty bombs.  Ambassador DeTrani is therefore a strong advocate of the second option.

As South Korea is the 10th largest economy in the world, the reunification of the two Koreas has much potential, he said. There are many reasons for concern about North Korea, he said. Besides nuclear power, the North Koreans also are linked to cybercrime and the proliferation of conventional weapons. Over the last few years North Korea has been working closely with China and Russia. Hence, the great importance of  this UPF conference on peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Dr. Francisco Rojas Aravena from Costa Rica, the president of University for Peace (UPEACE), said that we are on the threshold of a new, possibly nuclear war. Mistrust and global threat are on the rise, while a new system of world order has not yet emerged. We are at a moment when a miscalculation may lead to an atomic disaster.

Meeting this challenge therefore requires worldwide cooperation in the pursuit of peace or development, Dr. Rojas said. Through dialogue it is possible to exchange bombs for words. The old Cold War paradigm is no longer useful; new knowledge and concepts must be developed to tackle the current situation. For this we need to look closely at Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s teaching on peace, as he was a pioneer in creating peace institutions and global initiatives aimed at world peace and the creation of one family under God.

Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo (1978-1982) was the brain behind the University for Peace, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1980. The university focuses on conflict resolution.

Dr. Rojas concluded by saying that if we want peace, we must work for it. The principles and values shared by both President Carazo and Reverend Moon united them in great friendship. The president directly supported the reunification and reconciliation efforts on the Korean Peninsula.

H.E. Johnson Toribiong, the president of Palau (2009-2013), said that when Palau drafted its constitution, it was decided to make the Pacific island nation a nuclear-free zone. As peace begins with each one of us, also Palau, small as it may be, has a role in promoting  peace. This is even more so for the nuclear powers in the world.

Peace is more than just the absence of war, President Toribiong said. There are many kinds of peace,  including the peace that only God can give.

In a speech that President Toribiong gave in Manila at the end of June on Korean reunification, he expressed his view that the Korean Demilitarized Zone should be expanded and transformed into zones of culture, of education, and of investment.

The pursuit of peace in the Korean Peninsula should be a model for the world, the president said. If the two Koreas, which share a common history, civilization, culture and language, cannot achieve peace, how can other nations do it?

Hon. Ibrahim Natatou, Niger’s minister of education, said that he was very proud that his country co-organized, in cooperation with the Universal Peace Federation, the third African Continental Summit, 2019 edition, in Niamey, on the theme of building a peaceful and prosperous Africa centered on universal values, interdependence and mutual prosperity. In accordance with the Niamey Declaration, the government has decided to start a project focused on the education of the youth.

Indeed, Niger’s education system faces four major challenges. Hon. Natatou said:

  • Seventy percent of the population are younger than 25.
  • Terror attacks on schools have deprived 70,000 children of their right to education.
  • COVID-19 has created a health challenge.
  • There still is a great lack of primary schools, high numbers of dropouts in primary and secondary schools, and a lack of teachers.

The country’s new educational policy is following four main axes:

  • increasing the capacity of schools, vocational training centers and universities;
  • promoting the education of girls and their participation in scientific, technical and professional fields;
  • training teachers and promoting their careers;
  • improving the governance of the system through institutional measures, management of financial resources, introducing digital technology in schools and promoting distance learning.

In view of the challenges and important issues of the educational system, Niger would like to develop partnerships with European nations, particularly in the area of  the education of girls.

Professor Martin Ramirez from Spain, the chair of the Center for Conflict Studies at Nebrija University, sent a short video message.

He spoke of the good fortune of having known Reverend Moon since the 1970s and of having met him practically every year since then in many  International Conferences on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS). He and his wife, Dr. Tina Lindhard, have tried to follow Reverend Moon’s teachings, in which the importance of the family is paramount. His wife did so rather with her heart, while he did so rather with his mind – by focusing on scientific research. Both of them have been awarded Ambassador for Peace certificates.

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