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Peace Education

Conference Speakers Promote a New Paradigm of Leadership

Universal Peace Federation objectives include support for partnerships among religions, governments and civil society to foster peace and development. UPF seeks to articulate a framework of universal values necessary to sustain such partnerships and calls the UN to serve as the appropriate global forum. The following excerpts are from speakers at the 2009 World Summit on Peace articulating these themes.

A Need for More Inclusive Approaches to Peace

By Prof. Dr. Din Syamsuddin, Chairman, Muhammudiyah, Indonesia

According to the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government, the absence of peace includes accumulated global damages such as poverty, illiteracy, injustice, and environmental collapse. We need global damage control.

To this end, we need new paradigms for interfaith and intercultural dialogues:

•    Dialogues not only among people of different faiths but also among other sectors and actors of civilization, including politicians, business people, academics, and even the media

•    Gatherings about peace, interfaith dialogues, and intercultural dialogues that somehow include the radicals and the hardliners

•    Leadership that applies a dialogue of action

Regardless of our religious affiliation, ethnicity, race, and even nationality, we are one family under God. While religion is from God, it is not for God but for humanity. While we need rights for peace, at the same time we need responsibilities for peace. Our rights and responsibilities together enable us to perform our mission as vice-regents of God on earth and work together to establish real peace. We hope to see a new international order based on morality, prosperity, and justice.

A Timely Call for a Spiritual Dimension at the UN

By Dr. Alwi Shihab, Special Envoy to the Middle East, Office of the President, Republic of Indonesia

The UPF seeks to establish ever more consistent links among various groups in order to achieve the great dream of bringing together all people of faith, overcoming barriers, conflicts, and prejudices.

One of those noble efforts is the renewal and the reform of the UN, including its call for an interreligious council and the creation of a new intergovernmental organization rooted in universal spiritual principles. The current unpleasant condition of the world serves as solid evidence of the need for such reform in the UN.

We are saddened by the plight and suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. Indeed the international community rejects all kinds of violence permeating Gaza as a result of the military operations of the Israeli military in response to the Palestinian missiles.

It is imperative to call peace-loving people individually and collectively to empower the moderate majority of the Palestinians and the Israelis to come up with a viable and acceptable mandate for coexistence and to achieve grassroots consensus for conflict resolution. Both groups must be able to recognize the pain of both sides, condemn all violence that is practiced, and affirm a desire for a two-state solution.

There is no possibility to maintain peace and to create a new world if humankind is not filled with a new spirit. To allow this spirit to develop within us is the task we have taken upon ourselves, individually and collectively.

An Interfaith Council at the UN
By Congressman Jose de Venecia, Jr., Philippines; Chairman, CDI-Asia Pacific

The idea of interfaith dialogue that the Universal Peace Federation espouses — that of bringing together the world’s moderates and hence isolating the radicals who would use religion for political ends — is gaining ground in the world.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has started potentially far-reaching dialogues with Sunni Islam’s estranged Shiite brethren, by meeting in Mecca with a Shiite leader, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is also ex-President of Iran. He also sponsored Muslim-Christian conversations in Madrid, together with Catholic Spain’s King Juan Carlos I.

A broader concept of interfaith dialogue is also gaining ground at the United Nations. This is the concept of dialogue not only between religions but also between entire cultures and civilizations.

In 2006, the General Assembly approved a Philippine proposal to organize a “focal unit” for inter-faith, inter-cultural, and inter-civilizational dialogue, either in ECOSOC or in the Office of the Secretary-General. A Council for Inter-Faith, Inter-Civilizational, and Inter-Cultural Dialogue in the UN system would facilitate dialogues between religions, cultures, and civilizations.

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