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Peace Education

Peace Education and Fishing in Alaska

More than 120 people from 26 nations visited Kodiak to hear presentations on world peace and participate in the Peace King Cup fishing tournament, Aug. 28 through Sept. 3, 2007.

The theme of the conference series was providing vision and leadership during this time of global crisis. The series was sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), a nonprofit organization founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. It is a nongovernmental organization that consults with the economic and social council of the United Nations.

"The UPF's purpose is to promote peace and contribute to solving some of the world's most critical global problems, which are the Middle East crisis or the threat of a new conflict on the Korean peninsula, as well as the potential for conflict in other parts of the world," UPF secretary general Thomas Walsh said.

"We see the world being at an important turning point, or juncture. The world faces serious crisis, not the least of which is the difficult challenging relationship between the Islamic world and the so-called Western civilization, manifested in terrorism and the Middle East crisis; the current Iraq war," he said.

Walsh said other disturbing trends include HIV, AIDS, poverty, family breakdown, youth alienation, overly sexualized societies, promiscuity and sexual disorders.

"These presentations are not sectarian in the sense that they're about teaching a particular religious world view and trying to persuade the audience to convert or change, but trying to change hearts and minds, trusting that people of goodwill in all faith traditions need to work together and cooperate," Walsh said.

"There are universal values and principles that stand over and above not only governments but also over and above – to some extent – religions. They are the essential core of the religions," he said.

UPF was recently invited by the government of Sri Lanka to present the International Leadership Conference program.

"It's all about peace, it's trying to promote harmony in cooperation, and (we) believe religions have an important role to play," Walsh said.

The fishing portion of the conference offered participants – many who are seeing Alaska for the first time — the chance to fish both on boats and in rivers and streams and see Kodiak's wildlife.

Peter Ostrenko, a participant from Florida visiting Kodiak for the first time, said he was touched by salmon at the end of their lives.

"I could actually see them come up and struggle. I was fishing and casting and casting and at one point I saw this salmon come up – one that was ready to give up its life and it came up to the shore. You could see that it was near the end. It was really kind of dramatic to see it right there. Even though you see it on TV, it's different to (be on this) Alaska beach," Ostrenko said.

Original Article from the Kodiak Daily Mirror

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