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Peace Education

Nigerians Celebrate Tenth Anniversary of UPF Founding

Nigeria-2015-09-12-Celebrate Tenth Anniversary of UPF Founding

Abuja, Nigeria—Ambassadors for Peace and UPF-Nigeria staff celebrated UPF’s 10th anniversary by pledging to continue the work of the Founders.

The anniversary of the Inaugural Assembly of the Universal Peace Federation in 2005 was used as an occasion to commend the UPF Founders, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, for their vision and commitment to the realization of a peaceful world.

The Ambassadors for Peace also called on world leaders to consider the UPF Founders’ recommendation for the renewal of the United Nations, if we hope to realize a peaceful world in our generation.

The Ambassadors for Peace also pledged to continue the legacy of Dr. Moon by renewing themselves and their families and to contribute to the renewal of their communities and the Nigerian nation.

More than 100 Ambassadors for Peace and UPF staff attended the celebration, which was held at the Apo Apartment in the capital, Abuja, on September 12, 2015.

An opening prayer was offered by Rev. Sunday N. Uke, UPF-Nigeria director of interreligious affairs. Participants sang the Nigerian national anthem, which was followed by welcoming remarks by Dr. George Ikpot, UPF-Nigeria director of international affairs. Dr. Ikpot commended the Ambassadors for Peace for attending the celebration and spoke about the founding of UPF in New York City, informing the participants that Rev. Dr. Moon had established UPF to facilitate the realization of the founding purpose of the United Nations to build a peaceful world.

The opening remarks were made by Ambassador Dr. Sam Anurigwo, who served as the chairman of the event. He read an adapted version of the UPF Ambassadors for Peace handbook introduction.

“Nigeria stands at a critical turning point. The decisions we make as Ambassadors for Peace in Nigeria and the actions taken, or avoided, at this time will take us either further along a path to increased harmony, prosperity and peace, or along a track of crisis, conflict and want. Our nation’s founding fathers and human family’s great saints, sages, spiritual leaders, philosophers, visionaries, mothers and fathers, statesmen, and people of conscience from all walks of life have longed for and worked for peace. The hope of all ages of Nigerians has been for a unified world of peace and a peaceful nation. We cannot abandon this hope nor fail to take all necessary steps to assure that the legacy of so many noble predecessors is fulfilled. In this way our children and all future generations will come to know only a nation of peace and a world of peace. This is the purpose of the Universal Peace Federation that we have gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary today. As the chair of this event, I would like to urge all of us to take this calling seriously to ensure that our nation goes the way of peace and not walk the path of violence again. We need to commend the Founders of our great organization for their tireless work for the sake of God and all people. I think that we should all ensure that their legacies of peace bear substantial fruits in our nation through our lives as peace leaders of our families and communities. As the United Nations is to commemorate its 70th anniversary this year, let us urge all world leaders to consider seriously the recommendations of the UPF Founders for the renewal of the United Nations through the establishment of the Interreligious Council. This is a visionary idea that we can no longer avoid if we really desire for peace in our world.”

The message from Dr. Thomas Walsh, UPF-International president, was read aloud. Dr. Walsh commended UPF-Nigeria and the Ambassadors for Peace for taking the lead to commemorate the anniversary of the inaugural assembly of UPF in New York in 2005. Among other inspiring words which were applauded by the participants, Dr. Walsh’s statement gave great hope to the Ambassadors for Peace, who pledged to uphold the ideals of UPF. In his words: “I am very pleased that Ambassadors for Peace in Nigeria are gathering and taking this golden opportunity to understand the profound insights of our Founders, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, which encompass all areas of human endeavor,  including the family, society, government, business, education, the media, the arts and sports. 

“I applaud you for giving special attention to the idea of building a ‘nation of peace’ through good families, good citizens and good governance, with emphasis on the role of Ambassadors for Peace in this regard.  I commend you for your great work and your enduring commitment toward building a nation of peace. I thank UPF-Nigeria for its leadership and for establishing best practices that encourage and inspire all UPF chapters worldwide.”

Ambassador for Peace Amos Unogwu traveled over nine hours by road from Lagos to Abuja to participate and entertain with a special peace song dedicated to UPF and a peaceful world. The musical interlude added deep flavor to the event as participants experienced a moment of peace as they all reflected on the path that the UPF Founders walked to bring the organization to its present level with Ambassadors for Peace all over the world. At the end of his musical presentation, participants commended his initiative of a UPF theme song and requested that he should take the lead as an Ambassador for Peace to promote peace through songs all over Nigeria. The musical entertainment was followed by a video presentation introducing UPF, its activities and the Founders.

Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko, UPF-Nigeria secretary general, gave an overview of UPF activities in Nigeria since its formal launch in December 2005 and noted that UPF-Nigeria has contributed immensely to the peace process in Nigeria. UPF-Nigeria has actively contributed to efforts toward the substantial realization of the establishment of a culture of peace in Nigeria through advocacy and programs that emphasize the need for a peaceful code of conduct for all citizens, the introduction of peace education in educational institutions and the need for the Nigerian constitution to support peacebuilding efforts. The UPF Ambassadors for Peace are models of peaceful citizens in Nigeria; as we continue to increase our membership, we are decreasing the number of citizens living in the realm of violence and conflicts. The overview also emphasized the several areas and projects that have been implemented in Nigeria and the ongoing efforts to establish operational structures for peace in all 36 states of Nigeria, for Ambassadors for Peace to become more active at state levels as well as the need for the development and utilization of infrastructures for peace in Nigeria.

The second video presentation was on the Interfaith Peace Blessing program, which was intended to introduce participants to the need for intercultural marriages among children and family members of Ambassadors for Peace as a way to facilitate national harmony and integration.

The keynote address was a reading from the Founder’s address at the inaugural assembly of  UPF in 2005 entitled "God's Ideal Family: The Model for World Peace." The speech provided deep insights into the founding of UPF. As the Founder puts it: “The United Nations has made important contributions for peace. Nevertheless, at its 60th anniversary there is a broad consensus, both inside and outside the organization, that the U.N. has yet to discover the way to fulfill its founding purposes.

“The number of member states is approaching 200, but the offices of these states do little more than represent and even insist on their own interests. They seem inherently unable to resolve conflicts and achieve peace. For these reasons, I declare today before all humanity the founding of a new international organization, the Universal Peace Federation. Its mission is to renew the existing United Nations and provide a new level of leadership as an ‘Abel-type’ United Nations, that is, a United Nations whose efforts for peace are offered to Heaven, investing itself ceaselessly in living for the sake of others.”

The conclusion of the message of the Founder read to all participants summarized the task ahead. “Today we are participating in the inauguration of the Universal Peace Federation. It represents God’s victory, the fruit of the True Parents’ blood, sweat and tears, and the world’s cherished hope. It will carry out the role of an Abel-type United Nations in relation to the existing United Nations. Under the banner of the Universal Peace Federation, we will serve as a ‘peace police’ and a ‘peace army’ to safeguard global peace. I hope that you will put on new ‘true love armor’ in this new age and be wise and brave activists in this worldwide peace force, for the sake of humanity’s future. In closing, I ask you to devote your best efforts for the development and success of the Universal Peace Federation.”

Participants deliberated on the address of the Founder and reflected on the development and success of UPF in the past 10 years. They also discussed the task ahead, especially the Peace Vision 2020. Goodwill and congratulatory messages were presented by some of the Ambassadors for Peace in which they commended the UPF Founders for their vision and actions for world peace. Participants called on world leaders to seriously consider the recommendations of the UPF Founder on the renewal of the United Nations as the UN turns 70 in October 2015. The Ambassadors for Peace expressed their determination to work for the renewal of the Nigerian nation.

A presentation on the Health for Peace Initiative was also a feature of the celebration and was followed by the presentation of Ambassadors for Peace certificates. Among other recipients were Her Excellency, Chief Mrs. Kema Chikwe, former Nigerian Ambassador and National Women’s Leader of the People’s Democratic Party; His Royal Highness Esu Danlami Audu, the traditional ruler of Kado; Ogechukwu Nonyelum Eneh as Nigerian Ambassador for Peace in Finland; and Chief Charles Okechukwu Okereke as Nigerian Ambassador for Peace in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Chief Skywilson Chuks Israel Okoli and Izi Faafa were among the VIPs inducted as Ambassadors for Peace.

Responding on behalf of the newly inducted members, Ambassador Izi Faafa spoke highly of the UPF Founder and spoke of his personal experience when he visited the Unification Theological Seminary in New York. He informed the participants that “the UTS has all it takes to raise interfaith leaders to solve the interreligious challenges that Nigeria and the world have been facing” and pledged to work toward getting the federal government of Nigeria to sponsor Nigerians to study at UTS. Ambassador Okoli spoke on the need for the establishment of the UPF National Peace College as an alternative to the National War College, which has been renamed National Defense College. He offered the donation of land to UPF for the establishment of the National Peace College and expressed his determination that within the next 10 years, UPF-Nigeria should be able to establish a Universal Peace Village in Abuja as well as work with traditional rulers to establish a National Peace Palace.

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Beverly Hills Hotel and Resort, the Foundation for the Elderly and Poor, and the Peace Corps of Nigeria received special certificates of recognition for their partnership and support to UPF. As part of the 10th anniversary of the inaugural assembly of the UPF, special Ambassadors for Peace stickers were launched and distributed to the members for display on their vehicles and offices.

The celebration ended with musical entertainment and a commitment to keep the legacy of the UPF Founders active all over Nigeria in the days ahead.

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