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Berlin Seminar Expounds on Principles of Peace


Berlin, Germany – A seminar on UPF’s Principles of Peace, held at the Alex-Treff community center, near Berlin’s famous Alexander Platz, on Saturday April 13, 2024, attracted an audience of around thirty. The purpose of the seminar was to offer insight into the motivation for the founding of UPF, its vision of a peaceful world community, and the approach it takes in pursuing this goal.


After each of the four presentations, participants met in small groups for lively discussions. Many different religious backgrounds were represented, including Christianity, Islam, new religious movements, and meditation groups.


Mr. Karl-Christian Hausmann, chairman of UPF-Germany, gave the first presentation on “Universal Values as a Foundation for World Peace.” He reaffirmed UPF’s conviction that there are universal values and principles, similar to natural laws, which are formulated to some extent in world religions, and identified three fundamental values essential for sustainable peace. He quoted Dr. Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist and non-fiction writer: “When society forgets its moral values, nihilism and terror reign.” Therefore, he said, religions are indispensable as the source of values, and cooperation between them is an essential prerequisite for peace.


In the second presentation, Mrs. Gudrun Hassinen, deputy chair of UPF-Germany, spoke on the topic “The Cause of Conflict.” She addressed the origin of humanity’s propensity to conflict, which is linked to destructive egoism and leads to alienation from our inner divinity. Her remarks were based on a new interpretation of the first chapter of the Old Testament, formulated by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of UPF.


Expanding on this thread in the third presentation, “Reconciliation and Peace-making,” Mrs. Hassinen explored whether a formula for peace and reconciliation could be derived from the biblical story. In this context, she analyzed the tragic story of Cain and Abel as an example of destructive conflict, and its antithesis in the story of Jacob and Esau, who overcame their animosity. When faced with conflict, she explained, it is important to take responsibility and choose the way of reconciliation.


Dr. Dieter Schmidt, UPF representative for central Europe, delivered the fourth and final presentation, “UPF’s Approach to Solutions.” He referred to Rev. Moon’s experience and example of forgiving his enemies to avoid being dominated by bitterness and resentment. Using various examples, Dr. Schmidt explained how the principles of UPF apply in interreligious work for peace, strengthening marriages and families, and ensuring peace and security. He presented innovative projects and initiatives of UPF, such as the Peace Road project, and stressed that a culture of service to others is the surest path to peace.


In conclusion, participants discussed ways they could contribute to fostering a culture of peace. They agreed that peace begins with the individual’s relationship to God the Creator, and extends to everyone in the immediate environment, hopefully expanding to decision-makers on the national and international levels. 

Finally, Mr. Khwazik Mamozai from Nürnberg was appointed Ambassador for Peace in recognition of his many years of work in the Afghan Cultural Association in Nürnberg. He stated that he sees this award as a call for further commitment.


A generous supply of fruit, cake and drinks, and a lunch buffet at the end, contributed to the success of this most enriching seminar.


 

By Gudrun Hassinen, Deputy Chair, UPF-Germany (English: Catriona Valenta)
April 13, 2024


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