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Peace Summit 2023: Session VII-B: IAAP

Seoul, South Korea – Contemporary Challenges to Global Order: Toward a World Culture of Peace: IAAP, Session 7B, was held May 4, 2023 as part of Peace Summit 2023.

Moderator: Dr. Thomas Selover, international co-coordinator of the International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP)

Opening Remarks: Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Founder, Afghan Institute of Learning; Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate

Dr. Yacoobi gave a very rousing, passionate testimony of her struggles to educate girls and women in Afghanistan. She started the Aghan Institute of Learning in 1995 to train Afghan women as teachers for girls, but was forced to go underground when the Taliban came to power the next year and imposed strict Islamic Sharia law. From 2001 to 2023, when the Taliban was ousted, she ran many learning centers for women, but was forced to close them when the Taliban took over again in 2023. Despite the severe challenges, she has kept a positive attitude, taken a flexible approach, and adapted her teaching to televised programs that women can watch even if they are confined at home. She and her team continue to educate girls and women through new and innovative methods.

Dr. Mahendra Prasad Lama, Senior Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Dr. Lama spoke on the topic: “Soft Power and Public Diplomacy, an Alternative Paradigm for Global Peace Building: An Asian Perspective.” He commented that soft power can be effective, and can work either for or against national well-being. He pointed out that images of public figures, symbols and brand names wield power. They may also be used as propaganda to undermine the state or religious culture. Hard power, such as using the military or imposing embargos, is destructive, damaging and self-perpetuating. India practices peaceful coexistence and non-alignment, he said. Rather than depending on the national government for social balancing, he recommended effecting change through positive cultural initiatives, education and grassroots diplomacy.

Dr. Francisco Rojas Aravena, President, University for Peace (UPEACE), Costa Rica

Dr. Aravena, speaking on the topic: “Security has Taken the Latin American Agenda: We Need Dialogue and Consensus,” stated that peace must include security and cooperation. UPF and UPEACE share the same goals, methods and philosophy, he said, and should dialogue and cooperate. While humanity faces nuclear holocaust, there are intense local conflicts, as well as climate catastrophe. We must create a forum for dialogue and educate new peace leaders.

The Latin American situation is special and different, he said. Though there are virtually no wars, Latin America is the most violent region. He said Latin American countries face one or more of four types of threats: lack of security, organized crime and drugs; climate change and water shortages; social discontent, protests, and violence; migration, a black market economy, food insecurity, and polarized politics. Latin countries suffer from stagnant development, low foreign investment, the lack of competitive spirit, and low confidence in public institutions. There are failed areas where the state has completely lost control. Insecurity endangers families, education, the economy and politics.

Solutions, he suggested, would include greater women’s participation; spreading awareness of the complex global context; finding new ways to analyze and define problems; efforts to protect the earth and biodiversity; uplifting human dignity; and developing new technologies and AI.

Hon. Keith Best, MP (1979-1987); Chairman of the Board of Trustees, UPF-UK

Hon. Keith Best’s presentation was entitled “The Path to Peace: The role of the UN and UPF in achieving peace in Europe and the Middle East.” Currently there is great danger of catastrophic global conflict, Mr. Best said. We must always seek dialogue rather than war. We need to balance principle with compromise. He suggested that the United Nations could implement an early warning system for situations of developing conflict, to prevent conflict before it breaks out. This could be prepared by analyzing and identifying risks of human rights violations.


Prof. Heung-soon Park, professor and former dean of the graduate school of Sun Moon University, Korea

Hon. Timothy Mtambo, Minister of Character Education and Civil Unity for the Republic of Malawi; commander in chief, Citizens for Transformation Movement (CFT), Malawi

Ms. Sagadat Sabitova, UN expert on family psychology, education, gender issues, and domestic violence; Kazakhstan

Commentators’ remarks:

H.E. Timothy Mtambo: UPF's contribution is that it addresses the whole human: soul, spirit, love, family, and peace. The reality is that local wars are perpetually breaking out in Africa. The Holocaust keeps repeating. Foreign intervention in conflict is more a part of the problem than a solution. UPF, in partnership with the United Nations, possesses the capability to empower local initiatives. Indigenization is recommended. It would be good for a National Peace Commission to be established in each nation. Hyojeong character education is essential for world peace.

Ms. Sagadat Sabitova: Forty years of experience visiting and counseling families all over the world lead to the conclusion that the family is important above all. All problems begin in the family and must be solved there. Domestic violence is ubiquitous, irrespective of nationality, religion, culture, income or social class. Education to prevent domestic violence and abuse of women and children is necessary from a very early age. Such education is most essential to prevent violence against ethnic and religious minorities, women, employees and gender nonconformists. We must get out among people and work with families personally.


By Nancy Hewitt and Thomas Selover, IAAP May 4, 2023




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