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UPF Featured in Australian Media

Melbourne, Australia—UPF-Australia’s observance of the UN International Day of Peace 2023 on September 16 covered two important issues. The first was recognizing Australia’s First Nations people in the country’s constitution. A referendum on this will be held in October and is viewed as an important step in reconciliation. The second was the importance of values education.


On the same day, Australian radio station SBS Arabic 24 interviewed UPF-Australia Vice President Dr. John Bellavance, his assistant Mr. Will Abdo and Ambassador for Peace and Honorary Consul General for the Kingdom of Morocco Mr. Roland Jabbour live to commemorate the international day and discuss the upcoming “Voice to Parliament” referendum and how reconciliation could move forward.


Dr. Bellavance started his interview by speaking about the theme of this year’s international day, “Actions for Peace: Our Ambitions for the #GlobalGoals,” and the referendum. In the context of the referendum, he emphasized the need to stop the “us-versus-them” mindset, as there is too much polarization between the left and right. He said, “we need to find the truth and move forward,” a Headwing approach to peacebuilding proposed by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, UPF’s co-founder, 30 years ago to counter polarization with shared values that bring the left and right together. He further added that we need to find a way to reconcile with each other and create a great country.  When asked by the radio host what the truth is, Dr. Bellavance replied that we need to take a moral and spiritual approach to healing and look beyond the politics and find shared values of justice and love. He highlighted that a crisis could occur after the vote, whether it results in favor of a “Voice to Parliament” or not, because we will still need to have a conversation about the shared values that will move reconciliation forward.


Mr. Abdo talked about how the global community can cooperate on specific UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, related to family, education and reconciliation, to achieve peace on earth. He also mentioned the presentations and discussions about reconciliation with First Nations people that took place at UPF-Australia’s observance of the international day and that the referendum was consequential for reconciliation in Australia. 


Mr. Jabbour underscored the importance of disseminating peace through education and securing government resources and services for those that need them to achieve social equality. He also spoke about human rights values in the world today and pointed out the negatives of extreme positions and factions and said that engaging in dialogue is critical to mitigating the threats of these extreme positions. He shed light on the importance of an individual’s values as well as recognizing the diversity of values and managing the challenges from this diversity through engagement.


To listen to the radio interview, click here.


During UPF-Australia’s observance of the international day, the “Educating with Values” report was launched. It was subsequently released on September 18 to Australian media and ministers of education around the country, resulting in coverage in the newspapers the Herald Sun (Melbourne) and The Advertiser (Adelaide); in the Educator Magazine; and on the Australian Arabic Council’s website.

By UPF-Australia
September 21, 2023


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