Women's Day Program in Washington DC Focuses on Leadership, Ownership, and Compassion

Washington DC, USA - More than 70 guests joined the Universal Peace Federation and the Washington Times Foundation for an afternoon tea honoring International Women’s Day in Washington, DC on March 28. The theme was "The Era of Women Leadership, Ownership, and Compassion." Participants represented 32 embassies, including Ambassadors from Albania, Fiji, Uganda, Botswana, and South Sudan; and wives of the Ambassadors from Afghanistan, Albania, Burkina Faso, Fiji, Iraq, Swaziland, Ghana, Namibia, Gambia, Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Zambia. In addition there were NGO, religious, academic, and business representatives from the DC Metro area

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Mrs. Tomiko Duggan welcomed guests with a moment of silent gratitude to remember those women who touch our hearts. She began her remarks with a look back on the origins of International Women’s Day and added that, “The Universal Peace Federation believes women have unique and necessary contributions to make to society, and must become equal partners to men in order to build healthy, happy families, true peace, a stable society, nation and world.”

She cited the UN Women report that stated that nearly 50% of all sexual assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16 and that domestic violence is not considered a crime in nations where 603 million women live.

She passed on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s words at the UN celebration: “There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never justifiable, and never tolerable.”

Larry Moffitt, MC for the program and vice-president of the Washington Times Foundation, welcomed everyone by quoting a friend who says that, “we are not just human beings but ‘human doings’ as we endeavor to do much in life.”

He introduced, Mr. Thomas McDevitt, Chairman of the Board of the Washington Times. Mr. McDevitt began his comments by saying that women are definitely essential, both his mother and late wife were essential to him. He continued by saying that God created us male and female; one is not complete without the other. Men were not meant to be the boss and the wife just follow. Regardless of the religion, both come from the same origin, one God who is self-evident. He said that it must be possible for all of us to come together in a different level of awareness, collaboration, and unity and “I dare say even love in the broad human family.” And added, “What a leader does, be it a man or a woman, is to pioneer a pathway toward a better way.” And he reminisced that after 40 years of working with Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon he still feels that their work in the world is truly extraordinary, including establishing the Washington Times 30 years ago. He asked the audience to look at the work and words of the founders based on the amazing development of their movement.

Dr. Moon established the Washington Times at the height of the Cold War in a town with only one news voice. His work brought a voice of reason. “Many said the paper wouldn’t last but today it is well respected with over 100,000 readers in the area. The Washington Times is read by the Pentagon, embassies, on Capitol Hill, and other hubs of political thought,” he added, and “over 10 million people visit the Times’ website each month.”

He reported that new efforts at the company are ongoing, besides the daily and weekly newspapers, digital news, and a radio show, a new partnership with a 24/7 cable TV channel will launch a news channel based in the Times newsroom. He said they are currently building a studio in the building. It is called “One America News” and is owned by the people who produce Wealth TV.

He emphasized that “The Washington Times is aiming to be a company that is distinctive and well respected throughout the world.” He continued that although The Times feels that the US still has a leadership role in the world, in recent years “the US has become confused and needs clear guidance which the media can contribute to.” He added that the media has also lost its way, there are numerous reports and surveys saying that Americans trust the media less and less. “Trust is important, being reliable, telling the truth when it isn’t easy, having an opinion that is solution oriented not just partisan or angry,” he emphasized. “The core values of the company relate to the event today, freedom, family, faith, service, and participation. The core being family, and it is self-evident that healthy families create a healthy community,” he continued. “Thus we applaud the work of UPF and Mrs. Tomiko Duggan,” he concluded.

The next speaker was Mrs. Nancy Shulze, who is a deeply committed Christian, a woman of faith, and everything she does is a spin off from her faith. She was a singer for the early years of her life, and after her husband became a congressman, she founded the Congressional Wives’ Speakers, and recently co-founded the American Prayer Initiative with Vonette Bright, wife of the late Campus Crusade For Christ founder, Bill Bright. She’s also been involved with both the National Prayer Breakfast and Governor’s Prayer Breakfasts. Numerous other endeavors including, the Nancy Shulze World View Seminars, which are sponsored by members of Congress, and Women Impacting the Nation Conference.

Mrs. Shulze started her comments by saying, “Thank you to UPF and the Washington Times Foundation for sponsoring this event, it is important to hear and share other’s points of view.” Just days before the 9-11 attacks, she and her husband were in Turkey having lunch with the new Turkish ambassador to the US. She asked his assistant about his religion (Muslim) and he answered her, “We are like the US, most people don’t practice their religion.” She was so shocked by this assumption about Americans. But she realized that if one looks at what the media exports to other countries, that is the natural impression. She then asked him, what was the moral direction in a secular Turkey; he said, “Like the Ten Commandments.”

She went on to describe her ideas on the Bible and those Ten Commandments. She described it as not about religion but as the gold standard of good character. She continued by talking about the founders of the United States, who were Christians, learned men, and added that over half were graduates of a seminary. “They believed that all men are created equal, because rights come from God not men.” She stated that theirs was a revolutionary idea that was treasonable and punishable by death. “But because their persistence - even though flawed, that spirit continued and produced an America which has done more to raise the quality of life all over the world than any other country in history,” she emphasized.

“With less than 6% of the world’s population and less than 2% of its land mass, America produces one quarter of all the goods and services in the world,” she continued, “but not just products, but also volunteers, doctors, teachers, missionaries, and more,” she added.

She talked about the decline of America being linked to the court ruling in the 1960s which took prayer out of schools by emphasizing separation of church and state -- words, she added that cannot be found in any document of the founding of America. She continued to say that without common public prayer children were denied common character development. In fifty years the vacuum that followed was filled by a self-esteem movement that “tells Americans they have rights to rewards that they have done nothing to deserve,” she continued.

She emphasized that there is a boundaries-free sex-education in the US that results in no limit to self gratification. Quoting the Center for Disease Center, she reported that over 25% of young people are infected with sexually transmitted diseases. “The consequences are devastating to our youth, our families, our economy and our country. If we are going to genuinely love our nation we need to look deeply into the policies of our government,” she added.

She continued, “The one question my husband asked about every piece of legislation that crossed his desk was, ‘Is this good for the country in the long run?’” Not for his district or for his political career, but for the country in the long run, she added.

From misconstrued legislation in the 1960’s the government now subsidizes unwed mothers. The birthrate for unwed mothers was 5% in the 60’s, now it is 41% for unwed births, she added. “The single greatest predictor of poverty is single parenthood, and fatherlessness is the single biggest predictor of criminal behavior, “ she continued. “Over 80% of prisoners in this country come from a fatherless home,” she emphasized. Quoting a political comment, “What you tax you get less of, and what you subsidize you get more of.”

She said that Daniel Webster stated that “the promulgation of sound morals was a women’s contribution to the preservation of free government.” She continued, “What this means is that the underlying strength of our government and our freedom is what women have to say about what is right and what is wrong. What women say and do is the gold standard of morals,” she added.

She has faith that Americans will figure things out, but added, “We cannot continue to turn our backs on the God who so richly blessed this country and expect those blessings to keep on flowing.” She believes a renaissance is brewing, but needs women to stand up and speak out about what is good. And she praised The Washington Times for holding fast to the standards of faith, family and freedom ideals.

In conclusion she stated, “If we are serious about peace, it may be the time to open that good book, it’s not about religion, God is so much bigger than religion, but it’s about relationships with God, with others, and with ourselves.”

The third speaker was Susan Pausky, who earned a national reputation for 18 years of excellence in client representation, primarily tenant representation, and most recently as Senior Vice President of the Staubach Company in Dallas, Texas. She began her career with the Trammell Crow Company, directing leasing on behalf of the company and institutional owners of investment properties. She expanded the office and R&D tenant representation portfolio at Cushman & Wakefield and served as an Executive Director and a member of its distinguished National Broker Advisory Board. Her efforts now are in reconciliation on the international stage.

Ms. Pausky is interested in citizen diplomacy and after 9-11 wanted to do something that made a difference. She feels that understanding religion is underused in statecraft. In 2004 she had a realization that she should be helping diffuse religious hatred; especially in areas that are closed to women. She asked what should she do and an inspiration came to identify leaders who threaten global peace and bring someone to the table who can diffuse that hatred. She said that “our government can’t do everything, so we need to help.”

She felt moved to bring key people together and to take the time to share and listen to different views. She had lunch with Bob Jordan, former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who gave her 30 ideas on what to do. That meeting led her to attend an interfaith conference in Madrid where she met Margaret Cohen. Together they visited Saudi Arabia, where she met H.E Faisal bin Abdul Rahman Al-Muammar, who is Saudi Arabia’s Secretary General for interfaith. Saudi Arabia recently opened their King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna. She traveled to Vienna in 2009 for another conference and brought other leaders to talk to one another. She realized that many religious leaders talked respectfully but in the end both sides still believed that the other was going to hell. She eventually connected him to the Washington Times to give an interview about the opening of this center.

Her “bridge-building “ work expanded with the help of former congressman Mark Siljander, who thought about what are the toughest things that divide religions. Cong. Siljander studied Aramaic and found that words or language often give the wrong impression or understanding of important beliefs which then causes friction between religions. When Christians use the phrase, “the only begotten son of God,” for Jesus, Arabic translates ‘begotten’ as God having sex with Mary. But the Aramaic translates into a spiritual presence not a physical presence. Also, the Muslim idea of din is a state of being in submission to God, but it does not mean a ‘club card’ to do anything.

She also explained about Roland Mueller’s description of the different cultural spheres: the East’s of honor and shame, verses the West’s truth and guilt. And the third of fear and power, found mostly in Africa and China. These cultural frameworks add to the misunderstandings between religions. In the Garden of Eden, guilt, shame, and fear were all introduced which she said, can be a unifying introduction to interfaith.

She concluded by saying she has been rethinking her vocabulary to improve understanding the framework of each culture so as not to alienate others, “Especially since it is the opposite of the oneness taught by Jesus.”

The final speaker was H.E. Ambassador Tabelelo Mazile Seretse, who has the honor of being the first woman to be appointed Botswana’s Ambassador to the United States. Since being posted to Washington, she has organized two missions - one trade and another education to Botswana. She has participated in numerous debates such as the 2010 Black Congressional Caucus and at numerous universities, including Morgan State, Howard University, Syracuse University, and Boston University. She has participated in several roundtable discussions and presentations by both Women Ambassadors and African Ambassadors throughout the United States.

She began her comments by saying that Botswana has more cattle than people! They have three million cattle and two million people, and a big problem with cattle roaming around causing accidents. People die because of the roaming cattle, so she introduced a cattle chasing squad, and then publicized it with a phone number to call for help and publicized the consequences of one’s cattle causing accidents. She said she that we all came to honor women today, and before any titles that one might have, we are mothers. She continued, “A mother is not a woman who has a child but a woman who has compassion and can care for others, and who shares.’ In Africa there is a big problem with HIV-Aids, that has put a great burden on all and thus mothers are women who help others, she continued.

She said that nurturers are born with God-given compassion, which can multitask. Women often underestimate their ability and therefore lead from behind. “But this not weakness, but humbleness,” she added. She admonished a government that has no women leaders in each section of society, “no women means problems will exist.” She said we need to encourage women to stop being behind but to move forward to lead. “Your voice is important,” she said. With women’s leadership there will be more compassion, she added. The US is a great nation, she admitted, but it can do better. Malawi now has more women in government, and Rwanda, who was once ravaged by a horrendous war is now leading the world in women’s leadership; Liberia has a woman president and that country is improving, she remarked.

Botswana is doing well in business and has held democratic elections since its independence. It still uses the archaic British system which makes it harder for women to win in primaries, but they are trying to improve. She said it is important to involve the world media with good news not just bad. She also said when the US says ‘Africa,’ no one know where they are talking about, it needs to be more specific to each country due to the vast differences. Objective reporting on both good and bad in each country would be useful, she added.

“It is interesting,” she said, “is that Botswana is the least corrupt.” Botswana is the number one diamond producer in the world, yet it is not a violent country. “Our police don’t carry guns,” she added. There is a misconception about “blood diamonds” due to the media and films but diamond producing countries are not more violent, she went on. Canada is #2, Russia is #3, South Africa #4, Democratic Republic of Congo is #5 and Namibia is #6 in diamond production in the world.

When there is a lack of peace in an area, it is driven by “a lack of tolerance,” she said, “negative bias causes negative perceptions.” She continued, “Women can make bridges by removing bias.”

In Botswana there is something called a kotla, it is an open gathering where anyone can speak, each one having a different view. “The British did not take this away from us; we kept this cultural tradition,” she said. This practice improves inclusiveness and tolerance.

In recent years Botswana removed many discriminatory laws and the government looked at the girl child and how to improve her condition. The UN has many different themes for International Women’s Day which gives ideas to the nations, also “the U.S. is moving forward in its women’s rights and this challenges us,” she added. She concluded with the statement, “True leadership is not true without the full participation of women on each level; this also challenges us as Christians.”

Five Ambassadors for Peace were then appointed. Jan Du Plain, a longtime Ambassador for Peace, read the certificate and called up the speakers: Ambassador Seretse, Nancy Schulze, and Susan Pausky, and also Amb. Dickson Ogwang, Minister Counselor at the Ugandan Embassy and Partogi Samosir, Counselor at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, to be appointed as Ambassadors for Peace.

The program was concluded with the moving song, "One Woman," performed by 25 women and men from 20 countries for International Women’s Day, commemorated at the UN on March 8, 2013. Its moving words show that we are all ‘one woman,’ able to feel the heart of each other regardless of where we are from and that men can “hear the voice” of ‘one woman’ as well to “let go the old ways”:

We are One Woman, Your victories lift us all.
We are One Woman, You rise and I stand tall.
We are One Women, Your world is mine,
and we shall shine, shine, shine.

Reported by:

Tomiko Duggan, Director of UPF-DC Office
Susan Fefferman, Ambassador for Peace


International Women's Day 2013 from Universal Peace Federation International

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