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United Nations Day Observed in 4 Russian Cities

UPF chapters in Khabarovsk, Ryazan, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg organized celebrations of UN Day 2011, observed throughout the world on Oct. 24, the date the UN was founded in 1945.

Khabarovsk - On October 24, 2011 at the Conference Hall of the Far-East State Scientific Library of Khabarovsk, Ambassadors for Peace in the Russian Far East observed UN Day. The program was to support the worldwide call by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on this day “to build a better world, to leave no one behind, to stand for the poorest and most vulnerable in the name of global peace and social justice.”

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UPF-Far East Russia leader Ivan Marychev opened the program by enumerating the complicated interethnic and interreligious issues in the Khabarovsk region of Russia. Konstantin Krylov, UPF-Russia Secretary General, gave the keynote address highlighting UPF's philosophical bases and current peace initiatives relating to the Russian Far East.

The program is the first in a series of regular meetings of the Russian Far East Ambassadors for Peace. In the course of events in the Far East, UPF representatives held meetings with Raisa Tselobanova, a Deputy with the Khabarovsk Regional Legislative Assembly; Prof. Galina Goncharova, Deputy President of the Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law; and Elena Tarasenko, head of the International Department at the State Technological University of Komsomolsk-on-the-Amur.

UPF congratulates Dr. Tatyana Vaganova, President of the Far Eastern Institute of International Relations. In the course of the events she was appointed an Ambassador for Peace.

Ryazan - A regular meeting of Ambassadors for Peace took place on the UN Day, October 24, in Ryazan. Among the participants were experienced Ambassadors for Peace and those who will receive appointments in the near future.

The meeting was opened by the video “Ambassadors for Peace Movement in Russia” about the activities of the Universal Peace Federation.

At the meeting, the tradition of sharing their work experience with each other was established by Ambassadors for Peace. This time, Ambassador for Peace, chair of the Ryazan regional chapter of the All-Russia grassroots organization “Tajik Working Migrants,” Azim Akbarovich Makhsumov, reported about the results of his activity and shared his thoughts about the situations of working migrants. He especially emphasized that the media are not always impartial in considering and highlighting the problems.

Larisa Petrovna Shmakova, chairperson of the Ryazan regional grassroots association “Teachers for Spirituality and Morality,” UPF's representative in Ryazan, spoke about the need for tolerance in human relationships. “Peace begins within myself," she said. "We can change the environment only when we change our internal self and make our families strong. Clashes and conflicts should be solved peacefully.”

In conclusion, the participants were informed about UPF's plans for the near future; they expressed a desire to join the "Hour of Running” activity in November this year and also participate in activities on the UN Day of Tolerance.

St. Petersburg - A seminar on “The realm of family values and traditions” related to UN Day took place in St. Petersburg on October 23. Eco-sociologist Irina Viktorovna Kazantseva, who has a Ph.D. in biological sciences and is an associate professor of preschool and primary education at the Post-graduate Pedagogical Education Academy, gave a series of lectures.

The seminar started with welcoming words by UPF representative Tatyana Pigasova, who talked about the history and meaning of UN Day. Then, Ambassador for Peace A.A. Davydova took the floor. She spoke about the importance of family values in our society and mentioned that such events should be held as often as possible and involve many more families. Among the participants there were young couples who wished to create happy, stable families and were looking for new information.

The comments of the participants proved that they learned many new things, among them: our daily actions should be impregnated with joy, because only through parents’ emotions can children understand the things that their parents value and inherit from them; only the family can educate children and give them the love that guards and protects them throughout life. Very important and urgent issues were discussed during the seminar. Participants expressed their gratitude and desire to continue communication on the same level in the future.

Yekaterinburg - A role-playing game on the theme of “Five Principles of Peace” was held in the Belinsky Library of Yekaterinburg on October 21. Among the participants were people of different ages who discussed issues related to establishing world peace. The game took place in connection with UN Day. The event was initiated by Vyacheslav Ryvyakov, member of Youth Election Committee of Sverdlovsk Region, and Evgeny Skvortsov, designer of the game and expert from the UPF-Urals chapter.

The head of the Literature in Foreign Languages Department, Danilova Vera Alexandrovna, offered the premises for the event and participated in the discussion. An exhibit of materials about the UN prepared by the librarians of the department was a substantial complement to the meeting.

Sixty-six years have passed since the establishment of the UN. Its involvement in solving global problems of humankind is growing each year. Numerous peacemaking and humanitarian programs have been initiated in many nations of the world. Still the number of conflicts in the world, both small and large, is increasing. The principal question of how to establish world peace remains unsolved.

It is well known that in the UN, all decisions are made by representatives of the member governments and only five of them are permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto rights. Grassroots organizations can only be in a consultative position, if they they possess the proper status. Religions are not represented at the UN, which strives to remain a “sterile,” secular institution despite the fact that many conflicts are of a religious character. On the other hand, religions have historically been the source of moral values.

In 1972, Andrei Sakharov proposed to create a new UN Committee consisting of internationally-respected individuals; the only stipulation would be that the governments mentioned in its decisions should publicly consider its recommendations and give a public response. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI proposed that the UN and other international financial institutions be reformed so they can contribute to creating one world human family. For the past decade, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, founder of UPF, has been proposing the establishment of an interreligious and intercultural assembly or council related to the UN, with membership consisting of major spiritual leaders and representatives of different spheres of religion, culture, and education. Members of this interreligious assembly should go beyond the interests of their separate religions and cultures and support the spiritual and moral values of all humankind. Only if the knowledge and experience of political leaders is joined with the wisdom of leaders with an interreligious perspective will humanity be able to find a way to true peace.

Considering the above, organizers of this role-playing game asked the participants to divide into three chambers (“politicians,” “religious leaders”, and “grassroots leaders”) and discuss five issues related to peace:

  • What idea can unite all people?
  • What is the value of human beings?
  • What is the model of relationships?
  • What is the best educational environment?
  • What are ways to establish peace among nations?

Discussions within and between groups were heated, and the atmosphere sometimes became strained. Some people tried to answer the questions as seriously as if the future of the world depended on it. In the final part of the meeting, the results of similar role-playing games held previously were presented to the participants together with the Five Principles of Peace of UPF Ambassadors for Peace. It is fascinating that people of different ages and in different times and circumstances have given very similar answers to the same five questions. This indicates that the answers could be applied to peacebuilding initiatives and youth education.

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