Global Peace Festival Touches the Philippines
Rev. Michael W. Jenkins, President, UPF-USA|
December 16, 2007
"Because the social, ecological and moral problems we face are global in their implications, we must also 'globalize' our moral values and ethical standards." With these words, Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr., speaker of the House of Representatives in the Philippines, called the audience at the Global Peace Festival to live according to the Golden Rule, which can be found in the teachings of the world's great religions.
Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr., speaker of the House of Representatives in the Philippines
The festival culminated at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on December 12, when top performers and sports figures as well as high schools and their marching bands and cheering squads joined in for a parade, celebration, entertainment, and words of peace.
The event site was visited by the President of the Philippines, H.E. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. A special address was given by Mr. Martin Luther King III, in which he called on spiritual leaders to be thermostats and not thermometers so they take the lead and "set" the temperature for peace.
The remarks of Speaker de Venecia were carried on the editorial page of the Manila Bulletin, Manila's most popular daily newspaper.
The event culminated with the "One Family Under God" address by Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, which was received with great enthusiasm.
UPF-Philippines Secretary General Celestino Jose V. Navalta said one of the ways to achieve peace is by living for the sake of others. Peace is possible, he said, if people would always consider the welfare of their fellow men.
December 9th started at 6:00 AM with a beach clean-up of Manila Bay. Approximately 10,000 volunteers from 39 schools and universities in Manila and over 100 community groups joined the project. Dr. Christopher B.H. Kim, Regional Chairman of UPF-Asia, called upon the young people to protect and preserve the environment as a God-given gift.
The Hon. Alfredo S. Lim, Mayor of Manila, welcomed the young people, stating that civil society, people living nearby, and the government have shared responsibilities for maintaining the coastline. He was inspired to see the youth taking the lead in this effort. Mister and Miss University International 2007, Mr. Ho Jee Yuan and Miss Chanidaphar Sanguanpuak, also extended their warm greetings and encouragement to the volunteers.
A peace parade was scheduled and proceeded from Roxas Boulevard to the Quirino Grandstand. It was followed by a free concert by peace such as Pops Fernandez, Jay-R, Iya Villania, Manny Pacquiao, and other local artists.
The festival in the Philippines had broad sponsorship and support from NGOs, key Filipino elected officials, religious leaders and their organizations, and government agencies. UPF-Asia Secretary General Ursula McLackland explained that the Philippines was chosen as the venue for the launching of Global Peace Festival because its citizen love peace and uphold family values.
"The Philippine Global Peace Festival can be a model for the world," she said, "because it promotes the family as the foundation for peace. It is in the family when the values necessary for peacebuilding are learned. We think that peace begins within the individual and then extends to the family, the society, the nation, and the world."
Conferences were held concurrently throughout the week, including the International Leadership Conference, International Professors and Educators Conferences, Youth Power Assembly, and International Youth Leadership Conference. Preparations for the event included service activities, education, and partnerships with many mainstream Filipino leaders over the past year.
Setting the tone for the peace celebration, dialogues took place among stakeholders from different sectors of society interested in community peacebuilding. Campus and community service-learning immersion experiences were sponsored by the City of Manila, the Commission on Higher Education, the United Nations Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Society of National Service Training Program Educators and Implementers, Inc., the Philippine Teachers Association for the Research of Principles, Service for Peace-Philippines, Mister and Miss University International, and the Student Peacebuilding Corps.
The World Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles?Philippines held the College and University Students Assembly (CUSA) on December 12 at the Tent City, Manila Hotel, on the theme, "Building Peaceful Communities through Spreading the Culture of Service."
The name CUSA was derived from the local term, "Kusa," which means to initiate. It aims to create an alliance of conscientious and responsible student leaders around the country. Thus, each Collegiate Ambassador for Peace nominee had gone through a series of self-organized service projects including the Manila Bay Coastal Clean-up. The new Youth Ambassadors for Peace, Collegiate Ambassadors for Peace, and Student Ambassadors for Peace received their appointments directly from Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, Co-Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation International.
The Global Peace Festival focused on the family, interfaith dialogue, service, and youth leadership. It promoted moral character and good leadership among elected officials to achieve a culture of peace and reconciliation among people of all nations, faiths, and races based on true love and the heart of "living for the sake of others."
Religious leaders from the United States and dignitaries from throughout the Pacific Rim region attended. It was a tremendous beginning for this global movement for peace, which in 2008 will conduct festivals on six continents.
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