The Presiding Council is the governing body of the Universal Peace Federation. Members are elected for a period of two years. The Chairman of the UPF also serves as Chair of the Presiding Council.
The following comments made by Presiding Council members at recent conferences offer a number of insights into the fundamental mission of the UPF.
Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak
Remember, to build an Abel UN, each of us must become an Abel-like person, that is, a person who lives for the sake of others. This is not a life of “business as usual.” Each day we have to face the challenge of not only trying to change others, but of changing ourselves. I can never see others clearly if I myself have clouded vision, impaired selfishness, prejudice, lust, ignorance, greed, jealousy, or resentment. It is only when I come to a place of peace internally that I can see the world and others clearly, truthfully.
Let two principles guide us: First, live unselfishly. Second, seek reconciliation, seek harmony, and seek cooperation. When do we begin? Now, UPF cannot succeed if we only have a message. We must embody the message. The world not only wants to hear something different, it wants to see, feel, observe, and come to trust something different. It is up to us. This is why we are called as Ambassadors for Peace. This is why True Parents have taken up these speaking tours at the risk of their lives. For, in order for UPF to succeed, we must first become new people. We have to go beyond conventional dialectical, conflict-oriented thinking. We have to lead the world to an ethics of cooperation, reconciliation, and harmony.
- Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak,
Chairman, Universal Peace Federation
Chief Imam Sheikh Assane Cisse
We live in a world where more than a billion people are dying because of poverty. More than a billion people are suffering because of lack of water. Let's share what we have with the poor people, the needy people. You are not a true believer when you spend the night with a full stomach while your next-door neighbor is dying from hunger. I know that the world would be better if all the leaders of different religious would cooperate together to spread the message of their religion because, in short, every religion calls for man to do good things and to stop doing bad things. To make a long story short, all religions are calling for peace, all religions are calling for us to do good things, and all religions are calling for us to stop violence, to stop crime. We should live in peace and make peace and give peace.
- Chief Imam Sheikh Assane Cisse, President, African American Islamic Institute, Senegal
Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr.
I believe that God in his goodness, his infinite wisdom, and his mysterious way will someday renew all our minds and hearts and bring together Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Confucianists, and Buddhists. Jews, Christians, and Muslims are grandchildren of Abraham. We are all one human family. Peace can be achieved. I know it will be done. It is a question of time, humility, simplicity, and our willingness to reach out. It is a question of political will. If we are able to do this, then our planet will be a place of peace and happiness. We are beginning this process of getting together, working together, and uniting together among the leaders of civil society and religious groups. Eventually we will be united in the bosom of the great, grand planet earth. This is my mission for our country, for the world, and for our planet. Let us unite in this vision of peace.
- Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr., Speaker, House of Representatives, Philippines
H.E. Hamilton Green
The major difficulties facing us are the nature of interstate relationships and the standards for behavior by individual nation states. There is also the critical issue of a standard moral code that all nations, rich and poor, big and small, should subscribe to and respect without equivocation. The role of religion and caring people in this process is vital. How else can we secure integrity of our world through global peace and security? We need to replace arrogance with humility, intolerance with tolerance, and anger with understanding and patience. Most of all, we need to respect other nations and allow them to pursue their affairs and efforts without the boundaries of their history and culture. The only instrument for good governance is the grand architect of the universe, the one God, the living God. We must provide leadership and guidance to our people by working and walking along God's narrow and straight path. Providence produces leaders from time to time, men with a vision, men who can be the catalyst for change. If we can persuade governments and businesses that embracing inclusiveness and righteousness are qualities that should characterize their administrations, we can rest assured that peace will overtake all places and every corner of the globe.
- H.E. Hamilton Green, Former Prime Minister, Guyana
Dr. Hamdi Mohammad Murad
We, sons of Abraham, suffer and struggle as politics has hijacked our religions. We need to educate families to the awareness that we are all one family; rearrange school curricula so that children are no longer trained to think badly of the other; and elicit the help of NGOs, the media and centers of research in a widespread effort of education for peace.
- Dr. Hamdi Mohammad Murad, Jordanian Interfaith Co-Existence Research Center, Jordan
Hon. Larry Pressler
All of us desire very much to have a family, to be part of a family, to leave a legacy of some sort. Maybe it's not money but a legacy of virtue or honesty or love for one another. Basically people of all religions share this desire. A family-to-family "acquaintanceship" program might begin for a three-year experimental basis with another country, preferably a Muslim country. We could try the concept of a thousand families of different religions, communicating family-to-family by using correspondence and email. This way children around the world would learn that the values of family, parenting, and ideals as a family are international and that the same basic principles are held in the Muslim faith as in the Christian faith, as in the Jewish faith or as in the Hindu ideal, and so forth. Our civilization in the future will depend upon this sort of understanding.
- Hon. Larry Pressler, Former U.S. Senator, United States
H.E. Stanislaw Shushkevich
We can deepen our understanding of how to distill the best of globalization and at the same time to remove ourselves from its bad aspects, how to act in unison, how to avoid dividing society as a whole into "we" and "them," and how to usher in the process of subduing those roots of aggression within the human soul and steer clear of conflicts between all the various groups. In this new world, thanks to new technology, directly and without any help from governments, all kinds of criminality, narcotics, terrorism, pollution, disease, weapons, and also simply migrants are able to penetrate freely across any borders. With the support of governments and making use of the latest technologies, cannot mutual understanding pervade instead? Can we not carry out joint actions bringing health, prosperity and joy to all peoples? Our obligation is to enact this possibility as a concrete reality.
- H.E. Stanislaw Shushkevich, Former Chairman, Supreme Council, Belarus
Hon. Dr. Laxmi Mall Singhvi
Let us listen to the heartbeat of peace and let us make a mindful, soulful, and heartfelt commitment to the culture of peace and cooperation. Let the faiths of the world unite for the sake of the future of faith itself. Let our common creed of shared values impact and influence government through the catalyst of a new transforming ethic of the purity of heart, mind and soul; through an enlightened integrity of character; and through a culture of nonviolence, reciprocity and togetherness. Let the nations of the world be united, and let the United Nations and global diplomacy listen to the united and rancor-free voice of all the faiths. The faiths of the world, if united, have nothing to lose except their limitations and speech of faithlessness, which haunts humanity today. The radically innovative role of the culture of the heart, the discipline of the mind, and the stirring of the soul resonating with the inner voice alone can sustain the moral order. By promoting a global ethic, it can bridge all the divides that create hatreds, miseries, sufferings, rancor, alienation, distress and despair in the embattled universe of interreligious existence.
- Hon. Dr. Laxmi Mall Singhvi, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, India