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ILC2022 Asia Pacific: Executive Summary

Asia Pacific-2022-04-30-ILC2022 Asia Pacific, April 30: Executive Summary

Asia Pacific—UPF-Asia Pacific convened a virtual International Leadership Conference (ILC) on the theme, “Contemporary Challenges to Peace and Global Order: The Search for Solutions,” on April 30, 2022. Each of the conference’s three sessions focused on one of UPF's core principles: universal values, interdependence and mutual prosperity. The overriding consensus was that international condemnation, even outrage, against military aggression was needed, healthy and justified.

Three former heads of state along with parliamentarians, civil society leaders, religious representatives and academicians were among the 18 speakers. The program, which was delivered in English with simultaneous translations in five languages, was attended by 950 people from 32 countries on Zoom and has been viewed an estimated 44,000 times on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms.

Session I focused on universal values and was attended by 238 participants on Zoom and has been viewed thousands of times on various social media platforms. The event was moderated by Mrs. Ursula McLackland, secretary general of UPF-Asia Pacific, and began with an interfaith invocation with prayers offered from four different faith traditions. Representing Buddhism was Dr. Phramaha Nopadol Punnasuddhako, senior vice dean of faculty of Buddhism at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyala University in Thailand; representing Christianity was Rev. Sonny Ramilo Tandaguen, archbishop of the American Orthodox Catholic Church in the Philippines; representing Hinduism was H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, president of Parmath Niketan Ashram in India; and representing Islam was Dr. H. Imam Addaruqutni, secretary general of the Indonesian Council of Mosques. The prayers were followed by a 17-minute video about UPF’s World Summit 2022, held in Seoul, Korea in February, which highlighted the speeches of many leaders from the Asia Pacific who spoke at the event.

Afterwards, five panellists shared their insights on the session theme. Mr. Masaichi Hori, regional president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU)-Asia Pacific 2, began by mentioning that his native country of Japan is now open to supporting international peace efforts in other countries, especially Ukraine. He further stated that making peace does not always involve a peaceful process and stressed the importance of universal values where all nations have the opportunity to work together to win from a situation of conflict. He concluded with a quote from UPF co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who said that the “best way to achieve peace is through true love and not war.” Hon. Parmanand Jha, vice president of Nepal (2008-2015), pointed out that we are in a situation of insurgency and need the powerful principle of “living for the sake of others” to achieve ultimate and lasting peace in our families, societies, nations and world. He urged everyone to become agents of change as “global peacemakers.” Hon. Ross Robertson, four-time deputy speaker of the House of Representatives and a member of parliament of New Zealand (1987-2014), outlined the contemporary challenges to peace and global order as poverty, disease, environmental degradation and violent conflict. He said that the world is crying out for visionary, inspired leadership at this critical juncture in history and that world leaders should actively encourage the maximum of their citizens based on the fulfilment of human responsibility. Amb. K.V. Rajan, permanent secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs of India (2000-2001), stressed that we cannot find a solution to conflict if we are judgmental of others and that we must help to alleviate the pain of others and resolve that war not be an option. Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, chairman of UPF-Asia Pacific, highlighted the Seoul Resolution 2022, which was signed at the World Summit 2022. He noted that the Asia Pacific region in particular has contributed greatly towards the vision of UPF’s founders for the peaceful reunification of North and South Korea.

Session II focused on interdependence and featured six panelists. It drew a total of 184 participants on Zoom and was broadcast on various social media platforms. Dr. Robert Kittel, co-chairman of UPF-Asia Pacific, served as the moderator.

Dr. Thomas G. Walshchairman of UPF International, commented that political and economic systems need to be rooted in moral and spiritual values to be most effective. H.E. Khuon Sudaryvice president of the National Assembly of Cambodia, stated that “we should never tolerate ‘might is right’ or the unilateral use of force and threat, which destabilizes world peace and the global order.” H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, president of Sri Lanka (2015-2019), gave a comprehensive analysis showing the horrific consequences of violent conflict. He went on to say that interdependence was the counterbalance to aggression. He expressed his belief that a unified call for peace was all-important and needed to respond to conflict. . H.E. Yousaf Raza Gillani, prime minister of Pakistan (2008-2012), remarked that the only outcome of conflict and violence is destruction. He urged all stakeholders to take a firm stance against aggression and violence everywhere. The solution, he said, is sincere dialogue. Prof. Sunaina Singhvice-chancellor of Nalanda University in India, emphasized that there is no other solution for us to move forward and secure peace and security, than mutual aid and a quest for co-existence. The final speaker, Prof. Bo Zhiyue, founder and president of Bo Zhiyue China Institute, presented a three-point proposal for restructuring the United Nations and sustainable peace: 1) no one, including permanent Security Council members, should have veto power, 2) aggressive leaders and their nations should be penalized and 3) countries that give up nuclear weapons should be supported and the nation-based nuclear club should be phased out eventually. Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, chairman of UPF- Asia Pacific, delivered the closing remarks. He expressed his appreciation for the speakers' insights and recommendations and emphasized that UPF can move forward mainly through collaboration with the United Nations and partnerships with government, society and faith-based organizations.

Session III focused on mutual prosperity and brought together six panelists: an academician, three parliamentarians and UPF leaders. The event was attended by 121 participants on Zoom and has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms. Mr. Gregory Stone, deputy secretary-general of UPF-Asia Pacific, served as the moderator.

The first to speak was Dr. Bernadette Pushpaangaeli, former associate dean for student life at the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences of Fiji National University. She stressed the need to reconsider research and development, industrial and economic progress, development, and trade agreements as part of foreign policy processes with a revised set of guidelines that focuses on mutual prosperity and fosters international peace and stability. Mr. Demian Dunkley, regional president of FFWPU-Asia Pacific 1, shared his experience and relayed how he views Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon as the “Mother of Peace.” He pointed out that while Dr. Moon grew up in a situation of war and turmoil, as she escaped from North Korea to South Korea, she related to Heaven with a desperate heart to eradicate suffering. He urged everyone to act, as Dr. Moon does, by creating a prepared environment and to solve fundamental problems together with Dr. Moon. Hon. Bhubaneswar Kalita, a member of parliament of India, shared his thoughts about the critical challenges in the world. He stressed the need for a great paradigm shift from “winner takes all” to an ideal family of peace and happiness where all members of the family practice the principles of mutual happiness, peace and progress for all. Hon. Kesavan Subramaniam, a member of parliament of Malaysia, cited three catastrophic events that have occurred in the span of less than three years: 1) climate change; 2) the global pandemic brought about by COVID-19, which has infected 500 million people and caused 6 million deaths; and 3) the Ukraine-Russia conflict. He spoke about the way in which the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) handles conflicts and said that it has been able to successfully evade armed conflict for more than half a century. The world is one family, he said, where people, regardless of cultural background, should unite as one extended family to manage and overcome global issues. Hon. David Clarke, a member of parliament of Australia (2003-2019) who is a long-time patron of UPF, praised the work of UPF and pointed out the essential building blocks of a peaceful world as 1) democracy, 2) human rights and the rule of law and 3) the preservation of religious freedom. Dr. Michael Jenkins, president of UPF International, expressed the need to engage North Korea in the peace process. He said that there must be respect between countries that have disagreements and that economic prosperity, although needed, cannot alone achieve world peace. Moreover, he spoke about the visit the UPF founders made to North Korea in 1991 and explained that Rev. and Mrs. Moon first purged themselves of any ill feelings and that this eventually led to a breakthrough. They became friends of Chairman Kim Il Sung and from that visit to this day, North Korea sends its good wishes to the UPF founders annually.

Dr. Venus Agustin, vice chair of UPF-Asia Pacific, closed the last session by extending his gratitude to all the speakers and participants and reading a beautiful excerpt from Dr. Moon’s memoir, “Mother of Peace.”

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