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2020 Africa-EUME International Leadership Conference—Executive Summary

Africa/Europe/Middle East—On September 11 to 13, 2020, UPF of Africa and UPF of Europe and the Middle East held an International Leadership Conference on the theme “Opportunity and Hope at a Time of Global Crisis: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”

The ILC 2020, commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Universal Peace Federation, was held concurrently online in three areas of the world: the Asia Pacific region; the North and South America region; and the Africa, Europe and Middle East region.

The ILC highlighted the work of seven UPF associations: International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD), International Media Association for Peace (IMAP), International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP), International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED), and International Association of First Ladies for Peace (IAFLP).

In the context of the dramatic rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is affecting geopolitics, the world economy and all levels of society, the ILC 2020 aimed at bringing forth lessons learned from the crisis and identifying opportunities based on UPF’s vision of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values, seeking new ways of envisioning our common life together.

Each webinar panel featured prominent speakers from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, and provided a unique occasion for exchanging views on the need and conditions for interregional cooperation. Speakers included former heads of state and government, presidents and members of parliament, religious leaders, media professionals, scholars, and business leaders. Thousands of participants from 90 nations registered at the ILC to follow the webinars.

Here is a summary of each session with a list of speakers. 

Friday, September 11 – 11:00 CET – Opening Session - Click here to read the report

All of the session videos for ILC2020 are now available at the following link:

The Opening Session, on the theme “The World in Crisis – New Horizons for Relations Between Africa and Europe,” began with a traditional Interfaith Prayer for Peace by a Christian leader from Nigeria and a Muslim leader from Syria.

The first keynote speaker, H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, the president of Nigeria (2010-2015), outlined some of the values manifested in Africa during this COVID-19 crisis: sacrifice, solidarity, capacity for organizing, creative solutions, identifying opportunities. The second keynote speaker, Dr. Werner Fasslabend, the minister of defense of Austria (1990-2000), spoke of the challenges posed by the demographic growth of Africa and the need for a new basis for cooperation between Africa and Europe, concentrating on economic growth, peace and stability, and governance on the basis of rule of law.

Dr. Thomas Walsh, chairman of UPF International, described the goal of the ILC 2020 as considering “how we might turn tragic circumstances into opportunities to correct some of our collective deformities and dysfunctions as humanity and build a better world, working together in a spirit of multilateral cooperation.”

The session concluded with excerpts from the speech given by UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon at the online Rally of Hope on August 9, 2020, in which she deplored rampant nationalism and selfishness in today’s world and emphasized the need to keep God at the center of the community, the family and society in order to solve problems.

Moderator: Jacques Marion, president, UPF Europe and the Middle East

Interfaith Invocation:

  • Bishop Mbayor Japheth Ndarchang, president, Arewa Pastors Forum for Peace, Nigeria
  • Asmaa Kftarou, Women’s Advisory Board, UN special envoy, Syria

Welcome Remarks:

  • Katsumi Otsuka, chair, UPF Europe and the Middle East
  • Katherine Rigney, chair, UPF Africa

Keynote Addresses:

  • E. Goodluck Jonathan, president (2010-2015) Nigeria
  • Werner Fasslabend, minister of defense (1990-2000), Austria

Chairman’s AddressDr. Thomas G. Walsh, chairman, UPF International

Founder’s Message: Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder, Universal Peace Federation

Friday, September 11 – 12:30 CET – Session II: Perspectives from Former Heads of State and Government - Click here to read the report

Session II was hosted by the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP) on the theme “A New Paradigm for International Relations in the Post-COVID Era.”

The former heads of state and government from Malta, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Kosovo described the political, economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic within nations and on the regional and interregional levels. They underlined the effect of the crisis on the outcome of the UN Sustainable Goals Agenda and the need for strengthening state capacity, social trust and solidarity to build up national resilience. They pointed to the role of the state as the main player on the national and international scenes, the geopolitical and economic confrontation caused by the crisis, and the need to adopt new ways of public management based on a new framework of international cooperation. They noted the lack of international solidarity shown during the crisis and emphasized the need for Africa and Europe to build a partnership as equals.

Moderator: Adama Doumbia, president, UPF Africa; coordinator, ISCP Africa


H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, president (2014-2019), Malta

H.E. Paul Mba, prime minister (2009-2012), Gabon

H.E. Albin Kurti, prime minister (2020), Kosovo

H.E. Luc-Adolphe Tiao, prime minister (2011-2014), Burkina Faso

Dr. Katherine Rigney, chair, UPF Africa

Friday, September 11 – 16:00 CET – Session III: Perspectives from Parliamentarians - Click here to read the report

Session III was hosted by the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) on the theme “Opportunity and Hope at a Time of Global Crisis: Africa, Continent of the Future.” The session was attended by three current presidents of parliaments (Niger, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Uganda) and by parliamentarians from Israel and Russia.

Speakers noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economies of Africa, and that concerted efforts were needed to fight it within the framework of equality and justice. It was stressed that Africa should fight for the prosperity of its people while observing democratic and social justice. African countries need to mobilize funding through a form of the Marshall Plan, and parliaments should play their oversight roles to see that resources are used effectively. Research and innovation need to be reviewed to address how vast resources found in Africa are used and to anticipate the emergence of future crises. The Russian and Israeli parliamentarians emphasized the need for world nations to empower Africa, where by 2050 a third of the world’s young people will live. Business through mutual partnership rather than charity is a priority, they said, and positive awareness about such opportunities needs to be enhanced.

ModeratorHeather Wokusch, author, educator, public speaker, Austria


H.E. Delfim Santiago das Neves, president of the National Assembly, São Tomé and Príncipe

Hon. Hilik Bar, former deputy speaker, the Knesset, Israel

H.E. Ousseini Tinni, president of the National Assembly, Niger

Hon. Gadzhimurad Omarov, member of the State Duma, Russia

Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Parliament, Uganda

Peter Haider, coordinator, IAPP Europe and the Middle East

Friday, September 11 – 17:30 CET – Session IV: Perspectives from Religious Leaders Click here to read the report

Session IV was hosted by the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) on the theme “The Spirit of Cooperation, the Way toward Peace.”

Emphasis was given to the need to bring the wisdom of all religions to the United Nations, where God, the “Origin of Peace,” is rarely mentioned. By religious leaders connecting and working together, the crisis of COVID-19 or any other crisis could be overcome more easily. Representing Islam, Christianity and Judaism, the session speakers reaffirmed the role that religious leaders need to play in uniting people and empowering them, instead of allowing their beliefs to divide them. They need to help communities embrace the Ubuntu spirit, which in African philosophy means “I am because we are.” A passionate call was made to recognize the role of women in religion and to accept women as equal in humanity and spirituality.

ModeratorRev. George Ogurie, Nigeria national president of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an organization that is affiliated with UPF; coordinator, IAPD Africa

Opening RemarksDr. Tageldin Hamad, vice president of UPF International and director of the UPF Office of UN Relations; IAPD international coordinator


Prophet Samuel Radebe, founder, the Revelation Church of God, South Africa

Rubab Mehdi, chair, International Imam Hussain Council, United Kingdom

Aboubacar Thierno Sow, an interreligious preacher and founder of a youth blog, Mali

Rabbi Kevin De-Carli, Center for Interreligious Studies and Interfaith Dialogue, Switzerland

Saturday, September 12 – 11:00 CET – Session V: UPF Anniversary Commemoration - Click here to read the report

Session V was a commemoration of UPF’s 15th anniversary with the theme “Our First 15 Years: UPF’s Contribution to Building a World of Peace.”

After a video outlining the history and vision of UPF, a presentation highlighted some of the events, starting in the early 1990s, that led up to UPF’s establishment in September 2005. It described the founders’ vision to support and renew the United Nations, their UPF inaugural tour around the world, and some of UPF’s worldwide activities that culminated in the Africa Summits in 2018 and 2019. “The UPF message is probably more needed now than 15 years ago,” testified an African Ambassador for Peace. An Albanian Ambassador for Peace described the development of UPF in his country, from the founders’ meeting with the president in 2005 to the 2019 Southeast Europe Peace Summit in Tirana. The session closed with an overview of the numerous peacebuilding activities that laid the foundation for each of UPF’s related associations.

ModeratorMarilyn Angelucci, secretary general, FFWPU Middle East

Video presentation


Dr. Paterne Zinsou, vice president, UPF Africa; coordinator, IAPP Africa

Ambassador Simeon Uwa, executive secretary, ISCP Africa, Nigeria

Hon. Gaqo Apostoli, former minister of transport, UPF chairman, Albania

David Fraser Harris, secretary general, UPF Middle East

Saturday, September 12 – 12:30 CET – Session VI: Perspectives from First Ladies and Women Leaders - Click here to read the report

Session VI was hosted by the International Association of First Ladies for Peace (IAFLP) on the theme “Toward a New Paradigm of Women’s Leadership and Cooperation in Response to Global Crises.”

“The time has come for the power of women to save the world.” After this reminder of the founders’ words, the speakers discussed how the pandemic was an opportunity to accelerate women’s empowerment, as seen by the positive role taken by women as teachers and providers for the community, and by the fact that countries run by women have strategically dealt better with the crisis. The role of women in peacebuilding was underlined, as well as the mission of IAFLP and Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an organization that is affiliated with UPF, as facilitators to support such a role. It is time, concluded one participant, to improve the visibility of women’s achievements and refute the idea that they are averse to holding certain professional positions. She urged participants to consider and proclaim this decade as “the decade of women’s empowerment.”

ModeratorMay Sacko Gaye, national TV news presenter, Côte d'Ivoire

Opening Remarks: Dr. Julia Moon, president, WFWP International


Vera Tembo Chiluba, first lady (1991-2001), Zambia, whose speech was read by her daughter

Dr. Nadia Al-Sakkaf, former minister of information; editor in chief of the Yemen Times, Yemen

Hon. Olga Bogomolets, member of Parliament (2014-2019), Ukraine

Hon. Driss Senda, advisor to the president of the Republic of Congo

Carolyn Handschin, vice president, Women’s Federation for World Peace International

Saturday, September 12 – 16:00 CET – Session VII: Perspectives from the Media - Click here to read the report

Session VII was hosted by the World Media Association for Peace (IMAP) on the theme “Assessing the Role of the News Media in the Global COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond.”

IMAP addresses the current crisis in media credibility, media standards and ethics, and provides professional development and networking opportunities to media practitioners around the world. The need for a new mindset to address current world affairs was emphasized, that is, to hold a comprehensive view beyond politics, economics, or military matters. Research on current media trends was presented, including the migration of readers from print to digital, the dwindling trust in the social media, and the importance of face-to-face journalism versus desktop journalism, concluding with the words: “Journalism helps to make life-or-death decisions in times of the pandemic. This is the time to invest in journalism and to sell it confidently.” Reports were given on the important role of media coverage during the pandemic in Africa. The role of the media as partners in initiatives promoting peace and social cohesion was underlined.

Moderator: Rita Payne, former Asia editor, BBC World News, president emeritus, Commonwealth Journalists Association, United Kingdom


Dr. Thomas McDevitt, chairman, The Washington Times

H.E. Dr. May Chidiac, former minister of state for administrative development, Lebanon

Aka Saye Lazare, president of the National Television and Radio Company, Côte d’Ivoire

Juan Señor, president, Innovation Media Consulting, United Kingdom

Mamadou Gaye, coordinator, IMAP Africa

Saturday, September 12 – 17:00 CET – Session VIII: Perspectives from Academicians - Click here to read the report

Session VIII was hosted by the International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP) on the theme “Breaking Down the Walls: Pursuing Interdependence in the Community for Peace.”

The session began with a reminder of the importance of the family as the seed for creating a culture based on interdependence. Some speakers spoke about the theme of interdependence in the context of the fight against the pandemic in their countries, describing the remarkable and successful efforts of Senegalese scientists and doctors in handling the pandemic, and the all-out mobilization of the faculty and students of Russia’s largest research medical school to fight the virus and to test vaccines. Other speakers focused on the role of education in promoting interdependence: the positive impact of online tools on the lives of Africa’s young people, breaking down walls and speeding up mutual prosperity, yet the need for moral education to prevent the Internet’s destructive effects. A vision of education was presented, empowering people for development, social integration, qualification, and personal satisfaction. The mission of academicians and scientists to support the global drive toward an interdependent global community was stressed, as well as the fact that interdependence results from human maturity and the practice of altruism.

ModeratorRev. Moruti Ledwaba, coordinator, IAAP Africa, South Africa

Opening RemarksDr. Sung-bae Jin, chairman, HJ Academy of Arts and Sciences, Korea


Professor Oumar Coumba Ndongo, professor of American Literature and Culture, Senegal

Dr. Olga Safonicheva, Institute of Clinical Medicine, First Moscow State Medical University, Russia

Dr. Simon Bedelo, lecturer at Keio University, Japan

Professor Dr. Carlos Poiares, vice rector, Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies, Portugal

Yoshihiro Yamazaki, liaison to Europe and the Middle East, Institute for Peace Policies, Japan

Sunday, September 13 – 16:00 CET – Session IX: Perspectives from Business Leaders - Click here to read the report


All of the session videos for ILC2020 are available at the following link:

Session IX was hosted by the International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED) on the theme “Creating Mutual Prosperity—the Essential Role of Private Enterprise and the Rule of Law to Rebuild Economies and Grow Employment.”


“Africa’s future depends on how the issue of women is addressed,” said the first speaker, stressing that public policies in Africa should support women’s businesses, which move the national economies, predominantly in the informal sector. A major African business leader said that the key ingredients of mutual prosperity are: peace, oneness, and shared values; rule of law; property rights; and income security. From Europe and the Middle East, presentations described the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and the need to find a balance between lockdowns and supporting economic and social life. It was also emphasized that the post-COVID era will require a new mindset, and that the private sector already has become more conscious of its social responsibility for bringing people together and contributing to better stability and prosperity.

Moderator: Dr. Lilian Lem Atanga, chair, Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Bamenda, Cameroon


Joseph Makamba Busha, founder and Group CEO, JM Busha Investment Group, Zimbabwe

Dr. Arben Malaj, former minister of economy and finance, Albania

Professor Fatou Sarr Sow, president, African Network for Support to Women's Entrepreneurship, Senegal

Dan Catarivas, chairman, Israel-EU Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Israel

Dr. Thomas McDevitt, chairman, The Washington Times, HJ Magnolia Global Foundation

Saturday, September 13 – 17:10 CET – Closing and Call to ActionClick here to read the report

At the end of the IAED session, the conference concluded with a message from Dr. Michael Balcomb, regional chair of FFPWU Europe and the Middle East, who spoke of the vision for UPF activities in the coming years. Then a draft resolution was read, compiled from reports gathered from each of the three regional ILCs. Projects to set up interregional working committees to develop each UPF association were introduced.

Dr Katsumi Otsuka and Dr. Katherine Rigney, the chairs of UPF Europe and the Middle East and UPF Africa, respectively, gave the final closing words.

Moderator: Maria Nazarova, president, UPF-Russia

Dr. Michael Balcomb, regional chair of FFWPU for Europe and the Middle East

Jacques Marion, president, UPF Europe and the Middle East

Dr. Katsumi Otsuka, chairman, UPF Europe and the Middle East

Dr. Katherine Rigney, chair, UPF Africa




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