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ILC 2021’s Africa Opening Plenary Watched by Thousands

Africa—The Opening Plenary of the ILC2021 web conference held April 29 on the theme “Steps toward a Unified Korea” represented a meeting of UPF-Africa’s International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP) and included perspectives from current and former heads of state and government. 

The moderator, Mr. Adama Doumbia, Regional Coordinator of ISCP, gave an overview of the online program and reported that more than 2,000 people had preregistered for the ILC. The event was also carried on various national broadcasting companies in East and Central Africa with millions of viewers.

After an invocation by Sheikh Dr. Hassan Kinyua Omari of the University of Nairobi, Mrs. Katherine Rigney, Regional Chair of UPF-Africa, gave welcoming remarks on behalf of UPF’s co-founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. Mrs. Rigney explained that the co-founders, who were both born in North Korea, have dedicated their lives to promote reconciliation between North and South Korea. Thirty years ago, they made a visit to North Korea and met with then-president Kim Il-Sung to discuss peace prospects for reconciliation. This process and this communication have continued to this day with a deep relationship of trust and respect.

Opening remarks were given by H.E. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Chairman, ISCP Africa. The former president of Nigeria commended UPF for its continuous advocacy for sustainable peace in the world. This conference is a declarant call for the leaders of Korea and other world leaders to make more commitments in the efforts towards a peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula and, particularly, to take advantage of the opportunities in a post-Covid world.

Several videos were shown, including a brief introduction to the Korean War and a message from Dr. Moon spoken at a Rally of Hope earlier this year.

UPF International Chairman Dr. Thomas G. Walsh spoke about UPF’s global strategy and its core components. Dr. Walsh explained that the Korean Peninsula may seem distant to Africa, but that events there do have global implications. The Korean Peninsula and its division have been at the center of the Cold War from shortly after World War II to the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Korea is not just an isolated political challenge limited to North and South Korea. Each has its allies in a very complex geo-political puzzle. The area represents a flashpoint that could trigger a major global conflict. At the World Summit 2020 held in February last year and afterwards, Mother Moon has increasingly called attention to the need to bring the whole world together to address this critical issue on the Korean Peninsula. Beginning this year 2021 and 2022, UPF has a two-year set of goals to make as much impact as possible to move toward peace using Track II diplomacy. In just the first three months of this year, UPF has hosted more than 130 webinars with about 700 experts. ILC2021 will culminate on May 9 with the inauguration of Think Tank 2022, a global multisector network of experts from a wide range of fields.

Congratulatory messages were given by H.E. Paul Biyoghé, the former prime minister of Gabon, and H.E. Dr. Nevers Mumba, former vice president of Zambia. H.E. Mumba said the people of North and South Korea are one people who share a common heritage, a common culture, and common aspirations. After a seventy-year-long war and after three million fatalities as a result of this war of brother against brother, we stand solidly behind the vision of the True Parents to find a lasting solution to this breach. We will continue to support the multilateral efforts of the UPF in finding a peaceful solution to the Korean peninsula conflict, he concluded.

The keynote speaker for the Opening Plenary was H.E. Batoura Kane Niang, who serves as ambassador of the Senegalese Embassy in Brazzaville, the Republic of the Congo.

To close the prestigious event, Mr. Adama Doumbia thanked the speakers and reviewed the schedule for the nine plenary sessions. Each session featured top experts from the respective fields among UPF’s associations:

International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP)

International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP)

Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD)

International Association of First Ladies for Peace (IAFLP)

International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED)

International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP)

International Media Association for Peace (IMAP)

International Traditional Rulers Association for Peace and Prosperity (ITAPP)

International Association of Arts and Culture for Peace (IAACP)

Note: Apostle Kudakwashe Mukundi was present to offer an invocation but regrettably, due to technical difficulties, could not be heard.

The videos of each plenary session can be viewed by clicking on the following:

Opening Plenary: ISCP

Session Two: IAPP

Session Three: IAPD

Session Four: IAFLP

Session Five: IAED

Session Six: IAAP

Session Seven: IMAP

Session Eight: ITAPP

Session Nine: IAACP

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