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Presidents and Parliamentarians Address Latin America Summit

BRAZIL-2018-08-03-Presidents and Lawmakers Address Day Two of Summit

To read the reports of the previous and following day, please click here: Day 1Day 3

Para leer en español, haga clic aquí.

São Paulo, Brazil—The first full day of the 2018 Latin America Summit featured a number of prominent speakers from throughout South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Session I: Opening Plenary – Founder’s Address

Moderator: Dr. Neudir Simão Ferabolli, UPF regional secretary general for South America

Dr. Rosmary Corrêa, mayor of the Santana-Tucuruvi subprefecture of São Paulo, Brazil, spoke about the destruction of moral values, the collapse of family ethics and the escalation of religious and racial wars.

She also described her experience as an Ambassador for Peace and the important work that must be done. “Ambassadors for Peace lead people in all areas of life and are committed to the task of promoting reconciliation, overcoming barriers and building peace,” she said.

The mayor concluded with a Chinese proverb: “If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”

Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, chair of UPF International, spoke about challenges that need to be addressed and overcome, including “threats to our environment, especially climate change, which is having a major impact on food security and even forcing migration in some parts of the world.” He said that globalization has brought the world closer, but it also has “contributed to enormous economic inequalities and the feeling among large sectors of the world’s population that they have been ignored, forgotten or exploited.”

He concluded by highlighting some UPF initiatives, noting that “the work of UPF has prospered throughout the world, every corner of the world, not due merely to some administrative or marketing strategy, even though we try our best. At its core, UPF is guided and driven by a spiritual vision.”

Dr. Julio María Sanguinetti Coirolo, the president of Uruguay (1985-1990 and 1995-2000), in his introduction to UPF co-founder, recalled the work with Rev. Sun Myung Moon and highlighted UPF’s many activities in Latin America. Despite describing himself as an agnostic, he said he always has valued the important contributions that religious values bring to community life. “You have a cause to fight for. Continue this important work and continue to inspire hope,” he said.

Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the co-founder of the Universal Peace Federation, declared “heaven’s love for this continent.” There are countless problems on the continent, she said. Dr. Moon focused on issues concerning the environment. “The beautiful earth is now ailing,” she said, and as a result, many people are suffering the consequences.

Dr. Moon said that South America and North America were “given a special mission by God.” Describing South America as the “body” and North America as the “mind,” she declared that these two must unite together for growth and development to occur.

Dr. Moon spoke about the Africa Summit held in Senegal in January 2018 and announced that plans are under way for a second summit to be held before the end of the year in South Africa.

She highlighted the Peace Road initiative, an international highway that will circle the earth. Dr. Moon said there will be a groundbreaking ceremony in South Africa and that someday the road will allow people to travel by land between Asia, Europe and South America. It will be “a world of equality and common prosperity.” The highway also will help with the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, she said.

Dr. Moon lamented the fact that history has been heavily influenced by men, chauvinistically. “It is the mother who nurtures. Let us embrace the heart of the women. Now is the time for women to take the lead,” she declared. To conclude, she announced the launching of the HJ Magnolia Foundation to coordinate projects on the continent.

Session II: Peace and Development in Latin America

Moderator: Dr. Trevor Jones, president of UPF-Peru

H.E. Luis Federico Franco Gómez, the president of Paraguay (2012-2013), spoke about the existential conflicts that have occurred due to the loss of moral values or the relativization of them. “I want to see a world devoted to recovering the moral values, the values of the family and of a more human, more spiritual, less materialistic society,” he said. “A society focused on listening to the other and vindicating the values that unite us, rather than the differences.” He said we must find concrete ways to end the problems of global poverty and help the world’s poor, and he emphasized the challenge of building a moral standard for the new millennium.

The Rt. Hon. Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, the president of Trinidad and Tobago (2013-2018), praised the forum and its structure. “This forum allows us, representatives and experts of varied competencies, to meet, not to engage in problem-stating but rather in a type of solution-oriented dialogue aimed at deconstructing and mitigating the world’s afflictions. Implementable solutions must be devised and employed to augment the quality of life and ensure the sustenance of peace for ALL,” he said. These times call for “bold, courageous and transformative leadership that inspires and motivates,” he said. The former president called on the nations to align themselves with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are critical to the 2030 Development Agenda.

H.E. José Arnoldo Alemán Lacayo, the president of Nicaragua (1997-2002), expressed his gratitude to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for the opportunity to discuss issues that will “help us to give new and better lights to a generation that seeks to transform the unjust world in which we live.”

He denounced the “populism that has seized nations, dominated by socialist and messianic characters who believe themselves predestined by history to subjugate their peoples, in the name of the archaic and outdated socialism that inspired Marxism and the former Soviet Union.” Regimes such as Nicaragua and Venezuela “accede to power where they have become strong,” he said, “building cruel dictatorships based on the power of arms and state corruption.” He called on the leaders and nations to strengthen democracy with full freedoms, free elections, and economic growth that “eradicates poverty, raises the levels of education of societies, and realizes the hopes violated by messianic populists and dictators dressed as sheep.”

H.E. Jocelerme Privert, president of Haiti (2016-2017), expressed his concerns for the issues of peace and development. While peace is a universal value, which everyone must work for, development is more difficult to obtain, he said. Development can be understood best in its historical context, “through the interacting social forces and the political and cultural realities of a country.” He spoke about the history of instability in Latin America, including his own country of Haiti. President Privert praised the recent peace agreements between the government of Colombia and FARC, the oldest guerrilla movement on the continent. To conclude, he made the point that each country must find its own answers to peace and progress, but at some point, those answers must become global in nature.

Rt. Hon. Ramsewak Shankar, president of Suriname (1988-1990), spoke about his relationship with the UPF founders going back to 1995, when the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Moon visited Suriname. “It is good that we come together, not only as people of faith but more so as responsible global citizens of this beautiful planet Earth.” He praised the “tireless” work of the Moon family and UPF, “advocating the need to establish a peaceful world as one family under God.”

The president lent his support to the recent inaugurations of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD), and Youth and Students for Peace (YSP) on all continents. He concluded by quoting the words of Rev. Moon from 2005, when he called for the nations of the world to work for the sake of peace and human welfare “and to build God’s homeland and original hometown.”

Session III: Assembly of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) of Latin America

Moderator: Dr. Charles Yang, UPF regional president for Central America and the Caribbean

At the beginning of this session, Dr. Yang gave a presentation on the development of the IAPP in the region.

Hon. Dan Burton, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1983-2013), recalled that in the two years since he and Hon. Jose de Venecia Jr., the former speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, were invited to serve as co-chairs of IAPP, the association has made significant progress. It has been launched in over 80 countries with 3,000 incumbent members of parliament. When IAPP was launched in the United States in 2016, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon addressed members of the U.S. Congress. He said it is time to move on to the next stage of development, and he called on the participants to make a real difference in their nations as well as on the regional and global levels.

Hon. Luis Vásquez Villamor, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Bolivia (2001-2002), referred to the 1992 book by political scientist Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man. Professor Fukuyama posed a question: Is liberal democracy the final stage of humanity? Latin America has a long history of governmental changes, but still has not reached a level of democracy that affirms development and stability as permanent and unalterable, Hon. Vásquez Villamor said. He cited recent events in Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which are far from being considered democratic. He said that voting is not enough to consolidate a democratic system. There must be solid institutions and separation of powers, he said. “Democracy is the culture of life, not of death. It is the culture of tolerance, not of violence and repression.” He said that the goal of UPF and IAPP is to bring about democracy and that our strength “depends on the intrinsic values that have been cultivated in each citizen.”

Hon. Michael Carrington, speaker of the Barbados House of Assembly (2008-2018), spoke about his education as a Christian and 30 years as a lawyer. He described the challenges his nation faces. Barbados, a nation of cultural and religious diversity, faces delinquency, illegal drugs and unemployed young people. But despite these social dramas, he said he believes that with mutual cooperation and common effort, they can move forward. “We have shown that there can be unity in diversity. However, we have not been able to forge the kind of union that would bring a more meaningful development to the region,” he said. To conclude, he called for action: “We must guarantee our children that world peace will become a reality during our life.”

Hon. Jeannine Giraudy-McIntyre, president of the Senate of Saint Lucia, spoke about “The Role and Mission of Political Leaders for Peace.” Growing up on a small island with a population of 180,000 people, she described her role as “that of steward of the people. My mission is our development and welfare.” Political leadership has a dual process, she said: “It must exist both at the personal and the professional levels. Personal integrity and values guide professional behavior. Leadership is ineffective without a moral, spiritual or philosophical base.” She concluded by asking the audience to pray “for personal peace and the wisdom to construct political solutions that foster stability, prosperity and lasting peace.”

Hon. José Alberto Alfaro Jiménez, former president of the Legislative Assembly, Costa Rica (2016-2017), and president of IAPP for Central America, rrecalled the history of Costa Rica, which survived its own civil war. At the war’s end, the people decided to abolish the army and to spend the military budget on education and free healthcare.

Unfortunately, today there is once again social conflict, particularly with the neighbor nation of Nicaragua. Organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States have been involved but only after the problem reached a crisis level. He praised UPF and IAPP because they have understood that the answers lie with the family and that true models of education for children and young people must be based on principles and values. To create a culture of peace, he said, we must “be a single united bloc for the rest of the world, without borders that separate us, with our own mechanisms as a whole, to defend our economies, joint production and, above all, to achieve a lasting peace that allows us to grow in harmony, well-being and respect in the subcontinent.”

Hon. Norman Noel Quijano González, the president of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, expressed in his speech that the origins of a conflict can be very diverse and complex. “We live in an interconnected world with great technological advances, so an integrated approach is required to achieve peace,” he said.

He referred to the report of the World Summit 2017 that concluded with “the need for dialogue and cooperation as an intrinsic element to overcome the problems,” he said. “El Salvador has internal conflicts, but it also must deal with the problems and conflicts that extend from neighboring countries.” Specifically, he referred to uncontrolled refugees crossing the borders.

“Solving these conflicts will require not only the silencing of weapons, since immediately after that happens, we must move toward development, to the implementation of good governance policies that protect the human being, the environment and natural resources, as measures to make peace last,” he said. 

The session ended with questions and comments from the audience, which allowed the speakers to elaborate on their answers and to comment on their predecessors regarding conflictive situations that are experienced in some countries of South and Central America.

Session IV: UPF Areas of Work and Affiliated Organizations

Moderator: Rev. Remy Taupier, UPF regional secretary general for the Caribbean region

This session highlighted some of the initiatives developed by UPF together with other affiliated organizations.

Mr. Koji Matsuda, president of Youth and Students for Peace of Japan, gave a report about character education. Under the title “Marriage and Blessing,” Dr. Neudir Simão Ferabolli, UPF regional secretary general for South America, explained that central to the vision and mission of UPF are the healthy growth of children and youth and the protection of the family. Mrs. Moriko Hori, the president of Women’s Federation for World Peace Japan, spoke about WFWP activities.

A report on the Peace Road was presented by Dr. Kwang Seuk Song, president of UPF-Korea and the vice president of the World Foundation for the Road to Peace (Korea).

Lastly, a report about the media was given by Mr. Thomas McDevitt, chair of The Washington Times. Mr. McDevitt highlighted the efforts that the newspaper has made to “remain a beacon,” especially in these times when the media are so polarized. “The media should be the conscience of society,” he said.

During this session an introductory video about the Sunhak Peace Prize was presented. This important program was founded by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon to honor the legacy of her husband, the late Dr. Sun Myung Moon. It meets every two years  to recognize individuals and organizations that focus on the resolution of conflicts and social problems and the creation of a sustainable environment, under the slogan “Making a better world for future generations.”

Another video was about the Peace Road and its multiple objectives: enhanced understanding of peoples and cultures; peaceful resolution of conflicts; greater North-South and East-West cooperation; greater commitment of the international community to solve problems both local and global; peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula; and the installation of a fifth UN headquarters in Asia. The Peace Road hosts meetings and marches around the world—mostly by bicycle or on foot—with the slogan to “connect the world through peace” and “to realize the dream of a global family.”


To read about day 3 of the summit, click here.

To read about day 1 of the summit, click here.

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