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"You’re in the Right Place at the Right Time!" said Jim Rogers, American businessman: Toward World Summit 2020

KOREA-2019-08-15-International Leadership Conference - Toward World Summit 2020

Seoul, South Korea—More than 300 international participants and day guests from 60 nations met from August 15 to 18, 2019, to dialogue together, through plenary sessions and working groups, about ways to prepare for World Summit 2020.

The occasion was the International Leadership Conference (ILC), which is a series of conferences exploring the ongoing theme of “Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”

Sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, the ILC was held concurrently with an international conference hosted by the HJ Magnolia Foundation, a new umbrella organization for the worldwide business side of the Unification movement. In addition, delegates were invited to attend a special event to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the passing of UPF co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon.

Opening Banquet

At the Opening Banquet on August 15, welcoming remarks were given by Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, the chair of UPF International, and Hon. Lim Jong-seong, a member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea. Hon. Lim referenced the recent tension between South Korea and Japan and called for renewed collaboration and partnering.

President Sun Jin Moon, the international president of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) International, an organization that is affiliated with UPF, warmly welcomed everyone on behalf of her mother, UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and expressed the hope that this conference will be a “springboard for a victorious World Summit 2020 next February.”

After-dinner speakers included Hon. Yoshinori Ohno, Japanese minister of defense (2004-05), who noted that “the world is getting smaller and smaller due to increasing interdependence and development of new technologies in every field of our activities” and that “the core of international relations is cooperation and friendship between neighbors.”

Hon. Georgina de Venecia, a former member of the Philippine House of Representatives as well as a former president of the Association of Women Legislators, Philippine House of Representatives, congratulated Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for “promoting peace, reconciliation, unity, interfaith dialogue, the strengthening of marriage and family, and many other heart-warming initiatives in Asia and in the global community.” She recalled the kindness she and her husband received from the founders after the tragic death of their youngest daughter. Hon. de Venecia described her various activities as a member of Congress and the chair of the Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc., as well as the work on behalf of vulnerable sectors of society, especially bereaved families, the disabled, homeless children and the elderly.

H.E. Suos Yara, a member of the National Assembly of Cambodia and spokesperson for the Cambodian People’s Party, expressed gratitude to Hon. Jose de Venecia Jr., who is currently the co-chair of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP). Speaker de Venecia recently met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. The Prime Minister agreed to host UPF's Asia Pacific Summit 2019 on Nov. 19-20 in Phnom Penh. Hon. Suos Yara also publicly acknowledged Japan for sending a UN peacekeeping contingent to Cambodia in 1992.

Hon. John Doolittle, the North American chair of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), a UPF initiative, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1991-2009), gave a testimony about a recent experience attending the Africa Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, at which Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon delivered the keynote address. The summit participants attended a Family Festival in Soweto along with an estimated 100,000 people, centering on the leadership of Prophet Samuel Radebe, head of the Revelation Church of God, and affiliated church organizations.

Opening Plenary: Toward World Summit 2020 and the HJ Magnolia Foundation

The Opening Plenary on August 16 featured remarks from some of the leading figures involved in preparations for World Summit 2020 and included a reading of the Founder’s Address. In addition, plans were introduced to develop the International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED), which builds on the foundation of the HJ Magnolia Foundation, as an association of business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors.

Dr. Michael Jenkins, the president of UPF International and emcee for the plenary, welcomed the approximately 300 international and local guests. Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, the chair of UPF International, gave an overview of UPF’s mission and principles, which are based on universal values including peacebuilding through constructive dialogue and living for the sake of others.

H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, the president of Nigeria (2010-15), expressed gratitude to UPF for its efforts to promote peace and democracy in Africa. Earlier this year, President Jonathan was appointed by the founder as continental chair of the International Summit Council for Peace, a new initiative of UPF. “The dream of the ISCP is in tandem with my personal ideals and that of my foundation,” he said. “I am willing to engage African leaders and the rest of humanity to deepen the conversation that will bring about a more peaceful world.”

H.E. Jaime Paz Zamora, president of Bolivia (1989-1993), quoted German playwright Bertolt Brecht, who said, “There are men who fight one day and are good, others who fight one year and they’re better, and there are those who fight many years and are very good, but there are the ones who fight their whole lives—and those are the indispensable ones.” President Paz said that Father Moon can never be replaced, but “we must find ways to promote and carry on his legacy to the world.” He pointed to the recent encounter between Spanish and Russian fighter jets over the Baltic Sea and the potential for rapid conflict escalation. Conflicts must be resolved peacefully, he said, and UPF is well situated to play a role. “We need to be full of love. … That is the only way to answer conflict and suffering,” he said. “The first step is to change ourselves internally. Change ourselves, and we can change the world!”

Dr. Delfim Santiago das Neves, president of the National Assembly of São Tomé and Príncipe, reminded the assembly of the founder’s remarks at the inauguration of UPF in 2005 when Rev. Moon said all people should live and work together for peace. Dr. Neves noted that UPF has never shied away from sensitive issues—religious extremism, racism, terrorism, xenophobia, women’s rights, sexual violence, etc. He praised the work of UPF and its mission to build a world of sustainable peace in which everyone can live in freedom, harmony, cooperation and prosperity.

Hon. Matt Salmon, member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1995-2001, 2013-17), recalled his position as chair of the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and his time living in China with his missionary parents. He expressed confidence in the founders and “in their continually expanding efforts to bring diverse peoples together [and] absolutely affecting, in a good way, the direction of the world.”

Mr. James Rogers, the chair of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests Inc., Singapore, expressed his “astonishment” at the work and goals of UPF. “People have been talking about peace for thousands of years, but these people are really doing it!” He asserted optimism about the prospects for reunification of the Korean Peninsula and the role that UPF is playing. “For me, the Korean Peninsula and the 38th parallel will be the single most exciting place to be.” He said he believes the border will open soon. The two Koreas already have begun removing mines and withdrawing firearms and guard posts from the Demilitarized Zone. National and international companies are making plans to invest in the North. Mr. Rogers referenced a project to build a tunnel between Japan and Korea, and credited Reverend Moon for proposing the concept in 1981 as a way to promote harmony and stability in East Asia. Once the tunnel and international highway are built, it will be possible to drive from Tokyo through the Korean Peninsula to Paris and Berlin. “You’re in the right place at the right time!” he said.

The Founder’s Address was delivered by Dr. Young Ho Yun, the secretary general of FFWPU International. Mother Moon conveyed her love and God’s blessings to the participants and expressed her deep concern for humankind and the environment. She said, “National self-centeredness is preventing leaders from coming together for peace.” Mother Moon also said, “Only when we recognize God as our Parent, can we be one family. This has been the dream of Heavenly Parent since the beginning of time.”

After the speeches, there was a ceremony to sign an “Advisory Agreement” (memorandum of understanding) between UPF and James Rogers to foster sustainable development projects related to the new UPF project, to be called the International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED).

Session II: Introducing World Summit 2020: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values; and the Centenary of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

In Session II, Dr. Thomas Walsh gave an overview of the plans for World Summit 2020, which is scheduled to be held from February 3 to 7, 2020, in Seoul. The events will honor the centenary of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012) and will be UPF’s most ambitious undertaking, with several thousand leaders from diverse fields from throughout the world. Highlights will include:

World Assembly of the International Summit Council for Peace

World Assembly of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace

World Assembly of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development

Inauguration of the International Media Association for Peace

Inauguration of the International Association for Peace and Economic Development

Inauguration of the International Association of Academicians for Peace

The Fourth Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony

Session III: Introducing World Summit 2020: Regional Updates

This session featured updates from the UPF regions around the world, highlighting their major projects in 2019, their preparations for World Summit 2020, and their ongoing programs in 2020 and beyond. Dr. Tageldin Hamad, the vice president of UPF International, moderated the session.

Dr. Michael Jenkins summarized UPF’s work in North America. The focus of his report was the ongoing effort to invite prestigious guests to World Summit 2020, including former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, recently retired U.S. Senator (and President Pro Tempore) Orrin Hatch, and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Ongoing work of UPF-North America includes educational fora conducted by the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) and the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD), two UPF initiatives, and the organization of trilateral talks between the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Next to present was Professor Yeon Ah Moon, chair of UPF-Korea. The South Korean chapter of UPF continues to carry out two missions for the year 2019, she said: preparation for World Summit 2020, and continued work building the foundation for a unified Korea. In the political realm, she said, UPF-Korea is facilitating visits by South Korean parliamentarians to the United States and Japan, and is planning to hold two more Peace Road Forum symposia before the end of the year. IAPD is building a network of clergy leaders in anticipation of the inauguration of the Korean Clergy Leadership Conference on November 1. A new UPF initiative, International Association of Academics for Peace (IAAP) will be holding a series of academic seminars in September and October, and anticipates a total attendance of 1,600 academics. Educational efforts to promote the cause of peace and unification of the Korean Peninsula include an international martial arts festival and a series of Peace Road events on the theme “One Korea!”

Following Professor Moon, Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, the chair of UPF-Japan, reported on the Japanese chapter of IAPP, whose inauguration in November 2016 at the National Diet was attended by 63 current Diet members. Since its launching, IAPP has built a network of Japanese politicians: In 2017, eight Diet members took part in a fact-finding trip to the United States, where they attended talks with five Korean parliamentarians. Diet members were present at the April 2018 ILC in Vienna, Austria, as well as the August 2019 summit in São Paulo, Brazil. UPF-Japan’s Institute for Peace Policies (IPP), established in July 2011, continues to hold conferences and meetings on policy proposals relating to peacebuilding, security and family issues. IAPD-Japan, launched in December 2018, held the 19th Religion and Peace Camp with participants from South Korea and Taiwan as well as Japan. Mr. Kajikuri closed his report by stating UPF-Japan’s ambitious plan to invite 500 guests to World Summit 2020: at least one former prime minister, one former speaker, five former cabinet members, 10 current Diet members, 30 former Diet members, 180 local assembly members, and 270 other leaders.

Mr. Adama Doumbia, regional secretary general of UPF-Africa, outlined the plan to target four nations for particular focus: South Africa, Senegal, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Zimbabwe. Each of these four nations will hold a national summit, a Family Blessing Festival, and an inauguration of the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP). UPF has held or scheduled meetings with the heads of state of several African nations, including Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. President George Weah of Liberia has promised to attend World Summit 2020. Prophet Samuel Radebe hosted a World Peace Blessing ceremony in South Africa for 20,000 couples. On December 14, a World Peace Blessing program will be held at Senegal’s brand-new Dakar Arena, with 10,000 couples projected to participate.

Dr. Katsumi Otsuka, regional chair of UPF for Europe and the Middle East, a region that comprises 72 nations, presented next. IAPP has held inaugurations in more than 20 countries of the region, all at parliamentary buildings. In April 2019, a roundtable talk was held in Russia, in commemoration of Rev. Moon’s 1990 historic meeting with USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev. UPF has sponsored events commemorating the unification of East and West Germany, with the hope of a similar resolution for the division of Korea. UPF visited the headquarters of the World Council of Churches, the “Vatican of Protestantism,” and Drs. Walsh and Hamad visited the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Francis on July 1. In October of this year, UPF plans to hold a summit in Tirana, Albania, on peace issues in Southeast Europe.

After Dr. Otsuka was Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, the chair of UPF-Asia Pacific. The 2018 summit in Nepal hosted seven heads of state and government from the combined region with 2,000 participants from 45 nations. IAPP held a conference at the Parliament of Australia. UPF leaders met with the governments of Fiji and Laos. UPF-Asia Pacific has had direct meetings with diplomats from North Korea. The 2019 Asia Pacific Summit will be held on November 18 to 21 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A First Ladies’ Summit is proposed for Palau in December.

Finally, Dr. Charles S. Yang, the chair of UPF for Central America and Caribbean, presented on behalf of his region and UPF-South America. UPF has invited heads of state and parliamentarians from 13 nations in the Caribbean. Hon. Michel Temer, the former president of Brazil (2016-2018), will likely attend, Dr. Yang said, as well as Brazil’s current first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro. UPF is hoping that Mrs. Bolsonaro’s husband, President Jair Bolsonaro, will attend as well. Heads of state also have been invited from Paraguay, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru and Guatemala.

Session IV: Working Groups by Sector

  1. International Summit Council for Peace and International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace 
  2. International Media Association for Peace (IMAP)

To read more about the Session IV Working Groups, click here.

Session V: Anniversary Program in Honor of Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012)

On August 17, the participants traveled to the Cheongshim Peace World Center, about one hour east of Seoul, to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the passing of UPF co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon. The program, which was live-streamed to over 190 nations, included a commemorative address given by Sun Jin Moon, the founders’ daughter and the international president of FFWPU International, and a heartwarming letter from Mother Moon to her beloved late husband. H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, former president of Nigeria, gave a memorial address. Entertainment included performances by renowned tenor Paul Potts, soprano Seiko Lee and the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea. The ILC participants were deeply moved by the program and clapped warmly and cheered enthusiastically as the legacy of Father Moon was fondly remembered. Participants also had the opportunity to view an Exhibition of the Lifetime Achievements of Rev. and Dr. Moon, which was in the lobby of the Peace Center.

Session VI: Working Groups by Sector

  1. Interreligious Association for Peace and Development
  2. International Association of Academicians for Peace

To read more about the Session VI Working Groups, click here.

Session VII: Closing Session

At the closing session of ILC 2019, representatives from each session reported on the proceedings, giving all participants the opportunity to review and reflect on the conference and to articulate a call to action in preparation for World Summit 2020.

Dr. Thomas Selover, president of the Professors World Peace Academy, Korea and International, presented on behalf of the International Association of Academics for Peace. All the academics at the IAAP session expressed a deep affinity for one another and a sense of wonder at the intellectual diversity of those in attendance. The academics made a commitment “not only to improve our academic institutions but to expand the message of UPF wherever we go in our personal networks” and resolved to invite their senior colleagues to the 2020 World Summit.

Mr. Larry Moffitt, secretary general of UPF-USA, reported on the proceedings of the International Media Association for Peace (IMAP) session. The media landscape has changed drastically in the past few decades, with the proliferation of new media organizations contributing both to the democratization of the media and to their political polarization. Mr. Kosh Raj Koirala, an editor working for the Nepal Republic Ltd. News organization, remarked on the effect of the profit motive on the media: Catastrophic and sensational stories sell better, and news organizations often have war correspondents, but there is not yet such a thing as a “peace correspondent.” Finally, the media leaders discussed strategies to promote the World Summit 2020, so that it doesn’t become “a tree falling in an empty forest.”

Mr. Thomas McDevitt, the chair of The Washington Times and president of HJ Magnolia Foundation USA, presented highlights about the concurrently held international conference of the Magnolia Foundation, and the initiative to be inaugurated in February 2020 called the International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED). On the subject of peace on the Korean Peninsula, he agreed with the other business leaders that private investment in North Korea could play a pivotal role. An international network like IAED could be a boon for development and peace the world over, connecting capital, competency and expertise. Mr. McDevitt called on participants to consider what role they want IAED to serve and to involve their networks in order to make World Summit 2020 a springboard for development.

Mr. Robin Marsh, secretary general of UPF-UK, presented for the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD). To begin, he reiterated the need for all people to develop an understanding of universal values, and the importance of religion in the peacemaking process. Mr. Marsh went on to quote several of the session’s participants. Rev. Hjörtur Magni Jóhannsson of Iceland stressed that we must show true love for our Mother Earth. Archarya Srivatsa Goswami of India spoke of the need for dialogue; when dialogue can occur, core values quickly emerge. Mrs. Carolyn Handschin of Switzerland, the regional president of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) for Europe, expressed the value of women’s voices in religious and peacemaking conversations. The IAPD participants issued major calls to action: Each speaker who comes to the World Summit 2020 should issue a press release explaining what the summit is and why they feel called to attend. UPF should set up a website for youth interested in peace, including an essay contest. Winners of the contest could be invited to speak at the summit.

Mr. Mark Brann, director of international relations for UPF, spoke on the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP) and International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) meeting. Former President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan praised the founding of ISCP and expressed optimism in its ability to help the world—“join hands as one world family under God.” H.E. Jaime Paz Zamora of Bolivia stated that no institutions are strong enough to change the world, and that it’s up to individuals to cultivate the strength to do so. Hon. Hilik Bar of Israel emphasized the need for wide public interest in peace—peace ought to be “marketed” as an “affordable product,” he said. Hon. Hydajet Hyseni of Kosovo stressed the need for third parties to be actively involved in complex situations, such as the ethnic conflicts of the Balkan states. Dr. Dieter Schmidt, the regional president of FFWPU for Central Europe, made the point that nations and people spend money on war and drugs and other destructive things when they ought to spend their money constructively. Hon. Luis Yika, a member of Peru’s parliament, called for the establishment of a commemorative day of peace to be celebrated in all nations.

In closing, UPF International Chair Dr. Thomas Walsh stressed that although World Summit 2020 will be a major milestone, our focus is really on moving forward and continuing to grow the mission of UPF.

After dinner, reflections were given by Dr. Saemira Gjipali (Pino), the vice chair of UPF-Albania, and Hon. Robert Cutajar, a member of parliament in Malta. To add to the general good feeling of the conference, several gospel songs were offered by Rev. Selma Tristão, pastor, Religious Denomination Evangelica Hebrew, Brazil.

Dr. Gjipali (Pino) spoke about the “enemies of peace”—poverty, corruption, lack of proper education and health care, degradation of the environment, pollution, etc. She affirmed her support for preparing for World Summit 2020 by “achieving substantial results through the Southeast Europe Peace Summit, which will take place in this October in Tirana [Albania].”

Hon. Cutajar identified the root of the world’s ills—corruption, bad or poor governance and selfishness. “We are duty-bound to leave a much better world than the one we found,” he said. The main focus of his remarks dealt with the unchecked numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Europe: “This sea, which has been the cradle of world civilization since the first settlements in Jericho in 9000 B.C., is now more of a mass grave for African immigrants than anything else.”

Mark Brann, Peter Zoehrer, Robin Marsh, Gregory Stone and Aidan Walsh contributed to this report.

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