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Session VI: Working Groups by Sector

KOREA-2019-08-18-Session VI: Working Groups by Sector

Session VI: Working Groups by Sector

  1. Interreligious Association for Peace and Development

Mr. David Fraser Harris, regional secretary general of UPF for the Middle East and North Africa, served as moderator, and Mr. Robin Marsh, secretary general, UPF-United Kingdom, was the rapporteur.

In his opening statement, Archbishop George A. Stallings Jr., the chair of IAPD-USA, explained: “As religious leaders, we speak a language that others do not understand. However, there are 7.7 billion people in the world, and 80 percent of them describe themselves as religious.” He continued: “This is a topic that people feel passionate about, even though it does not have a scientific basis. We feel called and chosen by a Creator, despite our failings. Religion gives us an indication of what that calling is. Religion is the tie that binds us back to God. But how have we allowed religions to separate from each other? How can we dialogue with each other without knowing each other’s faith? There are more similarities than differences. If we as religious leaders had not failed as authenticators of religion, there would be more support for religion.” He said that “interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal shared values should be researched according to each of the holy scriptures.”

Acharya Srivasta Goswami, the head priest of Sri Radharamana Temple, India, also emphasized the need for dialogue. Where dialogue on core values is undergone, everything blooms and explodes in growth. This will open the doors of heaven on earth, he said.

Religion’s importance in the decision-making process was highlighted by Dr. Tageldin Hamad through his experience as director of UPF’s office at the United Nations. Religion in the UN was ignored and there was hostility to its inclusion, he said, but when the pope came, everyone wanted to hear. If we influence the UN by bringing the word of God, we will see great changes, he said.

Dr. Michael Jenkins, president of UPF International, emphasized the role of religious leaders in building peace. He quoted a statement made by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon at the February 1999 launch of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), the predecessor to UPF: “A religious council or United Nations senate could be established, (including) leaders in those fields of society pertaining more to the heart—for example, culture and education. As a body representing a global perspective, this religious council would have to address the interests of all peoples, transcendent of regions or nations. The political wisdom of the world’s leaders could thus be effectively complemented by the wisdom and vision of the world’s most prominent religious leaders.” Dr. Jenkins emphasized: “We cannot have peace without religious leaders being in the center with political leaders.” He said he sees the IAPD as launching a similar momentum to the famous “I Have a Dream” speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Jenkins encouraged all the participants to join the newly formed Spirituality and Justice Initiative of the Coalition of Faith-Based Organizations. The purpose is to identify the mutually reinforcing principles taught by religions that can assist in crime prevention—for example, empathy (“the Golden Rule”), social justice, ethical education and good governance. A document will be presented on Nov. 13, 2019, at an interfaith service at the historic Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the city where the original UN Charter was signed in 1945. It later will be presented at the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, to be convened in Kyoto, Japan, in April 2020.  

Rev. Yoshio Kawakami, professor emeritus, Tezukayama Gakuin University, Japan, praised UPF as a forum that enables many people from all backgrounds to come together and discuss. He said that this should be expanded and that we must show the importance of our religious values.

Rev. Dr. Luonne Rouse, national co-chair of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), another organization that is affiliated with UPF, emphasized that “in respect to the only begotten daughter and True Mother of world peace, we are blessed to be a part of a movement of reconciliation and peace.” He said, “We must pray together. We must pray in whatever form that is needed. We must take ownership, because we are called and chosen.” We must “join together, work together and teach principles that lead us to love,” he said, adding, “Let us reach out to religious leaders all around the world to join together to build peace.”

A key theme in the discussions centered on the family. Rev. Cerge Changa, a minister with Partners in Mission, Zambia, emphasized the common value of the family as the link found in all religions. He called for a renewal of the family, because it has become broken in society. He asked, “What is our responsibility when homosexuality is breaking up the family?” Several of the group’s reporters also emphasized the importance of the family to development and peace.

Climate change was a repeated theme. Rev. Hjörtur Magni Jóhannsson, the minister and director of Reykjavík Lutheran Free Church by the Pond, Iceland, commented: “We are full of love for our loving True Mother; we also need to be in love with Mother Earth. We owe her so that she can sustain humanity.” Others mentioned the need to emphasize the environment, including the issues of plastic pollution and climate change.

Youth involvement was called for by several of the working groups. It was mentioned that there will be no future if young people do not inherit and develop these efforts. Rabbi Kevin De-Carli said that in Geneva, Switzerland, it was the inclusion of a youth panel as part of a session held by UPF with Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an affiliated organization that really attracted UN officials. The participation of young people could be encouraged, for example, by a competition on a UPF website for the best essay relating to the development of peace. The prize could be a place on one of the World Summit sessions in February 2020.

There were several comments noting the lack of women speakers during the session and the program as a whole. The working groups also emphasized the role of communication to improve the visibility of World Summit 2020. Prominent speakers should be encouraged to issue press releases before coming and after their session to raise the profile of the events.

  1. International Association of Academicians for Peace

The moderator of this working group was Dr. Thomas Selover, the president of Professors World Peace Academy, Korea and international. The rapporteur for the session was Rev. Gregory Stone, secretary general, UPF-Oceania.

Dr. Sung Bae Jin, the chair of the Hyo Jeong Academy of Arts and Sciences, Korea, gave the opening remarks and explained that the upcoming Summit 2020 Academic Conference will involve 500 to 600 participants, including 10 Nobel laureates. In the opening session, the International Association of Academicians for Peace will be launched. Professor Jin proposed a database of international academicians interested in the field of peace and conflict studies.

Following the opening remarks, several distinguished participants shared their perspectives. Professor Antonio Stango, the president of the Italian Federation for Human Rights, spoke about the need to recognize that perceptions and interpretations of a nation’s history and historical events are affected by different factors, including culture, language and religion. We must learn from the past, he said, and work toward a common vision as well as a common past.

Professor Masahisa Hayashi, professor emeritus, Waseda University, Japan, noted that some religions are isolationist. “However, Reverend Moon was very involved in society in various ways: media, sports, martial arts, etc. He always expressed the view that scholars take an objective approach to an issue based on relevant facts, evidence and logic. The Professors World Peace Academy in Japan and its think tank, Institute of Peace Policy, are based on the vision of one family under God. They hold marriage- and family-strengthening programs in order to develop and sustain healthy relationships as the basis for a healthy community and, by extension, a healthy nation.”

Professor Crispus Makau Kiamba, a member of the faculty at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, proposed a partnership with the UN’s Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI). He also suggested identifying and collaborating with a coalition of like-minded individuals and organizations.

Hon. Hak-Kim Ng, secretary for education (2012-17), Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China, said that value- and character-building are more important than hard knowledge. Becoming a well-rounded individual is far more important than simply being book-smart, he said. If people could “stop and think and work with love, then we will be able to solve all conflicts,” he declared.

Dr. Sergey Dvoryanov, lecturer at the Department of Humanities and Socio-Political Sciences, Moscow State Technical University, Russia, spoke about the need to develop peace diplomacy. “We need the science of peace, which should include sociology and psychology,” he said. It would represent a comprehensive strategy and form a new multidisciplinary “science of peace,” he said, which would be dedicated to the memory of Rev. Moon.  He also proposed creating a publication about peace with contributions from diverse sources—rappers, astronauts, sports figures, artists, etc. Most fundamentally, Dr. Dvoryanov called for a new platform of the education of the heart. The family is the school of love and parents are the teachers, but science and technology can also be harnessed as a means to foster morals, values and ethics.

Ven. Professor Medagampitiye Wijithadhamma, head of the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, pointed out that the world faces many problems, especially in the areas of human security and peace. He said there are studies about peace but not peacebuilding. “We should introduce mind training—how can we change the mind of people? We should develop humanity in the people and between the people. Hatred and ignorance, etc., disturb peace. We have to organize a curriculum which addresses this. We have to teach correct understanding of religions and practice and promote the four main ideas in Buddhism: kindness, compassion, empathy and mental calmness.”

Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, professor of security studies, Georgetown University, United States, addressed the topic of values education and the procedure to transmit moral values through the education process. Value-neutral teaching is a myth, he said. “My role as a teacher at Georgetown is to educate and form the whole student—academically and morally, as well as to create a learning environment in which students can learn how to live a virtuous life in accordance with God’s principles and moral values.” Georgetown University is the first Catholic and Jesuit university founded in the United States (1789). He said the values of the Jesuit tradition are closely interrelated with the Unification principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universal values, especially living for the sake of others and peacebuilding through dialogue.

Recommendations for follow-up included:

Utilizing the media more effectively.

Promoting peacebuilding as a discipline and field of study, beginning as early as elementary school.

A proposal to have a peace library.

Encouraging interaction between politicians and academics.

Outreach to youth to become peace scientists and work to advance peace research.

Appeal to women scholars and colleagues in all disciplines—economics, natural science, social science, political science, formal science, mathematics, history, engineering, etc.

Strengthening educational studies by including the field of ethics and values.

Character education must include teaching about the heart, beginning with the principle that the home is a school of love.


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