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ILC2021: Global Leaders Support a Unified Korea and Inauguration of Think Tank 2022

New York, NY—UPF held its second virtual International Leadership Conference from April 28 to May 1, 2021. ILC2021 had six distinct segments, organized by UPF’s regional offices in the Americas, Africa, the Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, Japan and Korea. The central theme of ILC2021 was “Toward Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”

Altogether, the online events featured about 60 sessions globally, with more than 400 leading Korea experts from around the world and viewership in the hundreds of thousands from more than 150 nations.

ILC2021 was coordinated by UPF’s primary associations to highlight the insights and capacities of experts from each of UPF’s primary associations: International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP: heads of state), International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP: parliamentarians), Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD: religious leaders), International Association of First Ladies for Peace (IAFLP: women leaders), International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP: academicians), International Association for Economic Development (IAED: business leaders), International Media Association for Peace (IMAP: media leaders), and International Association of Arts and Culture for Peace (IAACP: artists).

On May 8, a concluding Special Session of ILC2021 was convened with participant reflections, a call to action, and the signing of the resolution proposing the inauguration of Think Tank 2022, a virtual network of experts from all sectors and areas of expertise who are dedicated to exploring opportunities for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

UPF International Chairman Dr. Thomas Walsh, who was the program’s emcee, said: “There is no question in my mind but that through UPF’s associations, ILC2021 has put forward an exemplary model of conflict resolution and peacebuilding that is comprehensive, collaborative, innovative, and, most importantly, effective. This would not have been possible without the remarkable and steadfast leadership, encouragement and support of UPF’s co-founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. As I observe the fruits of her guiding vision and leadership, I am continually astounded and reminded why we rightly refer to her as ‘Mother of Peace.’”

After the opening invocation by Archbishop George A. Stallings, Jr. (Chair, IAPD-USA), Dr. Walsh applauded the “massive contribution made by each of UPF’s regional chairs and their teams of dedicated volunteers, along with the indispensable work of the international chairs and coordinators of UPF’s primary associations, including the great support of partners such as the Women’s Federation for World Peace International and the International Association of Youth and Students for Peace. Without everyone’s help, working together in unity, this initiative would not have flourished as it has.”

A specially prepared video about UPF and the highlights of the ILC2021 was presented (video at top), and then five distinguished speakers shared their reflections on ILC2021 and offered encouragement for the inauguration of Think Tank 2022.

H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, former president of Nigeria and chair of ISCP-Africa, expressed his gratitude to the founders and ILC participants for UPF’s many peace activities, and testified to the power of unity as the way to reduce regional tensions. (Link to video)

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, former prime minister of Canada, lauded the work of UPF. “I know of no other organization that works more effectively to promote peace and reconciliation.” He appreciated the timeliness of the proposal to launch Think Tank 2022 “as a comprehensive multi-stakeholder approach.”  In particular, he expressed hope that there may be some form of economic rapprochement that may help to diffuse the volatile political situation. (Link to video)

Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe, former prime minister of Sri Lanka, referred to society’s many complex issues. “These are not issues which can be resolved by armed conflict. UPF has shown us that the way to world peace is through a commitment to interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values.” He referenced Korea’s long history and values that are common to

both North and South, and said it is essential for Asia that this divided country be reunified.

Hon. Ichiro Aisawa, member of the Japanese Diet; and vice-chairman of the Japan–Korea Parliamentarians’ Association, expressed hope that a new perspective and an effective breakthrough will appear soon on the Korean Peninsula. He extolled UPF's vision and unrelenting efforts with Dr. Moon at its center. Hon. Aisawa welcomed the launch of Think Tank 2022 with activities from both the public and private sectors for the realization of the peaceful unification of the peninsula.

Pastor Paula White, spiritual advisor to former President Donald Trump, commended Mother Moon for her unwavering commitment to protect families and work for peace among the nations of the world. Pastor White appreciated the launch of Think Tank 2022 and the need for faith leaders to work closely with key people of influence to “promote the principles for God, reconciliation, cooperation and to seek a peaceful end to the 70-year conflict on the Korean Peninsula.”. (Link to video)

Hon. Dan Burton, member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years and co-chair of IAPP, introduced the call to action to launch “Think Tank 2022 for the Firm Establishment of a Heavenly Unified Korea,” to be presented at the Sixth Rally of Hope. Honorable Burton recalled the high cost of the Korean War: Nearly five million people died during the Korean War. Honorable Burton said, “This is something we never want to see again. The best way to do that, especially in that part of the world, is to work for the peaceful reunification of the peninsula.” He called on everyone to raise their right hands and commit to the resolution calling for an international alliance for a unified Korea.

Dr. Yun Young Ho, director general of FFWPU International and Mrs. Wonju McDevitt, chief of staff of the Secretariat of FFWPU International, representing the organizing committee of the Rally of Hope series, signed the resolution.

Dr. Walsh concluded the session with an invitation to everyone to attend the Sixth Rally of Hope, which will officially inaugurate Think Tank 2022. Click here to see entire closing session. Alternate link for the closing session here.

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