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Peace Education

A Joyful Feast of Love at a Taipei Peace Conference

Taiwan was first known to the West as Ilha Formosa, or Beautiful Island. It is situated at the point where the Asian continental shelf meets the vast Pacific Ocean. Taiwan once created an “economic miracle” that aroused the admiration of the world, and now their 3C (consumer electronics, computer, communications) products are sold throughout the globe. Taiwan is the repository of true Chinese culture, a diversity of traditional folk customs, modern arts, and fantastic food, as well as the friendliest people who treasure democracy, freedom and peace in the world.

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The Asia-Pacific region has gradually become the new center of human civilization in the 21st century with its active economic and cultural development. On January 16-19, 2009, the Universal Peace Federation (UPF)-Taiwan chapter enthusiastically sponsored the “2009 Asia-Pacific International Leadership Conference” in the Grant Hotel in Taipei.

The theme of the conference was “Toward a New Paradigm of Leadership and Good Governance for Peace and Development in the Asia-Pacific.”

This was a very timely topic for the new government and the people of Taiwan. Sixty-six international guests from 15 countries, including 17 congressmen and members of parliament from six nations — Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan — were among the 450 guests attending this historical event.

H.E. Ma Ying-Jeou, President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) came to the opening plenary and gave an inspiring address in regard to the peace issue across the strait. He said, “In East Asia there are two flash points which threaten regional peace; one is the confrontation between North Korea and South Korea, and the second is the Taiwan strait, and we are so close to Taiwan strait. . . .” He also said that “Peace never comes easily; we have to work very hard to make peace. . . . We have to take out the flash points. This is an era where confrontation needs to be replaced by negotiation, and conflict replaced by reconciliation.”

President Ma continued on to say that this was the hallmark of his administration, emphasizing that “We are very determined to make peace.” Explaining that peace is a process, he further noted, “Certainly we hope in the future that we could gradually defuse the tensions across Taiwan strait by first building a relationship where we normalize our economic ties between the two sides. Then we will move from there to other parts of our relationship, for instance, in the international arena.”

At the end of his presidential address, President Ma was given an Ambassador for Peace award and asked to strike a gong — which he did with great gusto.

Hon. Wang Jin-Pyng, President of Legislative Yuan, also gave special remarks in the opening just before his departure to the United States for Barack Obama’s Inauguration ceremony. He gave credit for the work of UPF in Taiwan as well as the world in the perspective of bringing harmony and peace for the society and world. Other government officials speaking at the conference were Hon. Yung-Chuan Tseng, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly; Mr. Junq-Tzer Lin, the Mayor of HsinChu City (voted “best mayor” in Taiwan); Dr. Ching-Ji Wu, Deputy Mayor of Taipei City; Dr. David C. K. Wu, Vice Chairman of the NGO Affairs Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dr. Yeong-Kuang Ger, Member of the Control Yuan.

Twenty-two luminaries from the government, academia and the NGOs were invited as moderators and speakers in the conference. There were very stimulating interactions between speakers and audiences after the presentations in each session. In the closing session, following UPF-Asia regional chair Dr. Chung Sik Yong’s closing remarks, Ambassador for Peace certificates were awarded to many excellent individuals who came from all walks of life.

Another highlight of the conference was the closing banquet, which was hosted by the Legislative Yuan. The atmosphere really touched and delighted everyone. Hon. Yung-Chuan Tseng, Vice-President of the Legislative Yuan, gave goodwill messages recognizing that UPF’s work is aligned with Chinese traditional virtue and etiquette taught by Confucius. Ambassador for Peace certificates were also finally awarded to the delegates of the senior minister from Sri Lanka, as well as congressmen and governors from the Philippines, Nepal and Malaysia.

Hon. Dhan Raj Gurung, Member of Parliament of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal, shared with everyone that “Father Moon has told us the peace path already, so everybody should walk on the peace path of Father Moon.”

At the end of banquet, the Taiwan aboriginal dance group offered a joyful dance, inviting all delegates to join with them. Hand in hand, everyone sang the GPF theme song “One Family under God.” The spirit and atmosphere were remarkably uplifted at this time. We just felt that, regardless of race, nationality, religion and position, we are one family under God!

See also the report by Robert Kittel.

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