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Year-End Conference in Moscow Marks UN Human Solidarity Day

Moscow, Russia - On Dec. 18, 2010, the eve of the UN International Human Solidarity Day, the Universal Peace Federation held a related conference on the theme “The Role of NGOs in Establishing the Age of Universal Peace.” The program also promoted the World Week of Interreligious Harmony, the first week of February 2011, established recently by UN General Assembly resolution.

About 100 guests from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, representatives of NGOs in many spheres of activity, came together to evaluate successful projects in 2010 in Russia and abroad, make plans for the coming year, and discuss prospects for cooperation with governmental and non-governmental organizations. The conference was opened by the Secretary General of the UPF-Eurasia, Mr. Jacques Marion, who spoke about the UPF proposal for an interreligious council at the UN.

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The participants watched a film about the autobiography of Dr. Sun Myung Moon, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, that was recently published for the first time in Russia and in the Russian language. The book was introduced by Alexei Savelyev, president of UPF-Russia.

In the end of the main part, the organizers of the conference gave letters of commendation and certificates to new Ambassadors for Peace. A children's group performed a song for the participants. It should be noted that the first part of the program was broadcast directly through Internet and drew attention of our colleagues from other cities, allowing them to participate from a distance in the work of the conference. After the banquet they started working in sections.

The elder colleagues discussed various social projects and successful methods for carrying them out. Meanwhile, the youth activists who gathered together for round-table discussions were joined by 20 partners from the Urals and Siberia through the television space-bridge; meanwhile, the elder colleagues discussed various social projects and successful methods for carrying them out. The representative of Yekaterinburg, Natalya Yerofeeva, aroused great interest among the audience with her accounts of the Baikal Project, “City Helps the Village,” and activities promoting international dialogue. Also interesting was the speech of Tatyana Krasnosumova from St. Petersburg; she spoke about her "Christmas Star” project, which is part of the Baltic Dialogue Peace Initiative and recently took place in Finland. Seven hundred children from all regions of Russia and Moscow participated in this project. Dmitry Samko, the UPF Moscow coordinator of "Sports for Peace," described some of the sports programs and have generated a lot of interest.

Additional projects were described: The "Model UN" at the Russian State Humanitarian University, “Press-center of the Children’s Movement in the South-east Administrative District”; “Mister and Miss University” Pageant; “Elbrusoyd” Association of Karachai-Cherkess Youth; “Spring Week of Goodness”; “Bridging the Generations” with Great Patriotic War Veterans; relief projects in children’s homes; “Children’s business clubs” supporting children from troubled families; the “Sophia” foundation supporting elderly people; “Downside-up” for children with Down syndrome; “Young Leaders”; and “Petroglyphs.”

The following perspectives were considered throughout the discussions: networking, creating joint projects, and distance education in peacemaking and volunteerism.

During the second part of the conference, Mikhail Kalmatsky, a journalist and former active public figure, conducted a master class in public relations for the participants.

As the result of the round table, the participants decided to:

  • Work together on activities during the Spring Week of Goodness 2011.
  • Expand the Yekaterinburg project “Run Hour” to other parts of Russia.
  • Create an organizer's manual for the projects and distribute it to the regions of Russia.
  • Promote interaction and sharing of information among among non-governmental organizations.

It was highly important that Ambassadors for Peace, representatives of public and youth organizations, and guests of the conference from different regions of Russia and CIS countries could communicate with each other and establish contacts for future interchange and cooperation. The Ambassadors for Peace movement is steadily growing.

Note: Ildar Khanov, a well-known artist and cultural figure of Tatarstan, received an appointment as an Ambassador for Peace. He founded an Interreligious Peace Temple in Kazan. After receiving the Ambassador for Peace Certificate, Mr. Khanov remarked that he started building the Peace Temple in 1994. It was on April 12, the time of his night meditation, that Jesus Christ appeared before him and told him to erect this Temple, although the idea of it had come to him as far back as in 1959. Ildar Khanov said that the Temple is becoming a true cultural center. Various events take place within its walls. In the Buddhist part of the Temple, Mr. Khanov himself conducts yoga and tsigun (energetics) sessions; in the Catholic part, an organ has been installed as a gift from people of the Netherlands, and soon they will start a series of musical performances. There are also a number of rehabilitation groups for alcoholics and drug addicts that practice Mr. Khanov’s methods.

Translated from the Religious News Agency Credo.Ru:

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