Right: Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the International Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation and International President of the Unification Church
Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the International Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), as well as the top leader of the Unification Church International, was the keynote speaker at the International Leadership Conference in Seoul Korea, according to the UPF website. Rev. Hyung Jin Moon told more than 150 diplomats, congressmen and women, former heads of state, academics, clerics and community leaders that God reveals himself in many ways, not only through the teachings of the world’s great religions but also through the mysteries and wonders of the natural world, and through the simple elegance of mathematical and physical laws. “We are all made in the image of God, whose nature it is to give and to love,” he said, “and we must strive to do the same,” Rev. Moon said.
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UPF held the International Leadership conference in Seoul to honor the first United Nations week of interfaith harmony. The program considered models of peaceful transitions to democracy, with a special emphasis on the often-neglected responsibilities of religious and spiritual leaders to defuse long-standing tensions between different ethnic and minority groups in the days and months following abrupt political change.
Following the opening plenary, the conference moved on to consider case studies and models of conflict resolution. Many among the diverse assembly of delegates were in a position to share first-hand reports of dramatic social changes from the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 right up to the demonstrations that began on January 25 in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Dr. Rouchy Saleh, professor from Tanta University (halfway between Cairo and Alexandria), was welcomed with warm applause when he successfully predicted a peaceful and rapid transition in his homeland.
“We have decided to be a free country,” he said, citing also evidence of new cooperation among people of different faiths in the quest for freedom: “They tried to create separation between the Copts and Muslims, but the Christians and Muslims are more united now than before.”
In all its leadership conferences, UPF aims to bring together people from former enemy nations to promote reconciliation and understanding. One emotional highlight of the conference came when Captain Vladimir Arsenkin, the first Soviet veteran of the Korean War to ever visit South Korea, recounted how he had been overwhelmed by the reception he had received in Seoul from the people who were once his and his nation’s enemies. “I am committed to spend the rest of my life supporting the UPF’s work for peace,” he said.
Other presenters on the topic of conflict resolution included Drs. Soewarto Moestadja, the Minister of Home Affairs, Suriname; Hon Damry Ouk from the Commission of Legislation & Justice, Cambodia; the Hon. Lloyd Sandiford, Ambassador of Barbados to China; and the Hon. Ahmet Gokjan Saricam, Member, Grand National Assembly, Turkey.
Some speakers referred to UFP’s proposal for an interreligious council at the UN, commenting on the insights they gained from the diverse speakers. One creative proposal was for a human security council. Prof. Akiko Yamanaka, a visiting professor at Cambridge University and former Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs in Japan, called attention to current discussions of human security and preventive diplomacy that seeks to establish relations of trust among nations. Mr. Takahiro Ninomiya, retired Major General of Japan’s Air Self Defense Force, spoke of Japan’s post-war “Peace Constitution” that restricts its military roles to conflict prevent, peacekeeping, and humanitarian support.
On February 8th, the ILC participants were guests of honor at the birthday celebrations of Rev. and Mrs. Moon, held at the Cheong Pyeong Peace Village in the mountains northeast of Seoul. Thanking the audience of more than 1000 for their well-wishes, Rev. Moon urged all present to remain optimistic about the cause of peace. “Never forget that you yourselves must be the embodiment of peace,” he said. Referring to a sermon he gave at the turn of the millennium on January 13, 2001, Dr. Moon again called for a fundamental commitment by the world’s leaders to the three basic principles of a strong personal and family ethics, including absolute fidelity in marriage; fairness and equity in interpersonal relationships, rejecting of all forms of political favoritism and nepotism; and finally full accountability and transparency with public money and public assets.
Courtesy of Dr. Michael Balcomb, UPF Director of Communications