In an era of tectonic shifts in opinion about trade, migration, policing borders and moral issues, the Universal Peace Federation promoted balanced discussions on these concerns during 2016-2018 under the umbrella of the International Leadership Conferences (ILC).
In hundreds of locations around the world, experts from government service and civil society met at conferences to explore the themes of “Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”
The ILC conference in Seoul on Feb. 12, 2016 — convened under the theme “Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: The Role of Governments, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organizations”— captured the attention of scholars and lawmakers on five continents.
Subsequent conclaves in more than two dozen locations, including the United Kingdom, Nepal, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Zambia and Japan, emphasized the idea that a religious consensus built across lines of faith and ethnicity can, indeed, nurture a moral consensus. Later that year, on Nov. 30, parliamentarians, opinion leaders and policy experts from 50 countries gathered at the U.S. Capitol.
UPF was established in 2005. According to the UPF website, the first ILC was held in 2007.
UPF’s lectures on “Principles of Peace and Nation-building Based on Family Values,” for example, drew rave reviews from lawmakers from several conflict-ravaged nations in Southeast Asia at a regional meeting in March 2017.
“I attended many international seminars before but never one like this. These teachings can help build better families and societies because they are logical and universal with the focus on nation-building and peace,” said Khlang Oudam, deputy director of the International Relations Department of the National Assembly of Cambodia. His sentiment was shared by many.
The topics of these gatherings go beyond the philosophical: At conferences in 2018 in Dakar, Senegal; Vienna, Austria; and Sao Paulo, Brazil, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon promoted infrastructure goals related to the “Peace Road,” or international highway, linking Asia, Europe and Africa that she and her husband had broached in Seoul in 1981.
ILC in Seoul
At the launch of ILC’s current programs in Seoul on Feb. 12, 2016, more than 340 international delegates from 60 nations, including more than 140 current parliamentarians, 13 government ministers and other leading figures in religion, media, academia, civil society and government, gathered at the Lotte Hotel World.
The event was co-sponsored by UPF, The Washington Times and the Segye Ilbo newspaper.
A major part of the conference was the inauguration of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), held on Feb. 15, 2016, at the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea in Seoul. https://www.upf.org/peace-and-security/international-association-of-parliamentarians-for-peace
Two years ahead of President Trump’s historic summit in Singapore with North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore, the ILC delegates participated in the launching of the Peace Road 2016 in support of the peaceful reunification of North and South Korea.
ILC in Kathmandu, Nepal
From the start of the ILC series, the level of interest among lawmakers was striking. The ILC in Kathmandu, Nepal, on July 28-31, 2016, welcomed the outgoing prime minister of Nepal and dignitaries from 29 nations. Among the 700 guests attending the ILC and the launching of the IAPP were 311 current members of parliament, cabinet ministers and heads of state or government from the Asian and Pacific regions.
ILC in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
West Africa’s branch of the IAPP was launched August 8-10, 2016, with the backing of the highest levels of government. The event took place in the “sacred” hall of Burkina Faso’s National Assembly. A total of 294 people gathered for this welcoming event, including 58 current members of parliament from Burkina Faso and 64 current members of parliament from 23 other West African nations. The ILC benefitted from the high patronage of Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabor.
ILC in London
The third of a series of regional conferences launching the IAPP took place Sept. 7-9, 2016, in London.
With the theme, “Interregional Dialogue Addressing Critical Challenges: Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa,” the ILC represented the official beginning of IAPP in these three regions. Thirty members of parliament from 15 nations attended the event and signed the proposal to establish an International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace in Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East.
ILC in San Jos, Costa Rica
The vice president of Costa Rica and dignitaries from Central America and the Caribbean attended the ILC in Costa Rica from Oct. 6-8, 2016. Among the 130 guests attending the conference — which established IAPP there — were a total of 78 parliamentarians and government officials from the region. Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacn attended the conference along with the president and vice president of the Legislative Assembly and the minister of foreign trade of Costa Rica.
ILC in Asuncion, Paraguay
Paraguay’s inauguration of the IAPP occurred during the ILC on Oct. 10-12, 2016, and drew 200 distinguished guests to an assembly at the National Congress of Paraguay in Asuncion. Respected speakers included Congresswoman Cynthia Elisabeth Tarrago Diaz and Rev. Shin Dong Mo, President of UPF South America.
ILC in Lusaka, Zambia
Lusaka Mayor Kalumba Wilson welcomed 300 distinguished guests to an ILC held on Nov. 5-7, 2016, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia. The Hon. Geoffrey Lungwangwa, a Parliamentarian, praised the inauguration of the IAPP Resolution, signed by the participants. The Hon. Victoria Kalima, who served as Minister of Gender in Zambia until her death in 2018, welcomed the assembly. A Peace Road Rally of cyclists was held at the same time.
ILC in Washington, D.C.
A concluding ILC happened Nov. 28-Dec. 1 in Washington, D.C.
Under the banner theme of “Achieving Global Cooperation on Peace, Security and Human Development,” this bipartisan conference gathered at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, two blocks from the White House and minutes from the U.S. Capitol.
Conference topics included: Principles and Best Practices in Leadership and Governance Securing Freedom of Conscience — a Universal Concern, Innovative Approaches to Global and Local Responses to Terrorism, Why Marriage and Family are Important for a Healthy and Stable Society; and Protecting Our Environment — Public and Private Sector Solutions, and Role of Media — Freedom and Responsibility of the Press.
At the final event of the conference, Mrs. Moon gave her message to the assembly in the Kennedy Senate Caucus Room of the U.S. Capitol.
“We have seen many distressing incidents in the world; incidents that are indescribable, beyond words,” Mrs. Moon said.
“The world has come to a point at which the power of humans cannot solve their problems. Then, what must we do?” she asked. “We must begin a movement in which our families, our nations and the world attend God, the original owner of the universe.
“As part of Heaven’s historical providence to send the returning Lord, Heaven especially chose this nation. Two hundred years after its founding, the United States was suffering from malaise that led to a period of extreme individualism and the breakdown of the family, problems with the youth and problems with drugs. I want to say this to all of you gathered here today: God originally had a dream to become the True Parent of humankind. Therefore, the ones that humankind absolutely needs today are the True Parents. Legislators and other leaders from around the world who have gathered here, I am saying that we must all become God’s true children. The one that shows you the right path to follow is the messiah.”
This article is based on materials from the Universal Peace Federation. For more information, please go to UPF.org.
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