CALENDAR OF EVENTS
South Asia Peace Initiative
Conference Opens New Level of Cooperation in Nepal
Written by Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Peace Education, UPF-Asia
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Kathmandu, Nepal - Cooperation between civil society and the government of Nepal broke new ground as the first-ever function organized by a non-government organization was held in the Parliament Secretariat Hall of the Singhadurbar government office building.
Mr. Ek Nath Dhakal, President of UPF-Nepal, emceed the January 16, 2008 "Parliamentarians for Peace" program, and began by thanking the Ex-MPs Club, which partnered with UPF to hold the conference.
During regular Parliament sessions, the House of Representatives in Nepal is officially chaired by both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Both the Speaker, Hon. Subas Chandra Nembang, and the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Chitralekha Yadav, were in attendance. There were also more than 120 Members of Parliament among the 200 participants
The Prime Minister of Nepal, Rt. Hon. Girija P. Koirala, said in a written message: "Our people have benefited from national and international conferences that foster dialogue at the highest levels of government."
UPF-Nepal has held six South Asia Peace Initiative Conferences that have brought together Monarchists, Maoists, and members of the Seven-Party Alliance to dialogue on issues and modalities of Nepal's on-going peace process. Elections are scheduled for April 10.
The Speaker of Parliament reminded everyone that the new government must be inclusive and its role was to deliver "reliable, down-to-earth services to the people." The Deputy Speaker noted that the peace process began moving forward when Nepal was included in UPF's Peace Tour on November 2005.
The Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, the Hon. Narendra Bikram Nembang, said that the model of good governance was uncomplicated. "Take the values of the family," he said, "and imprint them on society."
Dr. Christopher B.H. Kim, Chairman of UPF-Asia and one of twelve international guests, explained that UPF's model of good leadership was very practical since it applied to everyone—not just political leaders. "Each and every person is a leader in some way," he said. By living more for others than for ourselves, priorities are aligned correctly and peace and harmony be realized.
The president of the Ex-MPs Club and former Education Minister, Mr. Ram Hari Joshy, called the conference a dream come true. Nepal, he noted, was passing through a stage of peace, but to achieve lasting peace the root problems, which he identified as greed, selfishness, lust, and hatred, had to be addressed.
Following the session in the parliament, an International Leadership Conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu January 17 and 18 on the theme, "Toward a New Paradigm of Leadership and Good Governance for Peace in the 21st Century."
Former Indian Ambassador to Nepal K.V. Rajan said that good governance was not limited to political leaders; it applied to all levels of government as well as civil society. He went on to say that the goal of UPF is a world without boundaries where humankind becomes one global, spiritual family.
The conference gathered top-level government leaders, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Speaker of the House, a former Prime Minister, two former Speakers of the House, twenty-nine Members of Parliament, the Chairman of the Nepal Bar Association, two army generals, one former Chief of Police, an Inspector General of Police, three university presidents, one former ambassador, and international diplomats from India and Taiwan.
Equally impressive was the grassroots foundation at the ILC program. Among the 209 delegates attending the conference on leadership and good governance, there were representatives from all 75 districts of Nepal. Many delegates from outside the Kathmandu Valley expressed a desire to welcome such a program in their district.
After Nepal's Foreign Minister, Hon. Sahana Pradhan, inaugurated the conference, Dr. Julia Kim, Co-Chair of UPF-Asia, delivered the keynote speech outlining Dr. Moon's peacebuilding work and UPF's efforts to provide the UN with much-needed moral and spiritual values.
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, Secretary-General of UPF International, closed the program by declaring: "Nepal is a superpower." He explained that this was not in terms of military might, economic strength, or intellectual authority. Noting the warm reception UPF has always received here, he continued, "Nepal has something better and more important than all of these. Nepal is a superpower of peace and a superpower of moral character."
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Bangkok, Thailand—Thirty participants and staff from five nations attended a four-day Asian Leadership Conference in Bangkok in February.
Paris, France—“The Role of the Family in Education” was the theme of a forum attended by around 60 Ambassadors for Peace and guests.
Larnaca, Cyprus—Syrian leaders, scholars and journalists attended a UPF conference on “Syria: Opening Lines of Communication and Soft Power Approaches to Peace.”