CALENDAR OF EVENTS
First UPF World Assembly Held in Seoul
Written by Michael Balcomb, UPF International
Saturday, February 4, 2006
Seoul, Korea - With most of Seoul still celebrating the lunar New Year – the Year of the Fire Dog – 400 delegates of the Universal Peace Federation [UPF] from 135 nations met on February 1 for the global organization’s first annual assembly.
Towards the close of 2005, the Rev. & Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, founders of the UPF, took their vision of peace and reconciliation to over 100 cities in just 100 days, a whirlwind of public speaking and investment on a journey of over 80,000 miles that in some ways ends tomorrow, Feb 2nd, with a rally of 70,000 people at KINTEX just outside of Seoul.
The annual assembly is being conducted to review the results of the tour and to set the agenda for 2006.
The Hon. Min Ha Kim, former Minister of Unification, offered welcoming remarks:
“As a child, I longed for the dream of peace. As a student, I wondered who would be able to take the lead in that area. Today, I can say that I know who it is, and I am here to today to pray for the success of the Universal Peace Federation and to extend my deepest respect to the founder of the UPF and its work,” he said.
Hon. Min Ha Kim, former Minister of Unification, Republic of Korea
Sir James Mancham, Chair of the UPF Presiding Council
"9/11 changed forever our view of what peace means," said Kim. "Before then we thought in terms of peace between blocs of nations divided by ideology and politics. But today, the international community recognizes that religious and ethnic challenges to peace are an even bigger threat to peace. We hoped that the United Nations would be able to play a significant role in creating peace. But it really is true that most nations, especially the powerful ones are caught up in their own ideas and agendas.
"Peace is not something that is just given to us. It has to be worked for. And how do we work for it? My hope is that the leaders and Ambassadors for Peace will take the opportunity to create a strong network that can bring new leadership to the cause of peace. I have long been impressed by the many efforts of the Rev. Moon for world peace. I know that he has always been concerned with the ‘have-nots’ of our world, including feeding the hungry, providing medicine for the sick and training young people to be responsible for their future."
Sir James Mancham, Chair of the UPF Presiding Council thanked the Hon. Min Ha Kim and spoke in response:
“We have worked on the fallacious belief that one nation can gain at the expense of others,” says Mancham, chair of the UPF Presiding Council, “but of course this belief can lead only to division, more conflict and the rise of dictatorship. At the end of the cold war, the world missed a good chance to make a completely new start. I am convinced that the Universal Peace Federation is another chance, another opportunity to make a fresh beginning.
"Of course, I am under no illusions about how far we have to go. I looked at today’s International Herald Tribune this morning in the hope that it would have something to say about the launching of the UPF. But it was not to be. Instead the lead stories are on the threatened elections in Nepal, the continuing separation between Taiwan and the Peoples’ Republic of China and the rather insular focus of the United States as expressed in President Bush’s State of the Union address.
"But even all this troubling news is still only a partial picture of the world as it is. In the light of all these challenges, the Universal Peace Federation is needed more than ever. Your wise advice and commitment to the cause, your collective resolve to move forward and pass from words to action is the first step in the tough journey ahead. The journey may be tough, but when I see all of you here ready to join it, I know at least that it will not be lonely."
- After the opening plenary, the assembly broke up into smaller working sessions to address the key interests of UPF:
Additional working sessions covered the four main project areas of UPF:
The undoubted highlight of the two day conference was the First Global Rally held at the KINTEX exhibition hall in Ilsan City in Seoul's Northern suburbs. Tens of thousands of enthusiastic Korean citizens joined the 300 international delegates from the UPF for an afternoon of declaration and affirmation of the Federation's goals for 2006.
Traveling to Ilsan from the center of Seoul, one is gradually reminded that Korea is still a land in a state of ceasefire, not of peace. Just one example: on the drive out from the city, razor-wire starts to appear along the Han riverbanks and camouflaged troops and equipment can be seen discreetly placed along the road. Indeed, KINTEX is barely 20 miles from the border at Imjingak, barely a half an hour by tank when North Korean forces rolled in 1950.
UPF Founder Dr. Sun Myung Moon gave one more reprise of the inaugural address which he delivered throughout the world on last year's inaugural world tour, "God's Ideal Family is the Model of World Peace." Encouraged by a noisy crowd, he urged all present to make 2006 the year for a new commitment to peace.
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