CALENDAR OF EVENTS
New Approaches to World Peace Discussed at Leadership Conference
Written by UPF-Europe
Sunday, June 29, 2008
About 70 guests from all over Europe gathered from June 27 - 29 to attend a European Leadership Conference in the Youth Hostel in Bad Homburg entitled, “New Approaches to World Peace.” It was an unusual mixture of young and old, of different nationalities and religious backgrounds. Belgian aristocracy sat side by side with a psychologist couple from Israel and a former ambassador from the Netherlands. A Protestant theologian also attended the seminar together with the National Chairman of the Society of the Mandaeans in Germany and various representatives of Islam from Finland, Norway, and Great Britain.
“After having spent this weekend together with so many different participants, I could realize that the UPF was trying to overcome any segregation caused by religion, ethnic differences, skin color, etc. I learned that we must first identify and defend our common values, especially during difficult times, that challenge our integrity and basic beliefs. If we could reflect upon our values, then we could be successful in our efforts,” said Hamdullah Mohib, a student of Computer Science at the Brunel University of Great Britain and President of the Afghanistan Student Organization.
Tim Miller, Vice-President of UPF-Europe, gave six PowerPoint presentations offering an overview of the “Founding Principles of the UPF,” “The Roots of Conflict,” and “New Approaches to Solving Conflicts” together with an overview of the “Life and Works of the Founder of the International UPF: Dr. Sun Myung Moon.”
Jean Pique and Mathew Huish, two students engaged in the youth activities of the UPF, presented some of their projects on Friday evening. Their activities reached from Cote d'Ivoire, where 30 volunteers worked on constructing a school, to Kosovo, where youths worked on the reconstruction of a bridge between an Albanian and Serbian district of the city of Mitrovica, and a joint American-European project in Israel and Palestine.
The highlight of the weekend was, without a doubt, the mini-conference organized in cooperation with the Family Federation on Saturday afternoon, with the topics: “Family and Society” and “A United Europe.” A further 30 guests joined us for this, coming mainly from the Frankfurt area. The guest speakers were the famous journalist and book author Juergen Liminski and Dr. Volker Pitz, an executive council member of the Family Party.
Liminski presented a wealth of information and statistics concerning: “Marriage in the Changing Face of Time,” “Marriage and Family as a Source of Cultural Wealth,” “Intimacy as Focal Point ,” and “The Christian Marriage.” According to Liminski, marriage and family make a greater contribution towards social stability than individualists and economists realize. “The heart has its own logic, that the intellect cannot understand,” he quoted the famous French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal.
According to Liminski, marriage and family are instrumental in accumulating cultural wealth, something not recognized by politicians. “Marriage is a special kind of life insurance. It creates a framework where not only emotions can flourish, but out of which stability for the whole community can grow.”
Dr. Pitz clarified at the beginning of his lecture that from an economic perspective, families do not want to receive alms but rather an equal treatment and a fair distribution of wealth. We should not tolerate an increase in national wealth on the one side, and at the same time a doubled increase in child poverty since the introduction of Harz IV. The distribution of national wealth at the moment is unjust and is at the expense of the families. Children will be considered a poverty risk, with fatal results for the demographic development of the whole country.
The Family Party therefore demands a secured basic income through child benefits for all, an increase in the tax-free allowance and their extended influence on the National Insurance payments and a Family-Splitting in the tax laws. Apart from this, the Federal Government should act according to the child care laws of the Federal Constitutional Court of January 19, 1999 and ensure a real freedom of choice between parental child-care and that of a stranger. Finally, the government should honor the educational contributions of the parents through a salary that requires National Insurance payments and is determined by the number and age of the children.
In the second part of the mini-conference, Baron Eduard Prisse complained about the weakness of Europe, as it is unable to unite and speak with one voice: “Many good ideas originate from Europe, but they are hard to implement because there are so many diverse opinions.” Prisse made clear to us that leading world powers, such as America, China or Russia were able to have greater influence and success in world politics because they were able to speak with one voice.
At the end of the conference, 15 guests were honored as Ambassadors for Peace, among them the above-mentioned Hamdullah Mohib and Prof. Dr. Quais Sadi.
After the event, about 30 of the guests participated in a tour of Bad Homburg Castle before finally making their way to the Frankfurt Airport.
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Larnaca, Cyprus—Syrian leaders, scholars and journalists attended a UPF conference on “Syria: Opening Lines of Communication and Soft Power Approaches to Peace.”
Dakar, Senegal—The visit of the UPF president for West Africa provided an opportunity for UPF leaders to meet with high-level Senegalese government officials.
Bangkok, Thailand—At an Asian Leadership Conference in December, educators, lawmakers and military leaders committed to promoting family values in their nations.