The Words of the Walsh Family
Call for Increased Collaboration in Paraguay
Thomas G. Walsh
February 27, 2008
Secretary General, UPF
Calling people to become “transformers of their societies,” Neil Bush, the brother of US President George W. Bush, joined distinguished leaders at an International Leadership Conference February 27-29, 2008, at the Excelsior Hotel in Asuncion, Paraguay.
He spoke of a “culture of service” and a vision of uniting individuals and organizations to promote peace and the common good, calling service “an essential component of any complete life.”
This conference built on a similar conference held in Uruguay in January. Jose Maria Sanguinetti, the former Uruguayan president, addressed a special session held in the congress of Paraguay, underscoring the need for greater emphasis on education, inter-religious dialogue and the family. These themes were echoed by many speakers. Dr. Miguel Abdon Saguier, president of the Senate, also addressed the session.
The conference featured presentations from UPF’s peace-building curriculum. Topics included God’s Ideal for Peace, presented by Thomas Field, director of UPI for Latin America; Spirituality and Leadership by Jorge Guidenzoph, President of the Uruguayan National Conference on Leadership; the Cause and Origin of Conflicts, by Ricardo de Sena, Director of UPF’s Office of UN Relations; the Principles of Reconciliation, by Dr. Antonio Betancourt, director of UPF’s Office of Government Relations; and Character Education, by Lic. Jesus Gonzalez, President of the International Educational Foundation.
Participants working with the youth of their country were especially impressed by the presentations. Architect Julia Maciel, former Minister of Planning, commented, “I have always thought that by helping and educating the youth, we can build a great country. Now I know why this is true.” Dr. Alda Cardoso, Director of the Marco Aguayo Foundation against AIDS, said, “We have the same principles and ideals, and I will double my efforts on topics such as the morality of our country’s youth.”
Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, chairman of the International Leadership Conference, envisions a moral transformation in Paraguay that could yield a model for Latin America and promote increased friendship, cooperation, and trade throughout the hemisphere. He talked about his father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and his dream of building one family under God.
Lic. Hugo Britez, a sociologist, commented: “I was surprised to find such a broad, variable, and heterogeneous level of different segments of Paraguay's high society. This demonstrates that Dr. Moon’s message is inclusive and potentially useful especially on topics as tolerance and development.”
The International Leadership Conferences offer a comprehensive vision of peace-building involving the collaborative efforts of governments, faith-based organizations, religions, civil society, and the private sector.
“This is what Paraguay needed,” commented Engineer Oscar Ruben Salomón, Chairman of Paraguay’s House of Representatives. “I commit myself to support the Federation’s projects from my position and as a common citizen.” Congressman Sebastián Acha, from the Patria Querida Party, said “I commit myself to continue supporting you in all the subjects, especially the topic of character.”