The Words of the Tokuno Family
Kiev, Ukraine -- On October 20 and 24, two significant events were held in Kiev, Ukraine: the annual UPF conference commemorating Dr. Sun Myung Moon's 2005 visit to Ukraine and the 60th anniversary of the Ukrainian Peace Council, headed by the first president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk.
On October 20, 2005, Dr. Moon gave a speech in Ukraine as part of the UPF Inaugural World Tour. He was at that time welcomed by the first president of independent Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk.
As every year since, on October 20 Ambassadors for Peace gathered in Kiev to commemorate this occasion and participate in an award ceremony for new Ambassadors for Peace.
The theme of the event was "Building a World of Sustainable Peace." After an opening song by a talented performer, Ambassador for Peace and former Congressman Ivan Rizhnyak addressed the audience of 130 political leaders, scholars, and NGO leaders with welcoming remarks, expressing appreciation for Dr. Moon's achievements and his desire that Ukrainian Ambassadors for Peace follow his footsteps.
UPF-Eurasia chairman Eiji Tokuno then delivered the keynote message. He shared about Dr. Moon's extraordinary lifestyle of dedication, still working hard at 91 years old for the realization of his life goal. Describing Dr. Moon's recent visit to Africa at the invitation of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, an Ambassador for Peace himself, he urged the participants to emulate the UPF Founder's dedication and a make a substantial contribution to the ideal of creating One Family under God.
An excerpt of Dr. Moon's autobiography was read by Mrs. Nina Kurbatskaja, Head of the Kiev city organization "Woman Oboloni." It concerned Dr. Moon's idea of building a bridge of peace that would connect different countries and continents, and brought inspiration to all.
Awards were then distributed to UPF-Ukraine's active co-sponsors in 2011, and nine of them received Ambassador for Peace certificates.
The program ended with a rousing musical performance by a Ukrainian traditional band that uplifted everyone's spirits.
On October 24 the Ukrainian Peace Council, founded in 1951 by prominent representatives of the Ukrainian artistic and scientific intelligentsia, celebrated its 60th anniversary with a national-level gathering at Kiev's Ukraine House.
The event was attended by the UPC presidium members, regional representatives and collective members, government representatives, religious leaders (including the Ukrainian Orthodox Patriarch), diplomats, peace activists, and representatives of more than 30 Ukrainian and foreign NGOs with whom the Peace Council cooperates.
The Ukrainian Peace Council has been cooperating with UPF for more than ten years. In 2009, President Kravchuk also attended a UPF international conference in New York City.
UPF International President Dr. Thomas Walsh was invited to the celebration, as well UPF-Eurasia Chairman Eiji Tokuno and former UPF-Eurasia Secretary General Jack Corley.
The program began with a film depicting the Peace Council's activities, centering on its chairman Leonid Kravchuk and involving the participation of significant political figures in Ukraine and the world, such as UNDP representative Olivier Adam; UPC Presidium Advisory board members Borys Olyinik and Kostyantyn Sytnyk; Presidium member and plenipotentiary ambassador of Ukraine Yuriy Sherbak; plenipotentiary ambassador of Greece to Ukraine Georgious Georguntzos. Activities jointly held with UPF were also abundantly described.
Ukrainian President Yanukovich's congratulatory remarks were delivered by the head of Kiev City Hall, Alexander Popov, and followed by congratulations from leaders of Ukraine's Parliament, Ministry of International Affairs, and Ministry of Culture.
Then Dr. Thomas Walsh shared his congratulatory message, and together with UPF-Eurasia Chairman Eiji Tokuno offered a plaque and gift to the UPC leaders representing President Kravchuk (who unfortunately could not attend the event due to health reasons).
After a few messages from the diplomatic corps and other renowned social and political figures, the celebration continued with a solemn award ceremony. The Ukrainian Peace Council's "First Level Peace Order" awards, honoring "significant contribution to peacemaking" and "active public activity aimed at keeping peace and harmony in Ukraine and abroad," were presented to various Ukrainian political and religious figures such as Prime Minister M. Y. Azarov, Parliament Leader V. M. Litvin, Kiev Mayor O. P. Popov, Ukrainian Orthodox Patriarch Filaret, Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Patriarch Svyatoslav. The award was also offered to some international representatives such as Dr. Thomas Walsh.
"Second Level Peace Order" awards were presented to Ukrainian NGO representatives, including Mr. Jin Pal Chung, president of the International Relief Friendship Foundation-Ukraine, and M.V. Ilin, chairman of UPF-Ukraine.
An exhibition of historical photos decorated the large Ukraine House lobby. It included several photos depicting some of UPF-UPC joint programs, particularly the meeting between President Kravchuk and Dr. Moon in Kiev in 2005.
The morning before the anniversary celebration, the UPF delegation was invited to visit the Headquarters of the Kiev Football Federation. Its president Igor Kochetov had attended the February 2011 International Leadership Conference in Korea and was appointed an Ambassador for Peace together with his spouse. Introducing their Federation's activities to Dr. Walsh and the UPF delegation, he shared his enthusiasm about the UPF conference and how it convinced him to connect football with a vision for peace in Ukraine -- which is preparing to hold the Football Euro Cup in 2012. President Kochetov offered each member of the delegation a plaque and a medal that commemorates 100 years of football in Ukraine.