The Words of the Tokuno Family
Moscow, Russia -- A year-end review conference of the Eurasian chapter of the Universal Peace Federation on "Solidarity as a Fundamental Value of Humankind in the 21st Century" related to the International Human Solidarity Day took place in Moscow on December 17. Among the participants were about 120 delegates from different regions of Russia (Moscow, Ural, Siberia, and the Far East) as well as Belarus, Ukraine, and Latvia. There were representatives of grassroots organizations, cultural and educational spheres. Participants in the conference shared experience in the fields of moral and family education as well as international and inter-religious relations. As is traditional at UPF conferences, a ceremony of presenting certificates to ten new Ambassadors for Peace was held in a solemn atmosphere.
Former ombudsman of the Russian Federation Professor Oleg Mironov emphasized the special importance of the Universal Peace Federation ideas and principles for Russia, especially for establishing international and inter-religious peace. "Russia is a multinational and multi-confessional nation; therefore, only international and inter-confessional peace, cultivating interrelations between people, can promote consolidation and development of our fatherland," he said. Professor Mironov emphasized that there comes a time for each person to reconsider his or her life and mission in this world. "What should we choose?" he asked: "to enjoy the pleasures of this world or give to other people the warmth and kindness of our heart?" The UPF founder, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, he continued, came into this world to cultivate goodness. "In order to develop mutual respect and reconcile the allegedly irreconcilable sides, peoples, and religions, I think the most realistic thing we could do is to create a normal moral and psychological climate in our community and nation where we live and work," added Oleg Mironov. "We need ideas that can shape our character and our good deeds in ways that will be beneficial for many."
Thereafter, advisor of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Evgeny Nikulishev took the floor. He passed on to the audience the best wishes of the First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council, Alexander Torshin. He emphasized that he feels comfortable among like-minded people, and the ideas of the Universal Peace Federation conform to his frame of mind. He also spoke about the high merits of Dr. Moon and his family in the field of peacemaking. Mr. Nikulishev said that during 2011 he visited four continents and many cities of Russia and neighboring nations. "I delivered many speeches during events of different levels (I have to do it often) and also in the role of an international observer of elections at different levels, and I never failed to mention about Universal Peace Federation activities," he concluded.
Then spoke the Secretary General of UPF-Eurasia, Jacques Marion, who shared about UPF projects in different spheres of human activity. "People should learn the skills of mutual coexistence, and the family is the right place for this kind of education," he added. He said that the idea of universal prosperity is the alternative to modern democracy, which attaches too much value to an individual. Although the idea of democracy is good, the egocentrism of those who live under the democratic system appears to be a cause of many conflicts.
Jacques Marion noted that family values form the foundation of a society based on interdependence and co-prosperity. Religion also plays an important role in this regard. The proof is the example of the United Nations, which was created with the principle of the equality of all nations, both the powerful and not powerful. At the beginning, the UN was a brotherhood of nations, but 60 years afterwards it became obvious that the UN has failed to realize its declared objectives. The main cause, in Mr. Marion's view, is that UN is neglecting the spiritual aspect. Then he told about the UPF peace initiatives in the South Caucasus, Baltic States, the "Play Football for Peace" project, and the "Mister and Miss University" pageant. Special attention was drawn to the proposal for a tunnel across the Bering Strait that would connect Russia and North America and unite the two cultures and two peoples.
The chair of UPF-Eurasia, Eiji Tokuno, shared about UPF's activities and perspective in the post-Soviet era. In particular, he talked about the recent visit to Mongolia by the "Little Angels" ensemble, a Korean folk ballet troupe founded by Dr. Moon. The ensemble was warmly welcomed by high-level people. The Little Angels visited the Parliament of Mongolia, where they met the Speaker. The meeting was broadcast by all TV channels. Also they met the Deputy Minister of Education and Culture of Mongolia and established friendly relations with teachers and pupils at the School of the Arts in Ulaanbaatar. Their performance was attended by high-level guests including member sof parliament, government officials, and the Ambassador of South Korea to Mongolia. In conclusion, the dancing group was awarded a special certificate by the President of Mongolia. Eiji Tokuno said that the Little Angels not only demonstrated beautiful national dances but also played an important role in fostering convergence of the two peoples, Mongolia and South Korea.
After the plenary, Ambassador for Peace certificates were given to ten new candidates; among them were cultural workers, teachers, and grassroots representatives. In return, Ambassadors for Peace awarded Eiji Tokuno with a Medal of Honor issued in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Battle for Moscow.
Thereafter, the work of the conference continued in the format of three round-table discussions, each having a special theme to address. At the round table on peacemaking, the general director of the autonomous non-commercial organization "United Sports Committee of Ministries and Departments," Igor Reznichenko, talked about his organization's project "Children of the North Caucasus for Peace and Unity of the Peoples of Russia." Within the framework of this project, they plan to organize a visit of children's creative arts groups from the North Caucasus to Moscow. The program will include sports events, meetings with famous athletes, politicians, cultural workers, educators, and religious leaders. A charitable performance will be held at the end of the visit. The project operates under the slogan "Children's friendship is the guarantee of their fathers' concord."
The round table on the family and the peacemaking role of women's organizations gathered together representatives of different regions of Russia and nearby nations. The leader of the Vitebsk branch of the Belarus Peace Foundation and member of the board of the Belarus Women's Association, Zoya Krot, talked about the priority her organization has given to addressing family problems. "We see our peacemaking role in strengthening families, because the same principles of unity apply in the family as in any relationship. The method is love, harmony, and peace. People say that the family is a prototype of humankind, and the nation reflects the situation of its families. Unfortunately, in the present times, many family values are lost and as a result the number of unhappy families is growing." In its work, the Belarus Peace Foundation draws on examples of famous countrywomen, in particular Efrosinya Polotskaya, a 12th century educator who realized that civil unity depends on the moral and cultural development of individuals and society. Readings in commemoration of Efrosinya Polotskaya are held annually with the participation of the community and religious leaders. "Nowadays, Dostoyevsky's saying that 'beauty will save the world' should be amended to state that 'love will save all of us and the world,'" she concluded.
The president of a grassroots organization in Novosibirsk "Women's Initiative and Creative Association," Nadezhda Latrygina lamented that women's influence on the world situation and national policies has been too small. Meanwhile, each mother would like her children to live in peace and harmony. In her opinion, "If nature endowed us with the ability to give life, then we should be responsible for creating the proper conditions for our children to grow up in and realize their potential. This is the important mission of all women: to realize our destiny and make our impact on the development of future generations. The point is that only spiritually developed individuals can achieve, keep, and preserve peace." She described the Family Service project in Novosibirsk as an example of how to make a real impact on the future. It is directed at helping people in crisis, and its two telephone hot lines connect callers with psychologists, jurists, social workers, family affairs experts, and lawyers specializing in social matters.
The deputy chair of the board of the Women's Federation for World Peace in Ukraine, Liudmila Grabovenko, shared about her experiences working with the organization. She noted that women are the catalysts of the peace processes in families and communities. During the past four years, the Women's Federation for World Peace of Ukraine has focused its efforts on education, care for the elderly, and children. To emphasize the role of women and strengthen the tradition of respect towards mothers and all women, the organization established the "Woman of the Year" award honoring women who through their life course and activity promote the development of society. In addition, conferences and round-table discussions are held annually to promote the role of women in modern society. For example, in 2011 a meeting on gender policy was held in the Supreme Council of Ukraine; it was attended by representatives of state structures, educators, and grassroots organizations. "In all times, three female virtues have been valued the most: the daughter's piety, the wife's loyalty to her husband, and the mother's sacrificial love for her children. If each mother would keep such a standard and cultivate these virtues in her children, our world will become a better place," concluded Liudmila Grabovenko.
"In a world of common challenges, no nation can succeed on its own; but by working together in common cause, we can build a safer, more prosperous future for all. Solidarity must be the foundation for global solutions."
UN Secretary-General Ban
Message for International Human Solidarity Day
December 20, 2011