Unification News for August - September 1999

Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace Assembly 2000

by Dr. Thomas G. Walsh—Louisville, KY

On August 17-20, 2000, with sessions at the United Nations, as well as at the Waldorf Astoria, the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, convened Assembly 2000, bringing together more than 400 world leaders---including former heads of state and government, United Nations Ambassadors, religious leaders, scholars and representatives of a wide range of non-governmental organizations---to discuss the theme, "Renewing the United Nations and Building a Culture of Peace." The Chairman for Assembly 2000 was Amb. Makarim Wibisono, the Permanent Representative of the Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, and the President of the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Three missions to the United Nations co-sponsored Assembly 2000: the Mission of Uganda, the Mission of Mongolia, and the Mission of Indonesia.

The conference theme, "Renewing the United Nations and Building a Culture of Peace," was selected in order that the speakers and delegates could reflect on the ways in which the United Nations might be renewed. This theme of UN renewal had been advanced by the Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in his recent "We The Peoples" statement. In addition, the United Nations also proclaimed the year 2000 as the international year for a "culture of peace."

In 1988, at the time of the Seoul Olympics, when Father announced plans for the establishment of the World Culture and Sports Festival, he stated that the WCSF should promote the building of "a new culture of peace."

The idea of a "culture of peace" carries the meaning that peace has its foundation in a variety of internal dimensions of human experience, that is, peace is built on the foundation of individual moral character, family life, patterns of social relationships, religious beliefs and practices, etc. Peace cannot be secured merely by law or through peace agreements or peacekeeping forces. In order to establish world peace, there must be a new consciousness, and a new vision for global culture. The IIFWP is in full agreement with the United Nations on this point.

The Opening Plenary for Assembly 2000 featured a number of very distinguished, world renowned speakers, including, H.E. Oscar Arias, former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Sir Edward Heath, former Prime Minister of England; Sen. Robert Dole, former US Senate Majority Leader; H.E. Kenneth Kaunda, former President of Zambia; Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman of the IIFWP; Mr. Taj Hamad, Director of the Office of UN Relations for IIFWP; Amb. Semakula Kiwanuka, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the UN; Amb Yuli Vorontsive, former USSR Ambassador to the UN and current Under Secretary at the UN; Amb. Anawarul Chowdury, Permanent Representative from the Mission of Bangladesh to the UN.

The highlight of the Opening Plenary, however, were the speeches delivered by the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. After a fine introduction by President Kaunda, Mother spoke briefly on the work of the FFWPU, the WFWP, the IRFF and the importance of women and family. Father's speech was the keynote of the session at the United Nations.

In his speech he articulated the vision of the IIFWP and proceeded to outline a series of very specific and concrete proposals for bringing peace to the world and for revitalizing the United Nations. These included proposals for: 1. establishment of a council or senate of religious leaders at the United Nations, with a member of this council appointed by each member state as its religious or spiritual representative; 2. the establishment of peace zones on the borders between states locked in conflict; Father recommended that such a peace zone be established at the DMZ standing between South and North Korea; 3. the establishment of an international "True Parents Day" endorsed by the United Nations and celebrated each year. These proposals were widely acclaimed as insightful and worthy of implementation.

The program sessions at Assembly 2000 centered on the following themes:

1. Renewal of the United Nations: Opportunities, Obstacles and Options; Speakers; Dr. Thomas Ward, University of Bridgeport, Hon. Richard Thornburgh, former UN Under Secretary; Dr. Bruce Russett, Dean Acheson Chair of UN Studies at Yale;

2. International Organizations and the United Nations; Speakers: Dr. Gordon Anderson, PWPA, Dr. Douglas Bandow, CATO Institute, Dr. Thomas Weiss, City University of New York, Dr. Wally N'Dow, Convening Chair, State of the World Forum;

3. The Moral, Social and Global Significance of the Family; Speakers: Dr. Thomas Walsh, IIFWP, Mr Don Eberly, National Fatherhood Initiative, Ms. Maggie Gallagher, columnist and author, Amb. Semakula Kiwanuka, Ugandan Ambassador to the UN;

4. The United Nations and Freedom from Poverty; Speakers: Mr. Antonio Betancourt, Summit Council for World Peace, Dr. Norman Bailey, Economic Advisor to the Reagan Administration, Dr. Gary Quinlaiven, Center for Economic and Policy Education, Rev. Dr. Walter Fauntroy, New Bethel Baptist Church;

5. Ideology and Religion in Issues of Conflict Resolution; Speakers: Dr. Cheryl Lau, Harvard School of Government, Amb. Yuli Vorontsov, Under Secretary at the UN, Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace, Dr. Douglas Johnston, Center for Religion and Diplomacy;

6. The Environment in the Age of Globalization: Partnerships for Sustainability; Speakers, Dr. Noel Brown, Friends of the UN, Ms. Hilary French, Worldwatch Institute, Dr. David Randle, Wellness Health and Lifestyle Center.

On the evening of August 18, in the Delegates Dining Room at the United Nations an Awards Banquet was held. At this time an organization comprised of several UN non-governmental organizations, recently formed under the name of the World Association of United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations, presented Dr. and Mrs. Moon with the first Universal Peace Award. Prior to the presentation of the award, there was entertainment featuring Mr. David Eaton, Mr. Kevin Pickard and "MZuri," after which a video was shown reviewing some of the achievements of the award recipients.

Following this, Dr. Neil Salonen, Dr. Noel Brown and then Dr. Nicholas Kittrie presented moving and eloquent accounts of the incredible accomplishments of the Rev. and Mrs. Moon. The award were then presented individually to the recipients. Joining Dr. Kittrie and Dr. Brown in the presentation of awards were President Kaunda, President Carazo of Costa Rica, Mrs. Mohini Giri, Dr. Cheryl Lau, and Hon. Betty Okwir of Uganda. Upon receiving his award, Father delivered a profound speech on the need to break down the barriers that stand between peoples and nations. It was a beautiful and historic evening at the United Nations, as the delegates dined overlooking the East River.

Assembly 2000 officially closed at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria on August 19. Following this close there was a series of follow-up sessions designed for IIFWP delegates and which focused on examining the founding vision and ideals of the IIFWP as expressed through the words of its founder, the Rev. Moon.

Also, on the evening of August 19, True Parents invited all the international participants to their home at East Garden for a final banquet. On this occasion, Father spoke on the meaning of true love. True Parents also presented each guest with a beautiful watch. In addition Hyun Jin Nim and Kook Jin Nim spoke, Hyun Jin Nim sang "La Bamba," and both Father and Mother sang, which made everyone begin dancing together. Several participants moved forward to offers gifts to True Parents and to try to have a picture taken with them. The spirit was euphoric and intoxicating. No one wanted to depart. Even Father entered the busses to shake hands with participants and wish them bon voyage. On the busses returning to New York city everyone was joyful.

An Executive Summary of the proceedings of Assembly 2000 was immediately prepared, by Dr. Mark Barry, after the conference, and was followed quickly by a publication of the entire proceedings, edited by Dr. Andrew Wilson and Dr. Theodore Shimmyo. These publications are being widely distributed around the world and particularly to the UN community, which is hosting the Millennium Summit and General Assembly in early September. In addition to the circulation of conference reports and proceedings, there was active media coverage of Assembly 2000, coordinated by Media Director for Assembly 2000, Ms. Karen Judd Smith.

Assembly 2000 was an unqualified and stunning success, far exceeding anyone's expectations, especially given that it was brought into being in a matter of weeks. A team effort of heroic proportion made all things magically fall in place. Special thanks to everyone, especially Mr. Shunichiro Yoshida, Patrick Kirkbride, Frank LaGrotteria, Tomiko Duggan, Yasu Tanai, Bill and Donna Selig, Greg Breland, Ed Fleck, Robert Sattinger, Jonathan Gullery, June Maxim and, magna cum laude, all members of the Japanese Public Relations team, and the entire staff.

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