Unification News for October 2003

IIFWP Office of UN Relations: The Seven-Nation Mobilization

In the course of the recent Mobilization of 840 people to the New York metro area, some 84 of these international delegates found their way onto the UN Team. For a period of up to six weeks, (with some leaving earlier to join the delegation to Korea and/or Jerusalem), these volunteers helped highlight the endeavors of the IIFWP to transform global thinking about the most direct means to establishing a culture of peace. Through meetings and the distribution of key materials (World Scriptures, God and World Peace: An Exploration of the Significance of God for a World in Crisis and the messages World Peace through True Love), average New Yorkers along with presidents of nations, ministers of foreign affairs, ambassadors and members of delegations coming to New York city for the opening of the UN’s 58th Session of the General Assembly were urged to consider the substantial reality of the spiritual dimensions of human life which are essential elements to consider in the course of seeking solutions to global crises. This was a unique and transforming experience the many who were involved.

To be effective and prepared, the 84 members of the UN Team were oriented in how to work within the international environment alongside delegates from all nations coming to New York for the 58th Session of the United Nations. The UN Team participated in the International Day of Peace activities around the United Nations, made appointments and met with Ambassadors, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, national presidents, NGO leaders, people working in the UN secretariat and other national delegates as well as many New Yorkers working or touring the areas around the United Nations.

The opportunities afforded those who responded to the call to come to New York at this time was memorable and excellent training for many as IIFWP seeks to expand its international and grassroots outreach through the establishment of the Interreligious and International Peace Councils… at the global, regional, national and community levels through the Ambassadors for Peace and the local IIFWP chapters and affiliated organizations such as Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, etc.

As most know, the Philippines some time back, indicated their seriousness about the establishment of an Interreligious Council during the 58th Session of the UN General Assembly. IIFWP then began to support this initiative strongly by conducting many seminars worldwide which informed people of the work at hand. Amazingly, we all found that there was a remarkable "spirit of the times" that allowed people to quickly respond. So much of the initial international work was to get this "idea whose time had come" into the minds and hearts of religious and political people alike worldwide. This has been accomplished to varying degrees in so many nations. The levels of support for the idea are still mixed, and there remains a great amount of education required for national and international leaders as well as community leaders to fully comprehend the value of such an approach/initiative.

This work continues and will pick up pace as key strategic moments are passed in the natural course of events at the UN. The Philippines decided not to present this resolution at the UN until after they had secured their seat in the Security Council. That was accomplished Thurs. morning 23rd October 2003.

23rd October marked the 58th UN Day. On this day as he sent his message to people around the world, the Secretary-General Kofi Annan began by noting, "These are difficult times, for the world and for the United Nations." He went on to note, "it may be necessary to make changes in our international system, including the United Nations itself. By and large, I believe our Organization has served humanity well for fifty-eight years. But it has never been perfect, and the time may well have come to improve it….

"In the end, governments will decide. But they will make the effort to reach agreement only if you, the peoples, tell them clearly what you expect -- what kind of world you want to live in. I rely on you to do that. And I believe that if you do make your voices heard, loudly and firmly enough, we can indeed win through this crisis and build a better world, based on the rule of law. Let us all persever, in the knowledge that we are all contributing to a better future, for ourselves and for our children."

On this same day, IIFWP delivered to the Secretary-General’s office the "Box of 10,000 Prayers for Peace." Early in October at the time of the founding of the Interreligious and International Peace Council, we had put out the call to all IIFWP chapters world-wide for signatures of those prepared to pray for the UN and the Secretary General as well as their head of state. Within about one week (including the efforts of the UN Team in New York) we collected 10,227 signatures from 31 nations. Each of these signatures, that also noted the nation, was cut into a single small slip of paper and put in a beautify leather box. This became the "Box of 10,000 Prayers for Peace" and was taken to the SG on Friday 23rd October. Now he can open it and pick out any signature, see the country and know that that person is praying for him and the United Nations in these critical times.

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