Unification News for November 2003
IIFWP Seminar in Buenos Aires
by Miguel Werner
The IIFWP is working now since quite a few years for world peace, the desire to be found engraved in the heart of every individual. This topic brought 200 leaders of different society areas together, assembled in the "Salon Panamericano" of the autonomous city of Buenos Aires, to assist a seminar entitled: "The World at a Turning Point: Considering Different Innovative Proposals for Peace, the Responsibility of the Leadership and a good Government", being held during these weeks in 185 nations all over the world.
"The world is passing through a critical juncture and we have to help usher in the very much needed changes, together with new attitudes, needed to transform the actual crisis into a real opportunity for construction", said the actual President of the Nation, Néstor Kirchner, in his letter of adherence and well-wishes at the beginning of the Seminar, starting at 9 a.m. and expanding itself until late in the afternoon, far longer than the planned time-span, because of the enormous interest of the participants regarding the different topics given at the occasion.
"Principles and the Practice of Peace" was the title of the first presentation given by Ricardo Ayerza, who was talking about the universal foundations of peace. A topic, which brought spontaneous interruptions by the audience, ready to share its concerns and questions. Before that, a spiritual message was given by Pastor Carlos Córdoba, the video "The World at a Turning Point: a Global Vision for Leadership and a Good Government" was shown, and the opening address by Rev. Kwak was read by Gustavo Giuliano, President of the Family Federation in Argentina and Director of the International Education Foundation in Latin America.
During the morning hours, Senator Julio Ledesma, Province of Buenos Aires, gave his impressions about his experiences in Korea during the World Leader’s Meeting in Seoul, between August 11th and 16th. 360 delegates (such diverse representatives as are Rabbis, Christian Ministers and Muslims, coming from 120 nations, were signing the "Peace Declaration of Seoul", whose central points were the renovation of the UN, a topic which we will go into further detail more ahead.
The Religious Imperative
One of the key points of the meeting was called "The Religious Imperative", developed by Ricardo de Sena, the Interreligious Federation representative to the United Nations. In his presentation: "The Role of Religion in the XXI. Century", he was talking about the necessity of man, the society, nations and the world as it is to construct peace, which is not at all possible, without contemplating the transcendental aspect, to be found in the soul of every human being.
After describing the advances of interreligious relationships, De Sena was also talking about the folding of religions in the affairs of human beings, the loss of relevance and moral authority into which some spiritual leaders have fallen and that the majority of national and international conflicts, prevailing today, have a religious root and from there on, one should contemplate the voice and comprehension of religious leaders in bringing about a solution towards the human problems and struggles of today. Therefore, part of the slide-show on the giant screen had also images of the ominous September 11th 2001, a show of force of the rawest terror, result of human hatred and resentment.
After that, the conference focused on the central topic of his presentation: a reform of the United Nations. He listed the reasons, or problems, by which it was necessary to give the body of delegates representing and defending the political interests of every country "a soul": terrorism, poverty, crime, drug trafficking, corruption, domestic violence, street violence etc. "These are all profound human topics requiring extraordinary solutions", to which religions may have their input. From this juncture on the imperative should be to conclude on an Interreligious Council as part of the United Nations.
Finally, he commented that the Ambassador of the Philippines to the United Nations in September, at the 58th General Session of the United Nations, will be formally presenting the proposal to establish this Interreligious Council (with representatives of all religions) in an official manner and not only as a simple advisory or figurative commission. Jose de Venecia, President of the Chamber of Representatives of the Philippines, took up the proposal of Rev. Sun Myung Moon at his speech on August 18th 2000, held in the Cristal Palace of this international organization, founded more than half a century ago.
Family, Values and Public Service
There were still topics left having to do with peace, but more on an everyday level, namely, the peace being constructed in the family through the practice of values and public service, topics being addressed by Andrés Melgarejo, Carlos Varga and Alzira Melgarejo, respectively. Peace starts with the unity between mind and body in the individual, it develops towards harmony in the family and expands itself towards the society, basic points which the different expositions were based on, provoking spontaneous applause and showings of approval by the audience, to whom new perspectives were opened about these, apparently commonly known topics.
What is there to say about the family, which hasn’t been said already? The family is not only "The School of Love", "The basic Cell of Society", but also the place where one can experience love at its utmost expression, the only institution created by God. Andrés Melgarejo left this very clear with his explanation of the Blessing (whom God wanted to give to the first man and woman, Adam and Eve) and the Renewal of the Marital Vows. This "is not an exclusive celebration of the Unification Movement" -- to reaffirm the love of the couple and restore value to the family -- but a calling to all religions, to all cultures and nationalities, to unite through the power of matrimony centered on the love of God, capable to break all divisions and conflicts."
"Character Education which is Incorporating Essential Values", was the title of the exposition by Carlos Varga, in which he explained, again, that education is the invaluable tool by which a society may be transformed. But not just education exclusively dedicated to form professionals, ready to get involved with our modern world of technology and work, but an education, whose backbone are values. To the President of CARP (Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles), this is fundamental, to be able to give young people a sense of direction towards "true love", preventing them the consequences of "free sex", whose results are abandoned babies, abortion, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and AIDS, infecting 17.000 people and killing 10.000 worldwide daily.
Professor Alzira Melgarejo, Educational Assessor to the Family Federation and Secretary of the Women’s Federation, highlighted the importance of public service it is not so important from which angle the service is done, but rather the attitude to serve your neighbor, to live for the higher purpose, the public good, "the search for happiness through love". She also highlighted the characteristics of an altruistic mind and the "teaching that giving comes before taking and that there is much more joy in giving, than receiving". Part of her address was dedicated to Eva Perón, the so-called "flag-bearer of the humble", whose special concern were always the most impoverished. Only mentioning her name, gave cause for applause.
Peace Founded On Truth
One of the fundamental tasks of the Interreligious Federation is to end all barriers traditionally dividing peoples, races, cultures and religions, on which base true peace for the world could be constructed. As part of this work, the Interreligious Federation is distinguishing different leaders of society as Peace Ambassadors, working to tear down divisions and to resolve conflicts, who are models of family and live with a continuous engagement for the welfare of their neighbors and who furthermore comprehend the vision given by Sun Myung Moon.
Luciano Cámara, Secretary of the Interreligious Federation in the country, was explaining this precise role and the mission of Peace Ambassadors, of which Argentina has now 175 ( including the 21 new distinctions at this event); on a worldwide level there are around 30.000 Peace Ambassadors. His exposition started with agreeing applause, that "the most terrible deficit of a nation is not to be found with its finances, but in the souls of its citizens". Cámara was very pleased with the presence of representatives of the provinces of Tucumán, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Corrientes and Jujuy and invited all to a "silent revolution from selfishness to altruism" and to a "project for the country, not for a political party", arguing, that the base for well-being is to be found in altruistic behavior.
At this day, where so many talked about peace, the "religious imperative" and values, a concrete gesture was very well received -- a direct connection with the everyday affairs, which are bleeding peoples and cultures and are still needing to be met in this century. Graciela Yanovsky, President of the Argentine Foundation of Nations on Their Way to Truth, was inviting Dr. Omar Hazimeh (of Palestine origin) and Dr. Fabian Olemberg (of Jewish origen) to embrace each other and with that gesture all of the participants were holding hands and lifting them up as symbol for unity and world peace founded on truth.
There was still more emotional content to follow. The book "Messages of Peace for a New Millennium", containing peace messages of the different presidents forming the United Nations (including a message by Kofi Annan), was handed over to be given to Sun Myung Moon, founder of the IIFWPU. This was an initiative by Carlos Fortunato Paralta, General Director of the Latinamerican Television Newsbroadcast CIN, who couldn’t be present at the event, because the UN asked him to mediate in the conflict between India and Pakistan.
The Buenos Aires Peace Declaration
"The Second World War was an evidence to the Fact that the League of Nations was a remnant of lost peace and therefore a renewed system had to be formed", in the opinion of Dr. Jesús Blasnik, President of the International and Interreligious Federation for World Peace in Argentina, who was presenting the highlights preceding the renovation of this international organism founded in 1919, at the finish of the First World War and on the foundations of which, by the end of the Second World War, the United Nations Organization was established in 1945. Blasnik closed the afternoon with his speech about the different landmarks and viewpoints of political and religious leaders, who understood the necessity of changes in this world, especially in relationship to the spiritual aspects of different realms. And again, the imperious necessity to reform the United Nations by creating an Interreligious Council was addressed, to apply integral solutions to the problems, so that the organization may recuperate its lost moral authority in recent affairs (especially regarding the war with Iraq) and to avoid a disappearance, as in the case of the League of Nations.
This proposal, to which the President of the United States remarked that it was "a great idea", when it was presented by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Julio Ledesma, Senator of the Province of Buenos Aires, was referring to, while giving his testimony about his participation in the World Leaders Conference held in Seoul, Korea. The Argentinian Legislator, named Peace Ambassador in Uruguay, transmitted to the Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner his experiences in Seoul and explained about the necessity of Argentina giving a favorable vote for the creation of an Interreligious Council as part of the international organism. He even went further on, asking that Argentina may have a role of responsibility together with the Philippines, when the motion will be presented in September.
Before the invited guests were leaving and after the sounds of the Argentine national anthem, played at the beginning and at the closure of the event, the "Buenos Aires Peace Declaration" was signed, stating in its Point No. 3: "We recognize, that as Representatives of the Nation of Argentina, of the religions and races being present, we have in many ways failed to uphold the given ideals; we furthermore recognize, that in some instances we have acted unjustly with one another and therefore, we have to assume an attitude of repentance for this, asking forgiveness and initiating deeds of reconciliation for peace."
The Hope of all Ages
This desire for peace, this profound yearning, was also expressed by some of the present in their final written reflections and conclusions. Words have this creative force, as well as the persistent desire to realize them. Here are some of the reflections for peace, given during this day, who left all of the participants with a content and grateful heart:
"I felt, that I had to take on some added responsibility, therefore I took the liberty to talk to President Kirchner, so that he may support the motion, which will be presented by the Philippines at the United Nations. Rev. Moon is deserving the highest respects, even though I don’t know him that well, as I do know his followers. He is a giving man; he doesn’t invest solely in material projects, but in the family as well. That’s why I want to make it clear, that we should support this initiative, not only in lifting up our hand, but in being responsible together with the Philippines." (Part of Senator Julio Ledesma’s speech).
"On this day we may continue living as politicians, economists, professionals, religious leaders, closed up in an intellectual monastic cubicle or we may permit that the doors of the mind and heart may be opened to receive different proposals, which may enrich us to work for world peace. We may permit a "marriage" between different walks of life and, as part of this collateral effort, permit that God may take control and govern in different areas and realms, with ethical and moral values and with true love". (Reflections of the Evangelical Pastor Carlos Alfredo Córdoba).
"In the name of the Latinamerican News Broadcast CIN, of the Civil Association World Solidarity between Nations, Peoples and Cultures, the Trialogue of Rome and the Argentina Foundation of Nations on the Way for Truth, all these organizations unified to focus the mind on world peace, are grateful to the opportunity in expressing our convictions, which without doubts sustain, that it is not possible to talk about a peace culture, without being founded in the development and multiplication of a truth culture. One could call it the "re-hirachisation" of ethical and moral values, fundamental for the decisions of human beings, so that we may guide the society out of corruption and onto the road towards a truthful society." (Graciela Yanovsky, President of the Argentina Foundation of Nations of the Way to Truth).
"Where there is truth and justice, peace is an inevitable consequence. The Interreligious Federation wishes, that we may understand its teachings through the creation, the conservation and the taking care of nature and the government, who are nothing else, but divine instructions to direct us to the common good. The family is were the values are ‘cooked up’. People are born in families. Men and women should not rival, but compliment each other and in this fashion achieve harmony. We Peace Ambassadors should assume the compromise to show these values in every day life, to ‘do extraordinarily the ordinary things’, as Mother Teresa said." (Accountant Victor Eduardo Alcaraz, Peace Ambassador, and ex-functionary of the Education Ministry in the Province of Tucumán).
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