Unification News for December 2004
Communicating Heart to Heart Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East
Fritz Piepenburg, IIFWP-Europe Secretary General
Hyatt Regency Hotel
September 10, 2004
Pres. Yong Cheol Song, Chair of IIFWP Europe
On September 10th the IIFWP Europe launched a conference entitled "Communicating Heart to Heart Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East." Two hundred forty European Ambassadors for Peace (AFP) and 90 Ambassadors for Peace from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), mostly Russian, were attending the event. Never before have we had such a large and impressive gathering of European AFP.
During the opening plenary, our Ambassadors for Peace were greeted by Pres. Yong Cheol Song, Chair of IIFWP Europe, followed by Dr. Emmy Bezzina from Malta on behalf of the European AFP. He was followed by two special Ambassadors for Peace from Israel: Dr. Eliezer Glaubach, a city council member from Jerusalem, representing the Jewish side, and Walid Sadiq, former member of Knesset and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, representing the Arab and Palestinian side. Rev. Michael Jenkins and Dr. Chang Shik Yang were next to give greetings and orientation to the participants.
Ambassador for Peace from Israel: Walid Sadiq, former member of Knesset and Deputy Minister of Agriculture
After the break, participants divided up into three groups. One panel dealt with the role of religion in the peace process. The second panel addressed the role of NGOs, and the third dealt with the role of women. Each session began with a panel of 6 or 7 presenters. After listening to the presentations, participants seated at large round tables discussed these topics among themselves.
In the afternoon three more panels followed on the topics: the role of religion, the role of human rights, and the role of education. Each panel included at least one Ambassador for Peace from Israel; either Jewish or Palestinian.
During the closing plenary James Houston from Sweden entertained us with a song of peace. Reports were given by previously selected representatives, each talking about their experience in the panels. This session then concluded with a PowerPoint presentation: an overview of IIFWP activities in Europe by Secretary General Fritz Piepenburg, and in the C.I.S. by Sec. Gen. Jack Corley. An unexpected guest speaker who had just arrived from Jordan then took the podium. Sheikh Heitham Bundakji related in powerful language his "conversion" from a lifetime of hating Jews to the life-changing realization that both Jews and Arabs are brothers and have the same origin.
The final song "Let there be peace on earth" brought everybody to their feet. Singing together and joining hands, the conference was brought to a beautiful conclusion.
All sessions during the plenary and the panels were videotaped for future publication and distribution.
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