Unification News for December 2000

Interreligious Dialog at the MFM

by Dr. Thomas G. Walsh

On October 14-17, 2000 the IIFWP sponsored its 12th International Seminar in Washington, D.C, with over 300 participants representing more than 70 nations gathered to discuss the theme, "Renewing the Family and Building a Culture of Peace." In attendance were former heads of state from several nations, including Egypt, Guyana, Surinam, Seychelles, Columbia, the Bahamas, and Belarus; also the current Vice-President of Zimbabwe. More then 50 religious leaders participated, representing Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Shintoism.

The theme of the family, and renewal of the family, is a central part of the mission of the IIFWP, and this focus has been reflected throughout its International Seminar series. Themes for this seminar included the following: The Social Significance of the Family; The Family as the Foundation for a Culture of Peace; The Religious Significance of the Family; The Family and the United Nations.

On the weekend that this seminar was convened, a Million Family March had been called in Washington, D.C., Co-Sponsored by the Nation of Islam and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification-USA. All seminar participants were invited as special guests for both the Gala Opening Banquet of the Million Family March and the March itself, located on the Mall in front of the nation's capitol building. One million people representing all religions, races and cultures assembled for the March. Several of the religious leaders from the International Seminar were featured in the MFM program.

On the closing evening of the seminar, the participants had the opportunity to hear from Mr. Hyun Jin Moon, the keynote speaker for the closing banquet. Mr. Moon encouraged the participants to embrace what they had learned at the seminar and to take action, putting the ideals into practice and inspiring others about these family ideals in their nations.

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