The Words of the Oswald Family

NGO leaders plan 'world fit for children'

Rachel Oswald
Published November 18, 2005
Special to World Peace Herald

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Some 300 leaders of non-governmental organizations from over 70 nations are gathered in Santo Domingo this weekend to network and plan for a better, more just world.

"We are here to dream a little bit together of a world in which peace is the bottom line, the first line and the last line," said Philip Sanchez, former U.S. ambassador to Colombia and Honduras, who chaired the opening session in the Dominican Republic's parliament building Friday morning.

The topic of the conference of the World Association of NGOs (WANGO) is "The Role of NGOs in Creating a World Fit for Children."

"Every 3.6 seconds somebody dies due to malnutrition, the majority of whom are children," said Alfredo Pacheco Osoria, president of the House of Deputies.

Pacheco, who is also running for mayor of Santo Domingo, deplored the use of child soldiers in guerilla wars across the world and called for better parenting, a theme which was also echoed in a letter written for the conference by the chairman of WANGO, Chung Hwan Kwak.

"It is a short but inevitable step from family breakdown to social breakdown," wrote Kwak.

By far the youngest panelist was Kyleigh Kuhn, 18, co-founder of the "Making Change Work" campaign sponsored by Roots of Peace. The campaign raises money for de-mining minefields around the world through penny drives by school children in the United States.

"A world that is fit for children allows children to walk freely without fear," said Kuhn, who in 2004 presented the U.N. Mine Action Service with a check for $70,000 representing 7 million pennies raised by California schoolchildren.

The conference which ends on Sunday will feature panels, roundtables and workshops and will cover a wide range of topics such as, grass roots fundraising, the prevention of child exploitation, and development in Africa.

Many participants came from small- to medium-size NGOs located predominately in developing nations. Also in attendance were business leaders that share interests and goals in common with various NGOs.

WANGO, which was founded in 2000, is an international organization that unites NGOs worldwide through common causes such as economic development, inter-faith dialogues and human rights. WANGO considers Rev. Sun Myung Moon to be the source of its founding vision, and he remains its major supporter. Rev. Moon founded News World Communications, which publishes World Peace Herald.

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