The Words of the Self Family

Business Leaders Explore Their Role As Peace-Builders At Chicago Forum

Howard C. Self
Aug 26, 2006

On Friday, August 26th, 30 participants gathered in the Indian Lakes Resort outside Chicago for the 2nd UPF Business Leaders for Peace Forum. (The first forum was held in Seattle, WA from May 9 - 11). The official title of the forum was , "The Significance of Business Leaders, Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists in Building a World of Co-Prosperity and Lasting Peace". The forum was designed to introduce significant business leaders to the work of UPF, Ambassadors for Peace and Business Leaders for Peace and to secure their involvement in one or more aspects of the work at hand. All of these objectives were successfully achieved in this one-day forum.

Most of the mobilization for the forum was accomplished by the singular efforts of Rev. Reiner Vincenz, who has dedicated himself to making UPF and in particular, the Bering Strait Project, complete successes. Rev. Vincenz led off the forum with his personal welcome to the participants and then introduced the MC, David Rendel, newly appointed FFWPU District Director. Although primarily a Chicago-based forum, the event also drew participants from Alabama, Nevada, New York and Washington, DC.

The Opening Plenary entitled, "Building a World of Co-Prosperity and Lasting Peace" began with UPF-North America Secretary-General Jim Flynn presenting the power point, "Ambassadors for Peace: Vision and Principles". This proved to be a very moving presentation for many. One participant- business company president, Frank Buchberger, said later in the group discussion segment, "When Jim Flynn was giving the Principles of the Ambassadors, I felt a truly holy atmosphere in the entire room!"

After the showing of the introductory video, "Ambassadors for Peace", Dr. Antonio Betancourt, Director of the International Office of Government Relations for UPF, spoke on the topic, " The Culture of Peace in Action: Peace Initiatives of the UPF." In his talk, Dr. Betancourt touched on actual projects underway. His focus was on MEPI and the Northeast Asia (Reunification of Korea) Peace Project. His anecdotes of personal experiences in North Korea and Israel gave added weight to his presentation.

John Dickson-Chairman of the World Trade Center in Kabul, Afghanistan, concluded the Plenary with his presentation entitled, "Commerce: A Catalyst for Peace and Stability." Using his experiences in building World Trade Centers in both Okinawa and Afghanistan, John testified very effectively to the worldwide role of businessmen in building understanding, relations and peace and entreated the businessmen present to join in the efforts of Business Leaders for Peace.

After a short break, Session II focused entirely on the Bering Strait "Peace King" Bridge/Tunnel Project. Jim Flynn led the session and began with a video from the Discovery Channel's "Extreme Engineering" show, which thoroughly explored the proposal, challenges and engineering solutions, which have already been worked out for the Bering Strait project. Also shown was UPF's video on the Project. Finally, Jim gave the heart of Rev. Moon's motivation and vision for the Bering Strait project. Positive response was immediate. Prominent businessman, Darrel Hafen, stood during the Q&A portion to announce his determination publicly to help raise the first $50,000.00 to go to the funding of an effective promotional video which Mr. Flynn had mentioned as a clear need for the project.

Over lunch, 5 new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed by Jim Flynn, after which Rev. Vincenz led a holy juice toast for the entire group. After lunch, discussion groups were organized by UPF Executive Director, Howard Self, in the final one-hour session. The discussion time proved to be very important for stoking the enthusiasm and sealing the determination of many of the participants. After each group reported the conclusions of their discussion, David Rendel focused the forum on response and sign-up forms in a Call to Action. Many signed up to join Business Leaders for Peace and a good number made monetary donations to the cause. Jim Flynn closed out the meeting by thanking the participants and giving heartfelt remarks about the course that lies ahead for UPF.

In a follow up meeting with some core UPF members, tentative plans were made for similar "pioneering" forums in Las Vegas and Columbus to be held in the near future.

Howard Self is the Executive Director of UPF - USA. He invites your views and inquiries via email to

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