Unification News for July 2002

Interreligious And International Federation For World Peace

International Symposium: "Governance and the Challenge of Contemporary Crises"
by Nadine Andre

Wash D.C. Over 50 UN Ambassadors and Foreign Diplomats gathered in Washington D.C. June 18-19 to discuss the threat of International Terrorism, the New Compact for Global Development, HIV/AIDS, the International Criminal Court and other critical global issues while the world watched Korea in the final moments win their match against Italy during the World Cup Soccer event. While one event underscored the challenges facing humanity, the other event gave a glimpse of how the world can be united. Both events pave the way towards peace.

The International Symposium called, "Governance and the Challenge of Contemporary Crises," brought together UN Ambassadors, Embassy Diplomats, and USA legislators in an attempt to foster greater understanding and cooperation. The symposium sponsored by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) was held at Gallaudet University. It was the third in a series that has become reflective of what the organization's mark has been on the international community - the ability to bring together various sectors of society for the purpose of education and dialogue. The co-sponsors of the event were the World Association of NGOs (WANGO), the University of Bridgeport and the Washington Times Foundation.

"September 11th brought long-standing global problems home to Americans in the form of horrible and dramatic violence," said Anthony Cordesman from the Center for Strategic and International Studies during the opening plenary - The Role of the United Nations in the Campaign Against Terrorism.

Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Director of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace brought a unique perspective to the panel by addressing the formation and roots of the concept of the nation-state and the historic tension that is imbedded in the concept of separation between church and state. He said, "The issues of terrorism cannot be fully addressed without an understanding or inquiry into a knowledge of religious sensibilities and beliefs."

The roundtable discussion that followed the plenary - The Role of Religion in International Peace and Prosperity featured Mr. Syed Shadid Husain, Senior Advisor of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the UN. He acknowledged that NGOs and religions are on the forefront to address society's most pressing problems but have not been sufficiently brought into the UN structure. Dr. Gordon Anderson, Secretary General of the Professors World Peace Academy, discussed the merits and challenges inherent to implementing Rev. Moon's proposal, the founder of IIFWP, in establishing an Interreligious Council at the UN. (Available at : http://www.iifwp.org/Activities/2002/USUNJune/anderson.shtml)

The other roundtable that took place simultaneously addressed the International Criminal Court. Congressman Crowley (D-New York), spoke passionately to the participants during the luncheon program expressing his regret that the current Bush Administration failed to ratify the International Criminal Court treaty, which he said, "prevents the US from shaping the eventual policies and practices that will make up the ICC."

Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman of IIFWP gave the keynote address. He was unashamedly happy about Korea winning the soccer match that morning. He said, "Dr. Moon articulated a vision of governance which had political leadership and spiritual leadership engaged in constructive partnership in the effort to assess and solve critical problems. Meeting the challenges of our day requires the participation of not only experienced and trained political leaders, but also leaders representing the religions, as well as academia, the media, corporations, and civil society. Our models and structures of governance should be re-evaluated in light of the need to include other significant stakeholders and problem-solvers." (Available at : http://www.iifwp.org/Activities/2002/USUNJune/keynote.shtml)

The afternoon session: The New Compact for Global Development and the Millennium Development Goals, addressed a major initiative by President Bush regarding US aid to developing countries. Mr. Frederick Schieck, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which gives out millions of dollars a year in foreign aid said what most of us already know. The majority of the world's population makes under $2.00 a day. He said, "The goal of the New Compact is to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty in developing countries. The US government has set criteria to assess a government's performance: that they rule justly, invest in people and promote economic development."

Dr. Thomas Ward, Dean of the International College at Bridgeport University in Connecticut, reflected back to his early career in banking where he conducted risk analyses. "In any international loan, he said, the formula is always the same, we looked for political stability, the state of the economy and credit history."

The afternoon's two roundtables included: The HIV/AIDS Crisis and International Peace and Prosperity, and UN Conventions vis-a-vis the Family and Sovereignty. Dr. Richard Wilkins, Director of the World Family Policy Center made a case for the importance of how we define 'family' and the ramifications that definition will have on policy throughout the world.

The Washington Times was the site for the evening program. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), US Senate Foreign Relations Committee underscored the importance of US involvement throughout the world, not just in times of conflict but in peacetime as well. He said, "The US should spend more money on development, however accountability by nations and their governments is a key ingredient."

What was a surprise to all was the impromptu introduction by Ambassador Phillip Sanchez, Publisher of Noticias del Mundo, the premiere Spanish-language newspaper in New York City, of Mr. Imad Musa, a producer for the Al-Jazeera Satellite television station. The station has been decried by most of the Western world for showing tapes of Osama Bin Laden. Mr. Musa who used to work for the BBC gave the history of Al-Jazeera. He said the station was born after Saudi Arabia pulled the plug on the only Middle Eastern station in existence when it spoke against the Saudi government. Mr. Musa said, "Al-Jazeera is now the only independent station in the Middle East. It has incurred the wrath of governments of the West and the Middle East by not only airing the Bin Laden videos but by featuring heads of the Israeli government to give their side of the conflict." Thus, he concluded, "We aim to be independent and go for the facts."

Day Two

The second day began with an off-the-record briefing with the US State Dept at the Senate Hart Building. Four representatives of the State Dept. answered questions from the Ambassadors and diplomats and spoke about US policy abroad, the structure of the State Department, peacekeeping operations and aid to developing nations. It was clear the challenges both sides have in maintaining balance - to represent the interests of their nations and to engage in productive honest dialogue.

The closing luncheon at the Senate Hart Building featured Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-Illinois) who is a Black American. He gave a moving testimony of how his descendants were brought to America on a slave boat and how his parents engrained in him the values of overcoming obstacles, perseverance and hard work that led him to an esteemed position in the US Congress. Congressman Davis seemed to be a cross between an 'ol time preacher and a first-class statesman.

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN and presently UN Undersecretary General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries said, "A fact that is not so well recognized is that 80% of the UN's resources, human and financial are used for development. He outlined seven areas that the UN should focus upon. They include: good and democratic governance, further support and integration of civil society into UN deliberations, the importance and necessity of partnership between the public and private sector, UN involvement in bridging what he called the 'digital divide,' peacekeeping strategies, conflict prevention as opposed to conflict resolution and UN reforms which have been outlined in the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's, 'Millennium Goals.'

Since it's founding in 1945, the growth and development of the UN has been decisively impacted by its relationship with the US, both good and bad. Consequently how the US defines itself in relationship to the UN and the rest of the world is of immense significance and importance. This international symposium reflected the best efforts in bringing these two camps together; the United States and the United Nations.

Please visit out website, where you can read more in-depth reports of the International Symposium including links to speeches and photos written and compiled by Dr. Gordon L. Anderson, Secretary General, Professors World Peace Academy at http://www.iifwp.org/Activities/2002/USUNJune/report.shtml

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