Unification News for February 2000

Asian Convention for World Peace

Genie Kagawa
Manila, Philippines

Visionary Convocation Draws High-Level Interest

Held at the historic Manila Hotel, which Gen. Douglas MacArthur used as his Asia Pacific Command Headquarters during World War II, the Asian Convention on World Peace consisted of three concurrent conferences: the 26th International Conference on World Peace (ICWP), with the theme "Projections for an Asian Community," the first Asia University Federation (AUF) Annual Conference on "University Networking for Asian Community," and the 11th International Symposium on Unification Thought discussing "A New Vision for the Coming Millennium and Unification Thought."

Over four hundred participants from 22 countries, including Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, India, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the United States and Germany, convened in Manila from Nov. 22 to 26. Among the participants from overseas were 19 university presidents and six university vice presidents, plus members of the diplomatic community. The Filipino delegation consisted of 317 eminent scholars and dignitaries, which included: the Vice President of the Philippines, the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, the Secretary of Science and Technology, UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Director, Senators, Congressmen, 14 non-governmental leaders, 51 university presidents, 24 university vice presidents, 65 deans and 51 professors, plus many leaders from the Unification movement.

True Father gave his deep sincerity and attention for this convention. He sent Dr. Bo Hi Pak as his special emissary. Because of True Parents’ love and depth of concern, this convention became an historical landmark and a remarkable success.

The first event was the welcome dinner on Nov. 22, hosted by Hon. Andrew B. Gonzalez, Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports of the Philippines, and the Organizing Committee. In his congratulatory remarks, Victor Ordonez, Regional Director of UNESCO in Asia and the Pacific, commended PWPA and Unification community for promoting similar goals for peace as the United Nations.

The Opening Plenary Session the following morning saw three keynote speakers outline the goals and themes of each of the concurrent conferences. Over lunch, Sen. Rene A.V. Saguisag, notable human rights legal counsel, expressed his views on how to construct a society or community of nations based on moral values, free of corruption. As legal counsel for the Unification Church, Sen. Saguisag has become a close friend of our community through his principal role in clearing unjustified charges filed against the Unification Church by the Philippines Department of Justice. At another luncheon, Amb. Pacifico Castro, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs, expressed his belief that the Unification movement held the key to bringing world peace because of its thrust in unifying major religions which have been historically at odds with each other.

The deliberations of the ICWP conference were lively and exciting. Notable among the main committee speakers was the Secretary of Science and Technology, Secretary Filemon Uriarte, Jr. Under the chairmanship of Dr. Kyung-June Lee, President of Sun Moon University, the Asia University Federation conference, composed of 60 Asian university presidents and administrators, had many round-table discussions on issues of vital concern for Asian universities in this new global era, such as, the setting up of an Asian accreditation body, and the organizing of common curricula, cross-cultural studies, centers of excellence, centers for promotion of foreign languages, and exchange programs between faculty and students.

The Unification Thought Institute Symposium, headed by Dr. Sung Bae Jin, addressed crucial issues related to the revival of family morals and the establishment of the Christian ideal of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The highlight of the convention was the Gala Dinner attended by more than 350 distinguished guests, including members of the diplomatic corps and government officials. The banquet was graced by the presence of H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, who gave an insightful speech about the relationship of the Philippines to the Asian community. She mentioned that she was no stranger to our organization as her father, former President Macapagal, had attended our conferences in the past, and respected our global activities. Dr. Kyung-June Lee, President of Sun Moon University, presented a donation to the Vice President for her street-children rehabilitation programs in Manila.

Former chairman of The Washington Times Dr. Bo Hi Pak gave a powerful lecture about the Family Federation and True Parents. Using slides, he confidently lectured about our work in the fields of media, business and anti-communism, concluding with the blessing as our main program and activity.

A very beautiful and entertaining cultural show followed, presenting the Filipino tradition of fiesta, featuring the National Bayanihan Dance Troupe and renowned soprano singers.

After the following morning’s Committee Sessions, the Closing Plenary Session summarized the conclusions of the entire convention. Reports were rendered from each of the different committees, followed by a very lively discussion. It was proposed that deliberations of the convention be published and made available on the Internet. Amb. Castro urged that the results of the convention be book-bound and communicated to the UN through Secretary General of UNESCO Victor Ordonez as the "Manila Declaration of Peace and Unification," so that the UN could take note that such a conference for world peace took place. Hansung University president Dr. Rhee Seong Kang observed: "I never imagined that the Unification Church in the Philippines was working at this level on a national scale, and is welcomed by the government and VIPs. I am truly amazed to see this kind of international convention."

The Asian Convention for World Peace has left an indelible imprint on the providence in Asia. Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has once again become close to our movement and is at present willing to cooperate with us in mutual projects. Previously, she stood at some distance from our movement when we were facing unjustified legal charges from the Department of Justice. The Vice President has great popularity in the Philippines, being very close to the ordinary people as well as the elite. It is our hope that she will remain connected with our movement so we can work together for the ideal of world peace.

Amb. Pacifico Castro, who was introduced to us through the activities of the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace, has agreed to become the president of IIFWP in the Philippines. He is former Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and has a sterling career in the diplomatic and government circles.

The testimony of Dr. Bo Hi Pak about True Parents made a tremendously positive impact on the 400 convention delegates and guests. Some of the administrators of university campuses are not merely supporting, but already openly promoting our student and professors’ activities. Moreover, as a result of the convention, many universities are willing to open their campuses for our activities.

The convention also revived many of our old PWPA friends who became inactive because of our period of persecution in 1996-98 and the temporary suspension of PWPA activities.

Media coverage of the convention was extensive, with articles about the convention published in major national daily newspapers in the country. This was a wonderful boost for our cause. More than 13 other articles were published in the daily broadsheets.

The convention has thus helped give an entirely new image to our community, one which can command respect and acceptance. Until now, the Family Federation had been viewed as a group which is perpetually mobilizing participation for the Blessing. Now, the public can also see us as an organization which is gathering intellectuals and motivating them to contribute toward the goal of world peace.

The convention greatly assisted us in creating a foundation to welcome True Parents to the Philippines and in our efforts for restoring the country.

Genie Kagawa is our Regional Leader for South East Asia.. Reprinted from Today’s World.

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