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General Events

Mrs Song speechHouse of Lords, UK

Respected Baroness Verma, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to have this opportunity here in the Houses of Parliament to offer a few words of greeting at this special programme in celebration of the International Women’s Day. Although the actual date is on 8th March, we are encouraged to dedicate the whole month of March giving special attention to promote and support women’s welfare.

The title for this year’s event is, Connecting Girls: Inspiring Futures. I think this is a very appropriate title as we need to look to the future and work together for the betterment of women. I am also pleased to see women of a younger generation participating here, both as speakers as well as attending the programme.

I also think this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day takes on special significance here in the United Kingdom. We will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne. She has become one of the world’s most admired women and has been like a symbol of stability in a fast-changing world.

Read more: International Women’s Day 2012

Get Together of Core FriendsAmbassador for Peace and close friends get together in Lancaster Gate to review Universal Peace Federation (UPF) activities in 2011 and make a new start for 2012. Twenty five friends attended to discuss plans for the coming year as well as make comments on recent conferences. Their comments particualrly emphasised appreciation for youth acivities in UPF. There were some discussions of how to develop the family, youth and gangs area. The UPF Youth area has developed in recent months but we would like to establish it on a better basis. (For more photos please use this link.)                     

UPF’s Proposed Programme for 2012 was discussed. See below:

Read more: Ambassador for Peace Get Together

Happy New Year 2012

To all Ambassadors for Peace, Friends and Contacts of the Universal Peace Federation in the UK we want to wish you a Happy New Year.

Human Rights conference group photoReview of 2011 Link. We were happy that we could have a successful conference raising a number of prominent, current issues, 'Commemorating Human Rights Day 2012: How Far Have We Progressed?' This was the culmination of many other activities during the year.

Looking forward to 2012 we forsee the events and activities that promote peace, development and humanity's role of one global family under an inclusive and loving God.

Read more: Happy New Year 2012

Peter Graham opened the procedings  with a rndering of the timeless Bob Marley classic "One World One Heart." A change of mood brought us some beautiful airs from Puccini (Mia Caro") and Tosca from Filimina.

A Beatles revival followed led by the inimitable Bernard Chellew, with a voice that even Paul McArtney  himself might be jealous of today. It didn't take more than a couple of choruses of "Can't Buy Me Love" to get the ladies up and dancing at the front of the hall. He certainly didn't need to buy  them any diamond rings as an inducement. By the time Bernard and his crew got into their second number "Hard Day's Night"  the men were up and dancing  too, albeit with a little encouragement from the ladies. Hans Kampfman on piano added a nice bit of "Jools Holland" flavour to the mix adding an extra dimension to the interpretation of an all-time classic.

Their performance was a sharp contrast in style to the offering of traditional Mongolian music which followed, presented by Choka  who performed in a most exotic traditional costume. She performed two songs but sung with such velocity that it seemed it was over in a flash.

After that was another sharp change of mood with some very mellow tones from the flute of David Rennie. His performance of Annie's Song was considered not enough to satiate the audience's appetite so he was  summoned back for an encore.

After that it was over to the audience to provide some more ad lib entertainment.

The recognition of human rights theme of the day continued in the shape of some multicultural poetry recitations from a number of the participants. Restless Beings in a moving poetic rap style highlighted the suffering and injustice of the world. Heiner Handschin from Switzerland gave a rendering of some classic songs from West End shows, with his wife joining him on the stage for the "Over the Rainbow" finale.

By popular request the meeting couldn't end without another Beatles performance. The strains of Hey Jude had everyone on their feet in a matter of seconds for a rousing final performance which left everyone wanting more in spite of the preceding long day of events.

UPF logo

It is with great sadness that we saw the recent chaos and criminality on our streets of London and other major cities around the UK. Our condolences go out to the families of those who have lost their lives during the turmoil. Several images and statements are enduring. The first is the helplessness of an overstretched Police Force to prevent the sudden escalation of criminal behaviour, the emergence of undercurrents of jealously, greed, violence and inter-community tensions. When Police authority was removed real emotions and motivations were released in a crude and raw expression. 'You’re rich we're poor but we rule the streets tonight' was an expression of the crude, underlying feelings. In response many Londoners utilised social media for a good purpose to gather to clean the streets the next morning.

There have been many noble but unsuccessful efforts to assist the vulnerable and deprived groups of UK society. It would be wrong to blame these riots upon these failures. We should instead recognise that there is a widespread failure to inculcate correct values that would strengthen the conscience of individuals. Irrespective of the opportunity to steal or loot individuals should not take the chance but respect other's property. Similarly Directors of companies should not abuse their position to exploit others. Politicians should not abuse their positions and power. Journalists, and religious leaders, also should not abuse their position. The Universal Peace Federaton believes we should live for the sake of others in creating one family of humankind under an inclusive, loving God and that we are morally accountable for our actions. These values should be taught primarily by example in the family, but also in schools, religious institutions and the wider community.

If you wish to comment please see the weblog version.

Baroness VermaOn 8th March the world celebrated the 100th International Women’s Day and on the 9th the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP)-UK and the Universal Peace Federation (UPF)-UK jointly hosted an event to mark this auspicious day in the House of Lords. Speeches were given by various luminaries including Lords and Baronesses to a packed house with many people having to stand. Two of the speakers, Lady Fiona Hodgson and Baroness Sandip Verma, had recently attended the annual Commission on the Status of Women and the inauguration of the United Nation’s Women in New York. They were able to draw on those international developments in their speeches.

Read more: Centennial International Women’s Day 2011