The United Nations, Geneva, 23rd September 2011
In a major conference in UN Geneva convened by the Universal Peace Federation and the Women's Federation for World Peace, the role of multiculturalism was considered by such influential figures as Ambassador Makarim Wibisono, the former Chair of UN's ECOSOC and UN Human Rights Council and Dr Walter Schwimmer, the former Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
In an introduction by Dr. Yong Cheon Song, Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation in Europe he quoted UPF's Founder, Dr Sun Myung Moon on the role of religion in solving interreligious and intercultural conflict.
'Religious people have not always been good examples in the practice of love and living for the sake of others, especially beyond the limits of their own culture. For this reason they should engage in deep self-reflection. It is time for religious people to repent for their preoccupation with individual salvation and narrow denominational interests.' Dr Moon suggested that an Inter-religious Council at the United Nations would be an ideal forum for dialogue between the religious-cultural spheres of the world.
The words from the UN Secretary General for the UN International Day of Peace are:
Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace."
The Universal Peace Federation in Bromley UK sought to commemorate the ideals of peace among all nations and peoples by bringing together people to participate in a peace event. Four speakers and an audience of about 30 gathered at St. Mary’s Church Hall, 62 College Rd. Bromley for the event.
A policy debate on extremism, held in the European Parliament yesterday, 20th September, considered what responses to extremist religious views were effective while maintaining freedom of speech and other fundamental freedoms of liberal, western democracies. The debate, chaired by Dr. Charles Tannock MEP and convened with the support of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, approached the threat of extremism to all communities.Very articulate and well researched presentations from Dr John Bew, the Co-Director of International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College London and Sofia Lemmetyinen, the EU Liaison Officer for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, presented a picture of radicalisation and intolerance that is insufficiently challenged either in chatrooms, in the public sphere or in international diplomacy. Journalist and daughter of the late Salman Taseer, the Governor of the Punjab in Pakistan who was assasinated earlier this year due to his opposition to religious extremism, was unable to attend and speak on 'Religious Persecution in Pakistan' as planned because of the sudden abduction of her brother.
Commemorating the UN International Peace Day an event was held in the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) HQ in 43 Lancaster Gate on the 19th of September. A presentation on the efforts of UPF to support the United Nations in various initiatives, especially to promote dialogue between the different religions of the world, was made by Robin Marsh. There followed a number of contributions from the audience who came from many different faith backgrounds. Jack Corley, Chair of UPF in the UK, in concluding remarks spoke of the vision and continuing passion of UPF's Founder, the 92 year old Father Moon to build a peaceful world. Photo link
South London Peace Embassy - Thornton Heath
Freedom of movement is an essential right which is the basis for the exercise of other human rights, concluded the UPF South London conference held to commemorate the 20th annual occasion of the International Day of Peace. About 35 participants attended UPF’s event entitled “Building a World of Peace” on Saturday 17th September 2011 at the Peace Embassy building, Thornton Heath. The meeting spotlighted tensions experienced by Palestinians and the Sudanese and featured expert commentaries from speakers with first-hand knowledge of the situations on the ground.
An event, held yesterday in the House of Lords to mark 12th September as a Global Interdependence Day, was entitled 'Islam, Multi-culturalism and the Lessons of Norway' and co-sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation. The programme had been organised by Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh, who sadly could not be present. The distinguished panel included, Mr Jan Gustav Strandanaeu, U.N. Consultant on Environmental issues, Dr Omar Khan, Research Director, Runnymede Trust, Imam Sajid, Chair of Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony, Lord Frank Judd, Rabbi Jackie Tabick, Chair of World Council of Faiths, Dr Varun Uberoi, Lecturer at Brunel University, and the programme was chaired by Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel. The event was co-sponsored by the Gandhi Foundation, Runnymede Trust, Universal Peace Federation and Civ-World (U.S.A.).