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.
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House of Lords, July 13th 2011
Fourteen young adults gave inspirational speeches about their activities and vision before receiving Youth Achievement Awards, in an event kindly hosted by Lord King of West Bromwich and organised jointly by the Universal Peace Federation and the Women's Federation for World Peace. Baroness Verma, one of several Parliamentarians to attend the event and present awards, said, 'I am so glad that I was here to hear your speeches today, and I will look in 10 years to see who among you has become a leader.'’ A participant later added, 'I would like to express my gratitude for the award yesterday. I think I speak for many when I say it was a very inspirational event. As one of the recipients of the award, I left the event yesterday with the motivation to continue striving in my endeavours, contributing to my community.' Six schools from the Stepney Partnership also participated, presenting an award to one exemplary family from each school. Ben Yeo, Project Manager for the Stepney Partnership, wrote later, ‘Big congratulations to six Stepney Partnership families who won an important national award at the House of Lords last night. The families received their award for the huge impact that parents/carers have had on their children’s learning and the wider community. The Youth Achievement Awards were organised by the Universal Peace Federation and included inspiring stories from young people across the UK.' (Full Report Link)
One of the major concerns of the Universal Peace Federation is how to promote programmes that encourage young people in particular with a vision of leadership to build peaceful societies. It is our firm conviction that good leadership requires good character as a foundation, together with well-developed management skills. So often in today’s world, however, management skills and methodologies are emphasized, while the fundamental importance of good character and values are overlooked. How, then, does one develop the qualities of good character? We at the Universal Peace Federation believe that the family is a “school of love and ethics” and the foundation stone of a peaceful society. The most basic elements of good character are to be found in a loving and supportive family environment.
Dr. Yong Cheon Song: Chairman, Universal Peace Federation - Europe, House of Lords, London – 6 July, 2011
The Universal Peace Federation's core vision is that of humankind as ‘one family under God’. The Universal Peace Federation is the umbrella for a number of organisations such as the Professors’ World Peace Academy (PWPA), the International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) and numerous others, which have considered the crisis of values over the past forty years.
House of Lords, July 6th 2011 Hosted by Lord Bhikhu Parekh
Sustainability, the Chair for the meeting Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh explained, is a normative concept and as such the purpose of this session was to consider the moral framework for sustainable development. Lawrence Bloom asked whether humankind will survive the intelligence test posed by the current crisis. This challenge was not simply of economy or the environment but whether humanity could embrace values based on a sustainable worldview. Dr Yong Cheon Song described initiatives of Dr Sun Myung Moon to prepare for this crisis of values over the last 40 years, through 'Good Governance and Character Education', scholastic bodies to consider ‘absolute values’ and initiatives to expand ocean related industries as well as investments in land to preserve precious ecological systems. Jack Corley described the character education courses he had developed in China and Russia to refocus on core issues such as finding happiness through living for the sake of others, primarily learned and practiced in the family.
On 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.