UPF's first European Leadership Conference of 2012 took place at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris April 12-13 under the patronage of the Permanent Delegations of the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Kenya to UNESCO.
In addition to UPF and the Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP), conference organizers included the Center for the Study and Promotion of Culture and Communication in Africa, the Forum of Organizations for International Solidarity on Migration Issues, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Geneva Interfaith and Intercultural Alliance.
Session II: Family and Good Governance
Mrs. Brigitte Wada, President of the Women's Federation for World Peace-France, chaired this session. Mrs. Nelly Camberville, Founder and President of IN SOLIDUM, emphasized the role of women, adding that for a sustainable peace to prevail there must be good governance, good governance within the family, result-based management, and individual and collective responsibility.
Minister and Consul General Jesus Gary S. Domingo, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, spoke on the role and significance of family in promoting world peace. For peace to prevail, cultural grooming has to take place in the family, the first school and the basic unit of governance. He compared the family to an embassy of peace, for it teaches compassion, modesty, love, self-sacrifice, service, tolerance, forgiveness, unity, and control on mind.
Mrs. Carolyn Handschin-Moser, President of WFWP-Europe, articulated a new vision of that moves beyond the traditional paradigm. Women with their grassroots, family-based life experiences are of immense importance in building peace. Men and women should be partners charting a new path to peace and non-violence, replacing the patriarchy-matriarchy matrix with “famil-archy.”
Session III: Africa at the Turning Point of Peace and Development
chaired by Mr. Robert Williamson of UPF-Scotland, speakers included H.E. Elizabeth Paula Napeyok, Ambassador of Uganda to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO; Ms. Maguite Lorcy, Founder of G.A.I.A.; Pastor Armand Mavinga, President of Centre for the Promotion of Culture and Communication in Africa; and Mrs. Julie Morgan, current Welsh Assembly Member, MP for Cardiff North (1997-2010) and a Trustee of “Life for African Mothers.”
Session IV: Universal Principles and Education for Character
Ven. Dr. Michel Thao Chan, Founder and President of the Cercle de Reflexion des Nations, discussed peacebuilding and culture. He referred to various dimensions of knowledge and advised the participants to base their understanding of peace and culture on practical and innovative knowledge rather than information casually downloaded from the Internet.
Dr. Jean-Luc Berlet, author and doctor of philosophy, discussed the Gandhian non-violent model of peace in a contemporary context. Mr. Khalil Raihani, a member of the Council of Europe Pool of Trainers talked about peace as a negation of war and violence. He emphasized the need for dialogue in local culture and language so that all the principal parties to a the conflict can be brought together.
The last speaker was Mr. Jack Corley, Chair of UPF-United Kingdom. He laid stress on character and moral education for sustainable peacebuilding and agreed with earlier speakers on the importance of the family as the school of love and the best foundation for social ethics.
Session V: Youth Forum on Exploring Global Citizenship
Ms. Thea J. Kunzig, a member of UPF’s European Youth Committee, served as chair. Mr. Salem Moosa Hassan, an Omani diplomat, spoke on the importance of education transcending local and national perspectives for the sustainable building of peace. Ms. Souria Saad Zoy, Assistant to the Director of UNESCO Youth Programme; Mr. Ranjit Singh, Director of Public affairs at the Representative Council of French Sikhs; Ms. Lotifa Begum, Development Education Coordinator of Islamic Relief in the UK; Mr. Xavier Giuavarc’h, President of the Forum Ploudaniel; and Mr. Ewald Schenkermayr, UPF European Youth Committee, all offered insights on the importance of education and community service for sustainable peace.
Session VI: Human Development
The session was chaired by Kathrin Plane. Speakers included Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of Wales (2000-2009); Ambassador Dr. Walther Lichem, former Head of the Department for International Organizations of the Austrian Foreign Ministry; Imam Dr. Abduljalil Sajid JP, Chairman of the European Union's Task-force for the European Year of Inter-cultural Dialogue; Admiral Jean Dufourcq, Director of Studies at the Ecole Militaire and editor of the Journal Defence; and Laurent Ladouce, Director of the Centre for Culture and Peace in Paris.
Dr. Sajid talked about the interconnection between inner and outer peace as the most important requirement for world peace. Admiral Jean Dufourcq called for a new, 21st-century approach to war and peace. Mr. Ladouce said that human development is much more than just an economic issue. “A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle,” he said, quoting Ernest Renan. “We should move from the development of things to the development of person if we really want durable peace.”
Session VII: A Life in Service to Peace
The session was chaired by Mrs. Brigitte Sillitoe, with presentations by Mr. Timothy Miller, Vice-Chair of UPF-Europe; Monsignor Jacques Gaillot, Roman Catholic bishop of Partenia; and Mr. Chansamone Voravong, President of F.O.R.I.M.
Mr. Miller introduced the work of UPF Founder Dr. Sun Myung Moon with references to his autobiography now translated into over 40 languages. Msgr. Gaillot touched upon several issues essential for the enhancement of family life, especially the need for regular and open sharing and communication among the husband and wife to clear misunderstandings. Only sound loving families can help usher in a wider peace, he said.
Session VIII: Vision, Projects, and Recent Activities
Mr. Robin Marsh, Secretary General, UPF-United Kingdom, chaired the session, and Mrs. Brigitte Wada, President of WFWP-France, and Mr. Mark Brann, Secretary General of UPF-Europe, were the speakers. Mr. Brann spoke to the four core areas of UPF’s work: interfaith harmony and cooperation; building of strong, healthy families, creating a culture of service, reconciliation and partnership. Giving examples of UPF’s peace initiatives in the Middle East, the Korean peninsula, and Nepal, he explained the principles and practices employed by UPF in the successful outcomes brought about in those areas.
Although every session was tightly scheduled, each session also allowed time for lively academic discussion, a point appreciated by many of the delegates who felt that the conference had been a great success, fully attended from start to finish.