The UPF-UK Annual Peace Council was a full day of the ideals and the activities of the Universal Peace Federation worldwide. There were the ideals and values as expressed by European UPF President Dr Yong Cheon Song and UK UPF Chairman Jack Corley. The activities of local, national, European and other continents featured during the day. Mark Brann, UPF European Secretary General, summarised developments worldwide especially reporting on the development of the European Leadership Conference series and the North Korean Medical Project.
Photo Link for UPF-UK Peace Council
The Ambassador of Nepal, HE Dr Suresh Chalise, was presented with the Ambassador for Peace award for his work in the Nepal Peace Process. He addressed the audience following the award ceremony describing meeting Father Moon and visiting South Korea for a UPF conference and his involvement as the adviser to a former Prime Minister. He has been an Ambassador to both the US and now the UK for the last three years. He commented that, 'I am so happy to have been reconnected to Universal Peace Federation after several years.'
Robin Marsh and Margaret Ali presented the 2012 activities of UK UPF including several of the European Leadership Conferences. Christa Kamga spoke early about the Youth Interfaith Council and the North Korean refugees book fair. She was followed later by remainder of the Youth UPF team made a group presentation about their projects. Neil O'Neil, Keldon Alleyne, Asuka Ohagi, Shabnam Khan and Adam Nazar explained the character education, 'evening with' (interviews with an inspiring person) and the human rights education.
One participant, Satish Desai, shared that the day was 'an event to remember. Participation by young members was great! The presentations by people from Libya were especially interesting. As a Hindu-Indian from the UK, i am truly happy that, by the grace of Allah and with the blessings of Prophet Mohammad (PbuH), the Libyans have come out of their ordeal as free and democratic people. I cannot resist the temptation and wonder whether the old Italian influence is regenerating among new Libyans, which appeared through the presentations!'
Building on the UPF-WFWP event in the European Parliament earlier in the week, Charlotte Simon, spoke of her experience of returning to DRC when there was an invasion from Rwanda. She spoke of the suffering of women in eastern DRC who have experienced mass rapes in the lawless, war torn area. She spoke of the conflict minerals that are included in many of the laptops and mobile phones that are commonly used mined in her area of eastern Congo. She later shared: 'I want to say that the 8th of December, Peace Council , and seasonal gathering was a wonderful event and a great opportunity of meeting quite a few people of substance doing the good work for various areas of activities or parts of the world. I was there in my capacity as part of Gongolese women’s group to raise awareness about the sexual violence in conflict areas of Eastern Congo- which also connected to conflict minerals of Congo. I had just returned from Brussels European Parliament attending UPF Human Rights conference which was so totally amazing to bring the plight of ordinary women so horrifically treated to the attention of European Parliament was in itself a dream come true! On December 8th at the Peace Council in London I got an opportunity to see and appreciate the good works of so many other people – well done UPF bringing us all together to feel appreciated and supported.'
Farah Jabeen shared that it had been a great day full of activism, idealism and an enthusiastic desire to make the world a better place. Roshan Ahmed said that to have so many good people who want to help the wider society made the atmosphere electrifying.
Sofia-Chezene Theophilou, founder of Family Life TV, said, 'I was so inspired. The day passed so quickly. The young people in Youth UPF, who are taking responsibility, represent hope for the future.'
There were reports and a speech regarding Libya's development. Mr Ahmed Shebani, (photo right) the Founder of the Democratic Party of Libya, spoke of his vision for Libya. He perceives the opportunity for a prosperous, fair, just and religiously tolerant and inclusive nation. He answered questions that revealed more of the contemporary situation of Libya and its relationship with its neighbours.
He was followed by Amira El-Houderi who has been involved in project called 'Destoori' to raise awareness on the local level in Libya of the democratic process of forming a constitution. She later received an Ambassador for Peace award for her effort.
Ambassador for Peace awards were presented to Imam Mohammed Arif Hansrot, Amira El-Houderi, Harun Asif, Belinda Atim, Farah Jabeen and Iyoud Daoudh.
More Reflections on the Day
Neil o'Neil shared that as one of the Youth UPF leaders the day had provided a 'great platform to talk about our work. We received good feedback. It was a skill developing opportunity in front of many professionals.'
10:00 - 11:30 Opening Session
Welcome: Lord King of West Bromwich UPF-UK Patron
Dr Yong Cheon Song: UPF President Europe
UPF Peace Values - Jack Corley: UPF -UK Chair UK
European Leadership Council conference series
12:00 - 1:00 UPF International
HE Dr. Suresh Chandra Chalise: Ambassador of Nepal
Mark Brann UPF Europe Secretary General: UPF International Updates
Christa Kamga: Interfaith Council (Photo Right)
1:00 - 2:30 Lunch
2:30 - 4:00 UPF - UK Activities
Youth UPF - 'Evening With', Character Education and Human Rights
UPF - UK 2012 Reports
Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: Charlotte Simon
Friends of UPF Activities in Libya:
Mr. Ahmed Shebani, Founder: Democratic Party of Libya
Amira Al-Haderi: Lawyers for Justice in Libya 'Destoori' (“My Constitution” in Arabic)
UPF-Scotland Annual Visit to Several African Nations inc. Zambia and Uganda
4:00- 4:30 Ambassador for Peace Awards
The Year 2012 Review
2012 has been a busy year in which UPF-UK has supported a series of conferences around Europe that have provided a wider forum for many of the issues we have featured in the UK in past events. The European Leadership Conference series convened in:
- Moscow, (Peace and Security in Multicultural Societies at a Time of Global Crisis);
- UNESCO, (New Vision for Peace and Human Development);
- Pristina - Kosovo, Principles for Peace and Security in Kosovo;
- Tirana - Albania,
- UK Parliament, (Human Rights and the Protection of the Unempowered and Dispossessed);
- UN Geneva hosted a conference on the 'Contribution of the Family to Peace, Human Development and Prosperity';
- On the International Day of Peace in Norway's Stortinget (Parliament), 'Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future';
- UN Vienna, 'Europe and Russia; Partners in a Globalised World'
- Berlin considering the future vision for Europe.
- There is an upcoming conference (December 4th and 5th) in Brussels held in the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Parliament, entitled: 'How Can Europe Do More to Advance Human Rights?'
There have been UPF national and local events supporting United Nations Days and initiatives such as Holocaust Day, Global Interfaith Week, International Women's Day, International Family Day, UN Africa Day, International Peace Day in Oslo's Stortinget (Parliament) and Human Rights Day. There has been a continuation of the Forgiveness series of conferences that have been chaired by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke for the last five years including Marina Cantacuzino's Forgiveness Project in both events this year.