Three Ambassadors for Peace: Pastor Samuel Yerokun, Yasmeen Khan and Wege Singh with Rev. Brian CooperThe Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in Scotland held a “Marriage and Family” seminar event in the Radisson Hotel, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, on Sunday 20th November, combined with the Edinburgh book-launch of the autobiography of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, UPF founder.

The Rt. Hon. George Grubb, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and Mrs. Elizabeth Grubb, Lady Provost, welcomed the gathering to Edinburgh. The Lord Provost spoke of the historic Royal Mile which leads from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood House, where statues can be seen of David Hume, the Enlightenment philosopher, and Adam Smith, the father of modern economics. Edinburgh has been noted for education since the founding of Edinburgh University in 1583. Edinburgh’s more recently founded universities commemorate other Scottish notables: Heriot Watt University combines the names of John Heriot, financier, and James Watt, inventor of the steam-engine; Napier University is named after John Napier, the inventor of logarithms; Telford University bears the name of Thomas Telford, builder of iron bridges. The Lord Provost finished his address by applauding the choice of theme, “Marriage and Family”.

Rt Hon Baroness Scotland QC

Rt. Hon. Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Britain’s first black female Attorney General (2007-2010) shared her experiences in combating domestic violence in Britain. “Peace at home is a fundamental human right, which must be protected unconditionally” she stated. She encouraged all present to be involved in the elimination of domestic violence. She said in 2003 “1 in 4 women in the UK was a victim of domestic violence.” While after great hard work by 2009 the figure was improved to 1 in 6 women. She saw also the positive developments of a number of international efforts including the United Nations which made November 25th, the Elimination of Domestic Violence day, and the 16 days Campaign against Gender Violence beginning on November 25th and ending on Human Rights Day, December 10th. The Council of Europe has launched a far reaching Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women that has now been signed by 17 nations.

Cllr Liaquat Ali MBE JPCllr. Liaquat Ali MBE  JP. Cabinet member Community Safety & Cohesion, explained the anti-gang strategy and work in the London Borough of Waltham Forest in a meeting hosted by Lord King of West Bromwich and organised by the Universal Peace Federation - UK, in the House of Lords on November 28th.

'Waltham Forest has developed a highly successful programme for encouraging gang members out of gangs. Our gang project help those who are deeply entrenched in gang culture, those who are most at risk of joining gangs and those who are affected by their family members' destructive choices. Uniquely, the programme works with the whole family and attempts to address the many different factors that can draw people towards a life of crime. We work with skills and employment opportunities, with education, but working with the gang members' families is a highly significant factor in the success of our efforts.'

Jack Corley

Respected Lord King, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is an honour to have this opportunity to share some thoughts on the issue under discussion at this prestigious venue.

As you know, the topic for discussion is Family and Gangs. At first glance, you might think there could not possibly be any connection between those two. In fact, you might say that nothing could be more opposite than family and gangs. And yet, if we ask ourselves why a young person would want to join a gang, we may find many are motivated by a desire to experience some things that they feel are missing from their lives – the kinds of things that only a family can provide.

Narraser Gordon and Cllr Liaquat Ali MBEHouse of Lords, November 28th, 2011

One Monday night there was a look at the importance of family background in the prevention of gangs and gang related crimes. A powerful testimony was recounted by Narraser Rochelle Gordon who has a wide experience of strong family roots through her grandparents, of dysfunctional parental role models, of gang culture and the tragedy of gun and knife violence. She joined STOP, Solve This Ongoing Problem, a group that encourages gang members to leave gangs and a way of violence. It has been her passion to lead her peers to avoid the tragedy that she has seen too often. Other testimonies of gang membership followed by life changing experiences were given by Adam Nazar and Quince Garcia.

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