|Sunday, February 24, 2013 |
National flags flanked a hall of the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel filled with 800 delegates from 91 nations attending UPF's World Summit 2013 in Seoul, Korea, February 22 to 25.
He opened summit sessions addressed by current heads of state and government from Europe, Africa, and Asia as well as First Ladies and Presidents of the National Assemblies. Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke offered an opening prayer in an interfaith ceremony to begin the UPF World Summit in Seoul Korea. The event features 14 current and former Heads of State and First Ladies and two hundred politicians, religious leaders and NGO leaders. Rev Hyung Jin Moon presented his mother, Dr Hak Ja Han Moon's speech in the Opening Plenary.
The Chairman of UPF International, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, welcomed participants and described his parents' vision of a new global era in which all people would come together in love, "overcoming the barriers of nationality, race, and religion."
UPF President Dr. Thomas Walsh explained that the Summit was dedicated to the vision, life work, and legacy of the late UPF Founder, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who passed away September 3, 2012. Rev. Moon often spoke of February 22 as a providential turning point in history, launching a new era of peace, a world in which all people live together as one family under God. This spiritual vision found resonance in speakers who described remarkable changes taking place all over the world.
For example, the First Lady of Mali, Mme Mintou Doucoure Traore, lamented the invasion of the northern part of her country by Jihadists and drug traffickers and the displacement of large numbers of people, who are suffering not only from lack of food and resources, but rape of women and girls and cutting off of the hands of accused robbers. Speaking in French, she expressed appreciation for the intervention of France and neighboring nations and friends of Mali. "In the name of our common human family, in the name of humanity, that I appeal for your help for my country, OUR country, Mali, to come out of this dangerous impasse."
The Minister of Information of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hon. Lambert Mende Omalanga, reported that "for the first time the international community is taking into account external actors who are the main sources of disorder in our country." That same day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the African Union announced a plan by neighboring nations to bolster security in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Egyptian Sonia Ramzi, former Head of the Promotion of Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, and Egypt's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Hisham Badr, gave insights into current developments in their nation. Hon. Ran Cohen, former member of the Israeli Knesset, drew applause from the audience when he said "You cannot imagine what it means for a man like me coming from Israel to sit down with someone from neighboring East Jerusalem and to meet my brother Imam Murad from Jordan, and people from Egypt and Iran. UPF makes this possible. I don't want Iranian bombs on Jerusalem," he added. "Neither do I want Israeli bombs landing on Iran."
He then embraced his companion at the head table, Dr. Hamdi Murad, who had previously made an impassioned appeal for a resolution to the Palestinian problem. During the question and answer period, people in the audience were eager to add their perspectives, resonating with Ran Cohen's statement that scientific polling reveals that 75 percent of both the Palestinians and Israelis are for a two-state solution, but regrettably they elect political leaders who do not share that conviction.
Other speakers talked about the rocky transition from colonialism to independence. "The numerous challenges our young nations faced at the time made it difficult for them to cast away the contagion of the past," said Rt. Hon. Morgan R. Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. He reported that Zimbabwe, with the help of international organs such as the African Union, is emerging from a period of instability and has drafted a new Constitution, which redefines a new value system for his country, including the development of a system of separation of powers, checks and balances, and rule of law.
The President of Guinea-Bissau, H.E. Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, described a slow process of development in his West African nation after five centuries of Portuguese colonization, but he expressed strong faith in God and hope in the future of his nation.
On the other side of the planet, in a region normally thought of as idyllic, Mme Bronwyn Noda Lilo, wife of the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean, described a time of conflict between the people of the two largest islands beginning in 1999. The women of the islands, she said, banded together to help defuse conflict. Colin Craig, a businessman from New Zealand, and Hon. John David Clarke, a member of the Parliament of New South Wales, Australia, spoke strongly in support of Christian values and caring for others.
For a list of speakers and their presentations, click here.