There was a brief consultation meeting on the 16th of May with a group of over 15 Ambassadors for Peace from several faiths. At the table, Robin Marsh, started with welcoming remarks and explaining a paper with a list of upcoming events. After discussing the programme of activities, each shared how to make the events successful. It was very inspiring. Then the talks became more profound as everyone gave short reports on what they do and their motivation for doing those activities. Andreas Bachofner, a Charitas Children Hospital - UK Trustee, told us how the hospital is going on. He emphasised that the doors are always open to serve the local people. He added that the Hospital staff are better off than most people in the area. Unfortunately, the major issues for us now are operational issues. – we need people that will work, and money to run it. At the moment they find money when there is a project or when we bring in something new, like a machine, but no one wants to help for day to day expenses that’s generally the challenge. On the issue of Palestinians and Israelis, a group that seeks to overcome the power of revenge and bad feelings between the two peoples, was introduced. On June 18th evening there will be a documentary screened in Parliament called, 'Within the Eye of the Storm'. Because of the tragic loss of their daughters in two different incidents, the two fathers, an Israeli and a Palestinian, work together to inform others about the price of the conflict. They have a great authority because they have paid that price. The two people are ambassadors of peace, and so is one of the film directors. This is a true human life story and everyone was moved and encouraged to bring their friends to this very inspiring event. (Invitation information here)
About Africa Day, around the table the Ambassadors for Peace group discussed, each giving their input, as Robin mentioned the final product isn’t ready yet. Some ideas given included, making sure it does show the positive side of Africa and not just a forum to discuss on the problems in various parts of Africa. Connecting to the diaspora, to revive sweet memories, make it cultural, introduce clothes, food and have a lively – joyful night. There are lots of positive things that happen and we can show it, so people can see what we valued, then promote, the good stuff happening there. (Invitation here)
Margaret mentioned an International Relief Friendship Foundation project happening in Uganda. She explained how they had fundraised to send money for chairs, for shoes, for windows and how things can be done to help the people on the spot. People need tools so that they can make things themselves.
David, shared how inspired by Robin, his company has reached now 22 countries and currently what they are doing in Lybia, working to see how we can donate what we have done so that other countries in Africa can start the step to being self-sufficient, they stay in the country for 5 years and then they find a way to go to the next country. They are building technical colleges to train, give tools rather than money, he feels that this is what we have got to do, he works in housing and every company has over 3000 people employed. Another idea was to discuss cultural, religious diversity living side by side, in Africa. How communities live together in harmony.
The EU meeting in the parliament on June 25th, will be about 'the responsible sourcing of minerals from conflict areas'. We will have expert testimony from several sources including Humphrey Hawksley, the BBC World Affairs Correspondent and Keith Best, the CEO of Freedom from Torture. There will also be a business perspective expaining the efforts made to trade in minerals responsibly and also someone from eastern DRC by Skype (on ground to speak).
The June 22nd – Youth UPF Training Day was also discussed and we explained on what is going to happen and how our viewpoints are seen. Most of the Youth events, high profile people that came where invited to speak, Baroness, Keith Best and it is really a good way to inspire the young people.
The Youth Achievement Award – was introduced, the sharma award.
September 21st we have Day of Peace, we would like to do something as we do. Anyone has got any idea how we can make things possible. Singers!! – UNESCO organized event - he was the patron of the conference and we were there for 2 days and filled huge rooms over 300 people. We can try and do something in London.
The idea of the Palestine/Jewish, peace to Middle East, and a day of no war was introduced by Sheikh Dr.Ramzi to put religious leaders forward,he proposed a project of international day of a cease fire. Which hasn’t been done yet, but with such event we can save a minimum of 500 lives. Everyone agreed. At the moment he is trying to do a website. Institution Cultural Democracy, it is new but going to be part of the UN and by the grace of almighty God, it will work, he said he believes the UPF will support such an initiative. The Olympic Truce movement as well – is an idea. One day of playing staying home.
The next best event, will be through the European Leadership Council – UN Day, to get a few of the Key members and they say how we can help and make UN stronger, there are some projects that have been done for 10 years and nothing happened. For example discuss why would a small country like Turkey should have nuclear? We talked about Burma and Syria, we need to have ambassadors for peace and people from such countries to come up and create events so we can support. Robin used social media to make the issue known but much more could be done if someone made an event. In November we have Forgiveness and reconciliation afternoon conferences, and One Family Under God, Principles of Peace and Peace building.
Mark Brann reported for the Europe news UPF:
Last weekend I was in Macedonia and with Dr. Thomas Walsh, we had a conference which is called Dialogue and Civilization, between religions, ethnic groups and it was co-sponsored by the UN. Before the conference we spoke to University and then we had subscription of about 80 people to the network.
We also met PM and speaker of parliament – generally, well received. Then Dr. Thomas Walsh gave a presentation about the Interreligious, and world summit in Korea over 40 nations that came either Head of States or first ladies.
As for North Korea and if we talk, Father Moon was given an award and now we want to substantialize our relationship with North Korea, hope some of you can be inspired to be involved in this project. – Aim is to send a container of medical supplies a month.
Youth Project, we have applied to the EU - Malta and it is to deal with North Africa and the EU sponsors various things and it looks like they will sponsor and we will have one week of dialogue. Once we have a final word on that we will let you know.
With MEPI we have been very active in the Middle East and now we are re-commencing that effort. Right now, about 200 people from Korea, Japan, Europe and USA are gathered there to renew the spirit of MEPI. Over the next days they will be doing activities.
We just about to be progress through the periodic reconfirmation of our role as a consultative NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) of ECOSOC (The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.) He added that the President of ECOSOC had kindly asked for a minute of silence for UPF's Founder.
Later on it was agreed by everyone that such regular meetings are very important and a platform where they can meet once a month was created. Every Last Tuesday of the Month for Ambassadors for Peace gathering will now be held in 43 Lancaster Gate.