Having gotten up relatively early on the first day of the conference combined with working as a waiter for the banquet the night before, I was not exactly running on a full-tank in the morning of the second day. However, with the amount to prepare for at the conference (alongside Narraser’s wake-up phone call), I quickly found a lot of energy for the activities to come throughout the day ahead.
Due to the fact that amongst other things I was responsible to organise the world café, my focus on the morning sessions was not entirely there. I did catch pieces to catch of the words of the esteemed speakers (including our very own Bogdan Pammer), but not enough to write in detail about the content or what I could receive from it. One thing that stood out for me were the words from Shikh Dr. Hojjat Ramzy who I felt a great deal of passion from on the integration of British Muslims and the need to foster a greater understanding of the religion of Islam in its profound messages and the guidance it provides for its followers.
In preparing for the World Café, I was surprisingly calm by my standards and was well assured by the work of Yoshiko who kindly prepared the miscellaneous items for the event including the flowers and pens. The World Café had been my favourite activity at the previous ELC in which I had been a moderator, however, this was the first time that I had hosted such a session and the first time I had spoken to an audience of such a size. I was grateful as to how the World Café session went considering the limited amount of time we had to prepare for it. More than anything however, I was grateful to all those who moderated and helped organised it, especially Narasser who is a far calmer public speaker than I am and could help me to stay cool. It was especially encouraging to see the moderators taking well to their roles, especially when they were not particularly informed previously on how the sessions were to be carried out. The enthusiastic way in which they carried out their roles was extremely positive, hand gestures and all!
In the afternoon we heard from Mr Jack Corley who gave very profound words on human purpose and its connection to human value and dignity as children of God. His bear joke is one that I have heard on a variety of occasions now, but it still seems to be getting laughs out of the audience which is good. As usual he spoke very eloquently and had his message well received. Following this were words from Mr Tim Miller who spoke on the content of Father Moon’s auto-biography: “As a Peace Loving Global Citizen”. Although he could not cover all aspects of the book, he did manage to do justice to the roots of the vision of the Universal Peace Federation in Father Moon’s teachings and words of forgiveness of one’s enemies and to go beyond that to set an example of love and peace by caring for those who do wrong to us. This message was particularly instilled by the poem the ‘Crown of Glory’ which is something that I often draw inspiration from personally.
It was in the final session in which I found the greatest level of empowerment. With the words of Mr Mark Brann, we could hear and see the substantial work of UPF on a global scale, something which we are not all too often exposed to. Whilst it was inspiring to hear the word from the speakers throughout the conference, I have always drawn the greatest level of empowerment in seeing tangible results and progress. His talk was about global UPF activities and it oriented in a direction which made me see a lot of hope in the future of UPF as an organisation to promote a world of peace, established by good actions and good governance which are built upon the foundation of the highest moral and spiritual values. With Dr Song’s final words on good self-governance, it was the perfect way to wrap up what was an excellent second day at the conference.
By Neil O’Neill