by Christa Kamga
Seoul. From Incheon Airport all the way to the Sheraton Grander Walker Hill hotel, flags of countries from all over the world were displayed to mark the way for the over 800 delegates from the 91 nations attending the UPF World Summit in Seoul, Korea, held from [month?] 22nd to 25th. There was great excitement in the air, coupled with the desire to live together in peace. Like most of the UPF’s big conferences, the World Summit began with an Interfaith Prayer, with six different Faith leaders standing on the same platform and praying in their own way, asking God to be the head of this World Summit. The session was addressed by current heads of state and government from Europe, Africa, and Asia as well as First Ladies and Presidents of the National Assemblies. These remarks preceded the welcoming address of remarks of the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, UPF International Chairman and Dr. Thomas Walsh, UPF President.
In the session that followed, H.E. Mohammad Karim Khalili, Vice President of Afghanistan, stated that peace and security is God-given, and that we should use all of the teachings of God to make sure that peace and security is established on Earth. First Lady of Mali, Mme Mintou Doucoure Traore, spoke of the troubles befalling her country at present, and appealed to us in the name of our common human family and in the name of humanity to help Mali come out of these difficult times. Minister of Information of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hon. Lambert Mende Omalanga, reported that, “[F]or the first time, the international community is taking into account external actors who are the main sources of disorder in our [which?] country.” Remarkably, 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.
The next sessions were very moving, especially when Hon. Ran Cohen, former member of the Israeli Knesset, spoke. He was very much applauded by the audience when he remarked, “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. He added, “I don’t want Iranian bombs on Jerusalem. Neither do I want Israeli bombs landing on Iran.” Upon concluding his speech, he embraced his companion at the head table, Dr. Hamdi Murad, whom he had met that same day.
There was much discussion in the next sessions, with focus sessions on East Asia, Africa and Middle East, the Americas, Europe and Eurasia, and the Asia Pacific. They were followed by a presentation of the Tongil Foundation.
A highlight of the summit’s farewell program took place at the Little Angels Performing Arts Center with a performance of the Korean folk dance troupe. The various Heads of States & First Ladies in attendance were each given a present by the Little Angels, by the young performers.
During the summit’s final sessions, speakers discussed the rocky transition from colonialism to independence, a process marred with many past wounds. They reported on the current situations in their various countries, and requested for each participant to join efforts in helping to make the world a better place. The speeches resonated with the common theme of one brotherhood, one humanity, and that we must stop the suffering, finding ways to lend a hand, thus allowing for change everywhere.
During mealtimes, the delegates took time to congratulate each other’s efforts and to discuss possible partnerships with the vision of UPF. Together, they envisioned the possibility of peace in their respective countries.
I had the chance to be at the tables and attend the various sessions, and was very grateful when the speakers expressed that this vision should be distributed and shared to youth worldwide. During one of the focus sessions with Robin Marsh of the UK, UPF Secretary general, we had the chance to speak with Hon. Dr. Donald Meredith, a Senator from Canada, who encouraged the work of the Youth UPF. It was very beautiful and encouraging to experience this summit. I personally felt that the era of peace is at hand.