Concurrent with the program at the National Assembly, there were two other sessions on the conference theme “Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: Principles and Practices for Peace and Human Development.”
Mr. Robert Williamson, special envoy to UPF of South Africa, served as moderator of one session. Speakers included Mr. Jacques Marion, the regional secretary general of UPF for Europe, who spoke about the founders’ vision and UPF’s Principles of Peace; and Mr. David Fraser Harris, the regional secretary general of UPF for the Middle East, who gave an overview of UPF activities around the world.
Hon. Mardo Djabir Issa, a member of Chad’s parliament, spoke about the general situation of Africa. He described the continent as rich in natural resources but poor in management and leadership. “There is no more serious threat to peace and security than poverty and especially inequality. Poverty is a social injustice that paves the way for all manifestations of violence under the guise of political, cultural, identity or religious conflicts. There can be no lasting peace without development, and there can be no inclusive development without good governance.” Hon. Issa said he believes that sustainable peace is built on “visionary leadership and strong democratic institutions.”
Mr. Gregory Stone, the regional secretary general of UPF for Oceania, served as moderator for the other session. Speakers included Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul, the vice chair of UPF-Asia, and Mr. Tuo-Huan Chen, regional secretary general of UPF for the Chinese Region. In his presentation, Dr. Lek pointed out that many of the critical challenges we face today originate from the breakdown of families and family values. He showed how the selfish, individualistic “free sex” culture, so prevalent today around the world, is being effectively countered in Thailand and several surrounding nations through the true family Interfaith Peace Blessing and pure love movement. Some 50,000 families have participated with the support of many local governors.
Using a video and PowerPoint, Mr. Tuo-Huan Chen addressed the topic “Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Holistic Sex Education.” He explained about the dangers of Comprehensive Sex Education, which is being promoted in schools around the world, and he emphasized the need for education promoting abstinence before marriage and fidelity between husband and wife.
Hon. Chandrani Bandara, the minister of Women and Child Affairs in Sri Lanka, spoke on the situation in Sri Lanka and in particular programs that empower women and secure the rights and protection of children. Minister Bandara commended the presentations and explained the work being undertaken in Sri Lanka by her ministry following the end of hostilities to elevate the status of women and overcome violence against women.