Africa Summit 2018 - Session III - Special Presentations on UPF Peace Initiatives.

 

Dr. Tageldin Hamad, the vice president of UPF International, served as moderator. Discourses included the following:

“Character Education and Family Values” by Dr. Robert Kittel, president, Youth and Students for Peace. Starting with the founder’s address which emphasized the importance of the family as the foundation for an ideal world, this was topic that speakers over and over again brought up. This presentation directly related the Africa Summit theme of Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values to the importance of the family as the origin of these values. The model for realizing these ideals is the family. As was pointed out, the family is the place where these principles are first learned and experienced substantially.

The slide that brought the biggest applause from the audience came after quoting from religious scriptures, psychology and sociology showing how all of them talk about living for the sake of others. They use different words, but the concept, the principle, is the same—we must be public-minded. The conclusion was this, “You don’t need to change your religion to be good.”

The Sunhak Peace Prize was introduced through a video, Living for Future Generations, and remarks by Dr. Sakeena Yacoobi, the founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning and a Sunhak Peace Prize laureate. The Sunhak Peace Prize recognizes individuals and organizations that have made enduring contributions to the promotion of peace and living for the sake of others, which often goes against common social practices.

“Interdependence and the New Village Movement” was presented by Mr. Ok Gil Kim of the Korean Saemaul Headquarters (New Village Movement) as a way to help develop African nations, just as it was successfully implemented in South Korea in the 1960s after the Korean War. Mr. Kim said that sustainable development “depends on the leadership. If the leaders can be inspired and dedicated by this approach and be willing to be the vanguard, then change is possible.”

“Science and Peace” addressed the effects of climate change. Dr. Michael Glantz, director of the Consortium for Capacity Building, University of Colorado, United States, and an associate member of the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), pointed out that climate issues have a positive byproduct: They bring nations together to counter their common problems. In other words, climate change has the power to unite Africa. Shared problems “provide a reason for the countries to get together and do something about it,” Dr. Glantz said. He gave the example of El Niño, the climate phenomenon that causes major damage. It’s important for nations to review and compare their disaster policies on local, national and continental levels, he said. Warning systems and meteorological services can make a difference. He concluded by saying, “Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge is empowering.”

“Toward Mutual Prosperity: International Peace Highway Presentation (Peace Road)” was given by Dr. Thomas Walsh, the chair of UPF International and the chair of the World Peace Road Foundation. The International Highway Project (Peace Road) is a visionary call for a superhighway free of tariffs and passports, linking the entire globe. The project was proposed initially in 1981 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Dr. Walsh also put into perspective the various peace initiatives being introduced in the session “as part of a grand and comprehensive strategy to restore society but beginning at the level of the individual,” he said. “An individual who lacks integrity or is corrupt can only multiply such character and create unethical institutions,” he said—therefore the need for character education.

Two commentators responded to the UPF initiatives:

Professor Oumar Ndongo of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal, spoke about the two systems in society: “Capitalism, which was founded on individual proprietary with its tendency toward materialism, and communism/socialism, which was founded on collective propriety; however, neither system fulfills everyone’s needs.” Professor Ndongo proposed a third approach: a more harmonious system for society based on the model of the family. He gave the analogy of the human body—which functions with harmony and mutual cooperation—and society—which likewise should interact cooperatively, with each part playing a role on the individual level but also at the higher societal level.

Sen. Ibrahim Mantu, deputy president of the Senate of Nigeria (1999-2007), raised the question: “Where does badness come from?” The senator said young people are impressionable and learn from an early age. Every person with whom a child comes in contact becomes a role model, either for good or bad. “We must concentrate on raising up our youth and inculcate the principle to live for the sake of others,” he said. Referring to the testimony by Sunhak Peace Prize laureate Dr. Yacoobi, he said he almost wept to hear about the situation of women in Afghanistan but also their courage and the difference that even one person can make. He was intrigued by the New Village Movement and emphasized the role of leaders to initiate change. He urged everyone to research this important initiative and study it carefully, and likewise, the presentation by Dr. Glantz on climate change. In conclusion, he praised President Sall and Mother Moon for “trying to make the world a better place.”

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