International Leadership Conference held in Vienna, Austria

On April 28 – 29, 2018 in Vienna, Austria, the Universal Peace Federation held an International Leadership Conference on the theme: “Toward Interdependence and Mutual Prosperity: The Role of Religious Leaders and Parliamentarians”.

In the afternoon of 29th April 2018, the ILC attendees participated in the "Peace Starts with Me" Festival at the Wiener Stadthalle attended by 10,000 people, at which the keynote address was given by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder of UPF.

The International Leadership Conference concluded with a large dinner banquet at the Parkhotel Schönbrunn, at which congratulatory words and reflections were shared by the former president of Albania, a Moroccan scholar and a woman leader from the United Kingdom. The following day, some of the conference participants made a pilgrimage to the Mauthausen Memorial to offer an interreligious prayer.

It is time for humanity to embrace universally shared values, going beyond differences of ideology, race, nationality, and religion, and pursue a path of mutual cooperation and mutual prosperity. In this way it is possible to build a world of lasting and sustainable peace that can be bequeathed to future generations. To fulfill this task, religious leaders have a primary responsibility to cooperate beyond denominations and work in harmony with leaders in all fields of society. In this session, religious leaders and leaders of faith-based organizations will propose the formation of a world-level interfaith association through which to work together for peace and development.

As a historical crossroads of empires and cultures, the Balkan Peninsula is the center of political, cultural and religious influences that make it a significant field for interreligious and intercultural peacebuilding in Europe in the 21st century. In this session, panelists will offer their perspectives on peacebuilding initiatives undertaken in the Balkans and recommend action steps toward a peaceful and democratic future in the region. This session also will feature a presentation of the Balkan Peace Road project promoted by UPF.

After the end of the socialist system in Europe, following the dissolution of the USSR, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, new sovereign states with new borders appeared on the map of Europe. In the context of the current geopolitical realities, participating nations of the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) need to come to the negotiating table to revise the Helsinki Accords to reach a mutually acceptable understanding of the previous frameworks and discuss their possible modification. Panelists in this session will offer their perspectives on the role that may be played by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly – and by the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) – in this undertaking.

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