Distinguished leaders, dear Ambassadors for Peace and guests,
I’m truly honored to have this precious opportunity to introduce a meaningful project for building peace such as Peace Road. At the same time I feel greatly humbled in front of such a peace initiative.
Humankind has been yearning for a happy and peaceful world. All of us would like to live together in peace, that is why throughout our long history we have been searching for that. Who would not want peace, love, beauty, goodness, tranquility, unity, harmony and happiness for their family, for the people whom they love and for themselves? We all do, right?! This is our dream, but we all agree that we are quite far from that ideal dream. Due to religious, racial and ethnic differences, human beings have repeated a history stained with war and conflict, and it has been very painful. We have to shout with a loud voice even to the person just next to us, in order to break through the barriers between our hearts. Boundaries, borders and walls are first made in our hearts. And I dream of the day, as I’m sure you do too, when we will wake up in the morning and not hear about conflicts any more, not hear gunshots, not see people dying of hunger in a world which has enough resources for all. And this will happen when we first of all are free of contradictions and struggles within ourselves and then with others.
Peace road has become a peacemaker on the path to world peace and is taking place even today, to bring about an era of global peace.
There have been all kind of roads in history, like the Silk Road, also all of the roads that lead to Rome, but there was never a Road to ultimate peace. Wouldn't you like to drive on such a road?! It should be a quality road, so it would be wise to use the strongest materials ever, which, no matter what difficulties arise, would not be destroyed. Such materials have a common element, which is called True Love, with its core characteristic being to always think of others first.
All over the world, people participate and spread the message of Peace, resolving problems and uniting. Of course, they ride bikes or horses, travel on foot or with cars, or use other diverse methods, but the most important point in the peace Road is to take our heart and travel to the others heart, finding and building the peace road toward myself, my spouse, my children, my neighbors and so on.
At the 10th International conference on the unity of the sciences in 1981, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, Father and Mother Moon, proposed a way to implement peace in the world, the International Peace Highway, with the vision of connecting the world through one transport network and to end the various problems which cause disputes and conflicts.
For this purpose, we need to build two linking points, namely the Bering Strait project (connecting Russia and the USA), and the Korea-Japan Tunnel.
It is by connecting the world through peace and through this journey to encourage hope that we can achieve a peaceful world.
From the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, to Santiago, Chile, and from London, U.K, to New York, U.S. A. Yes, this will help us to realize the Dream of One Global Family. Peace Road is taking place in 120 nations, and the participants stop in every city to give messages of peace.
In particular, this project stresses the importance of the peaceful reunification of the only divided country in the world, the Korean peninsula, and realization of the DMZ world peace park, and this will need the support and cooperation of the international community. Just a few days ago, we saw some substantial results on that issue. UPF has organized young people from around the world and world leaders to travel to the DMZ numerous times.
With so much hope and joy, UPF-Europe prepared the Balkan Peace Road Project for 2018, as a substantial way to promote and empower peace among the people of the Balkan region. Being in a strategic geographic position, the Balkan peninsula has served as a pathway, but at the same time as a battlefield, which has left a lot of scars and hatred among the peoples of our nations. Even young people in the Balkans, born after 1990, have inherited quite a lot of prejudices and hatred. The root of the problem is deep within, and we need continuous and intentional efforts to heal these deep scars. The Balkans Peace Road project will start in Tirana (Albania), going to Podgorica (Montenegro), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Belgrade (Serbia), Skopje (Macedonia) and concluding in Pristina (Kosovo).
Particularly, this project will stress the importance of peaceful relationships between neighboring Balkan countries, and this will encourage the support and cooperation of the international community.
UPF promoted the idea of a Balkan Peace Road at the inauguration of the inauguration of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace in the Balkans region. We want to realize this project from 7-18 June, 2018, to support the vision of Peace Road in the Balkans and as a means to build bridges between Balkan nations.
Already in Albania and Kosovo the first steps are done, and the Balkan Peace Road wants to build on that to be all inclusive, mobilizing young people, parliamentarians, sportsman and women, artists, etc.
Today more than ever, we see the need for a bold peace initiative.
Sometimes we might find it difficult to build a road of peace even to our own hearts, let alone our children’s, spouse’s and parents’ hearts. But I have great confidence that together as young people, parliamentarians, and important leaders gathered here today, we can unite and with courage stand at the heart of this vision. Let us ride together at full speed; let us ride for peace and become a part of this historic event!
Author: Manjola Vasmatics
Secretary General, Tirana UPF Peace Council, Albania
Mrs. Manjola Vasmatics graduated in Mathematics from Tirana University, Albania. She joined the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) in 2003. Since 2007, she has been working as city coordinator for FFWPU in Tirana and about 2 years ago she became vice president of FFWPU Albania. She is also the Secretary General for the Universal Peace Federation in Tirana.