Thessaloniki, Greece—The founding meeting of UPF-Greece took place on March 30, 2018, at the Hotel Porto Palace, organized by Prof. Vasileios Toulikas of UPF-Albania and Giuseppe Calì, UPF’s regional director for South Europe. Professor Toulikas, a longtime Ambassador for Peace in Albania, was inspired to establish UPF in Greece upon meeting Mrs. Alma Thano, a famous national-level Greek athlete and Ambassador for Peace herself. Living in the same city of Thessaloniki, they were able to work together to establish UPF in Greece, with the assistance of their mutual friend, Albanian Ambassador for Peace Prof. Flamur Shehu.
Around 40 people gathered for the conference. Among them were Gani Roshi, representing the Albanian chapter of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU); Dr. Ali Lacej, coordinator of Albanian Peace Council; Prof. Shehu, Prof. Toulikas; Mrs. Alma Thano; Mr. Russel Gough, coordinator of activities for FFWPU-Greece, Prof. Porfirys; Giuseppe Calì, director of the South Europe region of UPF, and around 30 other potential activists for UPF-Greece.
The conference organizers offered an introduction to the UPF and its activities worldwide, a vision for building a new society, a presentation on the UPF founders and a call to action for all participants. Ten new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed, bringing the total in Greece to twelve. All participants expressed their appreciation and desire to cooperate actively. Young leaders were well represented among them.
One reason why this conference was meaningful is that Greece is the cultural root of all Europe. UPF Cofounder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon recognized this importance and therefore chose Athens as the venue for giving his proclamation "Building a World of Universal Peace at a Time of Global Crisis" at a conference attended by over five hundred participants. Another notable aspect is that it was an auspicious precursor to UPF’s April International Leadership Conference in Vienna, Austria, that would introduce the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development to Europe.
“We are very happy that we could have a breakthrough, and we were grateful to see the hope of the Greek participants rising to new levels,” commented UPF organizer Giuseppe Calì