Compelling Two-Day American Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

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Washington, D.C. – Mrs. Tomiko Duggan, Acting Secretary General of UPF-North America, welcomed guests at lunch on Wednesday September 25, and began by saying that during the Cold War American Leadership Conference had offered a “Headwing” ideology as a counter proposal to the struggle between Communism and Democratic nations.

It was based in a reality of a God-centered thought. She said that the source of all human problems is selfishness, and that great heroes sacrificed themselves for the greater good. “One global family under God” was the theme of the conference, which allows us to go beyond race, creed, nationality and religion. “Good governance and leadership is based in the idea of “living for the sake of others”, a UPF theme, which is the cornerstone to lasting peace,” she concluded.

Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Chairman Universal Peace Federation, North America, welcomed the participants and added his agreement to Mrs. Duggan’s words. He praised this series of conferences in North America, the first in the DC area; Ottawa will hold its ALC conference October 3 & 4, Miami and Las Vegas in November and Chicago will hold its conference as part of its annual True Family Values celebration. He encouraged everyone to have a successful conference and wished them well.

Session I: Nation-Building, Good Governance and the United Nations

Dr. Thomas Walsh, President UPF International spoke about the need for both internal and external components to world peace. Now, only national interests are being served at the UN. The “Abel UN,” Rev. Moon’s vision of a religious council within the UN, has been formally proposed. He added, “More and more people are realizing that this is a necessary part of building world peace.” He noted that this idea is being studied in universities and discussed in many circles.  Dr. Antonio Betancourt,Director, Office of Peace and Security, UPF-DC, spoke on North Korea. He said, “We should not demonize our enemies but find a way to work together… war should be the last resort to solve a conflict.”

Session II: The Need for Interfaith Dialogue, Mutual Respect and Cooperation

Rev. Jesse Edwards, Vice Chair ACLC, spoke on his personal experiences of crossing the racial divide against the expectations of family and peers. Dr. Adina Friedman,Associate professor, George Mason University, showed a power point on her reconciliation trips to Morocco and Israel. She showed that when people from different backgrounds meet and exchange with ‘the other,’ doors open and the mind can experience new opportunities. Mrs. Tomiko Duggan, Acting Secretary General Universal Peace Federation-North America, reported on the Religious Youth Service project for developing young leaders. She showed an inspiring power point on the recent program for 20 young people in Washington, DC and last year’s program in Albania. Rev. Tom Cutts, National Executive Director, ACLC, moderated.

Dinner and Session III was held at the University Club in Washington, DC where co-host of the The Washington Times Foundation, Thomas McDevitt is a member.

Session III: Sustainable Peace, Prosperity and Security in Northeast Asia: Creating a Roadmap for the Korean Peninsula.  Speakers wereSecretary Christopher Hill, former Assistant Secretary of State for Asian and Pacific Affairs; Ambassador Joseph DeTrani: Senior advisor, Director of National Intelligence (DNI);, Dr. Chang Shik Yang, Chairman of the Washington Times Foundation, and Vice Chair of UPF International; and  Dr. Jun Isomura, Senior Fellow and Director of the U.S.-Japan Strategic Summit Program, Hudson Institute. This session was moderated by Alexandre Y. Mansourov, Visiting Scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Dr. Hill spoke on the challenges and victories in the initial North Korea US discussions in 2005 and the need to build on that foundation and not start efforts “from scratch.” Dr. DeTrani spoke on the need for continuation of past victories and about President Kim Jong Eun and how he has established himself as the new ruler. Both men have vast experience working with North Korea and are cautiously hopeful for the future.

Dr. Yang said, “We believe it is time for new creativity, new ideas, innovative approaches, and most of all, a will and vision to go beyond the status quo of old thinking that is insufficient for the new era of the 21st century.” He called for a permanent peace agreement or treaty with the support of Korea’s neighbors and other “catalysts” as the basis for future inter-Korean cooperation and eventual reunification. Dr. Isomura talked about the area’s tensions and disputes and Japan’s role in peace building.

Friday morning, Session IV: The Significance of Marriage and Family for a Stable and Prosperous Society. Archbishop George Stallings, Chair, ACLC, spoke on the family as an essential component for building healthy families. Dr. Michael Balcomb,President of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification presented a power point on the UPF view of the family and that the family must be supported and protected; and Rev. Angelika Selle, President, Women’s Federation for World Peace, spoke on the role of women in creating healthy families.

Session V: Best Practices and Action Steps with Ambassador for Peace appointments:

Susan Fefferman, Coordinator, Ambassador for Peace, gave a short presentation on the Five Principles espoused by the Ambassador for Peace network. Fiver new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed.  The appointments of Mr. Samuel Mall, Reach Out International/Pakistan, Interfaith Christian Ministry; Pastor Justin Ragsdale, Lest We Forget Black Holocaust Slavery Museum and Traveling Exhibit; Ms. Elizabeth Pan, Mid-Atlantic Oneness Organization, which organized the International Day of Peace Global Meditation Celebration on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in September this year, Ms. Velma Ann Ruth, Founder Independent Review; and Ms. Hali Jilani, an advisor to the US military in Afghanistan facilitating communication with native peoples, were given by Dr. Thomas Walsh and Dr. Michael Balcomb.

Testimonies were offered by Mrs. Fawzia Etemadi, an AFP who has been working in her native Afghanistan, Mr. Samuel Mall; Pastor Ragsdale, who with his wife run a museum on slavery, educating youth on the need to remember the past but forge a future based on respect for the rights of others, and Mr. Matthew Redmond, a student who is inspired about the teachings of UPF and how it impacts on his future studies.

Reported by Susan Fefferman

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