UPF Ireland represented at Interfaith Harmony Week event in House of Lords.
Universal Peace Federation UK hosted a very inspiring event titled, "Healing the Wounds of Conflict: How Can Religion Help?" in one the House of Lords Committee Rooms on Monday, February 22nd, 2016.
UPF House of Lords Testimony by former All-Ireland Primate
My position was as Anglican archbishop of Armagh, which means I was the Anglican primate for the whole of Ireland, North and South, and that period of 22 years before I retired coincided with what we call the troubles, the war in Ireland.
Thousands of lives were lost and the 2 communities were at loggerheads. On one side, the Protestants wished for Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK. The Roman Catholic (RC) community favoured the unification of Ireland.
The two communities were often forced to take sides to follow one argument or the other.
Extremism, which is the subject of this conference, took a particular face in the Northern Ireland conflict. It was encouraged by the men and women of violence and the communities they came from feared to oppose them.
While a minority was monitoring the attacks, the two communities were divided as a consequence. My role in the peace process was to be instrumental in trying to build confidence that didn’t exist between those 2 blocks or entities.
The main lesson I have learned over the period of that peace process is that every conflict situation may cause suffering. The local identity of conflict is the first thing I want to emphasize, but it has to be read alongside the fact that there is human loss, misery and suffering and the first keyword I want to use is the word fear.
One of the things that I felt at the beginning was that we had to find some way of overcoming ignorance of other people. People living within a few meters of each other didn’t know each other. They had a mental picture of what that neighbour stood for because they’d never met.
When a person meets another person and they know they are in the same place to talk and listen, there will eventually emerge common denominators;
common concerns, fears and hopes. This is particularly true for ladies. The mothers, wives and young children of the people that were in conflict were the first to say: “there is a certain ignorance we want to overcome”.
The second stage of the peace process came about when I started to talk to the men and women of violence and I was under threat for quite a period:
my life, my family were threatened simply because I wanted to bring them to an understanding that greater progress could be made politically than by the barrel of a gun. It was hard; a lot of it had to be done in secret and will never be known; I’ll carry it to my grave.
There are 3 things you should look at in a conflict situation. Firstly, you have to convince the people that whatever they are trying to gain by violence can be obtained more radically by diplomacy. Secondly, you must build up the fragile word “trust”. I had to show them that I was prepared to listen and talk to them and that they could trust talking to me. Thirdly, you have to take risks. We took big risks. I thought, “If I don’t do it, God will find somebody else to do it”.
Today, the situation is not exactly level, but there is peace and, for that reason, I thank my God for allowing me to play a part in it.
For this, you must have courage and faith that God is a God of peace, reconciliation; that is the keyword.
Author: The Rt. Rev. the Lord Robin Eames OM
Anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland (1986-2006)
Robin Eames is a distinguished religious leader who made repeated peace initiatives during Northern Ireland’s “troubles.” They all failed for 13 years amid terrible suffering and grieving,
until his persistence was recognised by the men following a violent path who could see that the conflict was not going to fulfil their goals.
They chose him as a trusted figure to open a dialogue. He became a passionate campaigner for the peace process, empowered by the experience of ministering to those in grief.
Numerous deserved awards and accolades have followed, including the Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth II and a peerage in 1995.
The Universal Peace Federation and the Global Peace Council
The Global Peace Council is a international movement
pursuing lasting peace as the realization of harmony, cooperation and co-prosperity
among all the members of the human family, through the application of universal
moral and spiritual principles. In a word, it seeks to "Build a Global
Culture of Heart and a World of Lasting Peace."
Because durable peace will
only be realized as current thinking and practices are transformed by grounding
our most fundamental perspectives in universal values, the Peace Council first need to
develop a broad range of programs that underscore the need for:
among all faith traditions as a pre-requisite for world peace
Good governance grounded in spiritual and moral principles that highlight unselfish
service, a global vision, and cooperation between religious and governmental
leaders, and Human development which includes spiritual development and extends from the
individual, to the family, community, society, nation and world.
Key Action Principles
The primary principle and cardinal virtue for peace is unselfishness, namely, the capacity and strength to live for the sake of others.
The family is the school of true love and ethics, and is the foundation of the good society.
Peace begins with personal transformation in relationship to God or the ultimate reality, and extends to the family, the society, the nation and the world.
When we seek to understand our world from God's point of view, aware of our eternal spiritual life, there are no enemies, only brothers and sisters.
Interreligious harmony and cooperation are prerequisites for peace.
Harmony and cooperation between political and religious leaders is necessary for lasting peace.
Through the practice of true love, divisions can be bridged, barriers overcome, and conflicting parties reconciled.
The world is at a critical turning point; courageous, bold and unselfish leadership is needed if peace is to be achieved.
Coercive force yields only an interruption in conflict, and violence offers no lasting solution;
peace is built on the foundation of true love and service.
UPF Inaugural Tour & Founder's Vision
Where do you start to describe something as extraordinary as Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon's sense of passion,
divine calling and commitment to undertake a tour of 100 cities in 67 countries
around the world in just 100 days to mark the launch of the Universal Peace Federation?
The schedule alone seemed to defy convention and logic given the high walls
of bureaucracy and caution in a post 9-11 world And, if it were logistically
possible, would Father Moon, only a month shy of his 86th birthday, have the
stamina to get up on the stage each evening when it came time to deliver his
Well, now we know that it was possible. The tour started at the Lincoln Center
in New York September 12 and concluded in Toronto December 23, a little over
3 months later, after more than 70,000 miles, 280 hours of airtime, and 60 time
zones. Dr. Moon proved to have more stamina than most of the crowds and all
of his traveling companions, sometimes speaking long after midnight. "I'm
sorry if I make you suffer," he would say with a smile, "but I may
never meet you again, so I have to share everything that is in my heart."
And what of the lofty goals of the Universal Peace Federation, which, in the
words of its Founder, should address and even help solve the very problems the
United Nations has wrestled with for more than sixty years without success?
Early in his life, Dr. Moon had a profound encounter with God who revealed Himself
as the grieving parent of all humankind longing for the return of His lost and
On this tour, Dr. Moon introduced three important goals— First, the founding
of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). The UPF has the mission to help the
United Nations, which represents all nations and all political leadership of
the world, to find renew itself through the spiritual wisdom and insight from
the world¡¯s faith leaders. This task is even more urgent because so many
of the world¡¯s most intractable disputes have a religious element.
Secondly, before nations can think about ending conflict and make peace, individuals
and families must break down barriers of race, religion, ethnicity and culture.
How? Through loving one¡¯s enemy to the point where the children of enemy
nations and peoples marry each other. It is a high wall to climb, but what else
can bring people together?
Third, for all peoples of the world to be able to live as one family we must
all share the same opportunities. Through visionary projects like the Bering
Strait Tunnel and the International Highway Project introduced on this tour,
the UPF is working to inspire new, world changing links between nations and
¡°I leave you with a choice,¡±
Father Moon would say each evening to the Ambassadors for Peace "Will
you join with me as I rise and gain strength in accordance with heavenly fortune?
Or will you miss this chance and risk a lifetime of regret? I ask you all to
devote your best efforts for the development and success of the Universal Peace Federation."
Michael Balcomb, New York, United States, January 6, 2006
Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI)
UPF formally launched its Middle East Peace Initiative with an international consultation held on February 27-March 2, 2003, in Washington DC.
The program was titled, Beyond Coexistence Toward a New Culture of Peace: Focus on the Middle East.
That and subsequent consultations have been designed to offer a broad approach to the challenges facing the Middle East with a focus on bringing religious leaders to the table along with political, academic and activist experts.
The issues range from deeply detailed reflections on Israel and Palestine to broader, theoretical reflections on the clash of, or dialogue among, civilizations.
Irish UPF members in attendance at the Middle East Peace Initiatives Pilgrimages.
World Peace King Bridge Tunnel
Engineers and Diplomats Support New Link between Russia, US
Engineers, scholars and diplomats participating today in the first gathering of the Universal Peace Federation
spoke out in strong support of an idea to build a 52 mile, $200bn tunnel across the Bering Strait between Russia
and the United States.
The idea of a passage between Russia and America was first conceived in 1849,
but for over 150 years it has always been treated as a fantasy, if not an impossibility.
But in recent months, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Universal Peace Federation,
has been reviving interest in this most ambitious idea, and it seems the idea is gaining ground.
The Bering Strait passage is a "bridge to tomorrow, or rather a tunnel," says Craig Burroughs,
Treasurer of the InterHemispheric Bering Strait Tunnel and Railroad Company.
Railroads have historically brought economic growth and prosperity, says Burroughs, and economic growth and prosperity bring peace. ¡°It is time to stop just talking about helping the poor and miserable of the Third World,¡± he says, ¡°and improving the global transportation system is one of the first things the wealthy countries can do to help.¡±
Burroughs outlined a proposal for not just a set of three tunnels under the Bering Strait,
but a minimum of a 5000 mile railroad from Canada to Beijing that will connect all East Asia with North America.
"It will bring great advances in communications and open up the vast but currently inaccessible resources of Siberia,
including oil, gas and minerals to the world. Moreover it will create millions of jobs worldwide,
without ruining the environment."
"The technical surveys have also been very encouraging," he says.
Geological studies show that the tunnel is feasible with today's technology.
The rock is granite, which needs no lining, and moreover the tunnel bore waste materials can put to direct use
to form the track of the railway.
As far as cost, Burroughs estimated around $60bn, with at least another $60 billion to pay for a new
5000 mile multi-track high speed railway, electrification and tunnel.
"But even these huge sums are just a fraction of the US defense budget," he said.
"A tunnel is a problem solver, not a problem maker."
In response, Russian diplomat and academician Professor Konstantin Dolgov took issue with those who would characterize
the project as a "tunnel from nowhere to nowhere" as being narrow and shortsighted. In fact, he said,
there is a long history of friendship between Russia and Alaska - Alaska used to be Russian territory.
Building a tunnel or bridge between these two nations could be the final diplomatic step to end the decades of
competition and hostility caused by the cold war and return to a friendlier time. "The Russian people deeply want peace,"
said Dolgov. "Of course we are very interested in the economic possibilities that would come with opening a passage
to the United States. But it goes further than that. We see engineering and diplomacy as sister disciplines,
helping people to see things in a new way. Diplomacy itself is about building bridges and tunnels between peoples and nations."
The Rev. Moon shares the same confidence. In a speech planned for the Lincoln Center on the evening of September 12th,
Moon says, "Some may be afraid of the scale of such a project, but where there is a will, there is a way.
Especially when it is God's Will!" Even the enormous construction costs are not a problem, says Moon,
when compared to the astronomical sums currently being spent on war. Investment in peace will always pay for itself.
Members the Universal Peace Federation's tunnel discussions agree:
"Thanks to the Rev. Moon's vision, I think we just might see the light at the end of the tunnel," says Burroughs.