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International Day of Families

PEACE ROAD 2024 Dublin, Kilmainham:
"The Republic at 75-assessing our Founding Ideals"

Principles of Peace Seminar at Dublin Peace Embassy

Celebrating UN Day of Peace

Peace Road 2022 - Armagh City




Including contribution from Ms Viny Robinson from Bahai'i Community, N. Ireland (from 17:37 mins)

Featuring Sudhansh Verma from Irish Hindu Community,
Rev Dr McComish from Geneva (Armagh originally) and others, these interfaith prayer panels will bring together faith leaders, representatives of faith-based Organisations and religious youth leaders. Regional chapters of IAPD and partners throughout Europe and the Middle East will consecutively host the events to foster solidarity, peace, and reconciliation in Eastern Europe and globally.

PEACE ROAD IRELAND 2022 - ARMAGH CITY, Sunday 25.9.2022

Armagh City was the site of this year's Peace Road Walk as participants took the short but very symbolic route from St. Patricks Roman Catholic Cathedral to St. Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, both with all-island headquarters in the city.
Passing the North South Executive building on the way peace walkers stopped briefly for interfaith prayer readings from World Scripture by Peace Ambassadors Maryam Temile, Stanley Nwaneri and Marisa Goldstone at this significant institution of the Good Friday Agreement. Mrs Catríona Thiébault also offered a heartfelt prayer at the Church of Ireland Cathedral at the burial site of the Great Ancient High King of Ireland, Brian Boru. She gave thanks to Heaven for the new peaceful conditions and heartistic unity in Ireland as well as for the resolution of religious persecution of Unificationists in Japan following the Abe assassination.
Following the walk, participants convened at the City Hotel for a keynote presentation by Prof. Omar Escalona. Prof Escalona gave a deep exposition on the theme of "Converging identities of Science and Religion". His presentation followed an introduction to the history and purpose of the Peace Road as envisioned by the UPF co-founders Father & Mother Moon by FFWPU National Pastor Youngil Ely Loew.
To conclude, Peace Ambassador Stanley Nwaneri gave an inspiring summary of his work in the Migrant Rights and intercultural harmony area. Emcee UPF Ireland Secretary General Colm Ó Cionnaith thanked everyone for coming to “the Cathedral City” after he gave a round up of the activities of the Federation in 2022 so far, emphasing the significance of the various UN days, for interfaith networking and awareness for Peace and intercultural harmony throughout Ireland between all communities, new and existing.

National Holocaust Memorial Day 2022

Ná Déanaimis Dearmad Go Deo

UPF Ireland Peace Road Walk & Forum 2021
"Ending Conflict in Ireland - Lessons for the World?"

Derry City 26.9.21, part of the International Peace Road Project



UPF Today is a magazine of the Universal Peace Federation featuring activities of our
international office and chapters throughout the world.
The magazine is published in English and Russian, with occasional editions in other languages,
including French, Spanish and Arabic.

This archive contains PDF files and links to the corresponding articles on our website
(which are often more extensive than in the magazine). Chapters are encouraged to reprint
and/or translate such portions of the magazine that they might find useful.
We are always looking for interesting reports of UPF activities.

Both the rules-based world order established after WWII and the EU system of close intergovernmental cooperation and integration are under such severe strain as to cast doubt on their future viability. In both cases increasing preoccupation with national self-interest, as against willingness to cooperate together for the common good, would appear to be the key destabilizing factor. What are the key issues threatening to tear the EU apart or at least to greatly reduce its effectiveness and how can they be resolved, if at all? Even more importantly, can the global, rules-based system survive and how can the E.U. best adapt itself so as not only to ensure its own survival but also to bolster the global rules-based system in its fight for survival? Few people can be better qualified to provide answers to these vital questions than our 3 panelists. Each has played a key role in the development of the E.U.'s policies in the last 20 years.
Romano Prodi, Prime Minister of Italy (1996 - 1998 and 2006-2008), President of the European Commission (1999-2004).
Jose Manuel Barroso, Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004), President of the European Commission (2004-2014).
Herman Van Rompuy, Prime Minister of Belgium (2008-2009), President of the European Council (2009 - 2014), Chairman of the Board of the College of Europe (since 2019).

Rita Payne, Former Asia Editor, BBC World News (TV), President emeritus, Commonwealth Journalists Association

Dec 5th, 2017 – EU PARLIAMENT, Bruxelles

by Colm Ó Cionnaith, UPF Ireland:
This very stimulating, thought-provoking and in the current context of 21st century Europe, urgent topic, was the matter at hand for discussion by UPF Europe’s latest initiative: the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace -IAPP.

The EU parliament chamber in Brussels was full of distinguished attendees and representatives of various NGOs and stakeholders on the invitiation of Flávio Zononato, the Italian M.E.P from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats who guided the programme and assisted in preparing the distinguished panel, made up of Jean-Marie Bockel, a high-ranking French National politician and social conservative; Afzal Ashraf, a British military academic with expertise in the Middle East and religious conflicts; Seyran Ates, a muslim female Immam from Berlin and Prof. Brigitte Maréchal, a Belgian Political Scientist, Islamologist and Sociologist. All raised interesting points and gave great analysis of the current tension that exists in Europe between culture and religion, some like Jean-Marie emphasising the importance of balancing the secular nature of the French Republic, which promises equality and freedom to all with the necessity of values and particularly the need for the state to recognise the positive aspects of religious practice in the education of children and the emphasis faith traditions give to the family as a bedrock for successful and happy individuals.

I was quite captivated by our female Imam from Berlin who has to overcome constant opposition and indeed requires protection from the state to allow her to continue her ministry in what she described as a ‘liberal mosque’ in Berlin, where all comers are welcome, regardless of their gender or political philosophy. She came across as a very open-hearted person who obviously loves her faith, but also cherishes the freedom which Europe gives her to practice and promote it the way that she feels called to. Following the presentations by the panel, there was a question and answer session, which was inevitably too short! However, those of us eager to pose our questions were comforted by the knowledge that the second part of the conference was to follow in the afternoon in the nearby Renaissance hotel.

My impressions from the afternoon session was that things were a lot more relaxed and we had more time to teethe out some of the issues raised earlier in the parliament. Contributions to the afternoon session were also provided by MEP for West Midlands’ Ms. McIntyre’s parliamentary assistant, who outlined a very successful project in her constituency which helped to create a better atmosphere for religious tolerance and respect and hoped that this work could continue to find funding after Brexit. French muslim leader Camel Bechikh gave his perspective of growing up in France as a proud citizen and adherent of his faith and painted at times a stark picture of the conflicts between those two systems.

Perhaps this for me was the biggest take-away for the day: how do we encourage religious adherents to participate in politics in Europe, where they feel the freedom and democracy not as a threat to faith but as a protection and a basis, not for conflict, but for social good.
The next day I was lucky enough to be invited to a similar meeting organised by Jan Figel and chaired by the Vice-President of the EU parliament Mairéad McGuinness as part of the EUs new responsibility for Freedom of Belief & Thought under the Lisbon Treaty . I congratulated the VP on the initiative on behalf of UPF and reminded her of our event held the previous day and the commonalities shared by our respective conferences and organisations.


Assembled Peace Ambassadors, dignitaries and UPF guests and representatives mark Interfaith Harmony week at the House of Lords

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.

Celebrating the Life of Reverend Moon

Pastor Loew shared with a capacity audience of FFWPU members and guests the mission and life of Rev. Moon and the organisations he inspired and founded in order to further interfaith co-operation and build "One Family under God". Projects such as the UPF, which was created to give an interfaith dimension to the UN, or the "Peace UN" were outlined as well as the Holy Marriage 'Blessing' which is breaking down barriers of nationality and race centering on the ideal of God-centred families and True Love between man and woman, expanding and embracing three generations in grandparents and beyond.

After the 'Life and Work of Reverend Moon' presentation by Pastor Loew, WFWP Ireland President Doris McCann outlined "Father Moon's Vision for the Role of Women in the 21st Century", followed by a moving prayer by Patricia Iverson, who tearfully remembered experiences with Father Moon as a Missionary and his visit to Ireland in 2005.

Syria: Can We Remain Indifferent?

For His Holiness Pope Francis

On the Deliberations of the Workshop of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the Crisis in Syria and the Hopes for the Geneva 2 Conference, January 13, 2014
The horror of violence and death in Syria has brought the world to a renewed reflection, and thereby to a new chance for peace. The Geneva 2 Conference on January 22 allows the people of Syria, the region, and the world to conceive of a fresh start to end violence that has claimed more than 130,000 lives and left a beautiful country in ruins and dislocation. Let us therefore all work in harmony and trust to chart an urgent path to reconciliation and reconstruction.

The first and most urgent step, agreeable to all men and women of goodwill, should be an immediate cease-fire and end to violence of all kinds, an end without political preconditions. All internal combatants should put down their weapons; all foreign powers should take immediate steps to stop the flow of arms and arms funding that feed the escalation of violence and destruction. The immediate cessation of violence is in the interest of all. It is a humanitarian imperative, and represents the first step to reconciliation.

The end of fighting should be accompanied by the immediate start of humanitarian assistance and reconstruction. Millions of Syrian people have been displaced. Countless numbers are refugees, being housed temporarily in camps in neighboring countries.The displaced populations are suffering from extreme and life-threatening deprivations of nutrition, safe water, sanitation, electricity, safe shelter, telecommunications, transport, and other basic human needs required by any well-functioning society. Let Syria embark, with the full plentitude of global financial and human support, to a path of rebuilding, one that can begin even before all political and social questions are resolved.

In this vital rebuilding, young people and the poor should be given a preferential role, with access to jobs and to training for vital reconstruction skills. The Syrian economy is in a state of collapse and youth unemployment is pervasive. The re-employment of young people will not only meet urgent material needs, but urgent social and personal needs as well. In this way, the start of material reconstruction can attend to the urgent needs of survival. Inter-community dialogue and reconciliation should also tend to the urgent needs of spiritual and community rebuilding. Syria is built upon a complex, historic, and wondrous tradition of pluralism of religions, ethnicities, and cultures. he Holy See is committed to supporting all religious faiths and communities in Syria to reach a new understanding and significant restoration of trust, after years of inter-communal violence. It is widely understood that the conflict in Syria has drawn its violent force from the conflicts and deep distrust in the region.

As many have noted, the conflict in Syria has often been more about the rivalries of the regional and international powers than about conflicts within the Syrian community itself. On the one hand, this is promising. The people of Syria have lived amongst each other in peace throughout history, and can do so again. On the other hand, the regional conflicts that have engulfed Syria must also be addressed in order to create the conditions for long-lasting peace. To build the basis for regional peace, Geneva 2 needs to ensure inclusive participation of all parties to this conflict, within the region and beyond.

Of particular note is the vital importance of the recent agreement reached between Iran, with the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, to find an agreement on Iran's nuclear program. This interim agreement gives the world great hope that an extended period of grave distrust between Iran and other nations in the region and beyond might now be followed by a new era of trust and even cooperation. The success of this new agreement would also provide a vital foundation for a lasting peace in Syria. So too would a breakthrough in the ongoing Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations being facilitated by the United States. These, then, are preconditions for lasting peace: an immediate cessation of violence; the start of rebuilding; inter-communal dialogue; and progress to resolve all regional conflicts, and the participation of all regional and global actors in the pursuit of peace in Geneva 2.

They provide a base of security and reconstruction upon which lasting peace can be built. New political forms in Syria are needed, to ensure representation, participation, reform, and the voice and security of all social groups. Political transformation is needed. It is not a precondition for ending violence; rather, it will accompany the cessation of violence and the rebuilding of trust. As Pope Francis said in September of last year, at the time of a prayer vigil for peace:

I once again ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace! Let everyone be moved to look into the depths of his or her conscience and listen to that word which says: Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation. Look upon your brother's sorrow and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this achieved not by conflict but by encounter! 1 Pope Francis, Vigil of Prayer for Peace, 7 September 2013.

Jean-Louis Pierre Cardinal Tauran, H.Em. Georges M.M., Cardinal Cottier H.Em., Roger Cardinal Etchegaray, H.E. General Gianalfonso d'Avossa, H.E. Msgr. Antoine Audo, Rev. Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot,
MCCJ H.E. Amb. Juan Pablo Cafiero, Prof. Wolfgang Danspeckgruber, Rev. Fr. Hyacinthe Destivelle, OP Rev. Aleksej Dikarev, H.E. President Mohamed ElBaradei, Prof. Joseph Maila, H.E. President Thierry de Montbrial,
Prof. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, H.E. President Romano Prodi, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, H.E. Msgr. Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, H.E. Amb. Piotr V. Stegniy H.E., Msgr. Silvano M. Tomasi, C.S. Prof. William F. Vendley, Dr. Thomas Walsh, Lic. Miguel Werner.


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:

     Interreligious cooperation 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 message?

          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 wounded children.

         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 peoples.

         ¡°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

    Peace Initiatives

    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.

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    M.Y.K & Cybertek . All rights reserved.