An unprecedented summit in Africa, aimed at revitalizing relationships and shared development among nations, was held earlier this year by organizations affiliated with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF).
The First Africa Summit for Peace, Security and Sustainable Development drew a multi-sector audience of 1,200 participants, representing more than 60 nations, to Dakar, Senegal, on Jan. 18-19, 2018.
Senegal’s president, His Excellency Macky Sall, as well as UPF Co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon spoke at the event, which was built around the theme, “New Africa: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”
Besides addressing the summit participants and meeting the UPF leadership and members from throughout the continent, Mrs. Moon visited Gore Island, a small, car-free island off the coast of Dakar known for its infamous role in the Atlantic slave trade of the 15th to 19th centuries.
Mrs. Moon joined with African spiritual leaders and FFWPU members on Jan. 19 to conduct an interfaith prayer for peace and reconciliation. She also generously donated a boat to be used for emergency medical evacuations.
In fulfillment of the summit’s objectives toward promoting a “New Africa,” the following issues and initiatives were introduced:
1. Interdependence. To strengthen bonds of solidarity and promote mutual development, knowledge and technology were shared through presentations on the New Village Movement (Saemaeul) — which played a significant role in providing the vision to develop rural areas in Korea after the Korean War — and coffee production, utilizing research and technology from the Hawaiian Queen Coffee Farm, which was established by the founders of UPF.
2. Mutual prosperity. To promote prosperity and break down barriers among all nations, details of the International Highway Project, also know as the “Peace Road” project, were presented. Summit participants were presented with a memorandum of understanding to support the “Peace Road” project.
3. Universal Values. To promote adoption of universally shared values, a character education program that features stories about moral challenges and has textbooks and teacher manuals, was presented. A memorandum of understanding was signed by the participants to support the UPF Character Education Program.
The African summit successfully launched the following three important peace initiatives, which contribute to peace and human development at the national and continental levels:
1. The International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP)
2. The Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD)
3. The International Association of Chiefs for Peace and Prosperity (IACPP)
The latter organization — for tribal chiefs — was created in recognition that “traditional rulers are the custodians of land, people and traditions,” conference organizers said. Chiefs “are highly respected and honored among their people. By working together, centering on the universal principles of peace, they play a critical role in protecting the institution of the family, social harmony as well as the purity of the environment.” Among the IACPP’s goals is a continental initiative to educate African chiefs about the UPF principles of peace and to promote healthy marriage and family relationships grounded in selfless love.
The 2018 Africa Summit concluded with presentations on how to (a) promote a united, interdependent and prosperous Africa; (b) advise leaders on the importance of universal values in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations; (c) promote cooperation among all religious and cultural traditions; (d) encourage mutual prosperity and peace in Africa through village-level development projects; and (e) utilize the power of art and culture as an instrument of peace.
Nearly 100 speakers, representing the nations of the continent including adjacent islands, addressed many of the challenges facing the African continent, with poor governance and corruption at the top of the list. Africa faces many obstacles — poverty, terrorism, climate change, drug and human trafficking, cybercrime, environmental issues, unemployment especially among the youth, and more.
But everywhere there are signs of transformation: Foreign investment is increasing, the population is young, the lands are abundant in resources, and the people are receptive to new technologies and digital communications. According to the U.N., by the year 2100, four out of 10 people on Earth will be African. The world is also moving in the direction of Africa taking on a greater role as a bridge between Eastern and Western civilizations.
Finally, the 2018 Africa Summit was significant because the event featured a keynote address by the UPF founder, Mrs. Moon, who expressed her insights and hopes for Africa “to become the light of the world.”
Cheers from children living on the island of Gore in Senegal reverberated when Mrs. Moon arrived on the island on Jan. 19. Gore Mayor Austin Senghor greeted Mrs. Moon before taking her to the House of Slaves and its Door of No Return, a museum and memorial to the countless men, women and children who passed through Gore and into slavery in the New World.
In her speech at the 2018 Africa Summit, Mrs. Moon said, “The continent that I believe has suffered the most is the African continent.” She delivered a tearful prayer at the Gore memorial for the ancestors of the African people who had endured this painful history, expressing hope that there will be a new, heavenly Africa free from suffering in the new future.
Mayor Senghor then presented the Gore Pilgrim Award to Mrs. Moon. The award states: “Status of Pilgrim who is hereby authorized and appointed to serve as an Ambassador of Good Will for Gore Island, for the promotion of its memory which testifies to such a tragedy as epitomized by slavery, for the teaching of universal values incarnated by Gore Island and for the triumph of peace and tolerance ideals.”
Participants departed with a clearer understanding of the comprehensive, integrated holistic approach that comprises UPF toward fulfilling humankind’s desire for good governance and lasting peace.
Mrs. Moon and Dr. Yun Young Ho, secretary general of Family Federation of World Peace and Unification, announced after the event that Senegal will be the continental headquarters for UPF and its affiliated organizations, including Youth and Students for Peace and the International Peace Highway project.
This article is based on materials from the Family Federation of World Peace and Unification, with thanks to Dr. Robert Kittel and Dr. David Earle. For more information, please visit familyfed.org.
Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.