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Archive for 2009

UPF Get Together December 21st, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on December 23, 2009

Dr Hojjat Ramzy Receives an Ambassador for Peace Award

Snow in the late afternoon prevented many of those who said they were coming from attending an end of year get together. Nevertheless we had a good sharing about ideas for 2010 between those brave souls who were able to come. There was a presentation of an Ambassador for Peace Award to Dr Hojjat Ramzy and a discussion of the importance of marriage and family.

For the photo link

Ambassador for Peace Award for Dr Hojjat Ramzy:

Dear Madame Chairman, Secretary General, Trustees, Delegates, Ambassadors and Friends,

I greet you with Islamic greeting of peace, Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah, meaning (Peace and blessings of Almighty God be with you all).

I would like to thank the Universal Peace Federation for accepting me as a member of their prestigious organization. It is a privilege and an honour to be part of this global organisation whose aim is to promote peace throughout the world, regardless of race, wealth or status.

My aim in life has always been to strive to live for the sake of others in the pursuit of world peace, integration, cohesion and education for all. It is a great opportunity for me to work with likeminded people who all have the same ambitions.

I would like to say, before I leave this world, it is my dream to see a world that is harmonious and peaceful for all, where everyone lives together in harmony. A free world with no wars which destroy, no walls to divide, and no borders to separate. A world where everyone is united within one family, a world in which everyone cares for each other.

And last but by no means least; I would like to thank my dear honourable friend Mr Villayat Khokhar for nominating me.

I thank you again.

May God Bless You All.

Dr. Hojjat Ramzy

———————————————————————————————-

Since arriving in England over thirty years ago, Dr Hojjat Ramzy has dedicated his life to the propagation of knowledge and the provision of accurate and accessible information concerning Islam to the community of Oxfordshire, in which he is currently based, and far beyond, in order to further understanding and peaceful coexistence amongst faith in this ever developing, multi-cultural country.

In September 2003, following the reorganisation of the state school system in Oxfordshire and the closure of the last single sex girls state school in the area, Dr Ramzy, who is now Proprietor, undertook the mammoth challenge of establishing the first Islamic School in this historic academic city, with the aim of providing the highest standard of education in the most conducive Islamic environment for the future generation of Muslims in order for them to enter the working world as informed and educated individuals, increasing the prospects for the integration and cohesion of these young Muslims into British society.

This, however, is not Dr Ramzy’s only pursuit. In addition to the overseeing of this establishment, Dr Ramzy also pursues the goal of providing clear and accurate knowledge about Islam to the community of Oxfordshire at large through the running of the Oxford Islamic Information Centre. Through this organisation, Dr Ramzy runs a stand in Oxford’s busy city centre which provides reliable information, advice and literature on Islam to the public free of charge. Dr Ramzy firmly believes in supplying people with an accessible source of accurate information about the religion, and endeavours to answer all questions, whatever they may be and whoever they may be asked by. From police chiefs, to bishops, from students to MPs and your average Saturday shopper, Dr Ramzy has been approached by an incredibly diverse range of inquirers and hopes to have helped dispel some of their common misconceptions about the faith. As a result of these efforts, Dr Ramzy has facilitated over 200 shahadah declarations.

Another facet of this enterprise is the provision of lessons and lectures specifically tailored to suit the needs of new Muslims, as well as the provision of Muslim wedding and divorce ceremonies in his capacity as an Islamic Judge and Registrar. In this respect, Dr Ramzy provides clear advice and support to these new Muslims as to how to retain their European identities at the same time as practising their Islamic faith.

The Information Centre also acts as a hub for fundraising and as the agent in Oxford for Muslim Aid and Islamic Relief, Human relief foundation. Dr Ramzy works to collect funds for disaster appeals in all corners of the world, by the Grace of Almighty God and with the help of the community, he has been able to raise thousands to help ease the suffering of those in need.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Forgiveness Heals

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on December 21, 2009


‘Forgiveness Heals’ by Cllr. Faizullah Khan

Former Speaker   London Borough of Hackney Council

If only! We hold our tongue, and hold our hand

If only! We try a little harder to understand

I am sure,  that we will be able to avoid aggression

Happiness will be our reward; a great compensation

If we want to be lighter then light

Mercy is the route; not the might

Look human, but be an Ocean where all things dissolve

If you are calm, surely and truly it will eventually resolve

Peace.  We all want and peace we deserve

Harbour no grudge and peace we preserve

When treated badly, Deep down, A Plight

We were only asking,  what was our right

Stop feeling angry and resentful

The Perpetrator will be shameful

I know revenge is due when we are harmed

We may exceed in retaliation, when armed

Bury the hostility and Make allowance for Clemency

If you seek mercy for yourself than be first in Mercy

Forgiveness & Altruism, all religions have preached

To handle problems; These tools are to be reached

Forgiveness is the Blessing. They all said

Your Lord is Forgiving:  A help and an aid

He is One God, Merciful, The Only

With Him you will never feel lonely

When you are hurt and oppressed

When you are down and depressed

You are in grief, when people give you pain

Pray to Him. He will lift you; sunshine or rain

Seek refuge with Him when down

There is no need to faint or frown

Forgiveness rewards you in the best possible manners

Enemies become friends. Surely Forgiveness delivers

Let bygones be bygones. If you “Love thy enemy”

You are nearer to Creator and earned His Mercy

You forgive and forget. This is a test but a safe destination

Stretch out your hands of Forbearance and Reconciliation

Seek Lord’s help in despair

Ruined lives, He can repair

Mighty Lord, All Powerful, Omnipotent

Most Merciful, Protector, Omnipresent

He is All Forgiving and loves forgiveness

Delivers you from misery and loneliness

Forgiveness is a natural healer

A rare gift from God for sufferer

Suddenly,  we switch from negative to positive

We are our own enemy, if we do not forgive

Cllr Faizullah Khan

If only! We hold our tongue, and hold our hand

If only! We try a little harder to understand

I am sure,  that we will be able to avoid aggression

Happiness will be our reward; a great compensation

If we want to be lighter then light

Mercy is the route; not the might

Look human, but be an Ocean where all things dissolve

If you are calm, surely and truly it will eventually resolve

Peace.  We all want and peace we deserve

Harbour no grudge and peace we preserve

When treated badly, Deep down, A Plight

We were only asking,  what was our right

Stop feeling angry and resentful

The Perpetrator will be shameful

I know revenge is due when we are harmed

We may exceed in retaliation, when armed

Bury the hostility and Make allowance for Clemency

If you seek mercy for yourself than be first in Mercy

Forgiveness & Altruism, all religions have preached

To handle problems; These tools are to be reached

Forgiveness is the Blessing. They all said

Your Lord is Forgiving:  A help and an aid

He is One God, Merciful, The Only

With Him you will never feel lonely

When you are hurt and oppressed

When you are down and depressed

You are in grief, when people give you pain

Pray to Him. He will lift you; sunshine or rain

Seek refuge with Him when down

There is no need to faint or frown

Forgiveness rewards you in the best possible manners

Enemies become friends. Surely Forgiveness delivers

Let bygones be bygones. If you “Love thy enemy”

You are nearer to Creator and earned His Mercy

You forgive and forget. This is a test but a safe destination

Stretch out your hands of Forbearance and Reconciliation

Seek Lord’s help in despair

Ruined lives, He can repair

Mighty Lord, All Powerful, Omnipotent

Most Merciful, Protector, Omnipresent

He is All Forgiving and loves forgiveness

Delivers you from misery and loneliness

Forgiveness is a natural healer

A rare gift from God for sufferer

Suddenly,  we switch from negative to positive

We are our own enemy, if we do not forgive

Cllr Faizullah Khan

40, London N16 7PS

Posted in Community Cohesion, Interfaith, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Speech in Las Vegas by UPF Founder

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on December 16, 2009

UPF Founder Las Vegas Speech

Despite being 90 years old UPF Founder, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, recently made a speech, ‘Building a United Nations that embodies the True Love of God’ to a large interfaith and intercultural gathering.

A powerpoint of the event can be downloaded from the following link  Las Vegas Photo Essay Web

Posted in Community Cohesion, Cultural Programme, Interfaith, Marriage and Family, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Universal Peace Federation: Peace Council Dec 5th, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on December 6, 2009

Universal Peace Federation Peace Council

Universal Peace Federation – UK: Peace Council

5th December 2009

Photo Link

The bi-annual Peace Council is an opportunity to understand the development of Universal Peace Federation in the UK and around the world and to strategise about activities for the coming year.

UPF – UK Activities in 2009 Powerpoint UPF UK Report Dec 5th 2009

Lord King of West Bromwich, a Patron of UPF, welcomed everyone saying  ‘Good to see so many Ambassadors for Peace and activists who have worked tirelessly to make this world a better place to live in.’ Lord King explained that the Peace Council enabled a review of UPF’s impact on world peace and to promote good practices that have been successful.

Lord King UPF

Lord King

Jonathan Fryer - international perspective - 'one family under God'

Jonathan Fryer

Seja Majeed - Volunteering

Jack Corley - Character Education

Jack Corley

Robert Williamson, the Director of UPF in the Balkan region, described the position of UPF in Albania. People in Albanian Government see the UPF as an attractive NGO as a lobby providing moral direction.

The UPF has about 1000 members and branches in eight cities where they do local projects. They have a presiding council to which 20 members are elected every two years. The Presiding Council members are responsible for the committees of the UPF in Albania. Robert shared one example in which the experience of a student who was expected to bribe a teacher before being allowed to graduate and therefore was being held back even though she had passed her exams, was brought to the highest level and dealt with through UPF’s access.

The UPF has a neutral position and therefore can speak for the nation. National media covers the elections and meetings of the national presiding council. There is a track record established that has built up over many years.

There are eight branches in Albania’s major cities. These do local level projects and service activity. These are complemented by continuous education programmes in the vision of the UPF. This work is supported by a former President of Albania and former and current Parliamentarians.

Jack Corley, the UPF Director for Ireland and the UK, presented an inspiring framework for the development of strong marriages and families. He explained that the Unification Movement Founder had been so involved in big marriage blessings in order to build a network of inter-racial, international marriage that draw together nations in conflict.

Dr David Earle is the Vice President of UPF and his wife is Vice President of Women’s Federation for World Peace so they cooperate closely in their activities. He explained the depth and range of the work in Birmingham. The Earle’s held joint meetings in the Birmingham Council chamber to discuss community cohesion in Birmingham in February and a series of meetings in their house where they have extended their living room and garage to be able to hold meetings for up to 100 people.

Seja Majeed spoke of her commitment to volunteering particularly when she was finding it difficult to find a job. She said by going out and doing volunteer activities she was able to meet the people and learning the skills that were assisting her to develop her career. She advised young people to believe in themselves and to be determined. ”The determined person is never powerless!’ she emphasised. She volunteered to work for a counter-terrorism group that then led to an internship with the three faiths forum and then to making a documentary in Iraq. The documentary then has opened doors that enabled her to meet Jon Snow and to a part time work with Amnesty International. Her advice was not just to dream about peace and the ideal but to be involved in making it a reality. (You Tube Video of Seja’s speech). She was later presented with an Ambassador for Peace award (see below).

The author and journalist, Jonathan Fryer, posed the question, ‘How can people in a diverse and crowded world live together constructively and harmoniously?’  He emphasised that we need to face each issue from a moral perspective. He considered that Britain was not a broken society but a nation that has lost its aims and goals. He added that he faces severe differences of wealth and poverty where he lives in Tower Hamlets. He concluded that while the British political scene is confrontational the solution of these issues required dialogue and cooperation drawing on our common desire for peace, prosperity and love. (You tube link)

Dr Salwant Singh Multani expressed his desire to establish a UPF Branch in Sterling. He is the Chair of Central Scotland Interfaith and has been acknowledged as the most prominent Sikh in Scotland this year. He has also been awarded the Hind Rattan award by the Indian Government.  He has a passion to establish an Interfaith Youth Hostel in the highlands of Scotland.

Interfaith Youth Hostel

Robert Williamson - Albania UPF

Posted in British Academy for World Peace, Community Cohesion, Cultural Programme, Evironmental Awareness, Interfaith, Marriage and Family, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UPF Peace Council Ambassador for Peace Awards

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on December 5, 2009

Mr Haribivor Karki

Mr Hari Bivor Karki was nominated for the Ambassador for Peace award for his contribution to society. He is the first ex gurkha soldier to have settled in this country. He has served the Nepalese community for 25 years and has been instrumental in bridging relationships with different communities. He is a well known and respected member of the Nepalese community in Rushmoor.

He is also the first gurkha nepalese to start a nepalese restaurant business in UK and was a role model for nepalese restaurateurs for many years. He is the founder member of the Non Resident Nepalese organisation in UK which is now an established forum for Nepalese to link with other groups in UK. He has been a committee member of the Britain Nepal Society which has helped to build good relationships between Nepal and UK. He has organised many interfaith events and this has build community cohesion in Rushmoor and Surrey.

He is a founder member of the Britain Chamber of Commerce which has helped improve commerce between Nepal and UK. He is also a member to a couple of charitable organisations and is a well respected member of the community. Currently he is engaged in freelancing in linguistic and interpretation for Home Office in nepalese immigration matters. I believe that Mr Karki has served the community well with a selfless commitment to everything he does.

Mr Malik Ghazansar Ali

Mr Ghazanfer Ali is one of the founding members and present Chairman of Ilford Islamic Centre, previously known as the Muslim Welfare Association, that was established in the late 60’s. It was the very first Islamic organisation in the borough of Redbridge. The aims and objectives from the outset were to establish a centre which would fulfil the spiritual, religious, social and welfare needs of the local community.

The vision was to create an organisation which would reflect the true essence of Islam – a belief based on the tenants of Peace, Harmony, Respect, Care, Tolerance, Community Cohesion, the development of relationships with other faiths and communities and the basic Love of Humanity.

Starting from very humble beginnings, the Centre has now developed into one of the largest such organisations in East London and Essex. It is well known for it’s Community, Interfaith and Three Faiths Forum activities. It serves as a focal point for most Islamic activities within the borough for Muslims and non Muslims. We have numerous visits from a variety of organisations on a regular basis. Most schools in Redbridge send their children to the Centre for visitations and we have had visits from many foreign delegations. Only last week, we held a very successful Inter Faith Walk. We had a workshop at our centre organised by the Charity Commission, themed ‘Good Governance’ and two local primary school visits!

Mr Ghazanfer Ali has also been involved in many other community initiatives, most notably as Chairman of the Redbridge Racial Equality Council.

Ms. Seja Majeed

Seja Majeed is a twenty-three year old British Iraqi living in North London. She is a Law graduate from Brunel University and also has a diploma in screenwriting from the London Academy of Radio, Film and TV. She is currently undertaking her Legal Practice Course and Masters in International Law at City University.

In 2007, Seja collaborated with the Rainbow Collective Film Company and journeyed to Iraq with the intention to deliver humanitarian supplies and record her accounts. Over the four weeks of her trip, Seja visited dangerous provinces and gathered relaxed and informal interviews with those trying to lead a normal life in the aftermath of a war.

The film, “Baghdad Holiday” is currently within postproduction and has attracted attention from prominent broadcasters, such as More4, Guardian Films and Al-Arabia Network. The film has also been praised and supported by T.V. presenter Jon Snow, foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller from Channel Four News, and the Secretary General of Amnesty International. It will be screened by Amnesty International in January 2010.

Seja also worked as an intern for Amnesty International in January 2009 on the Anti-Death Penalty programme, where she was based at the International Secretariat in London.

She has recently won an award by V-inspired the National Volunteer’s Service, for being the most inspirational volunteer for Greater London. Seja is one of the first young Muslim women to be chosen in a national advertising campaign for V-inspired, the leading volunteer charity for young people.  She ran make-up artist workshops taught by industry professionals to 16 -25 years olds interested in media or fashion through a Cosmetic Hive project she set up.

Seja has also been working alongside an Iraqi Minister of Parliament and has written social initiatives on his behalf. Her initiatives have been presented to the Iraqi Parliament for consideration. As an aspiring legal commentator she has recently had three of her articles published in the Journal of Islamic State Practices of International law.

Mr. Dhinesh Golam

Dhinesh Golam has been very active over the last 15 years to support elderly people and those living with learning difficulties. He spent many hours in fundraising activities to ensure that those living with learning difficulties could have a holiday. He took those in his care to the seaside in his own time on weekends. He led a campaign to save the local Post Office that was used by many elderly people to save them the discomfort of a longer journey. He has also volunteered his time as a political activist.

Posted in British Academy for World Peace, Community Cohesion, Cultural Programme, Evironmental Awareness, Interfaith, Marriage and Family, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Immigrant’s Contribution to the UK: November 24th, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 25, 2009


Immigrant’s Contribution to the UK

House of Commons, Committee Room 12

November 24th, 2009

Photo Link here

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

‘I am described as the most hated man in England’ said Keith Best, the Chair of Immigration Advisory Service UK (IASUK), referring to a BNP website as an illustration of the controversy and confusion that surrounds the immigration debate. He compared the UK where 10% of the population were born overseas to 12% in the US, 14% in France, 20% in Canada and 25% in Australia adding that none of those nations are in danger of ‘immediate social disintegration’. Yet the UK has a higher level of negativity to immigration than those other nations. (IASUK Press Release link here.) Yasmin Alibhai – Brown commented that the media had surrendered the debate to the anti – immigration lobby and that the situation was as bad as the 1960’s with both the centre left and the centre right uniting against immigration. She pushed for serious research into the effects of immigration highlighting changes in the UK since the 1960’s.

During a wide-ranging discussion on immigration chaired by Tom Brake MP and organised by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), there were also presentations from Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Mark Brann Secretary General of UPF Europe, Baroness Uddin and Seja Majeed. There were views also expressed from Pakistani, Afro-Caribbean and Philippine communities.

Lord Parekh explored how to frame an effective discussion (full speech link) of the immigration issue targeting neither those vehemently for or against immigration but those who remained to be influenced by accurate and logical debate. He emphasised that the immigrants who came to the UK were mostly resourceful and industrious and added £3-4 bn to the UK economy and the vitality of its culture.

Seja Majeed

Baroness Uddin

Mark Brann described the UPF ethos of ‘One Family Under God’ through True Love. He could see the growing international familial bonds through globalisation, migration and inter-marriage. He emphasised the need for the Christian indigenous community to see the Muslim and other faith communities as a challenge rather than a threat that could re-invigorate Christian values in the UK economic, social and political life.

Seja Majeed illustrated the experience of immigrants coming to the UK at one year old from Iraq via Algeria, becoming an active volunteer for many years and now a face of the Vinspired campaign. She suggested that if families involved their children in volunteer activities in their pre-teen years they would be most likely to continue.

Posted in Community Cohesion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh: Effective Arguments for Immigration Debate

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 24, 2009


‘Effective Arguments for an Immigration Debate’ *

Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh

House of Commons, ‘Immigrants Contribution to the UK’

24th November 2009

Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Lord Bikhu Parekh, Chair of ‘Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain’ Report in 2000, started with the classification of the audience. He mainly classified the audience into two groups: converted (ie generally supportive of immigration) and racists or nationalists. “What I would like to do is to ask a different kind of question: We can easily talk to the converted and convince them that immigration is a wonderful thing; because we are all immigrants; this is the kind of things they want to hear. So it is easy to convince the converted.  It is impossible to convince the racists. Those who are racists, those who don’t like black and browns at all and those who are nationalists in the mould of Enoch Powell, either  don’t want black people or want to keep a certain way of life.”

Referring to the points of remittances mentioned by Best, Lord Parekh said, “Keith made a very beautiful argument that when you go to Bangladesh or to Mirpur or to India there are villages where remittances from immigrants here have made a profound difference. Now if I go to the audiences here and say look with the same kind of argument; they will say I don’t know what you are trying to tell me. This argument has a meaning only if I have a moral obligation to help people in that part of the world. I don’t recognize any such obligation. So while that argument is very attractive to us but it will not cut any ice with this audience I am thinking about.”

Britain had no tradition of immigration
Lord Parekh mentioned that Britain had no tradition of immigration. “It is worth bearing in mind that until now certainly in Britain we have had people coming from outside but they are not immigrants. They are asylum seekers; refugees; we never positively went out to recruit immigrants, in a way that Canada and Australia and the United States did. Therefore, we have no tradition of immigration and therefore we have no vocabulary in terms of which we can talk about immigration. That is the first point to bear in mind,” said Lord Parekh and added, “When people came in the 1880s; 1920s, they were not immigrants; they were asylum seekers, they were refugees. So what kind of immigration that we are talking about.”

Immigration is a post-war phenomenon
Lord Parekh said, “It is a post-war phenomenon. Therefore, it’s a new to British life. We must bear that in mind. Because there are no old arguments, the traditional arguments upon which we can rely; we have to create our own tradition of arguments.”

Lord Parekh in the aftermath of that report on immigration went round the country and began to ask himself: “Can I speak only to satisfy my conscience or do I want to achieve something? And if I wanted to achieve something; how do I relate to the audience; what is my audience? Racists I cannot touch, converted I don’t want to touch. In the middle there are 75% to 80% of the people. What language they do understand?  At the same time  it’s not enough to know what language they do understand is also important that I should share the value of that language.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Migration should be based on the facts and not mythology

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 24, 2009

We can absorb the current level of migration taking account of emigration

Migration should be based on the facts and not mythology

Keith Best, Chief Executive, Immigration Advisory Service UK

Keith Best speaking with Tom Brake MP and Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Keith Best speaking Tom Brake MP (left) Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh (Right)

Speaking in the House of Commons Committee Room 12 to an audience of Members of the Lords and Commons and others from The Universal Peace Federation (a global alliance of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a world of peace) with Lord Bikhu Parekh and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on the subject ‘Contribution of Immigrants to British Society’ Keith Best, Chief Executive of IAS, said that for too long the debate about migration has been based on poor statistics and prejudice rather than facts and this was the reason that the UK in the Transatlantic Trends survey of the USA and six EU countries comes out as the most anti-immigrant in its public sentiment.

“There is now general acceptance that migrants bring not just economic but cultural benefit to the UK, are hard workers and often do jobs that the British workforce is unable or unwilling to do. Migrants have given us our cuisine, art, literature and music” he said. “Against all the evidence of economic and social benefit come the ridiculous and wild assertions of some self-appointed so-called experts opposed to migration that migrants cost us £1 million each – an assertion on wholly flawed logic.

“Students bring more than £8 billion a year to the UK in their overseas student fees and spending power: they do not have the right to settle in the UK. Yet without those overseas students the academic institutions, many of the larger ones relying for more than half their total income on overseas student fees, would not be able to educate British domestic students as Prof David Metcalf, Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, has pointed out.

“More people are coming for temporary purposes in a globalised world increasingly of circulatory migration which benefits both donor and recipient countries. Remittances are often a more effective way of helping an economy develop than official development aid.

“We are all migrants in the UK – it is just a question of when our ancestors arrived here. We have a rich diversity which is the legacy of Empire and Commonwealth that we should treasure. 8,000 people a week are leaving the UK to settle elsewhere – half of them are British citizens going to Australia, France, Spain and half are migrants who are returning home. This is the example of circulatory migration which will be a hallmark of the future.

“Even though parts of the UK may feel under threat by a massive influx of migrants and a majority of schoolchildren who do not have English as their first language these are issues that need to be addressed locally and do not reflect the situation throughout the UK. We can absorb and continue to benefit from the current levels of migration. About 10% of the UK population was not born here – compared with 25% in Australia, 20% in Canada, 14% in France and 12% in the USA – these are not countries on the brink of social disintegration as a result.

“We need to curb our xenophobia and accept the reality that increasingly people will make their own choices where they take their portable skills and choose to live – there are more UK citizens working and living abroad than there are EU migrants in the UK. These are the facts of modern day life.”

END CONTACT:

Keith Best,

Chief Executive

Immigration Advisory Service UK

26-11-2009

Press Release (Click link for original)

Posted in Community Cohesion | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Celebrating Spirituality: South London UPF

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 21, 2009

Celebrating Spirituality

November 21st, 2009

An inspirational idea put forward by one of our Ambassadors for Peace, Mayura Patel, brought together representatives from Islam (Ms Saleha Jaffer), Sikh (Mrs Rawinder Kalsi) and Hindu (Mr Ganesh Lall) faiths, Buddhism (Mr Les Kemp), Christianity (Rev. Elizabeth Jatto) and Unificationism (Mr Nigel Barrett) to expound on their respective major ‘Holy Days’ or celebrations through brief presentations which also introduced the basic religious tenets of each of the faiths. Whilst each of the very simple but profound explanations portrayed the unique historic and cultural underpinnings of their celebrations, it was striking how a deep truth became very apparent, namely the underlying human striving for goodness and higher ideals, culminating in the discovery of God, and his Holy Men/Prophets on earth, leading to the ultimate experience of inner and worldly peace. This ‘sameness’ was further highlighted through the stimulating panel discussion after the presentations.

The conference was very ably chaired by Dr. Lance Gardiner. Mr Franklin Fortune showed a brief video about the recent 10.14 Marriage Rededication Blessing in Korea depicting the experiences of people from all over the world who were present at the event. This resonated beautifully with the existing mood among the participants. The conference was relatively small in scale but had a very intimate atmosphere. It was brought to a close by the traditional round of songs presented by Russell Gough as well as the usual buffet refreshments and networking among all.

———————————————————————————————————————————————–

Time for Vision – The Path Ahead

May 30th 2009, South London – UPF

Nigel Barrett, Susan Beresford and Cllr Faizullah Khan

Nigel Barrett, Susan Beresford and Cllr Faizullah Khan

Councillor Faizullah Khan urged peace activists to arm themselves intellectually with a higher level of understanding and tolerance with which to analyse conflicts and contribute effectively to the peace building process. Speaking on 30th May 2009 at the Peace Embassy in Thornton Heath, South London, on the occasion of the third in a series of conferences held under the title “Time for Vision – The Path Ahead”, he opined: “Desiring peace will never deliver peace, it is activism in peace which will deliver peace.”

The conference was attended by about 40 Ambassadors for Peace, UPF supporters and their guests. The series has focussed on the need for a positive vision to address the challenges we face in this era of economic, political, environmental and moral crisis. The proceedings opened with a thought-provoking presentation by Mr Nigel Barrett on the role of conscience in personal development. Drawing on the philosopher Plato’s discussion of the mythical “Ring of Gyges”, he asked if we would still live a moral life if we could be freed from being held accountable for our actions by others – a pertinent question in light of the recent scandalous revelations of political and financial improprieties. He introduced the challenging concept of a cosmic level of conscience inspired by Divine spiritual laws and principles.

Susan Beresford then presented the ongoing work of Undercroydon, a non-profit organisation, which has successfully brought communities together through innovative artistic, fashion and food-based projects. She described how projects such as the art mural in the Whitgift Centre in Croydon, in which several schools participated, have released individuals’ creative and cooperative talents.

CIMG3008 SL UPF event croppedA lively panel Q&A session followed the speaker presentations, and the proceedings concluded with the generous donation of a large cheque by the Sabrang Ladies Group to UPF for improvement of the furnishings in the Peace Embassy.

Lance Gardiner

CIMG3024 SL UPF event cropped panel

Posted in Community Cohesion, Evironmental Awareness, Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Commemoration of Dr. L. M. Singhvi: Joint Celebration of Holy Events

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 19, 2009

Annual Commemoration of Dr. L. M. Singhvi’s Interfaith Contribution

Joint Celebration of Holy Events During National Interfaith Week

18th November, 2009  Committee Room 4, House of Lords

Dr LM Singhvi Inter-religious Initiatives powerpoint

Prof. Lord Parekh, Lord King of West Bromwich and Rajan Sehgal

Part One:

This was an opportunity to remember a great figure’s  interfaith activities as well as participate in the National Interfaith Week activities through the Joint Celebration of Holy Events in the religious calendar.

Prof. Lord Parekh, the host for the evening, quoted Nehru when saying, ‘We are all little people who only deserve to be remembered because of the great causes we support.’ He added, ‘The best tribute to one who is departed is that we continue their work.’  Lord Parekh remembered Dr Singhvi’s leadership of the significant World Parliament of Religions delegation from India.  He supported Hans Kung’s position of discovering the principles that are common to all religions and challenging the religions that did not share the six or seven principles that were deemed important by the other faiths.

Dr LM Singhvi was an Indian High Commissioner to the UK from 1991 – 1997. He was a President of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in India and on International UPF’s Global Peace Council. He came to the UK six months before he passed away in order to connect his UK friends to UPF. He held a conference in the House of Lords on May 21st 2007 entitled, ‘Inter-Religious Initiatives For Universal Peace: An Enduring Foundation for Understanding the Culture and Climate of Peace.’ A report of that event is available through the following link. (May 21st 2007 Dr Singhvi  Inter-religious Initiatives.)

Lord Parekh hosted that event in the Moses Committee room of the House of Lords. Dr Singhvi used the opportunity to express support for the proposal of the Inter-Religious Council at the UN that is one of the  purposes of the UPF expressed by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon in its founding speech. Dr Singhvi had held meetings in Goa, India and in the UK’s House of Lords in order to promote this council as a way to improve political discourse and decision making. Anand Kumar, the Hindi and Culture Attache of the Indian High Commission, Lord Tarsem King, Rajan Sehgal of the Pakistan India Friendship Foundation all spoke glowingly of the influence he had had on them as well as the accomplishments of his career. It was concluded that he had raised the profile of India and particularly enhanced the relationship of India and the UK.

Photo link for more photos of the event.

Part Two

In the second part of the evening there was a explanation of the significance of the Holy Days of several religions.

Harrison Cohen explained the significance of Hannukah to him and to his faith.

‘I have chosen to speak about the Jewish festival of Chanukah because it is one that ultimately teaches us the importance of religious freedom and human dignity. Chanukah demonstrates the importance and indeed necessity that even just a few good people can triumph over a tyranny of evil. On each of Chanukah’s eight nights we light candles that in many ways represent the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness. It is also notable to say that the act of lighting the Menorah during the winter period is significant in that we light an extra candle as we approach the Winter Solstice. If we look to history we see so many occurrences within which just a few good men managed to triumph over evil, I am reminded by some inspirational words said by the American president John F. Kennedy, who said: “We are not here to curse the darkness; but we are here to light a candle.” ‘ For the full speech click here

Imam Dr. Mahmadou Bocoum spoke about the significance of Eid al-Adha which is the enactment of Abraham’s offering of Ishmael. He mentioned that this was interesting in that the celebration originated in Abrahamic times. He asked if we could offer what is most precious to us as Abraham did. He mentioned that the Eid holidays have become commercialised but he  reminded the audience of the Prophetic Tradtion, which is  the second most authoritative source after the holy Qur’an,

” None of you is a true beliver who goes to bed with full stomach while his nieghbour remains hungry”.

Vijay Metha spoke of the significance of Diwali or the “Festival of lights”. Diwali or “Festival of lights” is an occasion of joy, prosperity and brightness. It is a significant festival for Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. While in Hinduism, Diwali signifies victory over Darkness, it marks the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira, in Jainism. Sikhs often represent Diwali as a ‘Day of Freedom.’ The festival has emerged as a prime tourist attraction of Varanasi and present a breathtaking spectacle as millions of diyas are lit on the ghats and sent floating the river waters. A large number of people, including Indian and foreign tourist, congregate on the ghats and take boat rides to witness the spectacle. Since the day also marks ‘Kartik Purnima’, millions of Hindu devotees take a dip in the river Ganga. For the full speech click here.

Sister Elizabeth O’Donohoe, Secretary of Westminster Interfaith, spoke about All Saints’ Day. She said that it was a time of change of season and in the darkness we are preoccupied. Those whose names are written on the Book of Life, or Saints, are prayed for on that day. It is an encouragement to follow the path of holiness. St Ignatius Loyola began a series of spiritual exercises to follow the path of holiness. He taught followers to imagine they were standing in front of God on the Judgement Day. The society of the Saints that are prayed for on All Saints Day are the ones who will put in a good word for us at that time.

That almost everyone stayed until the end illustrated both the popularity of interfaith and the popularity of  the great causes Dr Singhvi promoted so passionately during his life.

Sr Elizabeth O'Donohoe

Mr. Anand Kumar

Dr LM Singhvi House of Lords May 21 2007

Harrison Cohen - Significance of Hannukah

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Harrison Cohen – Festival of Chanukah

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 18, 2009


Harrison Cohen – Festival of Chanukah

Speech at House of Lords

November 18th 2009

Your Lordships, esteemed colleagues and friends: Let me start by saying it is truly a great honour and a privilege to have been given the chance to speak before you this evening. Before I start I am actually reminded of something that Lord Parekh mentioned earlier, and that of a concept in Jewish teachings that learning in honour of someone departed, it is as if they themselves have committed a good deed. So I’m honoured to be honouring the memory of Dr Singhvi with this presentation tonight.

Next month, Jews all over the world will be celebrating the festival of Chanukah. I hope now over the next few minutes to provide you with an insight into the meaning of Chanukah, both for myself as a Jew, as well as its particular relevance to all of us as members of different faiths living in Britain today. As we look at the world around us it’s hard not to notice the pain and the suffering brought on by poverty, disease, extremism, war and terror. We are only now beginning to emerge from the greatest economic crisis of our time and a swine flu epidemic, two global threats that if anything demonstrate the interconnectivity and interconnectedness of all of mankind. As we look around Britain today on the one hand it is easy to see a society fractured by baseless hatreds, prejudices and intolerance. Yet, as I look around this room tonight I’m pleased to say that I know these challenges can be faced and G-d-willing overcome – knowing that when a small group of men and women, and religious leaders come together in a display of unity, that we are no longer divided by difference, but we are united by our faith.

I have chosen to speak about the Jewish festival of Chanukah because it is one that ultimately teaches us the importance of religious freedom and human dignity. Chanukah demonstrates the importance and indeed necessity that even just a few good people can triumph over a tyranny of evil. On each of Chanukah’s eight nights we light candles that in many ways represent the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness. It is also notable to say that the act of lighting the Menorah during the winter period is significant in that we light an extra candle as we approach the Winter Solstice. If we look to history we see so many occurrences within which just a few good men managed to triumph over evil, I am reminded by some inspirational words said by the American president John F. Kennedy, who said:

“We are not here to curse the darkness; but we are here to light a candle.”

We may not be able to make right all the wrongful ills in the world today, but at least we can try to change one person in the same way as [Iman Dr] Mahmadou [Boucoum] said, for each person is a world unto themselves. By lighting a candle we can at least bring a tiny spark of illumination to a world beset by darkness and confusion. Today, our world may be filled with compulsions to violence, intolerance and hatred, but it is also countered with the unending struggle in the fruition of goodness. The Jewish people know all too well the consequences of such evil compulsions, the challenges brought on by darkness and suffering: For throughout our history we have fought for survival time and time again, we have fought for the right to practice, to pray and to worship: To live our lives as the Torah commands us to. Throughout history when faced with inquisition and pogrom the Jews fought back with an unrelenting spiritual faithfulness. Throughout our exile and wanderings in the wilderness of the Diaspora we cling to the belief of the arrival of Messianic Era and the return to the Promised Land.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Vijay Mehta Celebrating Diwali – Festival of Lights

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 18, 2009

Universal Peace Federation

43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

Email: pa@uk.upf.org Web: www.uk.upf.org


Invites you to

National Interfaith Week

Hosted by Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Celebrating and learning from Diwali – Festival of Lights

Speaker: Vijay Mehta
E-mail: Vijay@vmpeace.org

Committee Room 4A House of Lords

Wednesday 18th of November, 2009, 5.00pm

Introduction

Diwali or “Festival of lights” is an occasion of joy, prosperity and brightness. It is a significant festival for Hindus,

Shanti Mehta and Vijay Mehta

Sikhs, and Jains. While in Hinduism, Diwali signifies victory over Darkness, it marks the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira, in Jainism. Sikhs often represent Diwali as a ‘Day of Freedom.’

The festival has emerged as a prime tourist attraction of Varanasi and present a breathtaking spectacle as millions of diyas are lit on the ghats and sent floating the river waters. A large number of people, including Indian and foreign tourist, congregate on the ghats and take boat rides to witness the spectacle. Since the day also marks ‘Kartik Purnima’, millions of Hindu devotees take a dip in the river Ganga. The event is also beamed live on TV and singing and dancing events also take place on various ghats.

For Hindus, Diwali is a five day extravagant affair. Dhanteras, the first day, is considered auspicious to buy Gold, household articles and specially utensils for kitchen. On this day, People gift “golden leaf” as it signifies prosperity and luck. Choti Diwali is the day when Lord Krishna killed Narakashura and freed the world from fear, according to the Legend. Laxmi Pooja or the actual Diwali is celebrated with a Pooja dedicated to Goddess Laxmi. Padwa is dedicated to the household cattle, where a pooja is done for them and are fed with goodies. Bhai Duj is a special day for siblings where the Brother visits the Sister’s house to celebrate the day with them.

Diwali day starts with an oil bath, after which everyone wears new clothes and sits down for a pooja of Goddess Laxmi. The whole house hold is lit with diyas in the evening and everyone, adults and kids alike play with crackers. Diwali day also sees lots of cashew studded milk sweets and other sweets. Friends and relatives visit each other to share wishes and Diwali Gifts. It emphasises on the joy of giving and sharing like all other festivals. This festival is celebrated not just in India, now but is a global festival.

There are some negative aspects to Diwali like incorrigible shopping, needless purchases and vulgar display of wealth which marks every Diwali. All these trends are propagated by market-driven forces. Most Indians put up a spectacular display of blinking lights, fire-crackers and blaring loud music.  This is a form of indulgence and is a waste of money while billions of people around us live in abject poverty.

It is time we started pondering whether Diwali is just revelry or a very deep-seated faith in addictive consumerism, an urge to possess and an equally inescapable desire to flaunt and display ones belongings.

Conclusion

How can we make multifaith festivals meaningful in the 21st century, especially to the younger generation and teach them the rights/wrongs of this world.

Our role as human beings is to be a trustee of this planet. While celebrating Diwali, we should ensure that we do not destroy our precious planet but use this festival to improve and enrich our life, heritage and culture. I wonder if some of you have read the article in the Economist of November 7th 2009 issue. In it, the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, said to an audience of spiritual leaders of all faith, I quote, ‘you are the leaders who have the widest, largest and deepest reach. You can make a huge difference in tackling the climate change crisis by linking up faith and green issues and save the planet for future generations.

In conclusion, let me say that celebrating festivals including Diwali is one of the greatest uplifting experiences one can have. If you go back in time in your childhood, one of the high points of a child’s life is to attend festivals along with the family, relatives and friends of different faith and religions. It was a constant source of joy, happiness and creativity. It can be a great learning curve for multiculturalism – a recipe for peace, prosperity and a safer future for all of us.

Biography: Vijay Mehta Vijay Mehta is president of VM Centre for Peace www.vmpeace.org , Founding Trustee of Fortune Forum Charity www.fortuneforum.org ,  Chair of Action for UN Renewal www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk and co-Chair of World Disarmament Campaign. He is an author, a champion for truth and global activist for peace, development, human rights and environment. Some of his notable books are The Fortune Forum Summit: For a Sustainable Future, Arms No More, and The United Nations and Its Future in the 21st Century.His latest book is on Global Warming and is called ‘Climate Change IQ,’ which is available to download free of charge in electronic form from the website www.climatechange365.co.ukHe along with his daughter Renu Mehta founder of Fortune Forum charity held three summits in London in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The summits raised over a million pounds for charity and attracted a worldwide audience of 1.3 billion people (one fifth of humanity) including print and media coverage. The keynote speakers for the first and second summit were Bill Clinton, former US President and Al Gore, former US vice-President, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2007. The guest speakers in 2008 were Ted Turner, Founder of CNN, Amritya Sen and Sir James Mirrlees both Nobel Prize winning Economists.Vijay Mehta has appeared in various TV programmes including BBC World, Press TV, Ajtak-24 hour Indian news channel, and Think Peace documentary, Canada, among others. The Sunday Times, Independent, Observer, Irish Times and Guardian newspapers, among other journals have written about him. His life is devoted to the service of peace, humanity and our planet.

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Interreligious Cooperation Promoted in Mindanao

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 14, 2009


Interreligious Cooperation Promoted in Mindanao

Mindanao Peace Symposium, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines November 11 and 12

Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Peace Education, UPF-Asia
Thursday, November 12, 2009

(This is an abbreviated report – full report link here)

A coalition of eight sponsors, including government, NGOs, and religious organizations, brought together over 160 participants under the banner, “Peace Development through Inter-Religious Cooperation in Mindanao.”

For two days delegates deliberated and discussed various components of peace—but their approach was very different. Rather than focus on military strategies, arms control, and mechanisms for surrender or ceasefire, they took a journey back into history and looked at their common ancestry.

Gold Star - Mindanao Peace Article

For the full report on the symposium published in the Gold Star Daily News of Mindanao, click here.

Photo Link

On the first day, Dr. Ronald Adamat, member of the Government of the Philippines Peace Panel for Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and an advisor to the Office of the President on the Peace Process, gave an update on the current negotiations stressing that the values and sentiments of Mindanaoans must be reflected in any peace agreement.

Life-long advocate for bringing together peace and education, Dr. Estrella Babano, gave four guideposts to achieve peace and development: 1) harmony with God, 2) harmony within yourself, 3) harmony with others, and 4) harmony with the environment. As the director of Department of Education, Region X, Dr. Babano explained why peace must be linked with development. There can be no peace in the midst of economic disparity, she pointed out.

“Peace is something dynamic,” she said, “It deals with human relationship, and these are greatly affected by a number of factors, the biggest of which is our pride or ego.” The key to peace is to become “selfless,” to forget ourselves and seek peace for others first.

“It was the first time Pentecostal pastors dealt directly with Muslim leaders on issues of peace, cooperation, and mutual understanding,” said Massimo Trombin, International Field Director of the Global Peace Festival, one of the sponsoring organizations.

Concluding the symposium, all participants—Christian, Muslim, and Lumad—signed the Mindanao Peace Covenant 2009. It called for the creation of a culture of service and peace to:

  • Encourage religious leaders to begin a ministry of reconciliation among all groups
  • Establish an Inter-religious Peace Council based on repentance and forgiveness as the first steps
  • Support elected officials, educators, and leaders of religious and ethnic groups to find common ground as “One Family Under God”

Programme of the November 11-12th Seminar click 2009 Nov 11-12th symposium programme


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Praise works!

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 10, 2009

I attended a Star Foundation Awards ceremony for young people today organised by a good friend Dr Joy Philippou. She is doing such great work despite her age. There were a number of very worthy recipients, music and celebrities. Dr David Hanna opened the programme with prayer and the words that ‘Joy has found that the simple things are the most successful. Praise and encouragement have great effect.’

Star Foundation Awards Group Photo - Youth Awards -

Star Foundation Awards Group Photo

For more photos please use this link.

The Star Foundation Awards were presented to young people nominated for doing good work in their community or for keeping the slate clean for several years if they were in trouble in the past. I nominated a young lady, Narraser Gordon, from Bristol who has led a campaign in Bristol to STOP (Solve This Ongoing Problem) gun and knife violence. She gave a talk at a recent Bristol Universal Peace Federation event I attended about the work of STOP. Narraser, blessed with a strong Christian faith, has a sincere passion to prevent the violence among her peers that has killed too many already. She takes each death, each injury, personally.

IMG_0042 Patti Boulaye with Narraser Gordon

Patti Boulaye with Narraser Gordon

Patti Boulaye, who has several charitable projects of her own, was very encouraging to all those receiving awards. She emphasised the need for good family traditions and boundaries that form the bedrock of a good society.

IMG_0022 cropped Joy and the Crown Prince rev

Dr Joy Philippou and the Crown Prince of Burma

Well done Joy!!

Robin Marsh

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Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK: Conference at Philippine Embassy

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 6, 2009


Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK

Briefing at the Philippine Embassy

November 3rd, 2009

Please Download  –   Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK Powerpoint

Group Photo Philippine Embassy

For more photos please click here

Mindanao Peace Initiative Briefing - Gene Alcantara, Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo, Massimo Trombin, Charles Hardie, Robin Marsh

(Left to Right) Gene Alcantara, H.E. Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo, Massimo Trombin, Charles Hardie, Robin Marsh

Massimo Trombin, the International Director of Field Operations of the Global Peace Festival, briefed the local Philippine community on the developments of the Mindanao Peace Initiative at the UK Philippine Embassy on November 3rd, 2009. The peace initiative is a Track II approach to support the official peace process by grassroots, youth, education and community service projects. Massimo Trombin, who has been active in the area since 2006, used a powerpoint presentation that can be down loaded from this link (Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK Powerpoint.)

There was a broad representation of the Philippine community including representatives of the embassy staff, media, the Mindanao UK group and the Philippine Muslim Association – UK group.

The evening began with Gene Alcantara, whose passion for the issue has been instrumental in developing a local support group, welcoming the audience. He emphasised that Philippinos in the UK were not able to forget the conflict in Mindanao even though the world’s attention was focused elsewhere. He was happy that Muslims from Mindanao were present to participate in this event and to express their views. “The diaspora can contribute to peace and development in Mindanao if only by making people aware of the issues ….. or raising funds for the peace efforts in Mindanao.”

The Ambassador HE Antonio Lagdameo made an excellent speech outlining the official peace process that we will upload shortly. Ambassador Lagdameo emphasised the Philippine Government’s determination to find a peace agreement for Mindanao before the end of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term of office in May 2010.

Mrs Loline Reed moderated the question and answer session. Dr Raheem Khan, a founding member of the Muslim Council of Britain and a Trustee of the Universal Peace Federation – UK, emphasised that Islam is a religion of peace during his comments.

Mindanao Peace Initiative Briefing - Philippine Embassy London

Dr Raheem Khan shaking hands with Sheikh Abdul Mannan Wahid of the Philippine Muslim Association UK

From this gathering and other meetings during Massimo’s visit it is planned to establish a Working Group in the UK that can support the efforts of the Mindanao Peace Initiative.

DSC05185 Mrs Loline Reed

Mrs Loline Reed

Andy Villalba

Andy Villalba: Mindanao - UK

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Dr. L.M. Singhvi ‘Interfaith Imperatives’ May 2007

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 1, 2009

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Commemorating Dr LM Singhvi’s Interfaith Contribution and Joint Celebration of Religious Holy Days

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 31, 2009

Annual Commemoration of Dr LM Singhvi

and

Joint Celebrations of Holy Days during National Interfaith Week

Interfaith Water Ceremony

Universal Peace Federation

Tel : 020 7262 0985  Fax : 020 7724 2262

Web: www.uk.upf.orgWeblog Email: pa@uk.upf.org

Hosted by Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Committee Room 4A House of Lords

Wednesday 18th of November, 2009 – at 5pm

Dear Friends,

Prof. Lord Bhiku Parekh

Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh

We have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate National Interfaith Week and to commemorate the late Dr L.M. Singhvi’s contribution to interfaith work. Dr Singhvi, as a distinguished seven year Indian High Commissioner to the UK, left a deep impression particularly in his encouragement of good interfaith relations. Professor Lord Parekh, who in November 2008 gave a commemorative lecture, will highlight the significance of Dr. L. M. Singhvi’s promotion of interfaith understanding in the cause of peace. Dr Singhvi was the former President of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in India and in that position held numerous conferences on the possibilities of an Inter-religious Council in the United Nations.

The UPF Interfaith Committee’s series of Joint Celebrations of Holy Days seeks to provide opportunities for people of faith to learn about and celebrate other religious traditions. We are encouraging an inter-generational expression of younger and older representatives of Muslim, Jewish, Dharmic and Christian faiths to explain what Eid, the Jewish High Holidays, Diwali and All Saints Day means to them. We want to encourage younger participants from the audience to also offer their comments during the evening. It is appropriate that we can celebrate the holy days of several faiths while commemorating the contribution of Dr Singhvi who contributed greatly to interfaith dialogue.

Hon. Dr. L. M. Singhvi: May 21st 2007, Moses Committee Room, House of Lords, London

‘Today religion is often seen as a potent but negative force. As Lord Parekh said, we must not just look for commonalities between religions but for ways in which we can aid the process of co-existing well. In the declaration of UNESCO it states that ‘War begins in the minds of men’ – I say that peace begins in the minds of men, women and children. The Universal Peace Federation’s work is all about this peace and it is my privilege to introduce this work to you. UPF is emphasizing that peace is too important to be left to diplomats and soldiers alone. There are other constituencies of peace which deal with our common future and human equality.


dr l m singhvi - photos2

Dr. L. M. Singhvi

Dr. L. M. Singhvi  with Robert Kittle

Dr. L. M. Singhvi with Robert Kittle

dr l m singhvi photos4

‘The Universal Peace Federation is the forum to address these issues – we are many people, but one world, one cosmos. If we do not hang together, as religions, we will hang separately! The mission of religion is to reach the soul and heart of humanity. UPF promotes the culture of heart in the garden of diversity and is for intervention on a hundred fronts where humanity needs help and succour. Peace will not come unless civil society is at the forefront and pushing interfaith dialogue. It will not come through the establishment. Inter-religious work speaks of love of peace and the peace of shared love. There is so much we can do together and that we destroy in our separateness.’  Interfaith Initiatives

The evening promises to be an exciting occasion and therefore we urge you to reserve your place. Kindly RSVP by email or telephone to any of the numbers below. We look forward to seeing you on November 18th at 5:00 pm, House of Lords, Room 4A. (Please remember to leave 30 minutes to go through security.)

Yours sincerely,

Joyce Suda,  Director, Interfaith Committee, 0207 – 563 -0907  – Home: 0208 467 3035

Robin Marsh    Secretary General     Mobile: 44 (0) 7956 210 768    Twitter: RTMarsh

Cllr. Margaret Ali, Director, Mobile: 44 (0) 7723024750

Upcoming UPF Events

Universal Peace Federation – UK www.uk.upf.org 44 (0) 207 262 0985

Peace and Development Network:  https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com

http://uk.youtube.com/PeaceDevelopmntNetwk

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Posted in Community Cohesion, Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bristol Showcases UPF

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 24, 2009

IMG_0158  Group Photo Bristol UPF meeting reduced

UPF Bristol recently held a showcase event where we could welcome our European sub-regional chair Jack Corley and our UK secretary-general Robin Marsh. We also had presence of David and Patricia Earle from UK Birmingham region supporting us warmly.

Among many guests, five new Ambassadors for Peace were introduced. We had wonderful talks and lectures but also interfaith prayers, songs, African drumming and testimonies from our dear Ambassadors for Peace. Professor Iwugo from Bristol University who is an adviser for Bristol UPF said that ‘the UPF is a very inspiring organization where all the races and all the religions can work together for world peace’.

UPF Bristol 2009 Talks and Song from Steve_and_Tomoko on Vimeo.

This showcase made people much more aware and respectful of Father and Mother Moon’s work. After the official meeting finished, people were still talking with much excitement, feeling that they want to do something together with UPF.

IMG_0096 playing the drums brightened reducedIMG_0097 playing drums brightened reduced

IMG_0093 drums2 bightened

The audience enjoyed learning how to play African Drums by Omanye African Drums and Dance UK Performance.

UPF Showcase Bristol 2009 from Steve_and_Tomoko on Vimeo.

IMG_0088 Drums reduced brightened reduced

Omanye African Drums

IMG_0146 Tomoko and Danielle

Tomoko and Danielle

Danielle, 14 years old, sang beautifully during the programme.

IMG_0159 Narraser Rochelle Gordon  STOP reduced

Narraser Rochelle Gordon - STOP

There was a very serious talk by Narraser Rochelle Gordon who is involved in STOP – Solve This Ongoing Problem – of gun and knife crime. More can be found about this organisation on Facebook.

IMG_0101 cropped brightened reduced

African Drums

UPF Showcase 2009 from Steve_and_Tomoko on Vimeo.

Dr Krishna (on right playing the drum) gave a wonderful testimony of going to an international UPF conference in Korea.

For more photos of this event click here

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UPF Principles of Peace from Family to Family of Nations

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 23, 2009

Universal Peace Federation - One Family Under God

Universal Peace Federation


Introduction to UPF Principles of Peace:

Special Focus on the Centrality of Marriage and Family.

Monday, 30th of November between 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Sunday, 6th or 13th December both from 2.00-6.00 pm

At 43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

Dear Friends,

It is our great pleasure to invite you to attend one of our series of Universal Peace Federation’s seminars with a special focus on Marriage Rededication Seminars. They are being held in response to many of our friends wanting to know more about UPF in general and UPF’s core values. In particular at this time we are focusing on core values regarding marriage and family. UPF International is promoting marriage as a sacred institution which will help create healthy and stable families centred on goodness. We at UPF believe that the healthy family is the smallest unit of healthy societies. Healthy families of all different nations and faiths coming together will help build the “Family of Humankind”, which will certainly advance the creation of a world of peace.

Developing from this vision and in cooperation with a network of Ambassadors for Peace, peace initiatives have been ongoing to different degrees in the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula, Nepal and the Philippines. You will have the chance to consider UPF’s unique contribution to peace building and explore the motivation behind the establishment of the Universal Peace Federation.

Having attended this seminar there will be an opportunity for those who wish to participate in either local or national level or the grand European level Marriage Rededication Ceremony to be held in Venice on the 10th January 2010. During this ceremony, previously married couples throughout Europe will rededicate their marriages as an offering and statement for World Peace through good Families.

These will be held on the 6th and 13th of December both from 2.00 – 6.00 pm – they will be held at 43 Lancaster Gate W2 3NA. Should you not be available on the 6th and 13th, we are happy to offer a shorter seminar on Monday 30th of November between 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Please let us know which date suits you best. We look forward to hear from you, please feel free to call should you wish to discuss any aspect of the seminars.

Warm Regards

Robin Marsh                                                   Cllr. Margaret Ali and Joyce Suda (02084673035)

Secretary General                                         Directors

07956 210 768                                               (Margaret) 0208-395-6788 / / 07723024750

Universal Peace Federation – UK Email: pa@uk.upf.org Tel: 44 (0) 207 262 0985

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Upcoming UPF Events

Universal Peace Federation – UK www.uk.upf.org

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Posted in Marriage and Family, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Upcoming Universal Peace Federation – UK Programmes Nov – Dec 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 20, 2009

UPF - logos 2-0 cm

Upcoming Universal Peace Federation – UK Programmes

Click on the links for further information.

November 18th – 5:00 pm Commemorating Dr LM Singhvi’s Interfaith Contribution and Joint Celebration of Religious Holy Days:
Hosted by Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh in Committee Room 4A, House of Lords. We have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate National Interfaith Week and to commemorate the late Dr L.M. Singhvi’s contribution to interfaith work. Dr Singhvi, as a distinguished seven year Indian High Commissioner to the UK, left a deep impression particularly in his encouragement of good interfaith relations. The UPF Interfaith Committee’s series of Joint Celebrations of Holy Days seeks to provide opportunities for younger and older faith representatives to express their faith and to both learn about and celebrate other religious traditions.

November 24th – 5:00 pm‘Immigrants Contribution to British Society’
Committee Room 12, House of Commons:  Lord Bikhu Parekh, Chair of ‘Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain’ Report in 2000, Ms Yasmin Alibhai- Brown – distinguished Journalist and Commentator, Mr Tom Brake MP – Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Home Affairs and Mr Keith Best – Chief Executive, Immigration Advisory Service.

November 26th – 6:30 pm: UPF-UK Environment Chapter: 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA “London Initiative ahead of Copenhagen 2009 – ‘Think globally – act locally’ “ Emma Burnell, Vice Chair of SERA and Lawrence Bloom, the chair of the UN Environment Programme, Green Economy Initiative.

November 28th – World Culture Association: 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA

December 5th – 10:30 amUniversal Peace Council: 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA

The UPF Bi-annual Peace Council Meeting is a gathering of Ambassadors for Peace and friends to review activities and strategise how to utilise the cooperative influence of UPF’s growing national and international network. The Universal Peace Federation and its slogans of ‘one family under God’ and ‘living for the sake of others’ has incredible significance in this time of unsettling changes. The UPF Peace Council will begin at 10:30a.m. On Saturday 5th of December, with sessions up to lunch of reports and keynote speakers who have been supporting UPF events during the year.

Recently Held Events:

Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke: Book launch, ‘Beacons of the Light‘  October 16th

Green Economy Initiative with speakers Lawrence Bloom and Murad Qureshi September 3rd. For the report please click here.

September 6th 6:30 pm –   Pilgrimage:  A discussion of the role of pilgrimages in different faiths. For photos click here.

Robin Marsh
Secretary General, UPF – UK

Mobile: 44 (0) 7956 210 768     Twitter: RTMarsh

Cllr. Margaret Ali

Director, UPF – UK

Mobile: 44 (0) 7723024750

Universal Peace Federation – UK

Tel: 44 (0) 207 262 0985

Peace and Development Network:  https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com

http://uk.youtube.com/PeaceDevelopmntNetwk

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Posted in Community Cohesion, Evironmental Awareness, Interfaith, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

‘Beacons of the Light’ Booklaunch October 16th, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 18, 2009

Universal Peace Federation

43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

100 People Who Have Shaped The Spiritual History Of Humanity

‘Beacons of The Light’

Address and Book Launch by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke

Book Signing Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke

Book Signing Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke

Photo link of the Beacons of the Light Event October 16th, 2009.

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke with Respondents Imam Mahmadou Bocoum and Vijay Metha as well as MC Cllr. Margaret Ali

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke with Respondents Imam Mahmadou Bocoum and Vijay Metha as well as MC Cllr. Margaret Ali

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke Booklaunch with Dr Naznin Hirji

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke Booklaunch with Dr Naznin Hirji

Imam Dr Mamadou Bocoum praised Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke’s scholarship in writing such a book covering so many significant spiritual figures and for his investment as his teacher in the Muslim College during his Masters course. He quoted, ‘there is one light and there are different flames coming from that light’.

He mentioned that Abraham is the only prophet who became Haleel or the ‘ultimate friend of God’. He had to pay a heavy price to accomplish this title. Many other faiths want to take this person as their own faith’s exclusive founder or leading influence. This book reveals the claims and counterclaims on Abraham.

Imam Bocuom also reflected on the words ‘wherever there is love there is God but not wherever there is God there is love’.

During the Q. and A. Rev. Braybrooke was asked the question, ‘can spirituality exist without a religion?’  He replied, ‘Religions can meet best where they meet their call in God. The Dalai Llama said that for spirituality religion was not necessary. Others are rooted in a faith during their childhood even if they leave the faith later on in life and so it is difficult to separate their religion and their spirituality.’

Asked about those figures who are not included Rev. Braybrooke admitted that there are many more than one humndred figures mentioned but not as a separate section. In the end he said the criteria was how influential they were and after that there had to be some arbitrary selection.

Please see below or here for the response of Mr Vijay Mehta to ‘Beacons of the Light’.

Photo link of the Beacons of the Light Event October 16th, 2009.

Posted in Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Special Welding Training for Muslim Brothers in Davao City

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 16, 2009

Special Welding Training for Muslim Brothers in Davao City

Project Recipients: 50 Muslim Brothers from the different Barangays in Davao City

Title of the Training: Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW NC II)

Start of Training:            July 20, 2009

End of Training:              October 15, 2009

Graduation Day:             October 16, 2009

Project Proponent:          JIB Welding Academy (Joji Ilagan Career Center Foundation)

Cooperators:                   TESDA – XI

City Government of Davao (Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte)

Service for Peace

Office of Councilor Maria Belen Sunga Acosta

ABS CBN – Davao

Backgrounder:

Muslim community in Davao City is one of the oldest established communities.  The steady growth of this community over the last twenty years and the expansion of its organizational activities warrant the allocation of resources so that their various needs can be properly addressed.

In order to contribute to uplift the lives and give career guidance to our Muslim brothers in Davao City the JIB Career Center Foundation who owns and managed JIB Welding Academy through its Corporate Social Responsibility Program (CSR) conceptualized a FREE special welding skill training to the 50 Muslim brothers to be equipped with the skills needed for them to be globally competitive.  Through the Pangulong Gloria Scholarship (PGS) implemented by TESDA – XI and the Scholarship grants of the JIB Foundation this training was made possible with the support from the City government of Davao through the Honorable City Mayor, Rodrigo R. Duterte and Service for Peace.  ABS-CBN – Davao is the lead media partner and office of Hon Councilor Maria Belen Sunga Acosta as cooperator.

Part I.

On July 15, 2009 the 50 identified Muslim scholars have undergone the orientation with the JIB Welding Academy regarding their schedules and the training expectations.  Ms. Nely Medrozo, was the lead trainer for these 50 scholars.  Ms. Medrozo divided the 50 scholars into 2 schedules the whole training did have the morning and afternoon trainings at 4 hours per day.

The scholars took up the following subjects before spending the rest of their training at the laboratory;

Review on their Basic English Language

How to make an application letter/resume

How to face a job Interview

Participation and Communication in the Work Place

Interpretation of Sketches, Drawings, Estimates and Calculations

Safety Practices

Part II

In the middle of their training one of the major cooperators of the project Service for Peace represented by Mr. Massimo Trombin together with Dr. Michael J. Lenaghan gave a career orientation on the scholars.

Part III

The scholars participated also during the 1st JIB – MHBian Welding Gold Cup…the Skill Olympics, a welding skill competition participated by the alumni and students of the JIB Welding Academy last September 30, 2009 the event was organized in connection with the celebration of the 2nd year anniversary of the Academy.  The rest of the scholars had fun joining the quiz bowl and took part in the other games during the fun filled celebration.

Part IV

The scholars also had their final exam last October 8, 2009 and after that they were preparing for their assessment tests that were conducted last October 13, 14 & 15, 2009 with TESDA representatives.  After all exams and tests were evaluated and completed the scholars had their graduation rites last October 16, 2009 with no less than Honorable Sara Z. Duterte as Guest speaker.  The Chairperson of the JIB Welding Academy Ms. Joji Ilagan Bian, Engr. Nestor S. Tabada, Provincial Director of TESDA – XI and Mr. Rizal Dalkilich, Director for Mindanao of Service for Peace were among the guests during the graduation rites.  The event was covered by the lead media partner of the project ABS CBN.  The cooperators and guests of the event gave their messages during the graduation.  The scholars are now processing all their requirements for their On the Job training with the industry.

Part V         PHOTO DOCUMENTATION

The Signing of the Working Paper

Project working paper signed. JIB Welding Academy, TESDA – XI< City Government of Davao, ABS CBN and SERVICE FOR PEACE.

Training Proper

The scholarship recipients during their training

Career Guidance

Service for Peace Dr. Michael L. Lenaghan and Mr. Massimo Trombin

Sidelights

The scholars participating in the skill Olympics, Quiz Bowl and other fun activities during the JIB Welding Academy 2nd Year Anniversary last September 30, 2009

Graduation Rites

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UPF Bristol Celebrate the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 14, 2009


UPF Bristol Celebrate the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi

It has become our tradition to celebrate Gandhi’s birthday every year. The 3rd year celebration was organized mainly by Dr Krishna, an Ambassador for Peace, and sponsored by Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – Bristol.

Celebrating the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi

Celebrating the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi

Dr Krishna was very happy to organize the event. As he was very enthusiastic, in preparation of the day, he announced the date and location of the event everyday at the Hindu temple. We had a wonderful time with more than 50 guests and ITV (local news TV station) came to film us. It was featured on TV the next day. Edward Stacy gave an introduction to UPF. After that some people became very interested to become an Ambassador for Peace.

gandhi2b1

Mahatma Gandhi’s Prayer of Peace:

I offer you peace.
I offer you love.
I offer you friendship.
I see your beauty.
I hear your need.
I feel your feelings.
My wisdom flows from the highest source.
I salute that source in you.
Let us work together.
For unity and peace.

There will be a UPF showcase event in Bristol on the 24th October at the Unitarian Chapel, Brunswick Court, Brunswick Square, Bristol, BS2 8PE, from 12:00 midday until 3:00 pm. (Click here for map.)

UPF Bristol strives to bring together various diverse groups to encourage dialogue and co-operation regarding the many issues that our society is facing. We would like to celebrate our achievement together with all supporters. Also our guest speaker will speak on UPF worldwide work in Russia, China and Tibet etc. Please come with your friends and families.

Tomoko and Steve Harris

Universal Peace Federation –  Bristol

tomoko@cheonsong.org        Tel: 07917002847

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Reconciliation and Forgiveness Conference

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 4, 2009

‘Reconciliation and Forgiveness’ Conference

2009 UN Year of Reconciliation

Morning Session

Forgiveness and Reconciliation Conference Full Report October 4th 2009

The day featured two sessions. The first session in the morning in a meeting room in 43 Lancaster Gate was chaired by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke. Photo Link from the morning conference:


Dr Natubhai Shah

Dr Natubhai Shah

Bhai Mohinder Sahib Singh

Bhai Mohinder Sahib Singh

IMG_8479a audience

IMG_8480a audience

The morning session was rich with experience and knowledge about the topic of Forgiveness as expressed by the pool of wisdom emanating from distinguished speakers such as depicted above as well as Dr Ven Sumana Siri, Mr Jehangir Sarosh, Andrea Foulkes and Mr Jack Corley of UPF who gave concluding remarks. The general feeling about the morning conference was well expressed by the chair Dr Braybrooke who felt that during next year we should consider a one day conference with 3 sessions, one which could be a workshop in smaller groups perhaps, given the fact that there was so much to discuss, and such a wealth of experience amongst the speakers.

The second session was held in Friends Meeting House including an Interfaith Water Ceremony and presentations by many faith and community leaders.  Photo Link from the afternoon conference:

Report on the ‘Forgiveness and Reconciliation’ event by Connie Rennie

IMG_8689a interfaith water ceremony

Interfaith Water Ceremony

IMG_8625a Connie Rennie and Robert Haines

Connie Rennie and Robert Haines Readings

Today I had the opportunity to take part in a ceremony at Friends meeting house where representatives of many different faiths came together to share the teachings, practices and experiences of forgiveness and reconciliation. It was a rare and wonderful sight to see so many different faiths being represented on one stage as each stood to share their viewpoint. The religious leaders included keynote speakers such as Dr Marcus Braybrooke: President World Congress of Faith and Rev Dr Sumana Siri: Buddhist Cardinal of Europe and many many more.
Differences are often emphasized between faiths and cultures, but by listening to the words of each of the leaders at the event today, one clear message was portrayed; forgiveness is a key aspect of a strong life of faith, which when practiced leads to peace within oneself, naturally allowing you to bring peace to others, as is described in Buddhist psychology, ‘He who loves himself will harm not another.’ Not only does forgiveness bring us closer to each other, but all faiths expressed that forgiveness brings us closer to God. One of names of God in the Qur’an is, ‘The Forgiver.’ In practicing forgiveness, do we not become God-like?  One of the most important days of faith for Jewish believers, as described by Mr. Edwin Shuker: Sephardic Jewish Association, is ‘Yom Kippur ‘or ‘The day of Atonement’ where the relationship between God and humans is reconciled through repentance, and the seeking of forgiveness.

To see the similarities in the teachings on the topic was interesting, but what I felt really created a positive atmosphere of unity in the hall, was the practice of forgiveness. Chants of forgiveness from the Muslim, Jewish and Jain traditions were presented, as well as an interactive session where the audience were asked to stand and greet their neighbor as a representative of all things that they need to forgive, and tell them, ‘You are forgiven!’ We were also led through a meditation chant by Mayura Patel representing Hinduism. At this point I felt that peace and reconciliation between people of different faiths cannot be achieved simply by an intellectual understanding, but to respect each other as much as to be willing to practice each other’s traditions. Everyone in the room was willing to share and participate in the practices of other faiths, and I was so moved!

The highlight of the event was the ‘Interfaith Water Ceremony’ where representatives of each faith poured pure water into one single bowl, while reflecting on the virtues of water and its importance to Sikhs and Gurus, as described by Bhai Gurdas in his writing, ‘Be Compassionate Like Water.’ This ceremony is a symbol of the dissolution of resentments, and the desire to become one interreligious peaceful community. And after taking part in this event and seeing the example of the leaders today I feel inspired, and re-determined to practice forgiveness as one method to bring peace within myself, to those around me, and ultimately to God. Thank you!

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke Reporting on the Morning Conference

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke Reporting on the Morning Conference

Photos by Andy Johnson

Lord King UPF Patron

Lord King UPF Patron

water ceremony different faiths 2

Interfaith Water Ceremony

Posted in Community Cohesion, Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 27, 2009

Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival

By Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Peace Education, UPF-Asia

Other Mindanao Peace Initiative Reports link

Sunday, September 27, 2009

“Indigenous Peoples Forging Partnerships for Unity and Peace of One Family of God”

Tribal Summit

Tribal Summit

Malaybalay, Philippines – In the first tribal summit in Mindanao, which brought together more than 40 tribal chieftains along with educators, politicians, representatives from international NGOs, and religious practitioners from Christian, Muslim, and indigenous peoples, there was a new focus. They did not discuss terrorism, politics, military strategies, or arms control. Instead, they directed their energies on children’s education. In a word: peace for the sake of others, for our precious children.

Dr. Estrella A. Babano, Chairwoman of the Mindanao Peace Initiative and Region 10 Director of Department of Education, declared before an audience of over 250 people, “We must focus on our children. They are the common concern we all share, and this must be the framework and platform for our peace initiative.”

Babano went on to outline eight peace programs that highlight this youth-centered approach:

•    The Peace Village is an out-of-classroom, residential program using a total immersion technique to have people experience different cultures and ways of life.
•    The Arabic Language & Islamic Values Education program teaches children, both Muslim and non-Muslim, that Islam is a religion of peace.
•    The Indigenous Peoples Education Center aims at functional literacy for underprivileged people to help uplift their self-esteem and enable them to advance socially.
•    School of Peace educates administrators and trains teachers about the inherent value of each of the various peace programs available; then, on this foundation, it organizes Peace Education Centers using school systems.
•    Harvest of Hope has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministries of Fisheries to train 240 Mindanaoans in aquaculture and fish processing.
•    Child of Peace is an adopt-a-school scholarship program working through the Department of Education.
•    Kids say “No” to Guns, billed as “turning arms into farms,” has children “surrender” their toy guns for saplings which they plant throughout the southern Philippine island.
•    Peace Parks makes learning fun as small groups of eight to ten students visualize and then construct themes related to peace.

In the Opening Session, Dr. Chung Sik Yong, the Regional Chair of the Universal Peace Federation–Asia and special representative of the Universal Peace Federation Founder, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, said that, “the Universal Peace Federation sees ‘leadership’ as one of the most critical issues facing our world today, both in developed and developing nations.” He emphasized this by saying that good leadership was essential to peace and social development precisely because a good leader must emulate the qualities of a good parent—absolute unselfishness.

Florencio T. Flores, Jr., the Mayor of Malaybalay and host of the two-day Summit, said he eagerly responded to the Mindanao Peace Initiative invitation because “without peace, there is no development.” The city of Malaybalay is in the heart of the island of Mindanao, and the mayor was very grateful there had not been any bombing in the city so far.

The highest ranking educator attending the summit, the Under Secretary of the Department of Education Program on Indigenous Peoples, Dr. Manaros B. Boransing, presented an overview of the national curriculum that was developed to preserve the culture of all indigenous peoples throughout the Philippines.

Commissioner Jeanette C. Serrano-Reisland, the Ethnographic Region of Central Mindanao at the National Commission on Indigenous People, gave current data on the various tribal groups in the Philippines. She also praised President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo because although the ancestral domain legislation was passed 12 years ago, President Arroyo was the first to implement it by issuing land certifications. Dr. Norma Gonos, Senior Program Officer for Indigenous Peoples Education, described the components of the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao experience, which concentrates on improving education for indigenous peoples.

In the afternoon session on the first day, Mr. Massimo Trombin, the International Vice-President of Service for Peace, delighted the audience when he told them that the Global Peace Festival was conceived in and born in the Philippines in 2006. The chairman of the Global Peace Festival, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, was deeply touched by seeing the Filipino lifestyle that integrated Eastern and Western cultures.

Here the vibrant love for music, singing and dance is accompanied by the spirit of family where everyone is a Tito / Tita (uncle or aunt) or Kuya / Ate (older brother or sister). Filipinos immediately embrace so-called strangers as family, encapsulating the spirit of the Global Peace Festival with its motto of “One Family Under God.”

Finally, Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Education for UPF-Asia, pleased the multicolored crowd dressed in native costumes by saying that UPF had a very simple solution that would ensure peace in one generation — marry your enemy. It may take time for parents to love their in-laws, he said, but there is an instantaneous, irrepressible love between grandparents and grandchildren that bridges any historical resentment.

Two events highlighted the second day: a morning workshop where delegates drafted resolutions for the “Mindanao Tribal Summit,” followed by a Global Peace Festival (nearly 35 such festivals have been held throughout the Philippines this year). Over 200 participants performed skits, prayed, sang, and danced.

Concluding the two-day program at the Kaamulan Cultural Center, tribal chieftains signed the “Mindanao Resolution,” and 25 Ambassador for Peace certificates were distributed.

This Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival September 26 and 27 were sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, the Department of Education, the Province of Bukidnon, and the City of Malaybalay.

Photo Links

Further photo reports of other events:

http://tmeurope.multiply.com/photos/album/45/Field_trip_in_Marawi.04102009

http://tmeurope.multiply.com/photos/album/43/Garden_of_Peace_project

Original Report

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“Forgiveness and Reconciliation” Programme – 2:00 pm 4th October 2009 Friends Meeting House, Euston

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 25, 2009

CCWG Logo Community Cohesion Working Group copy

“Forgiveness and Reconciliation” Programme:

Universal Peace Federation   Community Cohesion Working Group

2:00 pm  4th October 2009      Friends Meeting House, Euston


Faith and Community Perspectives: Emcee Rev. Dr David Hanna: Unificationist Pastor Bromley

Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke: President World Congress of Faith, Introduction & Christian Perspective

Prof. Natubhai Shah: Chair of Jain Network and Jain Academy, Jain Perspective

Rev Dr Sumana Siri: Buddhist Cardinal of Europe,

Mayura Patel: Hindu Meditative Chant with Translation by Vanessa Edwards

Mr. Edwin Shuker: Sephardic Jewish Association – UK   & Mrs. Ruth Barnett: Holocaust Educator

Mr. Bhai Mohinder Sahib Singh: Chair of British Sikh Consultative Forum

Mr. Shepetim: Muslim College, Muslim Chant

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid: Chairman Muslim Council for Religious & Racial Harmony UK

Miss Elisa Brann: Unificationist Youth Perspective

Mr Jehangir Sarosh: Zoroastrian Perspective

Mr Andrea Foulkes: UK TV’s Expert on Soul Freedom Therapy

Samana Prasana Pragya &  Samana Rohit Pragya: Jain Vishva Bharati London

Mr Robert Haines: Christian Reading   &    Miss Connie Rennie: Unificationist Reading

Mr Jack Corley: Regional Director, Unification Movement

Ms. Kulvinder Nagha: Sant Niramkari Youth Volunteer & Swami Saradananda: Hindu Perspective

Interfaith Water Ceremony: Rev. Dr. David Hanna: Explanation

Ms. Angad Kaur: Guru Ram Das Project ‘Be Compassionate Like Water’ by Bhai Gurdas

Break: Conclusion of Break – Bernard Chellew: ‘Ryhmes and Reasons’ by John Denver

‘Forgiveness & Reconciliation’ Experiences (1) Ms. Marcian Uwimana – Rwanda  (2) Mrs. Sabina Miller

‘Amazing Grace’ the origins by Prof. Ian Hall. Rev. Harriott, and others, to play Amazing Grace

Mr Glory Mbala, Poetry Reading

Anthony Padgett, A Jewish Artist, Reading from his Book, ‘The Rainbow Swastika Conspiracy’

Dance of Forgiveness narrated by Ms. Anusha Subramanyam of Beeja Dancing Group Performed by Dancers Elena, Jecinta and Katrina.

Lord King of West Bromwich: Universal Peace Federation Patron Concluding Remarks

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Report: United Nations International Day of Peace – Sept 21st, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 19, 2009

peacedaylogo

United Nations International Day of Peace

September 21st, 2009

“We Must Disarm”

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

IMGP0286 Speakers Panel

IMGP0272 audience We Must Disarm

The UN International Day of Peace on September 21st at the UPF – UK Peace Centre, supporting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s theme for the day, “We Must Disarm”. The International Day of Peace is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence. This year the Secretary-General is calling on governments and citizens to focus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Universal Peace Federation centres all around the world were supporting this event and included a declaration for this day that follows this report or by this link

Vijay Mehta, (below left Shanti Mehta and Vijay Mehta) Chair of World Disarmament Campaign and Action for UN Renewal, ‘Towards a world Free of Nuclear Weapons – can United Nations & civil society make it happen ?’ (Video Link)

He explained the world was overspending on war and underspending on peace and consequently how education and health budgets were suffering throughout the world. (Full speech link)

IMGP0271  Vijay Mehta and Shanti Mehta 3

IMGP0266 Prof Bhupendra Jasani reduced


Prof. Bhupendra Jasani, (above right) King’s College London, Department of War Studies, is a specialist in Disarmament issues. He focused on the verification techniques that assist confidence building and facilitates disarmament. He illustrated the standard of currently commercially available satellite imagery and techniques for verification. He explained his impact on various Governments as well as the UN to improve verification methods and strategies. Video of his speech through link.

Verification Prof Jasani 210909 Please click on this link for the powerpoint presented by Professor Jasani.

Moeen Yaseen, (Below Left) Founder Global Vision 2000 an Islamic International Think Tank:  ‘The Military Influence on our Global Economy and the Need for a Paradigm Shift’     Video of his speech through link.

IMGP0270 Moeen YaseenIMGP0279 Jack Lynes

Jack Lynes: (Above Right) “Peace – a Jewish Perspective and some Food for Thought and Action” (A personal view.)

For More Photos Link

Robin Marsh
Secretary General
Mobile: 07956 210 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              07956 210      end_of_the_skype_highlighting 768

Cllr. Margaret Ali
Director
Mobile: 07723024750

Universal Peace Federation – UK    www.uk.upf.org

https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

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Working for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons: Vijay Mehta

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 19, 2009

Celebration of UN International Day of Peace lecture

Public Meeting
6.30pm

Monday 21st September 2009
Universal Peace Federation

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

Speaker:  Vijay Mehta



Working for a world Free of Nuclear Weapons – what can the

United Nations and civil society do?

Vijay Mehta
vijay@vmpeace.org
http://www.vmpeace.org
http://www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk

Contents

1)   Introduction

2)   Threats posed by nuclear weapons

3)   Five steps the United Nations can take for disarmament and a nuclear free world

4)   What can civil society do?

5)   Conclusion
Introduction
Thank you Robin Marsh, Margaret Ali and Universal Peace Federation for inviting me here today to speak on an important and timely topic on ‘working for a world free of nuclear weapons – what can the United Nations and civil society do?’

There are renewed hopes as new opportunities for Global Disarmament appear on the horizon for the first time in decades. There is a strong will towards nuclear disarmament and this opportunity must be seized.  These include a Security Council summit on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation on the 24th of September chaired by President Obama, talks between the Russian Federation and the USA for joint initiative to reduce their arsenal under START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty. It is also timely as various initiatives worldwide are being launched to build a momentum for the successful conclusion of nuclear disarmament agenda at next year’s 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Hence today’s meeting is important. It is also important because we are celebrating the UN International Day of Peace. Meetings like ours are happening all over the world.

Thank you for all the good work being done by your organisation on an ongoing basis. It is a privilege to be among peace campaigners. You are thinkers and change makers, the driving force for social change in our world.

Threats posed by nuclear weapons

Today we will be exploring not only getting rid of Trident UK nuclear submarine system but also bigger nuclear proliferation problems which require new proposals and viable solutions. It needs a new mindset. As Albert Einstein said, “the significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

There are 30,000 nuclear warheads in the possession of the declared nuclear weapon states USA, Russia, France, UK and China (the P5 states) with their arsenals on hair-trigger alert. On top of that there is worldwide proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology which is being deployed by countries such as India, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and Israel. When so much military hardware is available around the world terrorists can easily create mayhem by indiscriminate mass killing and destruction. Political violence, organised crime and inciting fear in the civilian population are becoming the hallmark of new terrorism. The war on terror has offered a whole set of justifications for countries to increase their arsenals and push the budget on military spending, which is currently running at $1.4 trillion.

The development of mini nukes and bunker buster bombs by US and its doctrine of pre-emption which has replaced arm control and collective security have made the world a far less secure and stable place.  It also gives wrong signals to other countries as they feel vulnerable to attack.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty has been completely ignored by the major nuclear powers because under its provisions the nuclear powers have pledged themselves to negotiate nuclear disarmament and never to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state – a pledge that has been ignored, with direct threats that they might be used if a nuclear state felt endangered.

Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the terrifying hallmark of which was the nuclear arms race and the doctrine of mutual assured destruction continue to exist. Their existence poses the greatest threat to the human race and the planetary environment.

In this presentation, I will argue that nuclear weapons have no utility and that any security issues they are purported to solve would only be made worse by their use.
There is no serious problem on which military action may be needed which cannot be solved through the use of peaceful dialogue. Most disturbing is that possession of nuclear weapons is proliferating, which enlarges the possibility that they may be acquired by non-State groups.

However, especially in the P5 states, the view is common that nuclear weapons from the first wave of proliferation somehow are tolerable, while such weapons in the hands of additional states are viewed as dangerous.

So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them. So long as any such weapons remain, there is a risk that they will one day be used, by design or accident. And any such use would be catastrophic. Nuclear accidents, effects of radiation and damage to the environment pose grave threats to our world

Nuclear, biological and chemical arms are the most inhumane of all weapons. They are rightly called weapons of mass destruction and weapons of terror. Designed to terrify as well as destroy, they can, in the hands of either states or non-state actors, cause destruction on a vastly greater scale than any conventional weapons, and their impact is far more indiscriminate and long-lasting.

As weapons of mass destruction and disarmament form one of the gravest challenges facing the world, a world free of nuclear weapons is a global public good of the highest order.  Despite a longstanding taboo against using nuclear weapons, disarmament remains only an aspiration. So, is a taboo alone on the use of such weapons sufficient?

States make the key decisions where nuclear weapons are concerned. But the UN has important roles to play. It provides a central forum in which states can agree on norms to serve their common interests. It analyses, educates, and advocates in the pursuit of agreed goals.

Most states have chosen to forgo nuclear weapons, and have complied with their commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Yet some states view such weapons as a status symbol, and some view them as offering the ultimate deterrent against nuclear attack, which largely accounts for the estimated 30,000 that still exist.

Unfortunately, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence is contagious, making non-proliferation more difficult and raising new risks that nuclear weapons will be used.

The world remains concerned about nuclear activities in North Korea and Iran, and there is widespread support for efforts to address these concerns by peaceful means.

There are also concerns that a “nuclear renaissance” is looming, with nuclear energy seen as a clean energy alternative at a time of intensifying efforts to combat climate change. The main worry is that this will lead to the production and use of more nuclear materials that may be used for making bombs, proliferation and terrorist threats.

The obstacles to disarmament are formidable including the daunting challenges of multiple crises: food, fuel, flu pandemic and financial crisis. But the costs and risks of its alternatives never get the attention they deserve. Consider the enormous opportunity cost of huge military budgets. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, global military expenditures last year exceeded $1.4 trillion. Ten years ago, the Brookings Institution published a study that estimated the total costs of nuclear weapons in the United States alone to be over $5.8 trillion, including future cleanup costs. By any definition, this is a huge investment that could have had many other productive uses, i.e. eradicating hunger, poverty, diseases and the adverse effects of climate change.

The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded. Military spending continues to rise everyday. It is now well above US trillion. More weapons are being produced. They are flooding markets around the world. They are destabilising societies. They feed the flames of civil wars and terror. Around the world, gun violence is the number one cause of civilian casualties.

Concerns over nuclear weapons’ costs and inherent dangers have led to a global outpouring of ideas to breathe new life into nuclear disarmament. We have seen the WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) commission led by Hans Blix, the New Agenda Coalition, and Norway’s Seven Nation Initiative. Australia and Japan have launched the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Civil society groups and nuclear-weapon states have also made proposals, such as the Hoover Plan, spearheaded by Henry Kissinger. There is further ray of hope with the new American administration, under Barack Obama, who has pledged to show the world that America believes in its existing commitments under the NPT to work to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons.

Five steps the United Nations can take for disarmament and a nuclear free world

To push forward the agenda, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, put forward a five-point proposal.

  • Disarmament must enhance security

First, to urge all NPT parties, in particular the nuclear-weapon states, to fulfill their obligation under the treaty to undertake negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament. They could agree on a framework of separate, mutually reinforcing instruments. Or they could consider negotiating a nuclear-weapons convention, backed by a strong verification system, as has long been proposed at the UN. A draft has been circulated to all UN members of such a convention, which offers a good point of departure.

The nuclear powers should actively engage with other states on this issue at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. The world would also welcome a resumption of bilateral negotiations between the US and Russia aimed at deep and verifiable reductions of their arsenals.

The Security Council’s permanent members should begin discussions on security issues in the nuclear disarmament process. They could unambiguously assure non-nuclear-weapon states that they will not be subject to the use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons. The council could also convene a summit on nuclear disarmament. Non-NPT states should freeze their own nuclear-weapon capabilities and make their own disarmament commitments.

  • Disarmament must be reliably verified

Secondly, governments should also invest more in verification research and development. The United Kingdom’s proposal to host a conference of nuclear-weapon states on verification is a concrete step in the right direction.

The NPT state parties should pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament, either through a new convention or through a series of mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a credible system of verification.

  • Disarmament must be rooted in legal obligations

Thirdly, Universal membership in multilateral treaties is a key, as are regional nuclear free zones and a new treaty on fissile materials.

Unilateral moratoria on nuclear tests and the production of fissile materials can go only so far. We need new efforts to bring the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty into force, and for the conference on disarmament to begin negotiations on a fissile material treaty immediately, without preconditions.

There should be efforts made to support the creation of the Central Asian and African nuclear-weapon-free zones which should also strongly support efforts to establish such a zone in the Middle East. And all NPT parties need to conclude their safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and voluntarily to adopt the strengthened safeguards under the Additional Protocol.

Furthermore, an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice in 1996 stated that “there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

  • Disarmament must be visible to the public

Fourthly, countries with nuclear weapons should publish more information about what they are doing about what they are doing to fulfill their disarmament agenda.

The nuclear-weapon states often circulate descriptions of what they are doing to pursue these goals. But these accounts seldom reach the public. The nuclear-weapon states should send such material to the UN Secretariat, and to encourage its wider dissemination. The lack of an authoritative estimate of the total number of nuclear weapons attests to the need for greater transparency.

  • Disarmament must anticipate emerging dangers from other weapons

Finally, a number of complementary measures are needed. These include eliminating other types of WMD; new efforts against WMD terrorism; limits on the production and trade in conventional arms; and new weapons bans, including of missiles and space weapons.

If there is real, verified progress on disarmament, the ability to eliminate the nuclear threat will grow exponentially. As we progressively eliminate the world’s deadliest weapons and their components, we will make it harder to execute WMD terrorist attacks. WMD should not stand for weapons of Mass Destruction but for We Must Disarm.

These proposals offer a fresh start not only on disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful use of nuclear energy, the three pillars of NPT, but also on strengthening our system of international peace and security leading to nuclear free world.
These can be enhanced by following the Article VI of the NPT which obliges its signatories “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.

What can civil society do?

Follow 13 Practical Steps for Disarmament which is reaffirmation that the ultimate objective of the efforts of States in the disarmament process is general and complete disarmament under effective international control. (see end of the speech)

Here is a list of action points – things that we can all do to oppose nuclear weapons and promote a nuclear weapons world:

  • Before anything – study the problem.
  • Write to your MP and to key decision makers and put pressure on government ministers. Urge  UK government to send a delegation at ministerial level to represent the UK at the next NPT conference.
  • Ask your MP to sign the parliamentary motions.
  • Write letters to world leaders and the editor of newspapers.
  • Educate the public and organise a forum.
  • Plan a demonstration.
  • Hold a meeting or run a workshop.
  • Call a radio talk show.
  • Contact your local interfaith group to discuss the issue.
  • Make paper cranes to send to decision makers (they have become a symbol of disarmament).
  • Join the nonviolent initiatives for disarmament.
  • Attend a “Dialogue with decision-makers” workshop.
  • Get involved in your local disarmament group.
  • Promote complete and general disarmament by distributing information about 13 Practical Steps taken from the final document of 2000 Review Conference of the (NPT) Nuclear-non Proliferation Treaty. (see appendices to lecture).
  • Pray. The nuclear weapons danger cannot be addressed through action alone. All activism must be accompanied by an inner journey that faces the existence of nuclear weapons, the possibility of annihilation, and the power of God in the face of these threats. Religious people can be a voice of hope for the future.
  • Speak truth to power. Our elected officials are the ones who are making the daily decisions to fund new nuclear weapons or to follow our treaty obligations by reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons. Build a relationship with your local and national elected officials by writing letters, making phone calls, and setting up in-state lobby visits.

Conclusion

For total and general disarmament, education should be made a priority for bringing a culture of peace, nonviolence and reconciliation. By eliminating root causes of war we can eliminate the need for small arms and nuclear weapons leading to lasting peace. The world today spends billions preparing for war.  Should we not spend a billion or two preparing for peace? The reduction of defense budgets and demilitarisation should be applied to fund the economic aid and conflict resolution.

One of the sustainable long term solutions for elimination of nuclear weapons will be the prohibition of weapon usable nuclear materials. By signing the FMCT (Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty) Treaty, we can prevent nuclear proliferation by limiting the available sources and hence increasing physical safety and security.

The United Kingdom and the other nuclear powers have to recognise that their own weapons and policies are part of the problem and hinder international efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and reduce proliferation incentives. Now is the time to begin phasing out nuclear weapons, starting with a decision not to replace Trident. Contrary to myth, giving up nuclear weapons will not happen overnight or leave the United Kingdom naked and vulnerable. It is high time to recognise their irrelevance and start planning for a safely managed transition to a more relevant security approach, with a more appropriate allocation of defence resources.

Now whilst the worlds leading nations talk of reducing nuclear weapons they still want to develop new weapons for themselves. This strikes me as a strategy that will never free the world of nuclear weapons.

That is why you and all other who care must ensure that governments will go into the non-proliferation talks next year ready to act. This is a precious opportunity to move towards a nuclear free world and i call upon you and all supporters of a world free of a threat of complete annihilation to sieze that opportunity.
It should be noted that Gandhi, was not only a keen supporter of substituting nonviolent resistance for war, but a sharp critic of the Bomb. In 1946, he remarked: “I regard the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women, and children as the most diabolical use of science.” When he first learned of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Gandhi recalled, he said to himself: “Unless now the world adopts non-violence, it will spell certain suicide.” In 1947, Gandhi argued that “he who invented the atom bomb has committed the gravest sin in the world of science,” concluding once more: “The only weapon that can save the world is non-violence.” The Bomb, he said, “will not be destroyed by counter-bombs.” Indeed, “hatred can be overcome only by love.”


I will close with a paragraph from Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, director of IAEA:


“Imagine what would happen if the nations of the world spent as much on development as on building the machines of war. Imagine a world where every human being would live in freedom and dignity. Imagine a world in which we would shed the same tears when a child dies in Darfur or Vancouver. Imagine a world where we would settle our differences through diplomacy and dialogue and not through bombs or bullets. Imagine if the only nuclear weapons remaining were the relics in our museums. Imagine the legacy we could leave to our children. Imagine that such a world is within our grasp.”

If we can follow his wisdom and all the outline initiatives we have discussed today, then we have a golden opportunity to achieve a world free of nuclear arms.
Thank you very much for listening.

Notes

The following publications were consulted and excerpts have been taken from them during the writing of this article:

1)    Ban Ki Moon, “Five steps to a nuclear-free world” (Guardian, UK) 23 November 2008

2)    Penn State Live, Ambassador to address U.S. foreign policy, nuclear disarmament, 6 February 2009. http://live.psu.edu/story/37444

3)    Vijay Mehta, “Should Britain be building new nuclear weapons? What are its implications and what is the peace movement’s strategy?” 1 June 2006

Biography: Vijay Mehta

Vijay Mehta is president of VM Centre for Peace www.vmpeace.org , Founding Trustee of Fortune Forum Charity www.fortuneforum.org ,  Chair of Action for UN Renewal www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk and co-Chair of World Disarmament Campaign. He is an author, a champion for truth and global activist for peace, development, human rights and environment. Some of his notable books are The Fortune Forum Summit: For a Sustainable Future, Arms No More, and The United Nations and Its Future in the 21st Century.

His latest book is on Global Warming and is called ‘Climate Change IQ,’ which is available to download free of charge in electronic form from the website www.climatechange365.co.uk

He along with his daughter Renu Mehta founder of Fortune Forum charity held three summits in London in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The summits raised over a million pounds for charity and attracted a worldwide audience of 1.3 billion people (one fifth of humanity) including print and media coverage. The keynote speakers for the first and second summit were Bill Clinton, former US President and Al Gore, former US vice-President, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2007. The guest speakers in 2008 were Ted Turner, Founder of CNN, Amritya Sen and Sir James Mirrlees both Nobel Prize winning Economists.

Vijay Mehta has appeared in various TV programmes including BBC World, Press TV, Ajtak-24 hour Indian news channel, and Think Peace documentary, Canada, among others. The Sunday Times, Independent, Observer, Irish Times and Guardian newspapers, among other journals have written about him. His life is devoted to the service of peace, humanity and our planet.

13 Practical steps

EXCERPTED FROM THE FINAL DOCUMENT OF THE 2000 NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE

The Conference agrees on the following practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and paragraphs 3 and 4 (c) of the 1995

Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”:

1.    The importance and urgency of signatures and ratifications, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with constitutional processes, to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

2.   A moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions pending entry into force of that Treaty.

3. The necessity of negotiations in the Conference on / Disarmament on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in accordance with the statement of the Special Coordinator in 1995 and the mandate contained therein, taking into consideration both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation objectives. The Conference on Disarmament is urged to agree on a programme of work which includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a treaty with a view to their conclusion within five years.

4.   The necessity of establishing in the Conference on Disarmament an appropriate subsidiary body with a mandate to deal with nuclear disarmament. The Conference on Disarmament is urged to agree on a programme of work which includes the immediate establishment of such a body.

5.   The principle of irreversibility to apply to nuclear disarmament, nuclear and other related arms control and reduction measures.

6.    An unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all States parties are committed under Article VI.

7.   The early entry into force and full implementation of START II and the conclusion of START III as soon as possible while preserving and strengthening the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability and as a basis for further reductions of strategic offensive weapons, in accordance with its provisions.

8.    The completion and implementation of the Trilateral Initiative between the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

9.   Steps by all the nuclear-weapon States leading to nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all:

*     Further efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally.
*     Increased transparency by the nuclear-weapon States with regard to the nuclear weapons capabilities and the implementation of agreements pursuant to Article VI and as a voluntary confidence-building measure to support further progress on nuclear disarmament.
*     The further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives and as an integral part of the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament process.
*     Concrete agreed measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems.
*     A diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that these weapons ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.
*     The engagement as soon as appropriate of all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons.

10. Arrangements by all nuclear-weapon States to place, as soon as practicable, fissile material designated by each of them as no longer required for military purposes under IAEA or other relevant international verification and arrangements for the disposition of such material for peaceful purposes, to ensure that such material remains permanently outside of military programmes.

11. Reaffirmation that the ultimate objective of the efforts of States in the disarmament process is general and complete disarmament under effective international control.

12.  Regular reports, within the framework of the NPT strengthened review process, by all States parties on the implementation of Article VI and paragraph 4 (c) of the 1995 Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”, and recalling the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 8 July 1996.

13.The further development of the verification capabilities that will be required to provide assurance of compliance with nuclear disarmament agreements for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

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UN International Day Of Peace: Disarm Now Moeen Yaseen

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 18, 2009

UN INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE: DISARM NOW

THE MILITARY INFLUENCE ON OUR GLOBAL ECONOMY AND THE NEED FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT

Moeen Yaseen Managing Director   Global Vision 2000

EMBARGOED

Monday 21 September 2009  6.30-8.30

Thanks to UPF for organisation of another event and the extension of the invitation to speak today. I wish to dedicate my contribution to the silent voices of millions of people who were sacrificed by the Warmongers. This contribution will not focus on the scientific, technical or legal dimensions but on the political economy of war and address the 800 pound gorilla in the room which we are in denial.  As General Smedley Butler stated there are only two things we should fight for one is the defence of our homes and a Bill of Rights : War for any other reason is a racket. Last year in April 2008 Global Vision 2000 held a conference on the Global Financial Meltdown, socioeconomic injustice and war: cause and remedy with speakers from Stop the War Coalition, International Peace Bureau and the 9/11 Truth Movement. Today I will address the underlying ideological glue cementing the event.I will focus upon AngloAmerican imperialism and AngloAmerican financial usurious capitalism given it’s pre-eminent role with the British empire in the 19th century and Pax Americana in the 20th century to date. Jonathan Swift identified the following factors in the evolution of the imperial system:- Doctrine of Permanent War;  War, Money power/Banking elite which benefits from the State’s indebtedness and Public debt as well as the Militarists and Military-Industrial-Political complex which President Eisenhower coined. This is the context we are dealing with namely a world where might is right and white is right and wherein the spirit of power prevails than the power of the spirit. The Global Financial architecture established in Bretton Woods by the financial oligarchy underwrites this dominant paradigm.

In the modern era the foundation of the Military Industrial Political Complex was established in 1939-45; in the postwar coldwar period the Trilateral Commission in 1968 established the National Security Apparatus and Military Keynesianism. Post 1989 with the collapse of the cold war with Bush wars we have seen the rise of the New World Order and Disaster Capitalism in which pre-emptive wars are built around deconstruction and reconstruction of societies by warprofiteers who plunder the Treasury/Currency. Economic policies are run to benefit the financial elites. Pre 9/11 we also have the Project for the New American Century to kick in the 21st American century which is ending up as an own goal.

Underpinning the Warfare economy exists the TRIAD of the Military Industrial Political complex interlocked to the concept of Permanent war entrenched since World War 2. In the postwar cold era Bush introduced the New World Order with seeds planted in the Middle East for future wars. This idea originated with the Trilateral Commission’s concept of the New International Economic Order wherein military might enforces foreign policy which is based on economic interests. It is an agenda of perpetual warfare and violence fuelling global domination via economic means. Also international organisations such as NATO devised for defence originally are being transformed into aggressive forces to enhance US economic and geopolitical interests with NATO in effect becoming a surrogate military-political force for globalisation and US world economic domination. As many people are asking what is NATO really doing in Afghanistan? What are British/European soldiers dying for?  It should be noted that Afghanistan is a symbolic rock in history where empires have been smashed.

This warfare economy is a parasite which manipulates fears and paranoia; it trashes economies by diverting resources from domestic investment into productive uses such as green technologies and subverts university research massively.  It reduces economic growth and employment. Indeed the 9/11 attacks on the US homeland were used as a Cassus Belli and for the establishment of a National Security State. The Global War on Terror manipulates fears; keeps us afraid and stops dissent. As far as 9/11 is concerned our thinktank rejects the official narrative as Alice in Wonderland mythology and supports the notion of the existence of  the phenomenon  of State sponsored false flag terrorism. But that is another story. The military economy operates outside a competitive market and erases the line between the State and the Corporation. Disguises it’s growth via the privitisation of war with the rise of mercenaries such as Blackwater- XE services which is in effect the largest private army in the world.

Insane expenditure on Department of Defence aka the Department of War has NO correlation to National Security- this has been hijacked by the Financial Oligarchs. see Chalmers Johnson. Melman has proven that the DoD budget is the largest single block of financial capital resources. The exact costs are difficult to verify as there is a cloud of secrecy over it. Melman argues that since 1944 the US Federal Government has spent more than 50% of it’s entire budget on past, current and future military operations and this underwrites the permanent war economy. The Mlitary budget is greater than all other nations at 623 Billion for 2008 not counting the supplemental budget nearing 3000 Billion for the wars(Stiglitz). N.B 30-40% of DoD budget is BLACK i.e. hidden for classified purposes The true size and cost for the US mil empire is 1100 billion for 2008.

The Official Pentagon inventory includes:-

865 facilities/bases in over 40 countries;

190.000 troops in 46 countries this does not cover privitisation of war via contracted security firms which are mercenary armies

2 Billion dollars spent every day

US budget deficit of 1.75 Trillion and National Debt of 10.6 Trillion

Military Keynesianism see Seymour Melman on Pentagon Capitalism focusses on the political economy of war .Massive trade deficits financed by borrowing and the National debt is 10 Trillion in 2009. Therefore Military expenditure is Military Keynesianism used to keep and maintain a Permanent war economy and military output is seen as ordinary economic product although it makes no contribution towards production and consumption.  Even with Obama in Congress who swept into power on change has backtracked as Congress is not willing or able to articulate a rejection of the War economy. The economy has become preoccupied with Death; namely the business of killing and being killed. The war economy thrives on aggressive war and a perverse realpolitik of national security. There is a tacit acceptance of much that threatens to destroy anything and everything.

Hollowing out of the US economy has occurred with the lack of modernisation and replacement of assets has almost evaporated the US manufacturing base. The US is now the world’s leading Debtor nation with it’s influence reliant on it’s Military Industrial Political Complex which I would argue underpins the IMPERIAL DOLLAR.

SOLUTION

QUID PRO QUO for the survival of the USA in a Multi-polar world of Creditor nations:-

1. To save the dollar and the nation it requires a NATIONAL VOLTE FACE to show humility and repentance

2. Repudiation of the Neocon goal to achieve US Global hegemony

3. Liquidation of the American military empire and its overseas bases

4. Cessation of DoD budget as a Keynesianism jobs program and investment into a socially productive economy

CONCLUSION

We need to really reflect on Michael Jackson’s song Man in the Mirror; we need to look at this problem in the eye and make that change.

We need to end glorification of violence and repent. This entire military enterprise is surplus to requirement, damaging to the National Interest/security, cause of war with other nations. It shows a Global Hegemon in economic decline engaged in imperial outreach, perpetual war and insolvency with a real danger of the collapse and fragmentation of the US State.

Moeen Yaseen

(Note: Universal Peace Federation seeks to promote debate and discussion. Not all the views of contributors reflect a UPF perspective but are  still welcome in the process of encouraging dialogue and seeking understanding.)

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UPF Peace Declaration on 21st September, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 11, 2009

UPF - logos 2-0 cm

Universal Peace Federation

Peace Declaration

“Since wars begin in the minds of man, it is in the minds of man that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”  (UNESCO Constitution, 1945)

On the occasion of and in support of the International Day of Peace, September 21st, 2009, for which Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon gave the motto “We Must Disarm” (WMD), with a focus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the Universal Peace Federation offers the following affirmations:

First, human conflict and the resort to arms and weapons have their roots in the breakdown of human relationships, and the human failure to live up to our highest ideals and aspirations. Violence is a symptom of a moral and spiritual failure. If we are to eliminate violence and weapons of mass destruction, we must commit ourselves to a moral and spiritual awakening.

Second, lasting peace is secured not only through the reduction of nuclear arsenals, but, more importantly, by the growth in solidarity among the whole human family, and a recognition that we are all brothers and sisters who share a common spiritual and moral heritage. We are one family under God. It is this understanding that gives rise to the collective will to put an end to violent conflict.

Third, being the basic, building block of society, the family serves as the primary school of ethics, and should serve as the school where we learn to love, respect and serve others.  By strengthening marriage and family, we can educate our children to respect all people, thereby establishing a culture of peace.  Once humanity learns to resolve conflicts without weapons, massive resources will be reallocated for human development.

Fourth, laws alone cannot change the culture of violence, but must be undergirded by substantial educational programs aimed a promoting character education, conflict resolution, and a culture of service and peace. Men and women who are taught to fulfill their moral obligations and responsibilities toward others will respect and live for the greater good and fulfillment of others.

The Universal Peace Federation thereby resolves to join the United Nations to declare September 21st as
The International Day of Peace

To Be Declared this 21st day of September 2009  London UK.

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Lawence Bloom and Murad Qureshi AM ‘Green Economy Initiative’

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 4, 2009

Lawrence Bloom and Murad Qureshi AM Green Economy Initiative

September 3rd, 2009

Universal Peace Federation-UK HQ, 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

Lawrence Bloom, Marios Gerogiokas and Murad Qureshi

Lawrence Bloom, Marios Gerogiokas and Murad Qureshi

Murad Qureshi AM

Murad Qureshi AM

IMG_8290 IMG_8315Dr Zena Daysh and Nicky Gavron AM

Lawrence Bloom and Murad Qureshi AM discussed the alternatives facing London as a city and the world as a whole due to climate change. Lawrence Bloom, is the Chair of the United Nations Environment Programme and the former chairman, current Council Member, of the World Economic Forum, Global Agenda Council on Urban Development, Davos. Murad Qureshi AM is the Chair of the Environment Committee of the Greater London Authority’s London Assembly.

There were a number of notable contributions from the audience including Nicky Gavron AM who, as the former Deputy Mayor, was leading the climate change response on behalf of London during the Ken Livingston Mayoral administration.

Murad Qureshi began by emphasising the role of big cities like London in working with environmental issues because 50 % of humanity lives in cities and towns. Nation states will meet in Copenhagen but there is a lot of capacity for cities to collaborate and make their own impetus. He acknowledged Nicky Gavron’s work with the C40 Cities. London made a goal of 60 % reduction from 1990 levels by 2025. There is a localised green economy initiative possible through city level leadership. Transport and housing sectors can be handled locally. He added that a Plan B could be a city level agreement if the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit fails.

Lawrence Bloom said,  ‘At first the Universal Peace Federation seems a strange convenor for this discussion but when I thought about the crisis facing us I felt this is an ideal venue for climate change discussion. Climate change is a subset of an unsustainable energy system. There is also a lack of sustainability in food, water and the economy. This is not a crisis of climate but of vision based on a lack of values. We in the west find esteem based on buying the newest car and happiness is based on Gross National Product. Correcting the climate will affect all levels. Hence the Universal Peace Federation is an ideal convenor for this discussion.’ (Please see statement below, Reclaiming Tomorrow).

For more photos click here. Follow the link for more about Environment Awareness activities.

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Green Economy Initiative by Lawrence Bloom September 3rd 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 3, 2009


Green Economy Initiative

UPF - logos 2-0 cm

Universal Peace Federation

UPF-UK Environment Chapter

Understanding Copenhagen 2009: Community Leaders Awareness & Debate

Lawrence Bloom

Chairman, UNEP, Green Economy Initiative
Green Cities, Buildings and Transport.

6:30 pm 3rd September 2009, 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA

Lawrence Bloom

Lawrence Bloom

and

Murad Qureshi, Assembly Member

Chair of the Environment Committee

London Assembly, Greater London Authority

You are cordially welcome to a consideration and discussion of the issues surrounding climate change from 6:30 pm on September 3rd at 43 Lancaster Gate. There are major negotiations ongoing that may affect our lives substantially from December 2009

UPF is organising a series of conferences to answer questions, promote discussion and bring awareness to the grass roots through community and interfaith leaders. UPF has been active in the area of community coherence, multi-cultural and interfaith and we want to mobilize our network of leaders in understanding environmental, renewable issues in view of the upcoming “Copenhagen 2009 Climate Change Conference” in December.

Lawrence Bloom is a chairman of the World Economic Forum, Global Agenda Council on Urban Development, Davos, and Chairman UNEP, Green Economy Initiative, Green Cities, Buildings and Transport.

‘’As world leaders search for creative solutions to restore global equilibrium, the opportunity for recognising the importance of both human and environmental capital has perhaps never been so possible or achievable’’ www.lawrencebloom.com.c

Murad Qureshi AM was an Executive Committee member of SERA (1994-2000) campaigning on green issues throughout the 1990s. He is especially keen on promoting the use of renewables as an alternative energy source and on promoting energy efficiency initiatives to deal with fuel poverty.

Kindly RVSP to reserve your place. There will be a small charge for refreshments. Click here for travel information.

Kind regards,

Dr Marios Gerogiokas
UPF-UK Environment Chapter
075 0789 3739

Mr. Muftah Benomran

Noble Cities Plc
www.noblecities.com


Reclaiming tomorrow…

‘We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase.’

David Suzuki Foundation

‘I have seen the future, and it won’t work’

Paul Krugman, New York Times[1]

T

he chilling accuracy of Paul Krugman’s observation was recently confirmed in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) review of more than 10 different future scenarios, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Royal Dutch Shell.

Of those, the MIT study concluded that Shell’s ‘Blueprints’ scenario resulted in the lowest realistically achievable CO2 emissions levels, because it was based on the rapid implementation of advanced technologies and energy efficiency initiatives, and involved a highly effective collaboration between government, industry, international institutions, NGOs and academia.

Even then CO2 levels would stabilize at around 650ppm…yet 450ppm is currently accepted as the viable maximum.

We now understand that at this level various serious trigger points and feedback loops start operating. Not least of these is the acidification of the oceans, causing them to become a net emitter of CO2 rather than a sink. These increasing CO2 levels then feed back into higher temperatures, accelerating both ice melt at the poles and the melting of tundra ice with its consequent release of methane.

So the evidence indicates that we cannot rely on technology alone to ensure our survival. ‘Business as usual’ is not an option – much more needs to be done to raise awareness and change our behaviour. The Blueprints scenario gives us a five-year window. We must act now!

Arguably the biggest obstacle to this critical change is the absence of public engagement toward the urgency of our predicament, resulting in a lack of any real commitment to carbon reduction.

In line with Einstein’s observation that ‘No problem can be resolved at the same level of thinking that created it’, I believe that only a world-class lifestyle behaviour change programme could take us through this next challenging period with a realistic prospect of minimizing its impacts on human survival and well-being.

Such a lifestyle change delivery programme will, in essence:

  • Be a community-based ‘bottom up’ process;
  • Local authorities and corporations will become an effective delivery mechanism for empowering and resourcing their communities and employees to create eco-neighbourhood community groups;
  • These groups will be imbued with the vision, role models, tools, implementation procedures, skill sets, and underpinning supportive structures to enable both visible and tangible success; and
  • Each individual will feel that their contribution has value and their drop is helping to ‘fill the bucket’.

Galvanizing communities around the world to work for their future in this way creates a dynamic shift, and with it real hope of significant change from our present trajectory.
Without such a change, the research demonstrates that technology alone will not save us.

Charles Darwin warned: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’

So if we are to survive, evolution demands we each recognise that:

  • We were mistaken in thinking we could go on exploiting the planet’s resources and ‘fouling our own nest’ with impunity; and
  • The time has come to take our next evolutionary step as a species.

This step is to respond to the present crisis by releasing from within ourselves a deeper understanding of our relationship with each other and the planet that gives us life.

As a society we are in the process of moving from the adolescent stage of ‘in reaction to’ to the more adult stage of ‘in relationship with’. The economic models of the adolescent stage no longer serve us. In the same way that the skill in a space shot is to know when to blow the explosive bolts, releasing the booster rockets and allowing them to fall away, so we must blow the symbolic bolts connecting us to outmoded thinking. The boosters have a specific function, to enable the craft to escape the earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. Our current systems have enabled us to enrich and empower two billion of our species, but they can take us no further.

We must now change course from a fiercely competitive win/lose system to a collaborative win/win scenario, where humanity shares all its knowledge of what is and what is not working for the benefit of the whole, at both local and global levels.

Each human being, simply by virtue of their human birth, has the right to clean water, nutritious food, proper shelter, access to education, to healthcare, to justice and financial resources. These priorities are only sustainable in a healthy, natural environment, supported by a viable economic system and an environmental Bill of Rights.

While these universal values are not prioritised by our present economic system, they appear unattainable. However, once we prioritise them, we can build a new resilience within the current economic model, supporting it by authorising and encouraging the widespread use of community and other complementary currencies.

We will need to evolve a critical mass of people from all sectors of society, our private and public institutions, communities and individuals, coalescing around this recognition of the need for a dramatic change in our values. It should, however, be possible when we realise that it is only people that make up our institutions, and people have the capacity to change

Humanity is the result of five billion years of earth’s evolution. We will discover, within the next five years, whether we are still a viable species. If we cannot engage behaviour change at this scale, we will have failed the ‘intelligence test’ that evolution requires us to answer. The rewards for success are beyond our wildest dreams – but the penalties for failure surpass our worst nightmares.

Now is the moment for us to ‘be the change’[2] we wish to see in the world.

Lawrence Bloom
Chairman
World Economic Forum
Global Agenda Council on Urban Development,
Davos, Switzerland.

Deputy Chairman, Noble Cities Plc, UK

Chairman, Green Cities, Buildings and Transport Panel, Green Economy Initiative, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Switzerland

www.lawrencebloom.com


[1] Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, was awarded the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
[2] You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mohandas K. Gandhi

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‘Reclaiming tomorrow’ by Lawrence Bloom

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 2, 2009

Reclaiming tomorrow…

‘We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase.’

David Suzuki Foundation

‘I have seen the future, and it won’t work’

Paul Krugman, New York Times[1]

T

he chilling accuracy of Paul Krugman’s observation was recently confirmed in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) review of more than 10 different future scenarios, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Royal Dutch Shell.

Of those, the MIT study concluded that Shell’s ‘Blueprints’ scenario resulted in the lowest realistically achievable CO2 emissions levels, because it was based on the rapid implementation of advanced technologies and energy efficiency initiatives, and involved a highly effective collaboration between government, industry, international institutions, NGOs and academia.

Even then CO2 levels would stabilize at around 650ppm…yet 450ppm is currently accepted as the viable maximum.

We now understand that at this level various serious trigger points and feedback loops start operating. Not least of these is the acidification of the oceans, causing them to become a net emitter of CO2 rather than a sink. These increasing CO2 levels then feed back into higher temperatures, accelerating both ice melt at the poles and the melting of tundra ice with its consequent release of methane.

So the evidence indicates that we cannot rely on technology alone to ensure our survival. ‘Business as usual’ is not an option – much more needs to be done to raise awareness and change our behaviour. The Blueprints scenario gives us a five-year window. We must act now!

Arguably the biggest obstacle to this critical change is the absence of public engagement toward the urgency of our predicament, resulting in a lack of any real commitment to carbon reduction.

In line with Einstein’s observation that ‘No problem can be resolved at the same level of thinking that created it’, I believe that only a world-class lifestyle behaviour change programme could take us through this next challenging period with a realistic prospect of minimizing its impacts on human survival and well-being.

Such a lifestyle change delivery programme will, in essence:

  • Be a community-based ‘bottom up’ process;
  • Local authorities and corporations will become an effective delivery mechanism for empowering and resourcing their communities and employees to create eco-neighbourhood community groups;
  • These groups will be imbued with the vision, role models, tools, implementation procedures, skill sets, and underpinning supportive structures to enable both visible and tangible success; and
  • Each individual will feel that their contribution has value and their drop is helping to ‘fill the bucket’.

Galvanizing communities around the world to work for their future in this way creates a dynamic shift, and with it real hope of significant change from our present trajectory.
Without such a change, the research demonstrates that technology alone will not save us.

Charles Darwin warned: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’

So if we are to survive, evolution demands we each recognise that:

  • We were mistaken in thinking we could go on exploiting the planet’s resources and ‘fouling our own nest’ with impunity; and
  • The time has come to take our next evolutionary step as a species.

This step is to respond to the present crisis by releasing from within ourselves a deeper understanding of our relationship with each other and the planet that gives us life.

As a society we are in the process of moving from the adolescent stage of ‘in reaction to’ to the more adult stage of ‘in relationship with’. The economic models of the adolescent stage no longer serve us. In the same way that the skill in a space shot is to know when to blow the explosive bolts, releasing the booster rockets and allowing them to fall away, so we must blow the symbolic bolts connecting us to outmoded thinking. The boosters have a specific function, to enable the craft to escape the earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. Our current systems have enabled us to enrich and empower two billion of our species, but they can take us no further.

We must now change course from a fiercely competitive win/lose system to a collaborative win/win scenario, where humanity shares all its knowledge of what is and what is not working for the benefit of the whole, at both local and global levels.

Each human being, simply by virtue of their human birth, has the right to clean water, nutritious food, proper shelter, access to education, to healthcare, to justice and financial resources. These priorities are only sustainable in a healthy, natural environment, supported by a viable economic system and an environmental Bill of Rights.

While these universal values are not prioritised by our present economic system, they appear unattainable. However, once we prioritise them, we can build a new resilience within the current economic model, supporting it by authorising and encouraging the widespread use of community and other complementary currencies.

We will need to evolve a critical mass of people from all sectors of society, our private and public institutions, communities and individuals, coalescing around this recognition of the need for a dramatic change in our values. It should, however, be possible when we realise that it is only people that make up our institutions, and people have the capacity to change

Humanity is the result of five billion years of earth’s evolution. We will discover, within the next five years, whether we are still a viable species. If we cannot engage behaviour change at this scale, we will have failed the ‘intelligence test’ that evolution requires us to answer. The rewards for success are beyond our wildest dreams – but the penalties for failure surpass our worst nightmares.

Now is the moment for us to ‘be the change’[2] we wish to see in the world.

Lawrence Bloom
Former Chairman, Current Council Member
World Economic Forum
Global Agenda Council on Urban Development,
Davos, Switzerland.

Deputy Chairman, Noble Cities Plc, UK

Chairman, Green Cities, Buildings and Transport Panel, Green Economy Initiative, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Switzerland

www.lawrencebloom.com


[1] Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, was awarded the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
[2] You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mohandas K. Gandhi

Posted in Evironmental Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pilgrimage – Interfaith Perspectives

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 2, 2009

‘Pilgrimage’


Period of Silence to Begin

Period of Silence to Begin: Angad Kaur, Brother Tashi, Swami Saradananda, Joy Phillipou, Amarjeet-singh Bhamra, Imam Mahmadou Bocoum

What can we learn about pilgrimages that are common to all religions? On September 3rd we heard about jumping queues and ‘culturally determined’ mind sets that are challenged when we join a pilgrimage. Swami Saradananda, who coordinates pilgrimages (www.flyingmountainyoga.org), talked of India as a place where Europeans or Americans had to relearn everything from how to eat, talk, sleep and go to the toilet. The happiest pilgrimage was often the one where everything went wrong! Imam Mahmadou Bocoum spoke of wearing the white clothes of the Haj and putting away things of the world. Yet he struggled when others jumped queues, pushed and shoved to fulfil their heavenly duties. Brother Tashi spoke of accumulating merit by pilgrimages as well as purifying our karma. He demonstrated the sequence of devotion when approaching the holy mountain in Tibet near Llhasa: the sequential prostration every two metres along the path.

Angad Kaur talked of two pilgrimages. The first was similar to sightseeing. The second with a spiritual guide and mentor was an external manifestation of an enriching internal journey. She could experience the devotion suffused within the stones and creation where it was practiced by holy people of the past.

Joy Phillipou grew up in the Holy Land of the Levant, providing ample time to experience swimming in Lake Galilee while thinking of Christ walking on that lake or the joy of being given turkish coffee and sanctified bread at 4:00 am by monks after sleeping overnight in the Church of Holy Sepulchre or lying down in the Garden of the Tomb in the place where Christ’s body may have been laid to rest. She felt a sacred presence within the stations of the cross on Via Doloroso holding her arms out like Christ in crucifixion.

A Unificationist, Ashley Crosthwaite, saw life of faith as a journey. The pilgrimage is a small aspect of that journey. On a pilgrimage to a holy place in Korea he and his wife, who were having difficulty to have children, were told by a spiritual lady of that place to fast one day a week and have cold showers each day for three years. At the conclusion of those three years they had their first child.

Swami Saradananda quoted Mother Theresa’s conception of a castle with seven rooms in our inner world. Each room is guarded by those who check whether you have really learned all there is to learn from that room before passing to the next. Real peace must come from within she said as we change our own inner nature. A pilgrimage brings out the real inner nature in a way that allows us to deal with what we can easily hide in our own nation and regular life.

For more photos please click here. For other interfaith activities please use this link.

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Ambassador for Peace Award Presented to Mr Mohammed Khokhar

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 1, 2009

Ambassador for Peace Award Presented to Mr. Mohammed W. Khokhar

for his work with Muslim Aid Reported in Asian Finance

Mr Mohammed Khokhar receives an Ambassador for Peace Award

Ambassador for Peace Award Presented to Mr Mohammed W. Khokhar

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Interfaith Meditation and Spiritual Leadership Sept 16th

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 25, 2009

UPF - logos 2-0 cm

UPF-UK Interfaith Committee

Rajesh Ananda:

Foundation for International Spiritual Unfoldment

Guided Meditation

&

Discussion: ‘The Value of Spiritual Practices (Prayer, Meditation etc):

How do we raise the profile of the value of spiritual practices?’

6:30 pm 16th September 2009,

43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA

Rajesh Ananda will guide a meditation and a discussion of the leadership of his spiritual Guru, the Gururaj Ananda Yogi, from whom he inherited his position and wisdom. Gururaj Ananda Yogi emerged as a spiritual master in South Africa at the same period as Nelson Mandela who is well known in the world. Gururaj was also struggling against apartheid although he was never jailed he was threatened on numerous occasions. Kindly RVSP to reserve your place.

Sincerely,

Robin Marsh on behalf of the Interfaith Committee

Mobile: 44 (0) 7956 210 768

Universal Peace Federation – UK www.uk.upf.org Tel: 44 (0) 207 262 0985
Peace and Development Network:    Blog: https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN

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World Cultural Association’s Oriental Experience

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 24, 2009

World Cultural Association’s Oriental Experience,

August 22nd 2009,  43 Lancaster Gate

Mongolian and Japanese Traditional Dress
Mongolian and Japanese Traditional Dress
Murad Qureshi - London Assembly Member

Murad Qureshi AM

‘London is the most multi-cultural city in the world. When we welcome the world here in 2012 Olympics we will have each local community here embrace their own delegation. I love to see this kind of event that celebrates our diversity.’ Murad Qureshi AM. (Greater London Authority Assembly Member).

Yesterday UPF was supporting the cultural programme, ‘An Oriental Experience’, the inaugural event of the World Cultural Association. It was a great event organised by the musician, Peter Graham, who has a longstanding passion for music and art to overcome  barriers between peoples and build a culture of world peace. The programme included Korean, Mongolian and Japanese cultural performances. Please click here for the links to photos of the event.

In a reception before the event, John Grogan MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mongolia, expressed his warmth for Mongolian culture as well as the appreciation of cultural events that allow people in the UK to understand more of the origins of the people around them.

The afternoon featured a presentation by Mathew Jackson of the Korean Spirit Promotion Project.

John Grogan

John Grogan MP

Mongolian traditional costume

Mongolian traditional costume

IMG_0043 Mongolian painting

Painting of a Mongolian women in traditional dress

Sakura Club

Sakura Club

Peter Graham
Peter Graham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unurmaa Janchiv of the Mongolia Art Cafe organised a number of Mongolian exhibits, a Mongolian calligrapher and other performances.

The Sakura Club, wearing beautiful Kimonos, demonstrated the Japanese Tea Ceremony and sang two Japanese songs.

We look forward to having more cultural events that reflect a world of ‘One Family of Humanity Under God’.

Robin Marsh

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‘Beacons of the Light’ Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke Oct 16th

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 20, 2009

100 People Who Have Shaped The Spiritual History Of Humanity

UPF - logo

Universal Peace Federation:

43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

Web: www.uk.upf.orgwww.upf.org

‘Beacons of The Light’

Address and Book Launch by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke

16th October, 6.00pm – 7:00pm Reception & Book Signing

At 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA

7.00 pm Keynote Address

Followed by Respondents and Q&A

You cordially invited to attend an address and book launch by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, entitled, ‘Beacons of The Light’ which introduces 100 of the world’s most influential spiritual teachers.

Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke DD., is a retired Anglican Clergyman. He was Executive Director Council of Christians & Jews 1984 – 87, and Chairman of the World Congress of Faiths 1978 – 83 & 1992 – 99, and is its current President. He is the author of more than a dozen books. His Lambeth Doctor of Divinity was presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of “his world-wide work for inter-religious understanding and co-operation.”

At 6.00 pm we will have a reception for those of you who wish to take time to speak to Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke and when there will be a more relaxed and personal time for those who wish to have their books signed by him.

Reviews
It’s a book that should be on the shelf of anyone who wishes to understand the astonishing variety of ways in which religious faith has shaped the way human beings live and the way they think. Canon David Winter, Former Head of BBC Religious Broadcasting.

With his breadth of knowledge, enthusiasm, diligent work and sensitivity Marcus has become a beacon for others, including myself, to follow.

Rabbi Jackie Tabick, Chair of the World Congress of Faiths, London.

Seeing the spiritual history of mankind through the eyes of wise elders from all cultures and religions reminds us of our common humanity and points the way to a peaceful future.

Alison Van Dyk, Chair, Temple of Understanding, New York

After Dr Braybrooke’s talk we will have respondents from different faiths, then the floor will be open for comments and questions. He will be available later to sign books. Please let us know if you are able to attend so that a place is reserved for you. We look forward to seeing you.

Yours sincerely,
Robin Marsh                                                                            Cllr. Margaret Ali
Secretary General                                                                 Director
Mobile: 07956 210 768                                                     Mobile:07723024750

Universal Peace Federation – UK    www.uk.upf.org

Peace and Development Network: http://uk.youtube.com/PeaceDevelopmntNetwk

https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
Follow the links for more about the Interfaith Committee or the Community CohesionChapter of UPF.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

More About the Book: www.o-books.com

Marcus Braybrooke

Extent: 512 pages  Size: 51/2×81/2 inches 216/140mm

Paperback

World rights

First published 2009

Religion/History

CONTENT: Today we are inheritors of the wisdom of spiritual teachers of every religion, century and country – thanks to the work of many scholars and translators. Their messages, with significant cross-cultural harmonies, can still inspire us today and help us recognise the oneness of all human beings.

Beacons of Light introduces 100 of the world’s most influential spiritual teachers – some like Jesus, the Buddha or Muhammad are well known; others like Rabia, Manikkavacakar, Guru Arjan Dev or Hildegard deserve to be better known. The story of their lives is clearly set in the historical and religious context of their time. A summary is given of their message and continuing influence.

The author has dared to rank the 100 according to his personal assessment of their influence and challenges the reader to do the same and not just to absorb the information but also to reflect on the impact of the people discussed.

The book is an invitation to the reader,as a citizen of the world, to claim his or her inheritance of spiritual riches.

AUTHOR: Marcus Braybrooke has for forty years played a significant role in the growing worldwide interfaith movement. He is President of the World Congress of Faiths, Co-Founder of the Three Faiths Forum, a Peace Councillor and a Patron of the International Interfaith Centre at Oxford. He has travelled widely to share in many interfaith gatherings. He is also the author of over forty books on religion and prayer, including 1,000 World Prayers and A Heart for the World (both O Books).

ENDORSEMENTS AND REVIEWS: I never expected to read a book in which Calvin, Guru Nanak, Mohammed and Francis of Assisi sat side by side, along with 96 others, in the pantheon of the ‘world’s most influential religious figures’. Probably only Marcus Braybrooke, with his unparalleled grasp of the world’s religious scene, would have attempted it – and only one with his genuine openness of spirit could have succeeded. It’s a book that should be on the shelf of anyone who wishes to understand the astonishing variety of ways in which religious faith has shaped the way human beings live and the way they think. Canon David Winter, Former Head of BBC Religious Broadcasting

Beacons of Light continues the series of invaluable contributions that Marcus Braybrooke has made to furthering interreligious understanding and respect among people of different faith traditions;. Everyone will benefit from this book. Newcomers to interfaith exposure will take a giant leap forward. Experienced participants will also learn from this well-researched and eloquently expressed volume. At the end, readers can agree with the author’s selection and categorization of “the one hundred people who have had the greatest influence on the spiritual life of the world,” or they can accept his invitation to make their own list. Either way, their judgement will be illuminated by the succinct, informative biographical sketches of these people who are, indeed, Beacons of light. Dr Bill Lesher, Chair of the Council for a Parliament of the World Religions, Chicago

Beacons of Light is a priceless and inspiring gift from the good and open heart of one of the global interfaith movement’s wisest and most respected leaders, Marcus Braybrooke. It is impossible to read without being spiritually enriched. Your heart and mind will be opened by this treasure of a book that shines with the brightness of 100 of humanity’s greatest lights. Revd Charles Gibbs,, Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative

I like the style – it is accessible, dense and thorough. It leaves room for questions to be asked. Paul Carling, Director of Religious Studies, Sherbourne College

Tells the life story of influential spiritual teachers, some of them perhaps unlikely bedfellows, although that contributes to its appeal. Inspiring. Bookseller selected title

Marcus Braybrooke is one of the most significant Christians I have ever met. Rabbi Tony Bayfield, Head of the Movement for Reform Judaism and a President of the Council of Christians and Jews, Quotation from ‘The Church Times’

Marcus Braybrooke is to be thanked for stretching our minds with some of his choices. He closes with a chapter on WHICH BEACON SHINES MOST BRIGHTLY. Thus good reading for 101 nights. Richard Boeke, Amazon Review

We’ve had rich lists and power lists before. Now Marcus Braybrooke, a retired vicar, has produced the “holy list”, selecting 100 people who he believes have done the most to shape the history of humanity. It should come as no surprise that an Anglican cleric has decided that Christ is the most influential figure. However, as co-founder of the Three Faiths Forum – an organisation that encourages mutual respect and understanding – he has been careful to make the top 10 representive of the major faiths. Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Telegraph Blog

http://www.o-books.com/product_info.php?cPath=68&products_id=574

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Guided Meditation and Discussion Led by Karen Szulakowska

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 15, 2009

Guided Meditation and Discussion Led by Karen Szulakowska

Guided Meditation and Discussion Led by Karen Szulakowska

On August 12th there was a guided meditation and discussion on ‘Spiritual Leadership’ led by Karen Szulakowska.  It was a profound evening of reflection, healing and inspiration. For more photos please follow this link.

The next meeting will be on September 16th at 6:30 pm led by Mr Rajesh Ananda of the Foundation for International Spiritual Unfoldment.

IMGP7524

Follow the link for more about the work of the Interfaith Committee.

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UPF Peace Declaration on 21st September, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 11, 2009

Universal Peace Federation

Peace Declaration

“Since wars begin in the minds of man, it is in the minds of man that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”  (UNESCO Constitution, 1945)

On the occasion of and in support of the International Day of Peace, September 21st, 2009, for which Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon gave the motto “We Must Disarm” (WMD), with a focus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the Universal Peace Federation offers the following affirmations:

First, human conflict and the resort to arms and weapons have their roots in the breakdown of human relationships, and the human failure to live up to our highest ideals and aspirations. Violence is a symptom of a moral and spiritual failure. If we are to eliminate violence and weapons of mass destruction, we must commit ourselves to a moral and spiritual awakening.

Second, lasting peace is secured not only through the reduction of nuclear arsenals, but, more importantly, by the growth in solidarity among the whole human family, and a recognition that we are all brothers and sisters who share a common spiritual and moral heritage. We are one family under God. It is this understanding that gives rise to the collective will to put an end to violent conflict.

Third, being the basic, building block of society, the family serves as the primary school of ethics, and should serve as the school where we learn to love, respect and serve others.  By strengthening marriage and family, we can educate our children to respect all people, thereby establishing a culture of peace.  Once humanity learns to resolve conflicts without weapons, massive resources will be reallocated for human development.

Fourth, laws alone cannot change the culture of violence, but must be undergirded by substantial educational programs aimed a promoting character education, conflict resolution, and a culture of service and peace. Men and women who are taught to fulfill their moral obligations and responsibilities toward others will respect and live for the greater good and fulfillment of others.

The Universal Peace Federation thereby resolves to join the United Nations to declare September 21st as
The International Day of Peace

To Be Declared this 21st day of September 2009  London UK.

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »