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Archive for April, 2010

How Much is Britain Really Helping Africa?

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 28, 2010

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‘Globalisation has impoverished resource-rich developing African nations’ was a recurring theme last night during an early Africa Day 2010 event to coincide with the UK election campaign. Alice Ukoko, founder of Women of Afrika, Ruth Tanner, Campaign and Policy Officer of War on Want and Ahmed Shebani, Al Jamar Government and Media Centre Official Spokesperson, based in Tripoli, Libya were the main speakers. ‘All the UK political parties may guarantee at least 0.007% (of gross national income) in overseas development aid by 2011 but five times that amount is lost to developing countries in Africa through the tax dodging  and capital flight of multi-national companies, including a number established in the City of London’ said Ruth Tanner.

Ahmed Shebani described Libyan charities that channeled  funds into projects throughout Africa, the Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAIP), the Wa Attassimou Foundation, promoted by HE Dr Ayesha Gaddafi, the daughter of Colonel Gadaffi and the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation run by HE Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, which includes several leading UPF Ambassadors for Peace among it’s Trustees. These ventures are supporting both humanitarian projects and economic development. He mentioned that Libyans are also encouraged to emigrate to other African nations in order to establish businesses. Those with a good business plan receive a line of credit easily.

Alice Ukoko emphaised that African women could be a force for peace and development. She passionately stated that, ‘Imperial, colonial powers have burdened Africa and prevented development.’  The international aid should be stopped and Africa will be able to stand on its own two feet.

Aliu Bello: ‘I worked in UNICEF for 25 years. I know what aid does and doesn’t do. Even from the aid given to some African countries 80% is coming back here. It is not helping anybody in Africa. We could solve this if 70  – 80% of any aid is distributed through civil society. They are better organised and prepared to distribute resources where they are needed. We don’t need hand outs. Otherwise aid that doesn’t have this (stipulation) should be rejected. It should not be sent through the very governments that are ruining their economies.’

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‘Two Paths to Peace’ by Dr Robert S Kittel: Nepal Peace Process

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 26, 2010

Kathmandu, Nepal – A new book written by Dr. Robert S. Kittel entitled ‘Two Paths to Peace’ was presented to the Hon. Nilamber Acharya, Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Constituent Assembly on April 12, 2010. A total of 70 books were given to the committee at a program organized at the Parliament Secretariat. The book offers valuable insights, principles, and experiences to the constitutional committee members. The book also offers insights into UPF Founders, Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, and documents the contributions of their visits to Nepal and the initiatives they inspired to the peace process in Nepal from 2005 to 2009. This book is a case study highlighting the role which the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) has played, and continues to play, in helping peace return to the Land of Buddha.

UPF’s Role: Peacemaker, Peacebuilder
Traditionally, the term “peace education” includes three categories: peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding. Peacekeeping can be defined as violence management. Its goal is to respond to situations where violence has already broken out and prevent it from escalating further. Here, the people and Government of Nepal, UNMIN, and other international governmental and non-governmental organizations are the main players. They are the ones moving, coaching and guiding the peace process. UPF applauds and encourages their work. To support this, UPF has been making significant contributions in the areas of peacemaking and peacebuilding.

Read More Buy or Download Book

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Children’s Relief Bethlehem

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 18, 2010

Bethlehem Baby Hospital, or Children’s Relief Bethlehem has long been a favourite place for the Universal Peace Federation’s Middle East Peace Initiative to visit. On Thursday April 15th there was an appeal made by Daniel Hurter of Children’s Relief Bethlehem UK during the Joint Faith’s Celebration.

A heartwarming 7 minute documentary of the work of Children’s Relief Bethlehem which finances and manages the Caritas Children’s Hospital. They provide medical care medical care for all children regardless of race, religion or ability to pay, together with health education and other projects to benefit families in this troubled region of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

For support and more information please visit http://www.childrens-relief-bethlehem.org.uk
Contact: daniel.hurter@crb-mail.org.uk

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Joint Faith’s Celebration- Mawlid An-Nabi (Birth of Prophet Mohammed), Pesach (Passover), Easter And Vaisakhi

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 16, 2010

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The Joint Faith’s Celebration was a accumulation of sharing, talk, reading, food, music and drama highlighting the significance of ‘Mawlid An-Nabi (Birth of Prophet Mohammed), Pesach (Passover), Easter And Vaisakhi’. Around the sharing of these precious faiths’ holy events there were many significant meetings among the 80 plus people gathered, including interfaith figures such as Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke, President of the World Congress of Faiths, Community Cohesion figures such as Dr Husna Ahmad, CEO, Faith Regen Foundation, Marilyn Brummer of the League of Jewish Women and humanitarian influential figures such as Dr Saif Ahmad, (MADE in Europe), Dr Hojjat Ramzy, Proprietor of the Iqra Girls’ School in Oxford and a presentation by Daniel Hurter about Children’s Relief Bethlehem.

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Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke explained the significance of Easter to Christians. ‘Lord Jesus Christ’s first word after resurrection was ‘Mary’. It was a personal word illustrating that this is a personal experience. Through the death of Jesus on the Cross we gained ‘Atonement’ for our sins. We can become ‘At One with God’. He described the feeling, ‘I am loved and forgiven’ rather than feeling abandoned by God. The belief in Easter is fundamental to Christians that illustrates that ‘love is stronger than hatred’.

Dr Husna Ahmad, CEO, Faith Regen Foundation identified a number of moral standards that were established by the Prophet Mohammed, (PBUH). Monetary honesty in financial dealings, keeping of one’s word and not lying were some of those standards that were established at that time that are needed during these days as well. The first human rights party was supported by Prophet Mohemmed who emphasised that wars had to fought ethically and respect given to prisoners of war in a code that had a role like the Geneva Convention today.

Jack Lynes showing his Freedom Pass explained that this (free London transport for those over 60 years old) has some parallels with Passover (Pesach)! He described the symbols of the Passover seder meal as a process of ‘visual early education’ rooted in the experience of the slaves in Egypt. The traditions of the ‘spring clean’ of the Jewish home before Passover as a healthy tradition that is supposedly looking for bread to remove from the house. The extra cup set out for Elijah to take on his return pressaging the coming of the Messiah. However, the belief of the children in Elijah’s coming has similarities to the belief in Father Christmas of Christian young children. Seder traditional ending is the toast, ‘next year in Jerusalem’. which has many meanings but Jack considers to be reliving the experience of those slaves, ‘next year we shall be truly free’.

Mr Sukhbir Singh explained, ‘Sikhs all over the world celebrated Vaisakhi yesterday, and will continue to do so for another few days. Vaisakhi for the Sikhs represents the birth of the Khalsa, and has its beginnings in a remarkable event that took place over 300 years ago. During the latter part of the 17th century, India was ruled by the Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb who was bent upon converting the Hindus into Islam.’  For more click here

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‘Vaisakhi’ by Sukhbir Singh

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 16, 2010

Sukhbir Singh, Angad Kaur and Amarjeet-singh Bhamra

Vaisakhi of 1699

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a pleasure being with you on the occasion of the Joint Celebtrations. I thank Margaret Ali and Robin Marsh for inviting me to share with you the Sikh celebration of Vaisakhi. Sikhs all over the world celebrated Vaisakhi yesterday, and will continue to do so for another few days.

Vaisakhi for the Sikhs represents the birth of the Khalsa, and has its beginnings in a remarkable event that took place over 300 years ago. During the latter part of the 17th century, India was ruled by the Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb who was bent upon converting the Hindus into Islam.

In 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, gave the supreme sacrifice, to save Hindu religion from the hands of the Emperor, and was beheaded in Chandni Chowk Delhi. At this time, the only son of Guru Teg Bahadur, Guru Gobind Rai was only 9 years old when He resumed the Guruship as 10th Guru of the Sikhs.

From the very young age, Guru Gobind Rai was a perfect leader & motivator for the Sikhs. He organised Sikhs and led them to follow spiritual route to attain union with God and at the same time, trained them to be self-defendant and guard the helpless against injustice & tyranny. He re-iterated the “Saint-Soldier” concept. At the age of 33 i.e. 24 years since the Guruship, Guru Gobind Rai was set out to accomplish God’s spiritual mission started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji of creating “Khalsa Panth” (God’s Religion). He chose the day of Vaisakhi for such a grand venture. Before the event, Guru Ji has been quoted to have not made any public appearance for over 11 months.

The Vaisakhi Day

In early 1699, few months before the Vaisakhi Day, Guru Gobind Rai sent a special invitation to the Sikhs all over the country to join the special Vaisakhi Celebrations in the town of Anandpur Sahib in the Punjab state of India. He asked them not to cut any of their hair and to come with their turbans on. Masses of people turned up on the day.

About Eighty thousand Sikhs had gathered at this event. The Guru welcomed everyone and reminded them of their duty, commitment, loyalty and faith. Then to everyone’s surprise, The Guru withdrew his long sword and said in a very powerful voice “Who will be brave enough to come forward to offer me a head? The Guru asked for the sacrifice of head for the sake of Dharam, or religion. No one expected this to happen. This amazed and horrified many. There was a pin drop silence. Some people were looking for the way to escape. No one came forward. The Guru repeated this three times.

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Event: ‘Joint Celebration Of Mawlid An-Nabi, Pesach (Passover), Easter And Vaisakhi’

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 12, 2010

Universal Peace Federation – UK: Community Cohesion Committee

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA.

Tel : 020 7262 0985   pa@uk.upf.org   Web:  www.uk.upf.org

Based on the success and popularity of our past events particularly of the three faiths Joint Celebrations in April, 2009 (see last year’s joint celebration), the UPF Community Cohesion & Interfaith Working Committees would like to invite you to a Joint Celebration of the Holy Events of four faiths on Thursday April 15th, at 6.15pm at 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA.

The Holy Days to be celebrated are:

MAWLID AN-NABI – The birth of the Prophet Mohammed, by Dr Husna Ahmad, CEO, Faith Regen Foundation.

PESACH – The season of Passover when Jews commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses. Jack Lynes will speak on Freedom – The Passover Plate’.


EASTER commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke, President of the World Congress of Faiths, will be speaking about Easter.

VAISAKHI – commemorates the establishment of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib in 1699 and the beginning of the Sikh New Year. Shukhbir Singh of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha–Birmingham will be explaining the significance of Vaisakhi to the Sikh faith.

As you well know these three Holy Days have a deep significance in the lives of the respective faith traditions and many who are less religious also hold these days as a special time in their yearly calendar – a time of togetherness in their families. As the 4 Holy Days are in close proximity, we are fortunate to have this opportunity to be together, to celebrate them all.

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World Minorities Alliance Launched in UK

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 11, 2010

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK Secretary General, Robin Marsh, was invited to address the UK launch of the World Minorities Alliance. It is a laudable initiative of  Mr Julius Salik in Pakistan and supported by UPF Pakistan branch. The initiative shares much in common with UPF’s vison of humankind being ‘one family under God’ in which all people have equal value irrespective of where they are born. Marsh emphasised the founding purpose of UPF to create an Inter-religious Council in the United Nations that would enhance inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding and peaceful relations. He also congratulated Pakistan for its wisdom in co-sponsoring the UN Resolution with the Philippines to establish a unit within the UN Secretariat to promote Interfaith Dialogue. As explained by the Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, the event featured the very last speech of Mohammed Sarwar as an MP after a long distinguished service in the House of Commons as the first UK Muslim MP. Mr Sarwar had been presented with an Ambassador for Peace award in the House of Commons on March 23rd.

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WAIT Fundraising Event at Victoria Station

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 11, 2010

Saturday, 3rd April 2010

Supported by several parents and a WAIT UK partner, WAIT members embarked on a day of performances and fundraising in the busy Victoria Station in Central London. Ideally, we were to meet at 9am sharp in order to register and set up. Ironically, due to maintenance work on the rail network, almost everyone arrived a little late. We were allowed two slots for performing (10-11 am and 3-4 pm), but fundraising all day in the unrestricted areas of the station.

Priya Loganathan, WAIT girl coordinator, prepared a schedule for the day which included times of fundraising (in pairs), breaks and performances. Overseen by Sean Greaves, WAIT Youth Coordinator, the fundraising day began in earnest!

In the afternoon, we were joined by eight-strong members of performing arts group, Dance Physics. They entertained us with an amazing twenty-one minute modern dance routine, choreographed by Annarita Mazzilli.

During their performances, the WAIT members presented Break dance, the Rose Dance, a new girls dance, and the songs, Respect and Save Yourself. The audiences were genuinely interested in and moved by these performances!

Although a tiring day in the end, everyone enjoyed the fun and excitement of a very public performance by WAIT UK. We raised a decent amount of money to help support our projects in the UK, as well as in Uganda and South Africa. We are extremely grateful to Network Rail for allowing us to fundraise and perform, but also to Dance Physics for their lovely support, and of course WAIT parents, without whom we could not have done so well. Thank You!!!

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Mysticism as Doctrine and Experience: Prof. Karel Werner

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 10, 2010

Mysticism as Doctrine & Experience: Prof. Karel Werner

Thursday 8th April



Prof. Karel Werner of SOAS University, Religious studies Dept. reviewed the history of Mysticism contrasting the themes of doctrinal belief and ecstatic mystical union. His statement that ‘belief in doctrine was childish’ caused some discussion. He compared also the experience of interfaith dialogue and relationships today with the communities of mystics who have appeared throughout history. He added that the backlash of those who could not understand those who transcended their belief to enter an ecstatic, mystical oneness has also been a common historical theme.

The lecture first attempted a definition of mysticism and then search for its roots or beginnings.  

‘In Europe it had its roots in the ecstatic experiences of initiates into the mystery cults of ancient Greece, drew substantially from Judaic tradition and was developed into a doctrine within Christianity. But some influence on Greek mysticism is already detectable as coming from Indian approach to the Divine. It can be traced also in Gnosticism. The same can be said about Muslim mysticism practised within the Sufi movements.

There is nothing specifically European and  Christian about mysticism as such. Its beginnings in the twilight of Greek history and also in mystical trends in the Indian Vedas point to its even older origins in Indo-European antiquity. But the fact that mystical trends can also be found in other cultures in Asia, particularly in Chinese Daoism, points clearly to the universality of the phenomenon of mysticism. Descriptions by mystics of their experiences further suggest that there is a common core to them which goes beyond doctrinal differences between religions. This is where religions should and could meet.’

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In Memoriam: Abel T. Muzorewa

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 9, 2010

Bishop Abel  Tendekayi MuzorewaHarare, Zimbabwe – The first black prime minister of an interim white-dominated government before Zimbabwe’s independence, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, died at his Harare home on April 8. He was 85.

A Methodist bishop, Muzorewa joined the government of the short-lived Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in a deal with Ian Smith, the last white prime minister, in 1978, two years ahead of the first all race elections that swept President Robert Mugabe to power and dropped the name of Rhodesia, as the former British colony was known. He was granted peace awards by both Pope John II and the United Nations in the 1970s for his efforts to liberate his country from the United Kingdom.

Bishop Muzorewa was the eldest of a lay preacher’s eight children. He was educated at Old Umtali, a United Methodist school near Mutare, and served as a lay preacher. He earned an M.A. in philosophy and religion from Central Methodist College in Missouri, USA, and in 1968 he was consecrated as Bishop of Rhodesia in the United Methodist Church.

A patron of a Christian organization for the blind called Arauman Mission Fellowship, Bishop Muzorewa authored two books: Rise Up and Walk and Evangelism that De-colonializes the Soul.

Deeply saddened by the violence following the 2008 elections, he issued a prophetic call for his countrymen “in the name of God the creator and sustainer of human life and of freedom” to stop “the pervasive demonic culture of impunity, if Zimbabwe is to be a united, peaceful, enjoyable and prosperous nation.”

Bishop Muzorewa was a member of UPF’s Presiding Council. He will be buried April 17 at the old Mutare Mission in Mutare.

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‘How Much Is Britain Helping Africa? Is It Effective?’

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 1, 2010

Edinburg Glenneagles G8 Summit day. June 6th 2005

Universal Peace Federation-UK

Monday April 26th

6:30 for 7:00 pm

43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA


The Universal Peace Federation-UK is planning to commemorate African Day (usually May 25th each year) early on Monday April 26th at 6:30 for 7:00 pm, to coincide with the expected election campaign period to focus on the United Kingdom’s relationship with Africa. We will consider the trading relationship between Africa nations and the UK and how effectively the UK is supporting African development.

All major political parties have pledged to spend 0.007% of Gross National Income for overseas development aid. We will be asking representatives of the three major parties to explain their policies ahead of the UK general elections. There will be a discussion of those manifesto promises with influential Africans and civil society involved in African development.

Speakers include: Speakers include:

Nick Dearden, President of Jubilee Debt Campaign

Jonathan Fryer, author, journalist and former Chair of the Liberal International Group

Liberian Ambassador, HE Wesley Johnson

Ruth Tanner, Policy and Campaigns Officer for War on Want

Cllr. Lurline Champagnie will also address the audience regarding a charitable project, Reach Out Africa, she has initiated.

6:30 for 7:00 pm, at 43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA.

Representatives of other parties have been invited.

Please let us know if you are planning to come.  This is a public meeting, open to all concerned about Africa.

Robin Marsh

Secretary General

UPF – UK

Mobile: 07956210768

Photo Link

The photo above is of the UPF event ‘Africans Discuss Africa’, in Edinburg at the time of the G8 Summit in Glenneagles, June 6th 2005.

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