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Posts Tagged ‘one family under God’

Music for Peace in the Middle East on International Peace Day

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 21, 2013

Music for Peace in the Middle East

Israeli singer songwriter Tally Koren heads a cast of Israeli and Palestinian musicians in a recital, ‘An Evening of Music for Peace in the Middle East’ taking place on the International Day of Peace, Saturday, September 21 at St. Peters Church on Kensington Park Road W11. The event organized by the Universal Peace Federation UK is a fundraising occasion for the Parents Circle Families Forum, which helps bereaved Palestinians and Israelis to reconcile their differences as an alternative to conflict.

http://musicforpeaceinthemiddleeast.eventbrite.co.uk

Fundraising Event for  The Parents Circle Families Forum

Bereaved Palestinians and Israelis who promote reconciliation as an alternative to conflict

Doors open 7.45 pm Show starts 8.15 pm

St Peter’s Church, Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2PN

Tally Koren, is a BBC Radio 2 playlist artist and the Fringe Award Winner For Best Singer-Songwriter. Her music was played by Chris Evans, Graham Norton, Janice Long and Steve Wright ,the Aled Jones’ Good Morning Sunday Show and was featured on the Virgin Media TV playlist and 100 other UK radio stations. She is passionate about this concert saying, “ I believe strongly that through culture we can bridge the gap for a better future “

Nizar Al-Issa is a singer with extraordinary range and control as well as a virtuoso on the oud (a cousin of the lute). He draws on traditional middle eastern music but is not afraid to upset the purists by mixing things up a little – a habit he puts down to his refugee background. Nizar explained, “ I am part of this concert for peace and humanity” His roots are in Ramallah but in his influences and attitudes he crosses borders. “Iraqis ask me if I’m from Iraq, while the Egyptians are convinced I am from Cairo, and in Spain they’re sure that I’ve spent time learning gypsy Flamenco… but the heart and soul of my music is the knowledge that we all share far more in common as human beings than we acknowledge, wherever we come from.”

Udi Glaser is a composer (film composer, composer for theatre, etc.), an accomplished guitarist, educated musician, producer, experienced guitar teacher and music theory tutor. Udi has dedicated his life to music.

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North – South Korea Unification Peace Rally Imjingak

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 24, 2013

Image Unification Movement - North South Unification Rally UPF FFWPUUnification Peace Rally of 70 nations of the World for the realization of Unification of the Korean Peninsula and the DMZ World Peace Park. The event was held at 11:00 a.m. on August 24th, the day after the commemoration ceremony for the anniversary of Father Moon’s ascension.

About 1600 people, including 300 Korean residents in Japan, gathered at the Imjingak to pray for the peaceful reunification of South and North Korea. Doves were released expressing hope for the reunification of Korea and the establishment of the DMZ World Peace Park.

This followed a condolence message sent from Kim Jong-un, the Supreme leader of North Korea, to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder of the Universal Peace Federation and Family Federation for World Peace and Unification to mark the one-year anniversary of the passing of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, according to North Korea’s chief news agency.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s official wire service, quoted Kim Jong-un, “I pray for the repose of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who worked for harmony and prosperity of the Korean people, the unification of Korea and world peace.” He added that he wishes that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and her family would inherit and carry forward Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s will and also sends his best wishes to their work.

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Youth Universal Peace Federation-UK Solidarity Visit to Regents Park Mosque

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 17, 2013

Visit to Regents Park Central Mosque by Youth UPF‘Walk Hand in Hand and Shoulder to Shoulder to Heal our Communities’

Youth Universal Peace Federation (UPF) members visited Regents Park Mosque yesterday to ‘Walk Hand in Hand and Shoulder to Shoulder to Heal our Communities’. Supported by Sheikh Dr Hojjat Ramzy, the Muslim Council of Britain Education Committee Chairman, the group of young and old UPF activists from several different faiths, were introduced to Sheikh Imam Khalifa, the Imam of the Regents Park Mosque. He reflected on the current situation of the Muslim community. He shared that humanity all have the same heart and spirit given to them by the creator but we developed differently due to Allah’s wisdom. We should not harm another community because of those differences. (Photo Link)

Sheikh Imam Khalifa was grateful for the visit saying that this time of challenges will soon pass. He added that the Muslim community has a good situation generally in UK. Another worshipper after reading the banner and understanding the nature of the UPF visit, extended his blessing to all who had come to visit at this testing time. Robin Marsh expressed that UPF believes ‘humanity is one family under a loving God’ and that is why we had visited today. Sheikh Ramzy shared that the Mosque was a place that was open to all who wanted to pray to God. He added that he was proud to be an Ambassador for Peace of the Universal Peace Federation which is a great organisation working for peace in the world.

Attending the late afternoon prayers and meeting some of the worshippers, the group was later given a tour of the Mosque which, being built in 1974, is the third oldest in the UK.

The UPF -UK, with support from its leading Ambassadors for Peace, released a statement from the day after the murder in Woolwich.

‘The murder of a soldier in Woolwich was a tragic event. Our prayers are with his family who must be really suffering. It is also sad to see a backlash from small extremist groups against the Muslim Community. Now is the time for all communities in UK to appreciate the genuine Islamic contribution to UK. The Muslim community should be supported and valued as a vital part of the UK. It is through the democratic process, that the role of the UK soldiers who represent us all, is decided. Our strength and harmony is through the inclusion of all communities in the social and political fabric of the nation. That is a daily responsibility for all of us that now has added importance. The Universal Peace Federation, along with many other groups, promotes interfaith activity to facilitate mutual understanding and enhance this fabric.’

Robin Marsh

Secretary General

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK

pa@uk.upf.org  www.uk.upf.org

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

UPF-UK Latest Newsletter

UPF World Summit 2013 ‘Peace, Security and Human Development’

Upcoming UPF Events

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Universal Peace Federation – UK Newsletter June 2013

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 15, 2013

To view or download the newsletter please see:  Universal Peace Federation – UK June, 2013 Newsletter

UPF – UK Website:  http://www.uk.upf.org

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Tragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 7, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Mothers of Congo

18:30 Friday 1st March,

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

“As a gesture of thanks to the Universal Peace Federation – UK for all the support given to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the “Mothers of Congo” would like to extend an invitation all members, other NGO’s and friends to a Congolese evening on 1st of March 2013 (from 18.30 until 21:00 pm) at 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA. During the evening you will be able to experience Congolese culture, sample its food and enjoy the best of Congolese music.

We would like to take this opportunity to inform our guests who are not aware of the tragic situation in the DRC. Eastern DRC, especially, was one of the most beautiful places in the world but is now recognised as one of the most dangerous places on earth. We will see a brief video followed by a talk. We will also hear from experts about the situation vis-a-vis conflict minerals in Congo. We would also like to give time for Q-A and discussion as to how we can support each others campaigns, humanitarian efforts and activities.

RSVP to  pa@uk.upf.org  or 02072620985 by 20th February 2013.

Yours sincerely,

Charlotte Simon.

Mothers of Congo

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An Evening With Keith Best, CEO of Freedom from Torture

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 6, 2013

Keith Best Being Interviewed 250As a part of the ‘Doing Well and Doing Good’ project, Youth Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK hosted ‘An Evening With Keith Best, CEO of Freedom from Torture‘ on Tuesday 29th January 2013. The event was attended by approximately 30 young people in a House of Commons committee room and was chaired by Baroness Howells. Through the event, we explored Keith Best’s motivation behind his work at Freedom from Torture, before going through practical tips he had for young people to positively contribute to society.(Event Photo Link)Mr Best firstly shared his experiences traveling through Asia after he finished his degree at the University of Oxford. He explained how these were very formative experiences in his life as he found himself living frugally and traveling by railway across continents. Through traveling, he explains how he became a world citizen through a greater awareness of humanity’s ‘shared aspirations’. We went on to pose the question of which role models have inspired him in his life, to which he answered: individuals who challenged the status-quo of their time to bring positive social change such as William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King Jr.

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Millenium Development Goals and Civil Society

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on July 25, 2010

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U.N. Day for Africa – Birmingham

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 23, 2010

Birmingham UN Africa Day meeting June 2010We held a local WFWP/UPF event in Birmingham to recognize the United Nations Day for Africa. Over 100 people came together, with representatives from 12 different African countries present.

Our first speaker was Rev Charles Ilunga, currently training for the Methodist ministry. He graphically described the horrors which he witnessed and experienced in Congo, and from which he and his family had to flee at barely a moments’ notice. They were split apart, his wife and daughter spending more than 4 dangerous months in the African jungle, surviving on any edible roots and leaves they could find, before being reunited and finding refuge in a UN refugee camp in Zambia. He expressed his gratitude to God, and the many friends in the UK who have helped him to continue in ministry.

Phillip Crombie, Governor of Birmingham Children’s Hospital (BCH), then gave an inspiring report about a twinning

Philip Crombie Vice Chair Board of Governors of Birmingham Children's Hospital

Philip Crombie - Birmingham Children's Hospital

project which has linked the hospital to a similar hospital in Malawi’s second city, Blantyre. For the past 6 years, there has been an exchange of personnel and donations of equipment and supplies, with nurses, doctors and consultants travelling out to Malawi for varying periods of time up to 1 year. Although the latter have given of their time and expertise voluntarily, Phillip was at pains to point out how much the staff from Birmingham have gained personally through the experience, and that it is not just a one-way aid type of project. He then spoke about a similar project which, it is hoped, will link BCH with Caritas Baby Hospital in the West Bank in Bethlehem.

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Vijay Mehta Discussion Paper: ‘We Can End Poverty’

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 17, 2010

Annual Erskine Childers Lecture 2010

Discussion paper by Vijay Mehta

President, VM Centre for Peace Chair, Uniting for Peace   Video: http://www.tv786.net/vijay7

Incorporating Action for UN Renewal and  World Disarmament Campaign
vijay@vmpeace.org    http://www.vmpeace.org

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Recommendations and solutions for reduction of poverty.
  1. Pillars of cooperation for completion of MDGs.
  2. Conclusion.
  1. Poverty and development quotations.
  1. MDG indicators – successes and challenges.

ì Introduction

What is the world’s greatest challenge in the new millennium? Without little doubt, that the greatest challenge we face is the growing chasm between the rich and the poor people on earth. There is not only a great disparity between the two, but the gap is steadily widening. At the beginning of the last century, the ten richest countries were nine times wealthier than the ten poorest ones. In 1960, the ratio was 30:1. At the beginning of this century, average income per person in the twenty richest nations was $27,591 and in the poorest nations only $211, a ratio of 131:1. To plug the widening gap between rich-poor divide, the billions who live on dollar a day need the assistance of international community to fulfil the promise of the completion of Millennium Development Goals* for a better world.

In 2000, world leaders agreed by 2015 goals for slashing poverty, hunger, disease, maternal and child deaths, and for improving the environment, education and gender equality.

Lack of political will and unmet commitments, inadequate finance (staggering shortfall of billions of dollars) and soaring food prices have become major hurdles in the progress of the MDGs. In fact an estimated 90 million more people are living in extreme poverty today than anticipated before financial crisis. Millions of people who were not part of the financial collapse and did nothing wrong are suffering extreme hardship.

The ten-year mark at 2010 presents an important opportunity to re-energize the global Millennium Development Goals (MDG) effort and help the poverty reduction become a reality.

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Legacy of Peace Photos

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 8, 2010

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Photos of the Legacy of Peace event on June 6th 2010.

The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK held a unique and special ‘Legacy of Peace’ event to commemorate and celebrate the life and work of notable Ambassadors for Peace within a one day conference examining ‘Forgiveness and Reconciliation’. In attendance in the Columbia Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London were people from all faith backgrounds and leaders and pioneers in interfaith. That itself spoke for the idea that no one religion has a monopoly on God or goodness and that this event was truly a collective offering and one that undoubtedly brought joy to our Creator.

Those whose lives were honoured in a moving ceremony were leading “Ambassadors for Peace” who passed away in recent years including Sheikh Dr Zaki Badawi, Prof. Ninian Smart, Mr OP Sharma OBE, Prof Anthony Flew and Mr. Maurice Geoghegan and several prominent international figures who had been close friends of the UPF and Father and Mother Moon including Pres. Abdurrahman Wahid, a former president of Indonesia, Shaykh Hassan Cissé of Senegal and Dr. Laxmi Mall Singhvi. Mr. Hédi Annabi, a Tunisian diplomat and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, who died in the 2010 Haitian earthquake and the one hundred UN workers who died alongside Mr. Annabi were also remembered.

(For more link)

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Stages of Life

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 8, 2010

This was presented during the Legacy of Peace event on June 6th, 2010.

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Forgiveness by Karen Szulakowska

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 6, 2010

Forgiveness

Where does it come from? And where does it go?

How do we manage it and how do we know?

What helps people from the edge of despair?

And how do they begin to rebuild, love and care?

There are some who have much to forgive,

They have lost loved ones – and often too, their reason to live…

They have been tortured until there is nothing more to give.

Yet, still they are able to forgive…

Some of us are fortunate to have less to forgive

Yet however severe our suffering, we all need to learn and remember to forgive.

Forgive those who have held us back,

Forgive those with the will to attack

The parents and friends who didn’t know Read the rest of this entry »

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WED2010 Interconnectedness of Humanity and Environment

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 5, 2010

As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen   (WED2010 UPF-UK Report)

Spending time in the forest cleanses the mind. The sound of leaves rustling in the wind, the sound of the wind blowing through the reeds, the sound of frogs croaking in the ponds: All you can hear are the sounds of nature; no extraneous thoughts enter the mind. If you empty your mind and receive nature into your entire being, there is no separation between you and nature. Nature comes into you, and you become completely one with nature. In the moment that the boundary between you and nature disappears, you feel a profound sense of joy.

Then nature becomes you, and you become nature. I have always treasured such experiences in my life. Even now, I close my eyes and enter a state in which I am one with nature. Some refer to this as anātman, or “not-self,” but to me it is more than that, because nature enters and settles into the place that has been made empty. While in that state, I listen to the sounds that nature hands to me—the sounds of the pine trees, the sounds of the bugs—and we become friends. I could go to a village and know, without meeting anyone, the disposition of the minds of the people living there. I would go into the meadow of the village and spend the night there, then listen to what the crops in the fields would tell me. I could see whether the crops were sad or happy and that would tell me the kind of people who lived there.

Even the smallest grain of sand contains the principles of the world, and even a speck of dust floating in the air contains the harmony of the universe. Everything around us was given birth through a combination of forces so complex we cannot even imagine it. These forces are closely related to each other. Nothing in the universe was conceived outside the heart of God. The movement of just one leaf holds within it the breathing of the universe. From childhood, I have had a gift of being able to resonate with the sounds of nature as I roam around the hills and meadows. Nature creates a single harmony and produces a sound that is magnificent and beautiful. No one tries to show off and no one is ignored; there is just a supreme harmony. Whenever I found myself in difficulty, nature comforted me; whenever I collapsed in despair, it raised me back up.

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World Environment Day June 4th 2010

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 4, 2010

Video Link – http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/7469355

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International Family Day 2010 – Impact of Migration on Families

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 30, 2010

‘What does it feel like to be a migrant or growing up in a migrant family? The impact of migration on families was the theme for the United Nations International Day of Families 2010 that was commemorated around the world by many chapters of the Universal Peace Federation. In Bromley, near London, several people who either were migrants or who are from migrant families, spoke on fairly similar themes about their experiences.’

‘I hate to see wasted talent.’ Was the first comment of Sheridan Mangal. He went to explain that he mentors 6 young boys from disadvantaged backgrounds from ethnic minorities in the UK. His motivation for this came from his father and mother who came from the Caribbean to the UK in the early 1950’s. They came for the economic opportunity with the attitude that the UK as the motherland was doing them a favour. It was a difficult course for them as a couple and later us as a whole family because they were people with talent and willing to work hard. Soon they were faced with resentment and bitterness from the indigenous workers as they were given greater responsibilities.

His house was always crowded with family members who followed them to the UK. His parents helped many close relatives to establish themselves in the UK. This led to some tensions as some paid rent regularly but others did not. His parent’s attitude was to keep their heads down and work hard. They encouraged him to do the same and try to get a Government job. However, he grew up here mixing with British children who were encouraged to reach for the stars. He did not understand why he should keep his head down and did not feel that the UK was doing him a favour. He saw that his parents had made an immense contribution through taxes and later by employing others.

Rohema Miah was one of six children who grew up in the UK. Their father is from Bangladesh and their mother is Welsh. Their father did not return to Bangladesh for 42 years but sent money back to support the family. The main route for Bangladeshis in the UK is through restaurant ownership. This has contributed £1.2bn per year to the British economy.

She added that their parents never imposed a religion on them. They were allowed to make their own choice and despite making different choices they have remained close as brothers and sisters.

Posted in Community Cohesion, Marriage and Family | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

UPF Statement on Africa Day 2010

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 24, 2010

On the occasion of Africa Day, May 25th, 2010, the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) extends its congratulations and best wishes to the African Union and all its member states, and the 900 million people of Africa. As well as celebration, Africa Day is an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing Africa and the world as we move into the second decade of this new millennium.

UPF is working through its chapters worldwide to promote dialogue and cooperation among religions, including the creation of an interreligious council at the United Nations; strengthen marriage and family, essential to end the scourges of poverty and AIDS; and promote service and good-will projects in and between nations to establish a culture of peace.

The UPF is committed to promoting peace and human development in all parts of the world. We are proud of our chapters throughout Africa — from the West to the East, from the North to the South — brothers and sisters who are working to build a world of lasting peace and help achieve the MDGs. We applaud the African Union for focusing on “peace and security in Africa” and we look forward to exploring the ways in which we can support its work, along with the United Nations, toward a world of peace and prosperity for all.

Africa Day 2010 will focus on “Peace and Security in Africa”. This year, the New York celebration will be a culinary and cultural exhibition of the rich diversity of the African continent. It will also mark the launching of a number of water treatment projects for Africa. The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) is being called upon by the African Union to assist in co-hosting the celebration in partnership with the United Nations African Ambassador’s Spouses Group (UNAASG).

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Observing UN International Families Day 2010

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 21, 2010

The Impact of Migration on Families Worldwide

By Sister Kate Holmstrom

Bonjour! Buenos dias! Dzen dobre! Al-salam al-lekum! Namaste! Jambo! Nee ha!

An event focussing on Families and Migration gathered about 35 people at the Quaker Centre, Milton Keynes, on 15 May, observing UN International Day of Families 2010, at the invitation of Christa Rennie of the WFWP (Women’s Federation for World Peace) and her husband David, of the Universal Peace Federation. Navrita Atwal from the MK Equality Council spoke on “Family Values from an Asian Perspective”, Ayser Ali on “The Journey of a Family from Iraq to the West”, I (Sr Kate) on my experience with refugee and immigrant families in London, Milton Keynes and Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre, and David on the “Vision of the Universal Peace Federation”.

Between us, we made the following points: Migrating can be a huge gift, promoting openness to other cultures and the enrichment of learning other languages. “Home is wherever the family is”. However, moving can also be de-stabilising, and come at a bad age such as adolescence, when friends are all-important. Despite lessons in their mother language and the support of their ethnic or religious community, it happens sometimes that youngsters grow up feeling neither totally integrated in the new country nor accepted in their country of origin if they return there. The importance of family meals was stressed: parents – particularly from cultures where eating together is taken for granted and seen as a significant family value encouraging respect and caring – have difficulty sometimes in gathering the children when there is competition from other activities. Keeping in touch physically can be problematic as the family members grow up and move away: “Why should I need to make the journey back to visit when we can speak on the phone and even see each other with the web-cam?” If the migrant parents cannot learn English as fast as their offspring certainly will do, there is the risk of a widening rift in understanding in the family.

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Refugee Child by Sister Kate Holmstrom

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 20, 2010

Refugee Child by Sister Kate Holmstrom


I feel Mum’s worry, sense her sadness.

Where’s my Dad? She’s never said,

Never told me of the madness,

Of the reason why we fled.

I remember that night, hiding

While the soldiers searched and swore,

Shouting that they’d surely find him,

Battering upon the door.

I could hear my mother screaming

As those soldiers laughed and jeered.

I heard: “Rape!” –  what is its meaning?

Was that what she’d so much feared?

Now we’re here. I speak your language,

But the nightmares haunt me still.

Life goes on … we have to manage.

This I’ve learnt: I’ll never kill.


Kate Holmstrom, Oxford


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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.

Photo Link

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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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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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.’

Photo link

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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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Danish Students from Aarhus University Visit Lancaster Gate

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 30, 2010

Carlo Zaccarelli addressing an audience of students visiting from Aarhus University, Denmark. Cllr. Margaret Ali and Robin Marsh were also on the panel to answer questions. March 25th, 2010.  The forty students are taking Sociology of Religion or Religious Studies courses. Some returned the next day to meet  second generation students.

More Photos

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UN International Women’s Day 2010

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 15, 2010


UN International Women’s Day 2010

‘Celebrating the economic, political and social achievements

of women past, present and future’

43 Lancaster Gate, London, UK

Photo Link

A joint Universal Peace Federation and Women’s Federation for World Peace event to celebrate the UN’s International Women’s Day was held appropriately on the UK’s Mother’s Day.

Rita Payne, a former Editor of BBC Asia and currently the Chair of the Commonwealth Journalist’s Association – UK, reflected on the status of women in current developments and her own experience in the media in her speech, Women and Success – Is Hard Work Enough? ‘2010, on the face of it, is not a bad year for women’, she said, while pointing to Katherine Bigelow’s Oscar success on the eve of International Women’s Day and the passing of a Bill through the Indian Parliament to guarantee  that 1/3rd of all MPs are women. She added, ‘That there were protests and seven MPs were banned from the Indian Parliament shows that the battle for stronger representation for women is far from over.’

She referred to the raft of reviews and statistics that have emerged around Women’s Day revealing, for example, that there are more female Medical Doctor applicants than male because women have been outranking men in academic achievement.

However, she said some observers felt that former campaigning visionaries are being let down by the abuse of freedom by the laddette culture.

‘Maybe the greatest success will be when men and women are judged according to what they achieve than their gender’, she concluded. 

Her daughter suggested that, ‘Women can achieve many things but how can they do it without sacrificing the family.  Perhaps women can be more creative in addressing those needs but we won’t be able to do this without the men. We can address our needs with the help of men. Why don’t we forget about Women’s day and have a Family day instead?’

In a speech entitled ‘Women Initiating Change: The Strength of the Outsider’, Kat Callo explained the tragic cause of her work as a Trustee of Project Mosaic. Her cousin, a New York City firefighter, died in 9/11 trying to save those within the twin towers when the buildings collapsed. She began Project Mosaic, a UK-based educational charity that helps teach young people to be more tolerant of those coming from a different background – whether that’s a different race, ethnicity, religion, nationality or culture.

Violent extremism … plays on the theme of  “the outsider” – but it combines it with fear and ignorance, to creates a poisonous cocktail for our young people.

With a conversation, over a cup of tea or at a youth club or at a gathering of mothers at a refugee centre or talking with family members and friends. We are working to amplify the voice of the outsider – that person that takes a weakness and transforms it into a strength. (read more)

Hadia Saad had just returned from attending the 54th UN Congress on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York representing the Alulbayt Foundation in London. She also attended the UPF Parallel CSW event in New York. She shared about both experiences in a speech entitled, ‘Humanity Before Gender’. She said she was left with the sense that there is still a long way to go to obtain justice for women. She reflected on the position of women in Islam that tensions develop when the cultural traditions confine Islamic principles. (read more)

President of the League of Jewish Women

Mrs Ella Marks

Mrs. Ella Marks, the current President of the  League of Jewish Women (LJW), briefly described its history and activities since being founded in 1943. Stemming from a Judaic ethos, Jewish people believe that they should play an active part in the community wherever they live. The LJW has sought to educate young women to be both self supporting and train them to be active for the good of all society. The LJW is now affiliated to the National Council of Women as a consultative body. It is also very involved in interfaith meetings and activities. The LJW is a largely voluntary body that is an active community promoting service to those in need. She shared that she often reads to blind people.

Milena Ivovic commenting about the afternoon commented below, ‘It was very inspirational gathering. Women, outstanding achievers in various fields, were illustrating by their own life endeavours the greatness of human potential in each one of us. They are those who selflessly care for others in society and who know how to give from the essence. Their love and compassion certainly shed light and show the way.’

Shenaz Bunglawala

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UN International Day of Women: Celebrating the Economic, Political and Social Achievements of Women Past, Present and Future.

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 3, 2010

Women’s Federation for World Peace

&

Universal Peace Federation

43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

Direct Tel/Answer: 020 7262 0985

United Nations’ International Day of Women

‘Celebrating the economic, political and social achievements

of women past, present and future’

3:00 for 3:30 pm Sunday, March 14th

You are cordially invited to celebrate ‘International Women’s Day 2010’ which has the theme of: ‘the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future’ with the Women’s Federation for World Peace and the Universal Peace Federation, together with other organisations.

We would like to invite a number of the prominent women who have featured in our activities to consider the different perspective women bring to economic, political and social life. We would like to explore the examples of achievement where it has not been at the expense of femininity or family. This will take place on Sunday, March 14th from 3pm to 5pm in 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA.  All men who appreciate the achievements of women are welcome!

Speakers include (for longer biographies read more):

Ms. Shenaz Bunglawala holds a Masters degree from the LSE, is a recipient of an LSE PhD studentship award and an award for Teaching Excellence from the Department of Government at LSE. Shenaz has lectured and taught undergraduate courses in political science, with a specific focus on religion, at the LSE, King’s College and has been guest lecturer at the American University at Richmond and St Andrews University. Her paper on ‘British Muslims: Identity and Engagement’ will be published in February 2009. Shenaz is Vice Chair of the Europe and International Affairs committee of the MCB. She is also a founder and executive committee member of the Conservative Friends of Turkey and co-editor of a new blog site for young British and European Muslim academics and writers to share critiques, perspectives and original research on Islam and Muslim life in Europe.


Mrs. Kat Callo is a Trustee of Project Mosaic, a pro-tolerance educational charity based in the UK. The charity was set up in 2008 in memory of Kat’s cousin, Dave Fontana, who was one of the 343 firefighters that died on September 11, 2001 while helping to rescue some 28,000 people from the World Trade Towers. Project Mosaic (www.projectmosaic.net) teaches children and young people to be more tolerant of those from a different background. The charity works on a grassroots level to promote interfaith and intercultural tolerance, inter-ethnic good citizenship and integration of immigrant communities, and to combat group hatred and extremism.

Project Mosaic sends successful people from immigrant backgrounds to give inspiring “Global Citizen” talks to young people in schools and youth clubs. Previously she worked at Reuters for 17 years, as a correspondent based in London, Brussels, Manila, Hong Kong and Hanoi. She reported on conflict in Afghanistan and Cambodia in the 1980s and traveled extensively as a journalist throughout Asia. Kat later worked as a media executive at Reuters London headquarters. She has lived in the UK for nearly 20 years.

Ms. Rita Payne: ‘Women and Success – Is Hard Work Enough?‘                                                                                     Chair of UK branch of Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA), former Editor of BBC Asia, Freelance journalist and media adviser. The main mission of the CJA is to promote media freedom and the protection of journalists. I am regularly invited to write, address, moderate or organise debates and discussions on topical issues for the CJA and outside organisations. Until my retirement in 2008, I spent nearly thirty years with the BBC. My last position was Asia Editor, BBC World News (TV) with responsibility for three news programmes a day. Before moving to TV I was a news editor/producer/presenter at BBC World Service radio. I have been invited to moderate two sessions at the UN World Urban Forum in March, 2010. I was shortlisted for the BBC Global Reith Awards 2009.

Mrs. Hadia Saad: Activist in Muslim Women’s Issues for Alulbayt Foundation in London. Hadia Saad obtained her degree in Humanities from University of Greenwich in 1994. She was a press officer for the Embassy of Qatar from 1994 until 1996. She later received training to teach English to speakers of other languages and taught in various institutions in Lebanon from 1998 until 2006.

Please see the UPF Statement on the Status of Women for a ‘Parallel Event at the 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women’.

Kindly RVSP to reserve your place. There will be a £3 charge for refreshments and expenses. We look forward to meeting you.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr. Margaret Ali               Director  UPF       077 2302 4750          pa@uk.upf.org

Mrs Mitty Tohma               President WFWP  UK    07515947608  mitty@wfwp.org.uk

Robin Marsh                        Sec. Gen.  UPF     079 5621 0768            pa@uk.upf.org

Directions and Transportation

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UPF Statement on the Status of Women

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 3, 2010

Universal Peace Federation


UPF STATEMENT ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN


Universal Peace Federation’s Parallel Event at the 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, taking place March 1 to 12, 2010 at the United Nations, highlights the essential value and central role of women in peacebuilding and human development.

UPF affirms the need for women to serve in leadership positions throughout the world in all sectors of society.

UPF recognizes the equal value of men and women. Their absolute value derives from a common origin, God. God is the origin of both men and women, and all of God’s creation manifests complementary masculine and feminine aspects.

Men and women are extensions and manifestations of God’s harmonious masculinity and femininity. The complementary relationship between men and women expresses the wholeness of human experience. Thus, there should be no gender discrimination but rather harmony of the sexes through love.

Throughout history, women have taken the leading role in cultivating families as the dwelling places of peace and love, in shaping the individual character of children, and in fostering harmonious social relationships. In the family, both father and mother are equally entitled to reverence and honor. The path toward establishing global peace begins with strengthening families.

The ideal of peace is at the core of all religions. Through dialogue and mutual understanding, there can be peace among religions, and peace among religions is a necessary prerequisite for world peace. Women can and should play a central role in promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation.

UPF emphasizes the essential importance of women in addressing issues of peace and development in all sectors, including politics, business, culture, and religion. Women must be encouraged and empowered to assume leadership roles in the resolution of conflict, peacebuilding, and sustainable development.

Universal Peace Federation

Office of UN and International Relations

866 UN Plaza, Suite 529

New York, NY 10017

Tel: 212-588-1802 Fax: 212-826-2176

Email: unoffice@upf.org

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Valentines Day, World Peace Blessing February 14th, 2010

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 21, 2010


World Peace Blessing – Lancaster Gate – February 14th 2010

Photo Link

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Experiencing the Sacred: Dr Naznin Hirji

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 12, 2010

Experiencing the Sacred: Dr Naznin Hirji

16th February, 2010

Universal Peace FederationInterfaith Committee

Dr Naznin Hirji spoke of the conditions conducive to experience of the sacred. She quoted major figures as Rumi, that “according to the polishing of one’s heart can see the hidden meaning of things”. He described the “silence that speaks” and a “thread that extends from the heart to the lips” while words tear the fabric of that silence.

There was another theme 0f architecture that facilitates experience of the sacred. There were examples of Islamic architecture with explanations of the significance of the design that both symbolised and facilitated experience of the transcendent and the spiritual. There followed a discussion of spirituality and personal experiences of the sacred.

Link for photos:

——————————————————————————–

We have been holding monthly interfaith events in order to explore spirituality from many different traditions. Some monthly events have included talks about mystics and visionaries from various faiths. Other months have featured guided meditations. There have been book launches by interfaith figures such as Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke, (photo above on left) that focus upon influential spiritual thinkers or the search for spirituality.

From 7pm to 8.30pm Dr Naznin Hirji (above photo on right) will speak and lead a discussion on the topic, ‘Experience of the Sacred’. Naznin’s Doctorate is about this area. She is a consultant in Change Management and a long time activist in the Aga Khan Development Network.

On Behalf of the Interfaith Committee:

Joyce Suda – UPF Director, Interfaith Committee Chair – Tel: 02084673035

Robin Marsh – Secretary General – Mobile: 07956 210 768 Universal Peace Federation – UK

Biography:
Naznin Hirji has a doctorate in Politics, International Relations and Policy Studies with specialisation in the Philosophy of Learning, Faith and Human Development. She also has an MSc in Change Agent Skills and Strategies and a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods. She has several years’ experience as an Educator in the area of experiential and existential learning, spiritual leadership and change management using innovative approaches and a passion for Islamic architecture. Naznin represented her community as a Member on the Ismaili Religious Education Board UK from 1992-1995 and as a Member of The Ismaili National Council UK from 1999-2002, both positions incorporating multifaith and multicultural interfaces and global development issues. She has also held several other leadership and Educator positions with emphasis on policy issues. Naznin has worked on various projects within the Aga Khan Development Network including the Aga Khan Foundation, and has long been affiliated with The Institute for Ismaili Studies in London. She has participated in planning Committees on several international events and contributed to the initial thinking for the Festival of Muslim Cultures UK 2005-2006. In 2007-2008 she project-led the planning, research and writing of three Volumes of a community religious education Curriculum, which have been translated for use in Central Asian countries and are also in use in Europe, Canada, East Africa and Russia. Naznin has published several articles and is in the process of writing for an International Handbook on Learning.

Working at individual, group and organizational levels, she has traveled extensively to support the processes of transformation and transition. Her style of work is to blend the artistic, scientific and philosophical in order to inspire creativity in people and to foster openness of approach to lifelong learning.

Interfaith Committee:

Dr. Ghayassudin Siddiqui
Dr. Christoph Von Luttitz
Mr. Sukhbir Singh
Mrs. Joyce Suda
Dr. Raheem Khan
Imam Mahmadou Bocoum
Imam Nabel Haidari
Mrs. Karen Szulakowska
Ms. Brenda Hodgson
Mr. Amarjeet-singh Bhamra
Dr Naznin Hirji (invited to join)
Mr. Ujjwal Banga
Professor Karel Werner (invited to join)
Mr. Robin Marsh

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

Universal Peace Federation – UK

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

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


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Marriage Rededication Through the World Peace Blessing

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on January 18, 2010


Marriage Rededication Through the World Peace Blessing

On January 17th 2010 eleven couples rededicated their marriages in 43 Lancaster Gate. There was a beautiful atmosphere during the rededication and celebration of a new start to their lives together!

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Universal Peace Federation – UK 2009 Activities

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on January 4, 2010

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

Best Wishes for 2010

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on January 1, 2010


Best Wishes for 2010

Universal Peace Federation – UK

Thank you for everything we could do together in 2009.

Our year, 2009, in pictures Our year, 2009, in videos

Become a Member of UPF

Best Wishes From All of Us

UPF-UK Secretariat

Robin Marsh: Secretary General, Mobile 07956 210 768

Cllr. Margaret Ali: Director, Tel 0208-395-6788 / / 07723024750

Joyce Suda: Director, Tel 02084673035

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

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


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 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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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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