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UPF Interfaith Peacebuilding
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An overview of interfaith initiatives by the Universal Peace Federation promoting interfaith understanding, respect, and cooperation. …

An overview of interfaith initiatives by the Universal Peace Federation promoting interfaith understanding, respect, and cooperation.

World peace can be fully accomplished only when the wisdom and efforts of the world’s religious leaders are combined cooperatively and respectfully with the endeavors of national political leaders. Absent the recognition of spiritual principles, the world has drifted increasingly toward analyses and prescriptions that are materialistic and secular in nature. In so doing, we have lost sight of the profound wisdom to be found in humanity’s spiritual heritage.
Global institutions must be built on a foundation that takes into account the full potential of the human being, not only as a political, economic, and social being, but also as a spiritual being with spiritual needs and a capacity for spiritual wisdom and insight. The legacy of the world’s great saints, prophets, sages, and spiritual leaders cannot be denied or discounted without ignoring what is most fundamental about the human being.
In too many ways the history of religion has been marked by narrow sectarianism, strife, and competitive struggle with other faiths, all to the detriment of the cherished goals and teachings of the founders and scriptures. This cannot continue. The need to eliminate corruption, selfishness, and bad governance applies not only to all nations but also to all of the world’s religions.
Lasting peace depends on cooperative partnerships between governments and religions, as well as NGOs and representatives of the private sector. The United Nations can benefit from a council of religious and spiritual leaders to bring broad vision and wisdom to the effort to address critical global problems. International conferences, publications, networking, and on-the-ground activism are mechanisms for interfaith cooperation and lay a foundation for spiritual renewal at the United Nations.

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  • 1. P
  • 2. Peace The Universal Peace Federation and its global network of Ambassadors for Peace bring universal, spiritual principles to the task of resolving conflict and reconciling the divided human family. UPF World Assembly 2007 in New York
  • 3. Principles • We are one human family created by God. • The highest achievements of men and women are rooted in spiritual and moral development. • The family is the “school of love and peace.” • Peace comes through dialogue and cooperation. • Service is the foundation of reconciliation. Founded in 2005 by Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon
  • 4. Working for Peace UPF’s Middle East Peace Initiative includes • interfaith pilgrimages • fact-finding tours • leadership consultations • grassroots encounters Jerusalem
  • 5. Visiting Sacred Places Visits to a church, mosque, and synagogue in St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • 6. Offering Prayers for Peace Honduras (above), Ghana (below) Slovakia (above), Canada (below)
  • 7. Peace in Sacred Teachings Buddhism: May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may those bound be free. May the powerless find power, and may people think of befriending one another. Italy
  • 8. Peace in Sacred Teachings Christianity: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be known as the Children of God. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. Peru Russia
  • 9. Peace in Sacred Teachings Confucianism: When the heart is set right, then the personal life is cultivated. When the personal life is cultivated, then the family life is regulated. When the family life is regulated, then the national life is orderly. And when the national life is orderly, then there is peace in the world. Korea
  • 10. Peace in Sacred Teachings Hinduism: May there be peace on earth. May thy Vedic Law propagate peace all through the world. May all things be a source of peace to us. And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all, and may that peace come to me also. Nepal
  • 11. Peace in Sacred Teachings Islam: If the enemy incline towards peace, do thou also incline towards peace, and trust God, for the Lord is the one that heareth and knoweth all things. And the servants of God, Most Gracious are those who walk on the Earth in humility, and when we address them, we say “PEACE.” Thailand Malaysia
  • 12. Peace in Sacred Teachings Judaism: Come let us go up the mountain of the Lord, that we may walk the paths of the Most High. And we shall beat our swords into into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation—neither shall they learn war any more. Israel
  • 13. Peace in Sacred Teachings Sikhism: God adjudges us according to our deeds, not the coat that we wear: that truth is above everything, but higher still is truthful living. Know that we attaineth God when we loveth, and only that victory endures in consequences of which no one is defeated. India United Kingdom
  • 14. Peace in Sacred Teachings Shintoism: Although the people living across the ocean surrounding us are all our brothers and sisters, why are there constant troubles in this world? Why do winds and waves rise in the ocean surrounding us? I only earnestly wish that the wind will soon puff away all the clouds which are hanging over the tops of the mountains. Japan
  • 15. Peace in Sacred Teachings Unificationism: A life of vertical “noontime” alignment casts no shadow. I pray that we can wipe away the tears of people in misery and poverty, and lead an illuminated life of eternal true love that dissipates all darkness. Switzerland Marshall Islands
  • 16. Service After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, UPF partnered with Christian Disaster Response to train volunteers doing clean up in northern Japan. This sparked a collaboration of NGOs and government offices involved in disaster relief.
  • 17. Service Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim students cleaned a Muslim school in Bangkok damaged by flood waters. This collaboration was facilitated by the Thailand National Interreligious Peace Council.
  • 18. Service Young people of various faiths built a classroom and toilet facilities for students in a community near Lumbini, Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha. Tamil and Sinhalese youth worked together to build facilities in Polonnaruwa, a town that suffered from civil war in Sri Lanka.
  • 19. Service Students from Beirut traveled to Nabatieh in southern Lebanon and worked with local people to create a mural showing a common vision of peace.
  • 20. Dialogue Through formal and informal dialogue, religion and spirituality impact the worldviews, values, and practices of humanity worldwide. USA (above), Albania (below)
  • 21. Dialogue Scholars of religion, diplomats, and government leaders gathered in Jordan for a conference on the role of religion in international relations exploring the “Prospects for Dialogue and Reconciliation in Syria.”
  • 22. Dialogue At a forum in Indonesia, a Muslim emphasized harmonizing words and deeds, a Buddhist spoke about the importance of listening, and a Hindu advocated “heart, humility, humanity, and harmony.”
  • 23. Dialogue A spirited discussion during World Interfaith Harmony Week in Warsaw, Poland. Forums in Munich and Stuttgart, Germany included speeches, readings, and prayers, followed by dinner conversations.
  • 24. Dialogue Interfaith forums stimulate conversation and deeper understanding about each other’s experiences, concerns, and beliefs. Washington, DC, USA Switzerland: Model UN Interreligious Council session (above), Ethiopia: Interreligious Council members (right)
  • 25. Dialogue In forums on reconciliation and forgiveness in the UK, speakers talked about their experiences with people of other religions, challenges they have faced in life, and how they drew upon the resources of their faith. UPF-Netherlands’ Dialogue Center in Amsterdam hosts frequent multifaith and multicultural events.
  • 26. Dialogue Discussions in St. Lucia about spiritual values. Youth from various faiths participate in a forum in Austria.
  • 27. Cooperation At an observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week 2012 at the UN General Assembly Hall, diplomats and UN officials joined religious leaders and officials of faith-based charities to discuss greater cooperation.
  • 28. Cooperation In Bangkok, a year of consultations and a World Interfaith Harmony Week commemoration built momentum toward the inauguration of the Thailand Interfaith Peace Council in September 2011. Thailand
  • 29. Cooperation After attacks killed 77 people in July 2011, UPF-Norway held a forum in partnership with the Oslo Central Mosque featuring political leaders and a youth panel. Faith leaders lit candles at a 9/11 memorial service at the United Nations.
  • 30. Cooperation Young athletes from different religions and nationalities converge in the spirit of good sportsmanship. Friendly football matches bring together youth from nations and communities that have suffered tension and division. Youth from Baltic nations compete in Estonia. Athletes build friendships in Georgia.
  • 31. Reconciliation The disputed presidential elections of 2010 in Cote d’Ivoire sparked a civil war. Ambassadors for Peace reached out to religious leaders and met with the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission to plan a grassroots campaign to teach peace principles.
  • 32. Reconciliation Jews, Christians, and Muslims participating in the Middle East Peace Initiative demonstrate a heart of reconciliation as members of one human family under God.
  • 33. Partnerships Community organizers plan grassroots cooperation among religious groups in Colombia. Discussions in Israel include a proposal to establish an interreligious academy.
  • 34. Universal Peace Federation www.upf.org