IIFWP Assembly 2004 | August 06, 2004
The Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) just finished its Assembly 2004 (Seoul, Korea, July 23 – 27, 2004). It was a stellar event proving to exceed our best expectations. As always (for the last 10 years) the IIFWP (and the IRFWP before that) holds its annual Assembly in the context of the World Culture and Sports Festival (WCSF).
Partners in the Festival include: the Interreligious Peace Sports Festival (IPSF), the World Convention of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP), the Mr. and Miss University Pageant, service projects of the Service for Peace (SFP), and the World Peace Blessing.
Especially exciting this year was the extraordinary progress and advance of the sports part of the festival. In one short year the games leapt from a few hundred participants to 1300 competing athletes. Please visit their site www.ipsfestival.org to read of this great event and this commanding vision and instrument for substantially promoting interreligious harmony and collaboration.
The Inter Religious Federation, in its capacity as the IIFWP Office of Interreligious Relations, shepherded a number of key elements of the Assembly, most notably reports, panel sessions, and workgroups on IIFWP’s Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI). Additionally, our office coordinated the longstanding tradition of prayers of blessing for young couples on the day of their betrothal.
The IIFWP has a unique approach and philosophy to pursuing peace in the Middle East. (Look for the forthcoming publication of the essay on these principles.) The vision and activities of this initiative was reported at a the July 25th morning plenary session devoted to reports on major IIFWP peace initiatives, including the Interreligious and International Peace Council.
In the same morning, a scholarly and activist panel on IIFWP’s MEPI took place. Speakers were convened so as to include reflections and the voices of women, Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Writers and speakers were invited to prepare their remarks in the context of two IIFWP signature elements namely:
1. The goal of the work is not a design to inhibit conflict and aggression, but rather to realize a region of joy, reconciliation, and oneness among all believers and all inhabitants.
2. Peace is not possible absent the full collaboration among religious leaders, on the one hand, with secular and elected leaders, on the other.
Speakers on the panel included Mr. Roland Flamini (Chief International Correspondant, United Press International, USA), Professor Hamdi Mohammad Murad Murad (Professor at the Al-Barqa University, Jordan), Professor Eliezer Glaubach (President, Professors World Peace Academy, Israel), and Mrs. Oya Talat (Wife of Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat, Cyprus). Dr. Andrew Wilson (Editor, IIFWP World Scripture Project, USA) served as the panel’s respondent. A number of important advances were presented in the papers which will soon appear on this site, as well as some in IRFWP’s preeminent peace journal Dialogue and Alliance.
The MEPI workgroup which followed extended the groundwork laid during the panel. This moderated session allowed for free and open discussion among the many conference participants with expertise in the area comparable to the panel speakers. Please read David Fraser Harris’s (Secretary General, IIFWP, Middle East) excellent report read the report on these sessions.
The prayers of religious leaders over “Blessed Couples,” have now become a tradition of many years, sometimes several times a year. At each “Blessing” of couples, religious leaders from the world religions offer prayers of Blessing over the families of the young couples and their future families. Very often, by Divine design, something special happens at the time of these prayers. This time was no exception. Due to time constraints for the celebration, the Christian and the Muslim prayers were offered by two leaders each. Without prior planning, it turned out that the paired leaders for Christianity included an Orthodox Metropolitan, and a Catholic Archbishop, and likewise Muslim prayers were offered by leaders from Shiite and Sunni traditions. This serendipity kept perfectly with Dr. Moon’s ideal of the reconciling historical enemies through true love. Finally, again without prior planning, the concluding prayer this time was offered by a Shinto priest. This is the first time ever that Shinto prayers for Blessed couples were offered. The startling aspect of this fact (including that it should take place in Yoo-Kwan-Sun Stadium, requires one to know of the bitter history of occupation exercised over Korea by Japan in the 20th century, and the patriotic sacrifice of Mrs. Yoo who’s heroism launched the movement for Korea’s eventual liberation.
Posted by admin at August 6, 2004 11:54 AM