Los Angeles, United States—More than 200 participants from nine countries attended the National Convocation of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) and the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP).
The convocation took place at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel from April 5 to 6, 2019.
Twenty-five panelists expounded on “The Role of Religious and Civic Leaders in Realizing Peace in the Family, Nation and World” in four sessions over two days.
The first session addressed “The Vision, Universal Values and Work of UPF, IAPD, IAPP, ACLC and WFWP.” Tomiko Duggan, the senior vice president of sponsoring organization UPF-USA, showed photos from the last 15 months of similar conferences in Senegal, Austria, Brazil, South Africa, Nepal, and South Korea, as well as in New York.
The co-sponsoring organization American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) was represented by Dr. Luonne Rouse, national co-chair, and Archbishop George A. Stallings Jr., national co-chair emeritus of ACLC and chair of the IAPD. Archbishop Stallings promoted the rekindling of human spirituality beyond any one religion. Dr. Rouse implored the assembled clergy to pinpoint local needs and organize to restore the community and renew the nation.
Angelika Selle, president of the U.S. chapter of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), stated that women have the pivotal role to bring the heart and spirit of peace for this new age. Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the Mother of Peace, inaugurated WFWP 27 years ago by traveling to all major cities around the globe to break down barriers, Mrs. Selle said. A mother’s heart has the gift to find common ground, to find connections that bring peace and harmony, she said.
“Different from other women’s organizations, we know who we are—created in the image of God and essentially different from men. Women need not battle nor imitate men. Let us instead lift up the divine in men and work together for peace,” Mrs. Selle said.
Hon. Matt Salmon, a former U.S. congressman from the state of Arizona, amazed the group by singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Starting from the motto “Peace Starts with Me,” Mr. Salmon addressed the public officials, recommending them to practice what they preach, to “walk the walk” by bringing peace and unity into discussions, and to legislate to strengthen the family.
Tom McDevitt, the chair of the Board of Directors of The Washington Times, asked all to better the community by applying one inspiring idea from this conference through the already established networks. Mr. McDevitt also implored all to subscribe to The Washington Times newspaper, which, according to a recent poll, ranks among the top five most trusted sources of information in the United States.
After the conclusion of the convocation, all the participants were brought by bus to the City of Refuge Church in the nearby city of Gardena for the Peace Starts with Me: Blessing America rally. The 60 couples who participated in the convocation were seated in the front rows of the church so that they could take part in the Marriage Rededication Ceremony.