Bergen aan See, Netherlands—Forty participants from 14 nations in Europe and the Middle East attended a three-day introduction to the UPF Peace Principles.
UPF Europe and the Middle East held the seminar “UPF Vision and Peace Principles” from September 8 to 10, 2023, at Glory House, a hotel located on the shores of the North Sea. The warm weather covering Europe created a pleasant atmosphere at the 100-year-old estate, which is surrounded by forests.
Among the participants were current and former parliamentarians, religious leaders, entrepreneurs, and NGO representatives. Local UPF volunteers were on hand to support the seminar.
The seminar offered insights into the vision and peace principles that have inspired and guided UPF and affiliated organizations that were established by UPF founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
An introductory session on the founders’ lives and achievements, given by David Fraser Harris, UPF secretary general for the Middle East, was followed by presentations on the core tenets of the founders’ thought.
Dr. David Hanna, UPF chairman for Northern Europe, gave two presentations on the “Principles of Peace,” covering such fundamental topics as the transcendental nature of human beings, the purpose of life, human freedom and responsibility, and the three stages of life—from the womb to life after death.
Mr. Fraser Harris returned to explain the “Cause and Resolution of Conflict.” Developing the founders’ teaching that the deeper cause of human suffering is the corruption of love, he outlined how principles of the restoration of love can be seen throughout history through the agency of religion.
In two presentations on the “History of Restoration,” Jacques Marion, the UPF co-chair for Europe and the Middle East, described the interaction of faith and reason during the modern era. He highlighted the contemporary challenge of globalization that democracies face, and he presented UPF’s principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values based on family ethics.
The seminar, moderated by Donna Martijn, director of the NGO Peace and Reconciliation—Together, concluded with a presentation on UPF’s current peace initiatives on the Korean Peninsula, in the Balkans, in the Middle East, and on interfaith activities in Africa and Europe.
David Earle, the UPF director for the United Kingdom’s West Midlands region, gave a powerful testimony about the grass-roots interfaith activities in the city of Birmingham that he is leading together with his wife, Patricia, representing Women’s Federation for World Peace, an affiliated organization. These include humanitarian activities in India.
In the last session, eight participants, from Austria, Denmark, Jordan, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom, were honored as Ambassadors for Peace.
Reflecting on the seminar, participants said that they appreciated the deep content of lectures and the warm atmosphere of conviviality, transcending ethnic and religious barriers. They also expressed admiration for UPF’s capacity to work with conflicting parties around the world, bridging the gap between religions while dealing with complicated world issues.