Session I, the Opening Plenary, included the National Anthem of Senegal (entitled The Red Lion) sung by the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea, interfaith prayers by Imam Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Cissé (Senegal) and Archbishop Johannes Ndanga (Zimbabwe), followed by the distinguished speakers.

Cheikh Mansour Diouf, president of the Africa Summit 2018 Steering Committee, praised President Macky Sall for supporting the “first Africa Summit for peace, unity and human sustainable development.” Cheikh Mansour praised the founder, saying that “she lives for peace and only for peace, that she would like to share with all of humankind.” He thanked President Sall for convening the summit as an expression of his devotion to peace, and the various members of the Senegalese government, traditional chiefs and youth leaders whose contributions to its being held were significant.

Dr. Thomas Walsh, the chair of UPF International, expressed gratitude to the president and praised the conference center as “a world-class, state-of-the-art facility better equipped than the UN.” Dr. Walsh called the president a mentor for many UPF members because of his sincere concern that the summit be a total success. He thanked Dr. Moon for the worldwide movement she leads with vision, clarity, and deep spiritual wisdom. “Within her,” he said, “is a profound practical capacity to apply this spiritual and moral vision to solve problems humanity faces.”

He also expressed gratitude to those who helped organize the summit, including Cheikh Mansour; Kathy Rigney, regional president of UPF-Africa; Rev. Bakary Camara, UPF regional president for East Africa; and key leaders assisting Dr. Moon, including Professor Yeon Ah Moon, president of Women’s Federation for World Peace International, an affiliated organization; Hoon Sook Moon, general director of the Universal Ballet in South Korea; Mrs. Wonju McDevitt, chief secretary for Dr. Moon; and Dr. Young Ho Yun, secretary general of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), another affiliated organization.

H.E. Dioncounda Traoré, president of Mali (2012-2013) and the Africa co-chair of IAPP, gave a gracious introduction to the UPF founder.

Dr. Moon welcomed the participants to the Africa Summit and offered a unifying vision for the continent with her emphasis on the family and living for the sake of others. “We have entered a new era,” she said. “My hope is that the African continent will become the heavenly continent which attends God as the central point and becomes the most prosperous nation in the world.” People naturally seek a life centered on peace, she said, “just like a sunflower follows the sun.”

Africa is a beautiful continent, she said, “and can become the shining light of the world.” She explained her motivation for coming to Senegal. “Today, with the heart of a True Mother and a True Parent, I have come here to pray and eradicate the historical pain that this continent has endured, so that this continent can stand once again in the providence of God and begin a new history.”

She said she wants to establish the International Highway Project (Peace Road) through Senegal to connect the nation and continent to all the world’s nations, including Korea. She concluded her remarks with a prayerful hope: “We can establish together a world of peace, equality, unity, and happiness. Together we can realize the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. I believe in the African continent. Please work together with me to realize this beautiful ideal.”

N.B. Due to a translation problem, the above video starts after Dr Moon greets the president and other VIPs.

His Excellency Macky Sall, president of Senegal, thanked Dr. Moon for coming to Senegal and for delivering “the message of hope to Africa, the birthplace of humanity.” He congratulated UPF Chair Dr. Thomas Walsh for “making peace and dialogue the basic principle of human relations.” He thanked UPF for the bestowment of the honor of the Good Governance Award: “I take this as encouragement in our shared ideal toward common good,” and expressed his gratitude for the generous US $100,000 gift, which will be used to help handicapped children and the SOS Children’s Villages NGO. He especially thanked the Little Angels for singing Senegalese songs and being ambassadors for peace.

In facing Africa’s problems, he quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “The greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” Although the challenges are many, the president said that “the silence of good people is a problem; nothing is more harmful to the cause of peace than silence, apathy and resignation. That is why we are here today.”

He looked forward, he said, to a new Africa based on the qualities of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values (quoting the summit’s theme). He further expressed his belief in an Africa able to take care of itself, that thinks and acts for itself. Despite its history, Africa is stable, active, diligent. It must affirm itself as an actor, define the dynamism of today and the future, he said. In that light, the president mentioned the remarkable resources Africa has, in terms of precious metals and minerals, but emphasized also the quality and youthfulness of its peoples. In terms of its resources, both material and human, he said, Africa is by no means poor.

The UPF Leadership and Good Governance Award was presented to President Sall by Dr. Moon along with Dr. Thomas Walsh, in recognition of the president’s excellence in leadership, based on the core values of service to God and humanity and promoting harmony and cooperation beyond barriers of race, religion, nationality and culture.

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