Dr. OtsukaDr. Katsumi Otsuka, Chairman, UPF Europe & Middle East

A citizen of Japan, Dr. Otsuka graduated from Kanazawa University and from the Unification Theological Seminary in the United States. As president of the student movement World-CARP Japan, he organized world conventions and initiated solidarity meetings among students and youth from Japan, Korea, Russia and China in the 1980s and 1990s. He served as president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Japan, as president of the Corporation for Building the Japan-Korea Tunnel, and as the leader of numerous organizations, focusing on the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. He is currently the Chair of the Universal Peace Federation in Europe and the Middle East.

Your Excellencies, members of parliament, religious leaders, scholars, media and business Leaders, dear friends, on behalf of UPF Europe, Middle East and Eurasia it is my sincere pleasure to welcome you to this online conference. I want to express my deep appreciation to you for participating in the ILC 2020 under the theme "Opportunity and Hope at the time of global crisis". This ILC was specially organized as a joint conference with UPF Africa. Let me express my deep thanks to Mrs. Kathy Rigney, the chairman of UPF Africa for UPF Africa's splendid work to make this conference possible

As we all know, the UPF was founded by the late Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his wife Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon with a vision to organize a global council of leaders.

Both UPF founders were born in what is now North Korea during the 40-year occupation by Japan. They experienced the second world war and the Korean War which divided their country into North and South. They were both refugees during the Korean War. This is one of the factors that has motivated them to work tirelessly for peace and unification through dialogue with mutual respect. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. Peace is about universal hope. The world however has been suffering under the yoke of many problems and the Covid-19 pandemic is currently the biggest threat in the world. The major task we face at this moment is how to cooperate to overcome the Covid-19 crisis. The title of this ILC is truly very meaningful in this regard.

The UPF recently set up within itself 6 new associations, in order to make its work more effective. I pray that all the discussions starting today within each 6 associations may be full, true and enlightening. Expressing my gratitude to all of you, I wish to conclude my greetings. Thank you very much, may you have a good time in this conference.