Copenhagen, Denmark—A total of 13 very committed and dedicated people were appointed as new Ambassadors for Peace during two recent events.
After months of online meetings because of COVID-19, it again became possible to meet physically, and UPF-Denmark assembled some 50 Ambassadors for Peace and leaders at two events.
The first meeting was held in a local community center on August 27, 2020, while the second meeting took place on September 16 in the UPF Peace Center. The participants heard reports about World Summit 2020 and discussed UPF’s vision for a new paradigm and hope in this time of many challenges and disruptions.
At the August 27 meeting, UPF-Denmark Secretary General Karsten Nielsen pointed out: “Universal peace includes everyone and everything, including care for the environment as well as the past, present and future. Most importantly, we are responsible for what we pass on to our children and future generations. Human beings can learn much from nature, where everything exists for a higher purpose and where peace, harmony and beauty are inherent based on laws and principles. UPF believes we are at the dawn of a new age, in which humans will realize a peaceful world with interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values”— the theme of World Summit 2020 in Korea.
A video was shown of the first One Million Rally of Hope, which took place on August 9, 2020. At that online event, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon commended UPF for setting good examples: “I believe that UPF and its broad set of partnerships in the realms of politics, religion, academia, media, economy, arts, women and youth serve as a good model. I believe UPF will become a cornerstone to build lasting peace around the world.”
Five people who had participated in World Summit 2020 in Seoul, Korea, in February gave their impressions and reflections: former MEP and MP Ulla Sandbæk, the chief editor of MediaWatch and a human rights activist; Bashy Quraishy, an author and consultant on minority rights; Birgitte Baadegaard, a speaker and author; Anja Ringgren Lovén, the founder and director of the charitable organization Land of Hope; and Mira C. Skadegard, an assistant professor at Aalborg University and one of the leading experts on discrimination in Denmark.
All five speakers praised the World Summit for being extremely well organized and for being very international, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary. Another “plus” was that the summit gave ample opportunities to meet people whom one normally would not encounter. However, it was remarked that because each continent’s participants stayed in their own hotel, cultural exchange and networking across continents were limited.
It was also noted that women were underrepresented at the summit, especially in the Asian delegations. Our Danish participants suggested that future summits focus on bringing greater numbers of female and young participants. They also said there should be more workshops and more opportunities for question-and-answer sessions and the exchange of views and ideas between all the participants.
At the September 16 meeting, UPF-Denmark Chair Nobuhiro Igarashi introduced the vision and core values of UPF and reported on UPF’s recent major events, both international and local. He emphasized serving others and living for the sake of others by introducing the five UPF peace principles. He also explained about the recent structural innovations within UPF: the six pillars of ISCP, IAPP, IAPD, IAAP, IMAP and IAED.
Mr. Igarashi then introduced UPF’s Ambassador for Peace program and read the text on the Ambassador for Peace certificate.
Thirteen new Ambassadors for Peace had been selected, with eight appointed in the first meeting and five in the second meeting. Several of them had requested to be appointed as Ambassador for Peace. The daughter of an early Danish Ambassador for Peace, Nigar Mobaraki, assisted with presenting the certificates.
Among the new Ambassadors for Peace was Anja Ringgren Lovén, founder of Land of Hope, an organization that is leading the fight to save the thousands of children in Nigeria who are being accused of witchcraft every year.
Anja’s face became recognizable worldwide when a photo of her with a malnourished Nigerian “witch” child went viral on social media in 2016. In the photo, Anja is seen giving the boy some crackers and water, which he drank carefully. She then gently took him up in her arms and went to the hospital. Anja did not think that he would survive.
“When we got him in the car, I looked at my husband and told him we should name him ‘Hope,’” she said. “I didn’t want him to die without a name. I wanted him to die with dignity.”
In 2016, OOOM Magazine chose Anja as No. 1 on its list of “The World's Most Inspiring Person” (with U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis as No. 2 and 3, respectively).
Other Ambassadors for Peace appointed during the August 27 meeting were Lene Gammelgaard, mountaineer, author and founder/CEO of the consulting business Human Innovation; an imam in the Albanian community; the director of Muslim World League Denmark; a spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Community Denmark; a youth representative; and two Jewish women leaders.
In her congratulatory speech, Ambassador for Peace Ulla Sandbæk pointed out the importance of living with the high ideals described on the certificate.
The new Ambassadors for Peace in the second event were all women: a representative from We Make Peace, an NGO raising peace awareness in schools; a chief physician; and three academicians.
At the end of the events Elizabeth Bramsen moved everyone’s heart with two beautiful songs, “Fix You” and “The Rose.”
Both events finished with dinner, togetherness and networking. There was a great familiar atmosphere, and many participants expressed their desire to become more involved in the activities of UPF.