Bratislava, Slovakia—Dignitaries and UPF representatives from several nations attended the inauguration of the new UPF Peace Embassy.
UPF-Slovakia chose September 21, 2021—the UN International Day of Peace—as an appropriate date on which to open its Peace Embassy in the heart of the Slovak capital. After many years of searching for a suitable office and extensive reconstruction work at the former bank branch, the lucky day had come.
Miloš Klas, the president of UPF-Slovakia, had labored countless hours to oversee and help with the renovation work. He also prepared carefully for the great day. A team of local UPF supporters helped to give the final touch, creating a welcoming environment for the arriving guests.
The location of the facility is perfect—next to a shopping street and the Palace of Justice and several faculties. In front of the building there is a small park with a playground, and in the basement there is a parking garage.
About 40 people attended the inauguration, including several distinguished speakers and UPF supporters from the neighboring nations of Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, including the UPF national leaders.
Due to severe COVID-19 restrictions, only a selected number of regular guests were invited; many said that they felt privileged to join the celebration..
The program started with uplifting melodies played by two flautists from the group Friends of Fujara. After welcoming the participants, UPF-Slovakia President Miloš Klas gave a presentation showing past UPF events held in various locations in Bratislava. “Finally, we have our own facility, and therefore more and varied events may take place,” he said.
UPF delegates from neighboring nations and esteemed supporters gave inspiring messages.
The main speaker was Ján Figeľ, a former European Commission special envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion outside the European Union. He thanked UPF for its long-standing investment for peace in Slovakia and in Europe.
“Education for making peace is very needed,” Mr. Figeľ said. He expressed hope that the new facility will be helpful to expand UPF activities on higher levels.
“Evil’s most influential allies are the three siblings: apathy, ignorance and fear,” Mr. Figeľ said. “UPF can help to eliminate these three influential allies of evil in Slovakia and the world and aid civil courage and boldness.”
Dr. Afsar Rathor, a former UN diplomat and the president of LIOS-SOIL, a Vienna-based ecological NGO, recalled his experiences working for the United Nations in many conflict zones. In line with the UPF motto “Peace starts with me,” he said that everyone can contribute to creating peace; nobody is powerless.
Dr. Roman Joch, the president of the Civic Institute in the Czech Republic, praised the immense contribution of UPF founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon to end communism. He called Reverend Moon one of the most significant figures in recent history and commended the work of UPF.
Priya Raghunatha, the head of the Slovak Hare Krisha group, spoke about joint activities in recent years, hoping that many more will come soon.
To conclude the festivities, the gifted vocalist Anna Repková melted hearts with her wonderful songs. Enjoying the delicious food offered at the banquet that followed, many guests stayed long after the end of the official program.