Moscow, Russia - A webinar on the theme “Peace Road 2020 – Connecting People for Peace” was held on Monday 31 August 31, 2020 at 14:00 CET. More than 300 viewers from over 60 countries took part.
The online event was organized by the Universal Peace Federation Europe & Middle East.
The Peace Road Project, its background, vision, and significance as a worldwide peacebuilding project were introduced by some of its main organizers from around the world.
Mrs. Maria Nazarova, Secretary General, UPF Russia, Russian Federation
Maria Nazarova graduated in psychology and social work from Ural State Pedagogical University. She has worked at various organizations affiliated with UPF in both the USA and Japan. She currently serves as the Secretary General of UPF Russia.
The moderator was Mrs. Marya Nazarova, President of UPF Russia.
Dr. 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.
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Katsumi Otsuka, Chairman of UPF Europe & Middle East and Vice Chairman of World Peace Foundation reminded us that the Peace Road was founded by the Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his wife Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon to realize world peace by connecting people beyond cultural, religious and national borders.
Prof. Yeon Ah Moon, Chair, UPF Korea, South KoreaProf. Yeon Ah Moon is Chair, UPF-Korea. Previously she served as President of Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP) International and WFWP Korea. She graduated from Ewha Womans University in Seoul with a degree in sociology and earned a master's degree from the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York. Professor Moon has served as a professor in the Sociology, Theology, and Pure Love Studies Departments at Sun Moon University in Korea, and is still a professor there in Women's Studies.
Prof. Yeon Ah Moon, Chair, UPF Korea, explained that through the Peace Road Project, where people around the world can communicate, cooperate and become one through a peace vision that transcends countries, races and cultures, we will be able to expand the path of reconciliation and cooperation in Europe and the Middle East.
Dr. Thomas Walsh, Chairman, UPF International, President, World Peace Road Foundation, USADr. Walsh is the Chairman of UPF International, Secretary General of the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation and President of the World Peace Road Foundation. He has been a teacher, author, and editor specializing in the areas of interfaith, religious studies, peace studies, philosophy, and social theory. Dr. Walsh serves on the International Council of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and the International Coalition for Religious Freedom. He has contributed to and edited more than 30 books related to interfaith, peacebuilding and renewal of the United Nations. He is also the President of the World Peace Road Foundation.
The opening address was given by Dr. Thomas Walsh, Chairman of UPF International and Chairman of the World Peace Road Foundation.
The flagship project of the World Peace Road Foundation is the International Peace Highway Project, which was first announced in 1981 by the UPF founders at the 10th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences in Seoul, Korea.
He quoted the Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the project speaking about the importance of roads in history: “The ancient Silk Road was not simply a trade route (…). It was also a vehicle for the people of the East and West, and for Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity to meet. The different cultures intermingled and gave rise to a new culture. The International Peace Highway will play a similar role in the 21st century…. It is perverse to start wars and squander hundreds of billions of dollars. The time has come for us to beat our swords into ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks …”.
He also quoted a passage from Dr. Hak Ja Han’s speech delivered at the inauguration of UPF in September 2015: “For the sake of peace and human welfare, I propose that we build a passage for transit across the Bering Strait…. This passage …. will link an International Highway System that will allow people to travel on land from Africa’s Cape of Good Hope to Santiago, Chile, and from London to New York, across the Bering Strait, connecting the world as a single community”.
Also President Putin, at a 2007 conference on Russia’s rail development strategy, said: “We need transportation access to the sparsely inhabited regions of the country and promising industrial zones…”.
Report from Korea
Dr. Gwang-suk Song, vice president of UPF Korea and president of Peace Road Korea reported on the One Korea Peace Road 2020 rally, which was held from 17 July – August 29 in support of the reunification of the Korean peninsula. Seventy international students were running 800 kilometers on behalf of the five continents. Korea Peace Road 2020 focused on the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. In a ceremony at the UN cemetery in Busan, tribute was paid to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for peace. Local bicycle club members, who share a desire for a peaceful world of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values, joined the Peace Road Bike Team.
Ambassador Chung Tae-ik, Honorary President, Korean Council of Foreign Relations (2014-2016), President, Korean Chapter, World Peace Road Foundation, South KoreaAmbassador Chung is the Honorary President of the Korean Council on Foreign Relations, of which he served as the 20th president from 2014 to 2016. He also served as the ROK Ambassador to Russia, Italy, and Egypt. Ambassador Chung received a master’s degree in International Law from Seoul National University Graduate School and his BA in Law from Seoul National University. He currently serves as the President of the Korean Chapter of the World Peace Road Foundation, South Korea.
Ambassador Chung, former honorary president of the Korean Council of Foreign Relations, former ambassador to Russia, Italy and Egypt, and current president of the Korean chapter of the World Peace Road Foundation, suggested to organize a Peace Road Forum. Because of the pandemic the international community is isolated. We need connection. Webinars like this one are a very effective means to reconnect the world to promote peace, he said.
Professor Allan Hokanson, Sun Moon University, South KoreaAllan Hokanson joined the Unification Movement in 1972 and has been involved in various activities in the marine and oceanographic industries in the United States, In 2003, he relocated to South Korea, where he was a Professor of English at Sun Moon University until 2013. Since 2014, he has been the main organiser of the Peace Road Korea project.
Professor Allan Hokanson of Sun Moon University, Korea, who since 2014 has been training the international students for the Peace Road rallies, said that he could do it thanks to the strong faith of the participants, which helps them to go beyond their limits.
Professor Hokanson hopes to start a bike rally from Cape Good Hope to Korea on March 1st, 2021 and that he will be joined along the way by riders from 160 nations. He is sure that this event will focus on the ideal of peace. In conclusion, he reminded us that peace will not come from the average strong man, but only through the heart of a true mother.
Erika Azevedo, a Brazilian international student at Sun Moon University, South Korea, spoke next. Initially, she was afraid she would not finish the rally. However, thanks to the unity in her team they made it. When finishing the bike rally, she felt grateful, but also sad she could not ride on to Pyongyang, North Korea.
Report from Japan
Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, Chairman, UPF Japan; Vice Chair, World Peace Road Foundation, JapanMr. Masayoshi Kajikuri is a graduate of Sun Moon University in Korea and has served in many leadership positions of the Unification Movement, including: President of Japanese Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) in 2007; President of YFWP Japan in 2010; Board Member of the International Highway Foundation; and Secretary General of UPF Japan in 2015. Since 2017, he has served as President of UPF Japan, President of the International Federation for Victory over Communism (IFVOC) and President of the Federation for World Peace (FWP) Japan.
Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, chairman of UPF Japan, vice chair of the World Peace Road Foundation and board member of the International Highway Foundation, first gave the history of the Peace Road Movement in Japan, by taking us back to 2013 when some youngsters started the Peace Bike Project in support of friendship between Japan and Korea and the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula and world peace. This year Peace Road cyclists visited 40 cities in Japan. In Kyushu, which suffered flood damage in July, the participants collected around $2,000 to the devastated area in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Mr. Kajikuri went on saying that one of the main goals of the Peace Road Movement since its conception, has been the Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel for Peace & Prosperity in Asia. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Karatsu, Japan in 1986. The tunnel will be 235 kilometers long, which is five times longer than the Channel Tunnel. At a Japan-Korean Summit Meeting in 2O10, the two governments included the Japan-Korea tunnel as one of 21 projects in support of a new era for Japan and Korea.
Mrs. Kanna Yamada, who participated in Peace Road Japan rally this year, said that the rally not about words, but actions. She gave the example of one Korean woman who married a Japanese man. As part of the Peace Road Rally she visited a Japanese shrine for worship. This is a wonderful example of an intercultural marriage, love and forgiveness. It gave Mrs. Yamada the hope that Peace starts in her city and can be spread from one city to the other by Peace Road rallies.
Report from the United States of America
Dr. Michael Jenkins, President, UPF International, USADr. Michael Jenkins serves as the President of UPF International, President of The Washington Times Foundation, Chairman of The Washington Times Holdings, and Chairman Emeritus of the American Clergy Leadership Conference. Dr. Jenkins has been active in the Northeast Asia Peace Initiative and the Middle East Peace Initiative, from 2003 to the present. He has coordinated seven Washington Times Fact Finders to Korea on Denuclearization and Peaceful Reunification since 2015.
Dr. Michael Jenkins, President of UPF International and President of the Washington Times Foundation and chairman emeritus of the American Clergy Leadership Conference.
The Peace Road this Summer was very special as it was decided to go to city after city with young leaders, so that they would experience the meaning of the International Peace Highway and talk with clergy and Ambassadors for Peace in more than 60 cities in 47 states. More than 70 events were organized in a 21-day period. For the last leg of the rally some participants flew by bush plane to the Bering Sea in Alaska. As Alaska and Russia are not far apart, they could see the real practicality of a bridge being built between the two countries.
Mr. Joshua Holmes, leader of the Peace Road team that went all across America spoke next. He recalled the visit of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, affectionately called Mother Moon, to Goree Island, Senegal, in January 2018. From this place most of the millions of slaves were shipped to the Americas. Mother Moon prayed to liberate the hearts and the spirit there, thus exemplifying and leading the way of reconciliation in this day and age. Because of the incredible protests and riots in the USA in the wake of the death of George Floyd , the theme of this year’s Peace Road rally was ‘Reconciling all People’. The places that were visited had seen either much suffering, or victory in the history of America. People committed to peace and building the international highway were asked to sign the Peace Road 2020 proclamation. At the Bering Sea the participants realized the torch of peace needs to be carried on across international boundaries.
Moderator Marya Nazarova said that the reconciliation tour was like a new revival of the United States. As she is Russian, she fully agrees that the bridge or tunnel should be built at the Bering Strait.
Report from Europe and Eurasia
Mr. Konstantin Krylov, Vice-President for Eurasia, UPF Europe and Middle East, Russian FederationKonstantin Krylov, Russia. Master of theoretical physics, specialist in English and French translation graduated from the Russian Peoples' Friendship University. From 1999 to 2013, he was the deputy Secretary General of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace in the former Soviet Union nations. Since 2002, he is the editor in chief of the World of Morals Russian language magazine. In 2013, he was appointed Secretary General of the Universal Peace Federation in Eurasia. In this period, he coordinated the South Caucasus Peace Initiative, Baltic Dialogue project, Eurasian segment of the Northeast Asia Peace Initiative and Peace Road activities in the former Soviet Union area and has travelled to more than 50 countries. Presently, he is the vice-president for Eurasia at UPF Europe and the Middle East.
Mr Konstantin Krylov, Vice-President of UPF Europe and Middle East for Eurasia, was the next speaker. This Summer a team of 40 runners, between 7 and 85 years old, covered 1112 kilometers throughout Russia, starting from Red Square in Moscow. They called on 20 cities where they were welcomed by local mayors and enjoyed television coverage many times. The team leader was awarded a special grant by President Putin. Last year a similar team of young runners were given a special reception at the Russian Senate and UPF was recognized as a co-host. These activities, said Mr. Krylov, are taking place in the former communist world, a union of nations without borders. However, the unification of those nations and ethnic groups was achieved by force, which eventually led to division and suffering rather than the promised unity and harmony.
The complicated region of East Europe touches North Korea and includes the former communist nations in the Balkans, Baltics and today’s hotbeds of tension in Ukraine, Belarus, etc. Communism spread from Moscow one century ago. Now we spread peace with our activities. The Peace Road, in the first place, means the restoration of the brotherhood of nations and reconciliation. At this moment a solo Peace Road walker, a young Ambassador for Peace is continuing his road from the center of Russia towards India. So far, he has collected more than $25,000 worth of donations in support of children’s hospitals.
Dr. Michael Balcomb, Regional Chair, FFWPU Europe and the Middle East, United KingdomDr. Michael Balcomb currently serves as the Regional Chair of the Family Federation for World Peace for the combined 72 nations of Europe, the Middle East and Eurasia. Previously he served as the President of the Family Federation USA from 2013 to 2017. He was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria in 1957, educated in England and the United States, and joined the Unification Movement in California in 1976. He and his wife Fumiko have five children — two girls and three boys —aged from 30 to 20, all still living in the US.
In conclusion, Dr. Michael Balcomb, chairman of the Family Federation for World Peace Europe, the Middle East and Eurasia, wondered why we do not have a peace highway yet. He gave three reasons: fear for the unknown, finance and misunderstanding.
He first referred to the well-known saying that all roads lead to Rome. Actually, those roads did not only lead to Rome, but were used by the legions to quell any rebellion in the outposts of the Empire. Mother Moon, he said, has often referred to the success of Britain and France, in building the Channel Tunnel. Plans for a tunnel were first proposed in 1802, but fear had to be overcome first and trust between the two former enemies had to be created.
As to the financial cost, Mother Moon has said that not building a Peace Road would cost many times more. In 2005 the costs to build the tunnel as part of the International Highway of Peace were estimated at $3 billion. Since then more than $3 trillion have been spent on war.
Even more fundamental misunderstanding exists about where peace begins. Mother Moon has taught that peace starts with me and so does the road to peace. Mr. Balcomb congratulated all those, young and old, who have participated in this years’ Peace Road events. Building a peace road cannot be delegated, we have to take the lead and call for action, he said. Mr. Balcomb said he feels encouraged and hopes his children and grandchildren won’t have to ask why there is no peace road yet but, rather, that they will ask why it took so long. After hearing the many testimonies from all over the world, he feels closer to a world united by a highway of peace.