Ethiopia: 1400 Listen to Message of Peace
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, UPF Secretary General
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
July 22, 2006
The UPF Peace Tour party arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia mid-morning on July 21. They were welcomed by a representative of the royal family of Ethiopia and by the deputy mayor of Addis Ababa, and by members of the local TV media.
Ethiopia is an important nation in Africa, with a long, rich and respected history. Addis Ababa is where the headquarters of the African Union is located, and also the African base of the UN’s Economic Commission is based in Africa. As such, all the nations of Africa have Embassies and staff based in Addis. Streets are named after 54 African Nations that make up the African Union.
Ethiopia also has a significant religious heritage that includes many Ethiopian Jews, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and Islam. Significantly, Ethiopia is one of the two African nations, along with South Africa that sent troops as part of the UN Peace Force for the liberation of Korea.
The main event in Ethiopia was a huge success. 1400 people gathered in the beautiful ballroom at the Sheraton in Addis, perhaps the finest hotel in Africa. Those who gathered were so orderly, so handsome, beautiful, attentive, and high level: 55 Members of Parliament, two federal government Ministers, plus religious leaders, academics, and district government ministers.
The invocation was presented by a representative of the Islamic community and a representative of the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition; following their respective prayers, they embraced, and the audience erupted in applause.
The Welcome Remarks were offered by one of Ethiopia’s most respected and well-known scholars and government advisors, Professor Kenfi Abraham, President of the Ethiopian International Institute for Peace and Development and Chief Advisor to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development.
Dr. Abraham spoke about the history of Ethiopia, its current challenges, and the need for peace, and justice as the foundation for development. He expressed his strong appreciation to Mother Moon for coming to Ethiopia, bring a much-needed message of peace. Confident, articulate and knowledgeable, he summarized the history of Ethiopia and the Region, highlighting the difficulties of the current situation, and linked human development in Ethiopia to the establishment of peace and stability, and hence the essential value and need of the message of UPF.
Following the main program and Blessing, several new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed. Later there was a VIP dinner for 70 of the high-level participants.
Remarks at the VIP Dinner with 50 VIPs/AFPs:
President Gidada, (former President of Ethiopia)
Rev. Kwak, Dr. Walsh, AFPS, I am so happy to be among you. Thank you for giving me this chance. You know, as Dr. Kinfe Abraham spoke today, there is so much going on at our borders, and we need peace for development. There has been division in our own country between political parties, and within political parties and between and within ethnic groups and clans. This situation is so difficult to resolve.
Some advocate peace through struggle and conflict. But of course this does not work. There are other ways and the lessons we get from Dr. Moon is that we start with ourselves, asking “are we at peace with God, with our environment, with our spouses and children, neighbors, ethnic groups, religions, etc.” We have to find ways to bring understanding.
The conference today has contributed to our effort and long for peace here in Ethiopia. It is coming at just the right time. Those who are new to this vision should study further. This will help us establish peace in Ethiopia and in places like Lebanon.. In Ethiopia we do not have Christian/Muslim conflict, but other kinds of conflict are still here.
Father Moon calls for interreligious cooperation, and the religious organizations in Ethiopia have a lot more to do to bring peace in this country. I thank UPF for organizing this wonderful meeting today. I congratulate the organizers
Asefa Tombosa: (Central Health College)
I was so impressed today with this meeting, because peace is priceless but we cannot get it easily. This meeting gives us the lessons we need to examine ourselves, our environment. As Mother Moon says, peace begins in the mind and grows outward. Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and Dr. Hyo Jin Moon messages are so important for us here in Ethiopia.
Dr. Haile, (Addis Ababa University)
I have the honor of having two of my students having preceded me, Dr. Nigaso Gidada and Asefa Tombosa, for both were my students. Also I shared the table with a lady who represented the King, who was Miss Africa and “Queen of Africa” three years ago. I also represent a local NGO, the African Peace and Conflict Management Studies. We have considered the issues of peace for a long, long time.
The message of peace that was delivered today by Mother Moon and Hyo Jin Moon represents the dawning of an entirely new world. This type of opportunity occurs only few times for human beings, such as the time of Jesus, or the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the UN, and all this is being accompanied now by the UPF which represents the aspirations for all human beings.
Dr. Mustafa, (Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement)
As you know that Sudan has war in the west and has had war in the south, even in the East. There is negotiation in Darfur area, as well as south and east. On int’l channels we see Lebanon, the Iraq conflict, the wars elsewhere. The world is set on fire, so depressing. Amidst all of this when you hear someone or some organization speaking about peace, such as Mother Moon and Hyo Jin Moon, and about love between all people, and between God and human beings, and breaking down barriers between all religions and nations. This is the hope we have all been looking for. This is the great hope and blessing we need. We want to maximize this message. That is why we are here. We Sudanese love the Ethiopians so much; they are beautiful, polite, wonderful.
Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak:
When I met Father Moon in the early days, there so few followers, and his life was a single life. We easily recognized how he connected to the living God. He did not study in an academic institution, not theology or philosophy. His primary focus was always on his relationship with God. He always taught with such depth and meaning. He always taught with heart and tears.
Even then, he had a deep concern with the Middle East though he lived in Korea, so far away. He invested in interreligious dialogue long before it became widespread. He taught us to work to prevent wars based on religious and racial differences. Why? He knows God’s agony and concern. For God there is no meaning in race or skin color.
I lived with him after the Korean War when Korea had hardly enough food. We often had to fast just because there was no food. In Korea there were so many beggars and orphans. People came to us to beg, but when they saw the food we ate, they left and went elsewhere.
His peace teaching has its origin in God Himself.
Today you heard about the word True Parents, True Father, True Mother. They are the model for us. I myself am a follower seeking to be a True Person, a True Husband, a True Parent, God centered. The common element in all this is “true love.” This is the way of a true love life, to be practices in a three generational family. Not the idea of nuclear family. Children need love of their parents and grandparents love. So three generations is the model family.
In Ethiopia let us think not just of family, but of God-centered, true love family. This is the basis of peaceful society, nation, and world. Around the world there are 100,000 Ambassadors for Peace and all are dedicated to this ideal, and each day are taking steps to improve and embody this ideal.