African Leg of Peace Tour Concludes
Mr. Michael Balcomb, UPF Communications Director
New York, USA
July 25, 2006
The Universal Peace Federation Peace Tour enjoyed great success in Africa, starting in Kenya on July 18th and moving in turn through Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon and Zambia. As well as speaking to more than 10,000 people the tour party had several opportunities to learn more about the joys and the heartbreaks of life in Africa.
Immediately after her arrival in Benin, Mother Moon traveled to a major orphanage in Cotonou.- one of several visited in the region where there is a growing population of African children who lost their parents due to untimely deaths from HIV/AIDS, and in some cases, civil war. On behalf of the Universal Peace Federation and the International Relief Friendship Foundation Dr. Moon offered a gift of $10,000 for the children’s education.
“It reminded me of Korea after the war,” she said of her experience in Cotonou, “Back in the 1950s we too had nothing. When I saw the makeshift tents and crumbled houses on the streets of Benin, it took me back to those days. I see that some African countries are still like Korea after the war, and I hope and believe that they too can prosper as peace is established.”
Negasso Gidada, President of Ethiopia from 1995-2001, welcomed the tour party to Addis Ababa and said that he had learned an important insight into solving the problems of his country. “There has been division in our own country on every level,” he said. “Some still say peace comes through struggle and conflict. But of course this does not work. There are other ways and the lesson we get from Dr. Moon is to start with ourselves, asking are we at peace with God, with our environment, with our spouses and children, and then our neighbors?”
And in Tanzania, another nation scarred by ethnic strife, community leaders were moved by Mother Moon’s vision of marriage as an instrument of peace. “We need this idea of intermarriage for peace between those who have been enemies to one another,” said the Hon. Monica Mbega MP for Iringa Urban. “It may be the only way to move beyond boundaries of race, religion, nationality, tribe, culture.”
The Peace Tour began April 18 in New York and after scheduled stops in South America and Oceania will conclude late August after touching down in 180 countries.