The Words of the Kaufmann Family

Seventh World Culture and Sports Festival

Frank Kaurmann
January, 2001

The 7th World Culture and Sports Festival (WCSF) took place in several locations in New York City from January 26 - 30, 2001. Its Convocation of World Leaders, entitled Dialogue and Harmony Among Civilizations: The Family, Universal Values and World Peace, took place this year at the United Nations, and the New York Hilton. It was a memorable and significant gathering, breaking new ground in the pursuit of peace and human welfare.

Organizers are hopeful that an ever widening coalition of like-minded leaders is forming through the steady and consistent investment represented by this conference and such predecessors as Assembly 2000 (August 2000), and the Millennium Declaration conference (October 2000). At these conferences traditional barriers break down, and bridges are built among leaders who often differ from one another along national, and ideological lines. These conferences plumb far deeper values and commitments more easily affirmed by broader than normal spectra of peace activists. We witness therefore new and more fruitful levels of dialogue. Conferees express gratitude for the chance to make unexpected relationships which enrich them both personally, and professionally in our common pursuit for peace.

The Convocation sponsored over 700 participants including sitting and past presidents, as well as epoch-making political figures of recent vintage. Participants hailed from 151 nations. 104 guests were leaders from the world’s great faiths, and others included women and men from the academy, the sciences, and from civil society and the NGO’s community.

Sponsorship for the convocation included The League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Conferences, The Permanent Mission of the Comoros to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, The Permanent Mission of Iran to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Tajikistan to the United Nations, and the Permanent Mission of Uzbekistan to the United Nations. 78 speakers and presenters worked in 17 scholarly panels for the IIFWP, while WANGO ran a full program of deliberations simultaneously throughout the convocation.

Together with ambassadors and their representatives from the sponsoring nations and international leagues and organizations, scholars and activists on various panels amassed this vital corpus of scholarly output.

Additionally, participants had the pleasure to attend, as part of the Convocation, a ceremony commemorating support for the United Nations in its year of Dialogue Among Civilizations. In this ceremony national and religious leaders responded to an appeal from young people representing 151 nations. They were young people engaged to be married, and came to pledge their future families to the cause of peace and ask for blessings and good wishes from nations and religions of the world.

Three couples represented the group present and 1000's of other couples who could not be in New York, but instead were linked by satellite, gathered in 100's of locations around the world. For many, the innocence, purity, and youthful enthusiasm of these young people was deeply moving.

Responses to the appeal of the young couples came from the Right Honorable Hamilton Greene, Former Prime Minister of Guyana, the Right Honorable Jacob Nena, Former President of the Federated States of Micronesia, and His Excellency Assoumani Azzali, President of the Comoros. Religious leaders from 12 traditions offered prayers of blessing for the young couples. At the end, Convocation hosts, Reverend and Mrs. Moon, concluded the ceremony by reciting a four point call to purity, fidelity, and world peace, to which the couples responded in unison with the affirmation "Yes, I do."

The brightly dressed young couples adorned the usually somber halls of the UN, and used its beautiful grounds to pose in colorful groups and commemorate their excitement at being a part of history.

WANGO, IIFWP and sponsoring NGO’s express sincere gratitude to all co-sponsors and to the convening leadership responsible for the success of the Convocation. Appeal now stands that leaders and participants continue to support WANGO, the IIFWP and one another. We welcome critique and advisement for improvement and for program ideas, as well as shared involvement in the on-going work for peace.

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