The Words of the Lozano Family
Madrid, Spain - The Global Peace Tour 2009 arrived in Madrid for an evening of inter-religious dialogue and entertainment, and discussion of ways to strengthen the family and promote an attitude of service to society. The event took place in a downtown hotel of Madrid, Hotel Tryp Atocha, and was attended by 200 people representing all walks of life. Most of the guests were long time friends of our UPF activities, giving the event a kind of family reunion spirit.
Alina Sanchez, a leading soprano in the Opera of Cuba and a long time friend of UPF and cancer survivor made a supreme effort to reappear in one of our programs. Alina sung with all her heart and it was difficult for those who knew the situation she has been going through not to get really touched and shed some tears. Her singing and presence set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Our first speaker, Joaquin Tamames, a banking executive and founder of an organization to promote values in the business world, spoke about the importance of inter-religious dialogue.
He started with a minute of a silent meditation and continued his 10 minutes talk about the development of a thinking beyond just “positive thinking”, going more into a divine thinking, an inner connection with the deepest part of the being as a way to promote peace within and expand this peace to others. It was really amazing to hear a financial director of bank talking in such a way.
Our second speaker, Adoracion Alvarez, has been for many years the public relations person for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in Spain. She spoke on the strengthening of the family from a very personal perspective.
She has been married for many years to a Muslim husband from Morocco and adopted a child from another nationality. Dora explained in a very heartfelt and intimate way the kind of mindset both she and her husband had to go through to make their family a success.
They had to go to the essence of their faith to create a bridge and give a smaller role to the external norms their religions have. Hers was a talk based on experience and the audience could really understand in positive way the richness of a society built on such unconditional bonds.
Our third speaker, to deal with the social work issues, was Jose Manuel Laureiro, director of a public school with a very international student body. Among the 300 students, 20 are from Spain, the rest from around the world.
Many of his students are Muslims, and he himself a Jew. His 10 minutes were really a thrill. He went through the different theories for cultural relations in the field of education and explained why the school teachers went for a special system implementing a complete respect for all cultures, languages and religions. Visiting this school and talking with the children (as I have done several times) is the clearest example of what true love and service can create.
Our main speaker, Dr. Yong Cheol Song, read the peace message, departing many times from the text. I was worried because most Spanish people do not speak English, and communication through translations makes it difficult to move any audience to passion. But somehow the people responded very well, even standing at the end of the speech and clapping for a long time. This is really rare. Spaniards hardly do something they don’t feel, therefore it was a sincere recognition to the words read and also to the effort Dr. Song was making by going from nation to nation in an non-stop tour.
We closed the evening with Alina Sanchez singing a couple a love songs that everyone knew and could sing along. Everyone felt uplifted and could catch a glimpse of what a larger event could be. I challenged the audience, as MC of the program, to bring 20 guests each for next year program. Some of them commented that they are going to start working to make such a program a success.