The Words of the Stone Family
Honiara, Solomon Islands - “Under the motto of One Family under God, everyone can learn to live in harmony,” accords to the chair of the Global Peace Festival-Solomon Islands, Hon. Augustine Taneko, a Member of Parliament.
The declaration given by Rev. Sun Myung Moon on November 29, 1992 in Sydney, Australia, entitled “The Unified World Begins from Oceania” bore substantial fruit exactly 16 years later in the summertime nation of the Solomon Islands through the Global Peace Festival held November 28 and 29, 2008. Paraphrased by many in the Solomon Islands as the “Unified World Begins from the Solomon Islands” and strengthened by Father Moon’s focus on that nation as the future headquarters of the Federation of Island Nations for World Peace, this motto has been the driving force behind the decision to host the Global Peace Festival in its capital Honiara. The vision is to establish the Solomon Islands as a model nation of peace for Oceania and the world.
The GPF comes on the heels of a tumultuous time in the history of the Solomon Islands due to civil wars and riots. The capital Honiara is still recovering from the wounds of ethnic conflicts between the indigenous population of Guadalcanal and migrants from the island of Malaita. Also, a riot that burned down Chinatown left emotional and psychological scars that are painful and worrisome. The Global Peace Festival with its theme “One Family Under God” could not have come at a better time. Its message has been warmly and openly received by the great majority of its leaders and citizens. The GPF is serving as a platform and vehicle to help unite the diverse peoples of the Solomon Islands into one family under God.
The motto of the Solomon Islands GPF was “Unite Solomon Islands as a Model Nation of Peace: One Family under God!” and the support of the partnerships of church groups, the Deputy Commissioner of Police and police force, media institutions, the Honiara City Mayor and Council, as well as popular bands and artists made the GPF Solomon Islands an all-encompassing effort to initiate positive change in the Pacific.
Father Moon has stressed the role of the Solomon Islands and other small island nations of Oceania as taking the lead in setting the precedent to build unity amongst the nations of the Pacific and the world. The prepared spiritual foundation of the Solomons was instrumental in the tremendous success of the GPF, heralding a time of great potential and hope in the Pacific Rim.
The small island nations dispersed in both the northern and southern regions of the Pacific, on either side of the equator, as well as Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Australia, New Zealand and other countries, should become as one country and form one union to sustain peace throughout the Pacific Rim civilization. This will secure peace and stability for all people.
What I am saying to you is that you
have the responsibility to protect and save the oceanic realm, which
is a lifeline on which humanity’s future depends, from the
environmental destruction and conflicts that are worsening by the
day, and to shield the natural resources for the sake of peace in the
Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, March 2007
The International Leadership Conference (ILC) brought together leaders from all spheres to discuss and consider good practices of good governance that lead to peace. The Head of State, H.E. Sir Nathaniel Waena, addressed the audience that included ministers of government, members of parliament, as well as major religious, women and youth leaders. He was the first sitting head of state to address a Global Peace Festival, and his presence at the conference brought great distinction and dignity to the historical event.
The need for reconciliation between the provinces and among different faiths was a major under-current of the conference, whose theme was “Towards a New Paradigm of Leadership and Good Governance for Development and Peace.”
Perhaps the largest event of its kind ever held in the Solomon Islands, the Global Peace Festival inspired and built upon the good will and cooperation of the top spheres of society as well as the grassroots, bringing together a diverse audience of some 15,000 people, almost 30 percent of the entire population of Honiara.
The celebration at Lawson Tama Stadium was preceded by a parade led by the police band and various cultural groups in colorful dress that drew hundreds of on-lookers, well-wishers and participants. The crowd began to swell at the stadium through the afternoon, finally reaching capacity during the main program. They came to watch some of the brightest and most popular cultural groups and musical bands from around the region as well as to hear the words of national and local politicians. These included the representative of the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs Hon. James Tora, Member of Parliament Augustine Taneko, Lord Mayor of Honiara His Worship Andrew Mua, and Pastor Geoffrey Alacky, President of the Solomon Islands Full Gospel Association, speak of the significance of the day and the importance of the Global Peace Festival for the future of the Solomon Islands. National heroes were recognized for their life-long contributions to their communities and nation.
Almost all major groups attended the festival, from the Chinese community to the indigenous inhabitants of Guadalcanal and Malaita, marking the beginning of a new era of reconciliation, harmony, and peace.
A combination of outreach teams and media advertisements informed schools, the media, and the general public about the GPF’s social impact activities, which included the National Song Competition, the Computer Assistance Program, the service projects, and a program of ongoing scholarships.
Starting by serving the community, the Global Peace Festival held a series of publicized clean-up efforts together with schools to demonstrate the culture of “living for the sake of others.” Those who joined the clean-ups garnered the curious gaze of people in Honiara City, who encouraged the volunteers in their efforts, even joining in. One resident of Honiara congratulated the Global Peace Festival for its good job, exclaiming: "Show the people of Honiara how to clean their city."
Twelve scholarships to the Queensland Institute of Commerce and Technology were awarded during the Global Peace Festival. They offer a great opportunity to young up-and-coming leaders to make a positive change in their own lives as a basis for changing their society.
In the lead-up to the main event, schools invited the character education and HIV /AIDS prevention team to give presentations to raise social awareness about critical issues facing the Solomon Islands. The Global Peace Festival has launched social impact programs aimed at dealing with these and other important challenges facing Solomon Islands youth. These programs will be ongoing and will continue to make a lasting impact on the educational system of the Solomon Islands