Unification News for September 1996
The Federation of Island Nations for World Peace
by William Selig-Washington, DC
The first world conference of the Federation of Island Nations for World Peace convened world leaders, statesmen, ambassadors, scholars, and scientists from over forty island countries to discuss the role of island nations in advancing the prospects for world peace. Co-hosted by the Summit Council for World Peace, the Women's Federation for World Peace, and the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace (Japan Chapter), the program was held June 17-18, 1996 in Tokyo, Japan.
At the opening plenary before an audience of more than one-thousand distinguished guests, Mr. Takeru Kamiyama, co-chairman of the World Convention Organizing Committee, explained that Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon's vision for establishing the Federation stemmed primarily from their deep concern that Japan, as one of the most prosperous island nations, fulfill her potential as "Mother of the World."
The Founder's Address by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon was delivered by Mrs. Motoko Sugiyama, President of the Women's Federation for World Peace. According to the Founders, Japan has been able to make miraculous economic strides because of the fortune granted to her from Heaven. The Federation was founded so that Japan could share her heavenly fortune with other island nations by establishing sisterhood relationships.
In his remarks to the assembly, Dr. Bo Hi Pak, co-chairman of the World Convention Organizing Committee, touched on the religious aspect of peace, recalling a quote by the founder, "If we have not achieved peace, it is because people forget its most fundamental aspect. Before we talk about peace among nations, we must settle our peace with God."
The theme of the conference, "The Role of the Island Nations in the 21st Century," represents a new approach to promoting peace in the international arena. Nations of the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Pacific have traditionally had little opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from one another. Delegates, therefore, spent time discussing the characteristics, challenges, and concerns island nations share.
Throughout history, the ocean has been an indispensable avenue for the transmission and reception of culture and ideas. Seventy percent of the world's surface is covered by oceans, and given their geographical locations, island nations constitute an integral part of this make-up. Recognizing this unique characteristic, current Marshall Island President, Amata Kabua said, "Island nations see the ocean as a medium which connects us all, not as a vast barrier which separates."
Dr. Toshio Kawabe, professor emeritus at Tokyo International University, highlighted the constructive roles the sea may play as the Era of the Pacific quickly approaches. It is crucial that nations properly utilize this natural resources for the oceans have the powerful potential to support international cooperation and prosperity.
The Rt. Hon. Michael Moore, former prime minister of New Zealand, examined the economic aspect, identified the greatest immediate threat to the peace and security of island nations as "the power the great exporting and importing nations have to devastate our economies by protectionist walls of tariffs and import control and restrictions."
Environmental and Technological Concerns
After a survey of the challenges, delegates identified a number of new strategies to counter the problems of the post-cold war world. All participants believe that adapting to the changing global landscape and working towards solutions to such problems are necessary steps in ultimately establishing world peace.
Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga, discussed the development of the computer and of atomic energy, and other technological developments affecting growth of the island nations.
Most participants considered the deterioration of the environment a major concern for island nations. Former Prime Minister of Iceland, Steingrimur Hermannsson elaborated on a number of environmental concerns which affect not only island nations, but also all countries of the world. Deforestation, land erosion, the depletion of the ozone layer, nuclear testing, and the use and storage of toxic chemicals in landfills and in oceans all contribute to the degradation of the environment.
The ultimate irony of the situation, as Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney, former prime minister of Canada and keynote speaker noted, is that humanity permits the conduct that brings such destruction and suffering to the world.
"[W]e forgot the fundamentals of civilized life. We forgot the inherent truths taught by all of the world's greatest religions. We forgot the values that promote successful family life. We forgot the strength of fraternity and the importance of dialogue amongst human beings of different backgrounds. We forgot, as President [Lyndon] Johnson once said, that `jaw, jaw, jaw, is better than war, war, war.'"
Family Values Can Pull Us Together
Many participants emphasized that the loss of family values and traditions has contributed significantly to the rise of the insidious problems prevalent throughout today's societies. Former Ireland Prime Minister, Albert Reynolds said, ". . . the seeds of real peace in any country are sown in the family home. From there it permeates communities, then countries, and then continents. World peace starts at home in every home. We are all interdependent."
"We now have a framework in which island nations can actually accomplish something. There is a spirit of collective action and shared solidarity; with this one voice the smaller nations of the world will be heard," said Marc Louis Bazin, former prime minister of Haiti.
Other speakers included the former prime minister of Australia, Sir John Gorton; the current speaker of the House of Solomon Islands, Paul Tovua; the former Minister of Finance and Economics of Fiji, Tomasi Vakatora; and many other eminent statesmen.
For the participants, the conference was an opportunity to establish a support network with their counterparts around the world, an invaluable resource for continually learning through shared experiences. The spiritual essence of the gathering was as intense as the substantive discourse.
Hon. Alison Clark of New Zealand offered encouraging remarks to the delegates at the closing assembly. "This convention brought old friends together and provided every one with the opportunity to meet new friends. Don't forget the vision when you return to your respective homeland; put it to good use as we enter the next century."
Other observations and recommendations included:
Lord Healey, former chancellor of the exchequer, United Kingdom noted there is an urgent need to build and strengthen global institutions through which nations can address global problems.
Joel C. Hart, member of the Executive Board of the Independent Party of Tahiti said, "We would like to propose that this convention remind all colonial nations of their obligation"clearly stated in UN charter" that they conduct their colonies to their independence."
Hon. Stephanos A. Stephanou, Deputy Secretary General, Democratic Party, Cyprus called to "exercise pressure on both sides to allow reunification through peaceful negotiations."
Mrs. Mavis Holmes-Hanek, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Environment, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, said "[The Ministry of Health and Environment] would like to invite [the Federation] to consider creating workshops, symposia, forums, etc. in conjunction with the ministry in order to develop policies beneficial to all mankind."
Hon. Paul B. Chow, member of the National Assembly, Seychelles Islands emphasized the importance of distinguishing between the bigger and smaller island nations because of the tendency of smaller island nations to emulate the world's metropolises. Perhaps, he said, it is better for smaller island nations to look to the bigger island nations, such as Japan, instead.
Hon. Hamilton Greene, former prime minister of Guyana recommended that the Federation target young people, the leaders of the 21st century, in order to give them new hope for a better world. If children are brought together "to pray and play together, instead of fighting, they will keep talking when push comes to shove." Activities for such programs could include the renovation of churches and mosques.
Despite the shortness in time to prepare for the conference, it was a tremendous success. Many letters of welcome were received, including from former UK prime minister Sir Edward Heath, former Canadian Governor-General Edward Schreyer, former Costa Rican president, Mario Echandi of Costa Rica, and former Haitian president, Ertha Trouillot.
The master of ceremonies was Antonio Betancourt, executive director of the Summit Council. The meeting managers included: Takeshi Furuta, Isao Fukui, Hiroshi Matsuzaki and William Selig.
Just a few weeks after the conference, a follow-up seminar was held in Japan to study in-depth the Unification Worldview and its application towards bridging peace among the island nations of the world. Centering upon Japan, the Federation of Island Nations will surely have a busy schedule in the year's ahead and play a major role in the dispensation.
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