December 11, 2009

Prime Minister Odinga Welcomes Hyun Jin Moon, Gobal Peace Festival to Kenya

Posted in Charitable tagged at 8:08 am by hyunjinmoon

Dr. Hyun Jin Moon was greeted by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his wife Ida, who joined an international delegation that included seven former heads of state and more than 120 members of parliament, spiritual leaders and a crowd of more than 10,000 Kenyans to kick off Nairobi’s Global Peace Festival (GPF).

“This is an important day for Kenya and for Africa,” said Odinga, who came to office after a historic power-sharing agreement with political rival President Mwai Kibaki ended a period of post-election violence. “It is a new beginning in the quest for our nation to be once again known as a nation of peace and security.”

In the festival’s keynote address, Moon urged Kenyans to take pride in their nation and Africa’s role as the cradle of civilization.

“The message of ‘one family under God’ should be a clarion call for this age,” he said. “The power of one human family united can quell the turmoil of conflict throughout the world, from the conflict in the Middle East, the remnant of the Cold War in Korea, and poverty, disease and civil strife in Africa.”

The festival – one of 20 held worldwide in 2008 that attracted more than 1 millions people – closed with a concert featuring some of Kenya’s top entertainers, including gospel and rap stars Jua Cali, Bilenge Musica, Kanji, and others.

Mongolians Rally at Global Peace Festival with Hyun Jin Moon

Posted in Charitable tagged at 8:02 am by hyunjinmoon

In a dramatic display of national pride and unity, the citizens of Mongolia expressed a commitment to peace and prosperity at the Global Peace Festival (GPF) in Ulaanbaatar.  Just weeks after disputed elections brought the nation to the brink of civil war, Sukhbaatar Square was once again filled with huge crowds. This time, however, they sang and danced for peace.

The Festival marked the culmination of several days of activities including a cit-wide service effort, a youth arts competition, speaking, dancing and song contests, and an International Leadership Conference that drew delegates from Europe and Asia.

“Mongolia, Eurasia and the whole world need a new vision of peace for the 21st Century,” said keynote speaker and GPF founder Dr. Hyun Jin Moon. “Unlike the secular thinking of our recent past, it should be a spiritual vision, rooted in universal values. Although territorial, ethnic and national divisions, and broken economic and social ties all provoke instability, uncertainty and violence, the nations and peoples of this region need a new peace initiative based upon our common values. That vision, of one family under God, is the clarion call of our age.”

Hyun Jin Moon Leads Mindinao Peace Initiative

Posted in Charitable tagged at 8:01 am by hyunjinmoon

Building on the success of Global Peace Festivals in Manila and the southern Philippine island of Mindanao last year, the Mindanao Peace Initiative was launched today in communities across the island and in the Philippine House of Representatives.

Mindanao Governor Khalid Dimaporo of Lanao Del Norte introduced Global Peace Festival (GPF) President Hyun Jin Moon to a crowd of thousands of youths in Tubod, along with leading R&B artist JR, who together with entertainer Pops Fernandez has joined in support of GPF peace-building initiatives across the island nation. Governor Dimapora noted that GPF events and cross-cultural initiatives in Mindanao last September represented a transformative turning point in efforts to show that the people of Mindanao ascribe to a lasting culture of peace.

Lanao Del Norte officials and tribal leaders awarded Hyun Jin Moon the honor of “adopted son” in the region, in part for his successful Global Peace Festival in Mindanao that immediately followed the wake of terror attacks after the breakdown of the peace process in August 2008.

“The Global Peace Tour and the Global Peace Festivals are promoting a platform of interfaith cooperation, strengthening the family, and a culture of service for the sake of renewing our communities and nations,” said Moon. “We are looking for nothing less than a moral and spiritual awakening rooted in the universal vision of one family under God. The family is the cornerstone of peace.”

Hyun Jin Moon urged Philippine leaders to “build on these efforts and create a grassroots movement that will spread into a global culture of serving others.”

Following a packed rally with young leaders at the Araneta Coliseum, the opening plenary of the  Global Peace Tour 2009 was convened in the Philippine House of Representatives with Congressmen Datu Pax Mangudadatu and Jose De Venecia, together with the Deputy Speaker of the House and other Congressional representatives.

An international delegation of GPF leaders then traveled to Mindanao to announce the Mindanao Peace Initiative.  Chaired by Dr. Estrella Abid Babano, Director for the Department of Education in Region 10, and co-chaired by Father Benjamin Beltran, Director of the Sandiwaan Foundation in Lanao Del Norte, the Mindanao Peace Initiative also includes representatives of Muslim, Christian, and indigenous communities, the Armed Forces, business, academia, and youth leaders.

Mindanao’s Global Peace Festival followed more than 20 events held in 2008 that attracted more than 1 million people committed to a worldwide vision of peace and interfaith harmony.

Hyun Jin Moon celebrates with 20,000 Brazilians in gathering for peace

Posted in Charitable tagged at 8:00 am by hyunjinmoon

As more than 20,000 people filled the Nelson Nilson stadium in Brasilia last December for Brazil’s Global Peace Festival (GPF), event Chairman Bishop Manoel Ferreira took a moment to reflect on the country’s “urgent moral and spiritual problems.”

“Although Brazil has its share of social and economic problems, the most urgent problems facing its people are not primarily material or economic, but moral and spiritual,” said Ferreira. “Governments can’t solve these problems alone. We have to empower our nation’s youth and heal our families. We need to restore our traditional values.”

Brazil has been a leader in faith-based programs, with churches tackling problems as substance abuse, alcoholism, domestic abuse, and other challenges faced by families among the nation’s 180 million inhabitants.

“This is a very important time for Brazil,” said Ferreira, a Federal Deputy in the Brazilian Congress and President of the 9-million member Assemblies of God fellowship in Brazil. “We are one of the fastest-growing nations in the world, and it is time for us to show the world what we can do.”

The enthusiastic crowd assembling before Ferreira in the Brazilian capital city on December 7th represented a cross-section of the country’s diverse population. The festival included representatives from hundreds of churches, mosques, synagogues, schools, and communities who participated in a gala that included traditional Indian dances, a father-and-son horse parade, and performances by many of Brazil’s top Christian and country entertainers, including crossover multi-platinum recording artist Frank Aguiar.

The gala followed a panel held by the church’s National Congress, in which faith and community leaders discussed ways to bring fresh perspectives to the Brazil’s political leaders. The event attracted more than 400 participants from diplomatic missions, non-governmental organizations and other community members from the Brazilian capital.

Panelist Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, international president of the Global Peace Festival, outlined GPF objectives:  interfaith cooperation, strong families, and the creation of a culture of service. He urged the participants to consider the creation of a “global peace corps” that would give young Brazilians an opportunity to serve the region and the world.

“Imagine young people from enemy nations and from different faiths working side by side in service,” he said. “Any initial misunderstandings and suspicions would fade away as they sweat, cry and laugh together with a common purpose and cause.  Serving others can be one of the fastest ways to a world of peace.”

Earlier in the day, young GPF volunteers had joined local residents to plant 150 trees and paint band shelters and playgrounds as part of United Nations International Volunteer Day in the nearby city of Gama.  Coordinated by John Breyer, director of the Brazilian Chapter of the International Relief Friendship Foundation, the event was covered by local TV stations and the newspaper, Tribuna do Brasil.

“This program has been very well supported by our community,” said Gama Mayor Donizete Andrade. “Together with our police and fire departments, community health agents and schools, it’s good to see federal agencies represented here to help.”

Hyun Jin Mood Leads Nairobi River Peace Initiative

Posted in Charitable tagged at 7:58 am by hyunjinmoon

An international multi-sector service alliance is joining with Kenyan citizens to restore the endangered Nairobi River and advance an innovative model of peace-building.

Nairobi was once called the “Green City in the Sun,” its name taken from the Maasai phrase enkare nairobii meaning “a place of cool waters.” In recent decades, though, Nairobi’s abundant wildlife, forest groves, and labyrinthine wetland ecosystems have given way to unchecked urbanization. Modern Nairobi, the largest city and commercial hub of East Africa, is now the home to some of Africa’s largest and most squalid slums. By 1993, informal squatter settlements housed about 55 per cent of the city’s population, now numbering more than 3 million.

The Nairobi River, once the jewel in the crown of Kenya’s waterways, is today awash in toxic industrial waste and refuse from the burgeoning city. Lorries and buses regularly dump trash from industrial sites and medical facilities, which spread dangerous pathogens. Among the worst polluters are the slaughterhouses in Dagoretti, which contaminate the river with toxic levels of coliform bacteria, and the Dandora Municipal Dumping site, which receives most of the city’s solid waste.

Bordering the river, and both contributing to the toxic chemistry of the Nairobi’s waters and suffering its ill effects, are residents of Nairobi’s sprawling slums. Residents of these unregulated and informal settlements endure floods, land slides, and health risks from water-borne contaminants. Overcrowding and unstable social networks have contributed to a vicious cycle of poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation on the banks of the once-pristine river.

Compounding these problems, the disputed 2007 presidential election led to the worst unrest since Kenya’s independence from Britain in 1963. The post-election violence cost the lives of some 1,300 people, left 300,000 homeless and damaged Kenya’s reputation as a stable democracy.

Global Peace Festival

The loss of life and daunting social and environmental challenges, including the loss of habitat for East Africa’s renowned wildlife, have awakened the resolve of Kenyans to reclaim the treasured Nairobi River and to invest in strategies for sustainable peace among the county’s diverse ethnic population. In August 2008, a major supporter arrived in Nairobi—the Global Peace Festival (GPF)—whose program of interfaith service, environmental stewardship, and cultural celebration drew a warm response from Kenyans across the economic and political spectrum.

“This is an important day for Kenya and for Africa,” Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga declared at the GPF’s main event. “It is a new beginning in the quest for our nation to be once again known as a nation of peace and security. We long for the day when our nation can again be proud of this river, which could provide water to millions.”

Launched a year earlier by the Harvard-educated peace entrepreneur and Service For Peace founder Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, the Global Peace Festival has brought together more than a million peace-minded people in nations on every continent. A key to the GPF’s success is the grassroots support of many local partnering groups and the organization of service projects that enlist volunteers across religious and ethnic boundaries, particularly in conflict zones. In Nairobi, festival organizers zeroed in on the Nairobi River and launched a cleanup effort that brought thousands of volunteers to the banks of the river in the largest such mobilization effort in Kenya’s history.

In March 2009, the United Nations Habitat world headquarters in Nairobi hosted the International Young Leaders Summit organized by the Youth Federation for World Peace (YFWP) and Global Peace Festival (GPF), in partnership with Kenya’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Martin Luther King III’s Realizing the Dream, the PLO Lumumba Foundation, Vision 2030 Secretariat, National Youth Parliament, Junior Chamber International Nairobi Central, Nation Media Group, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, and Safaricom, Ltd.

The Summit adopted the GPF’s model of service by again mobilizing volunteers with a large river cleanup and tree-planting initiative, profiled on Kenya National Television. The Global Peace Service Alliance (GPSA) was launched at the Summit along with the Nairobi River Peace Initiative. GPSA is building an international service corps joining volunteers, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and faith-based groups in a mission of peace-building through volunteer service.

The Nairobi River Peace Initiative

The Nairobi River is emblematic of a changing continent. Africa’s natural wonders and diverse cultural traditions form an important part of the world’s heritage. Many of Africa’s environmental challenges have arisen in the context of growing urbanization, weakening of traditional socializing institutions—notably the extended family—and ethnic divisions exacerbated by political instability.

The Global Peace Service Alliance has inaugurated the Nairobi River Peace Initiative not only as an environmental project but as part of a comprehensive program that includes youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, and sustainable peace building. For example, the GPSApartnering Coalition for Character Building and Community Development has initiated character education and leadership training to reinforce values of personal integrity and social responsibility. These programs, with support from GPF and the Administrative Police, include mentoring and peace education in Mombasa, Nairobi, and the Molo/Rift Vally.

YFWP has hosted Sports for Peace in the western region of Matunda and is making ongoing appointments of Young Ambassadors for Peace who take the principles of living for others into their communities. Notably, the captain of Kenya’s internationally recognized Sevens Rugby Team, Humphrey Kayange, has personally backed the Sports for Peace initiative since becoming a Young Ambassador for Peace himself at the International Young Leaders Summit.

The Nairobi River Peace Initiative thus envisions environmental restoration in part as a methodology for peace building, where volunteers from every sector of Kenyan society work side by side to restore the national treasure that was the Nairobi River. “Those who are here today, young and old alike,” said the noted Kenyan constitutional lawyer and leader for national unity PLO Lumumba, “have come here to say, ‘We want to reclaim our river, we want to reclaim the environment, we want to make Nairobi a clean city in the sun, a city that will take its pride of place among cities of the world that have rivers running through them.”

“This is a project that won’t be a one day scenario,” Martin Luther King III told Kenya Television News, “but over time we’ve seen rivers cleaned up all over the world. And this river can be like other rivers . . . to provide fresh water for Kenyans.”

The offices of the Prime Minister and the Environment have initiated a stipend for unemployed Kenyan youth to clean the river basin. Other Nairobi Peace Initiative partners are stepping forward to scale up the river restoration project, including an “adopt a tree” initiative that will be supported with a GPF seed grant. More resources are needed for the river restoration project! The Adopt a Tree program will involve the affected  communities in conservation, sanitation, and tree planting in water catchment areas. “Our objectives are to empower the communities with environmental management skills and to generate youth jobs from biodiversity resources,” explains project coordinator Japheth Ouda.. “These communities are the real stakeholders in a clean Nairobi River, and the project can provide a platform for change in many areas, including youth empowerment, gender disparities, and economic opportunity.”

Kenya Rising

On a recent trip to Nairobi, GPSA Director David Caprara and Taj Hamad, Secretary General of the World Association of Nongovernmental Organizations, met with youth service, government, faith-based, media, and business officials to enlist further support for the river restoration and broader goals of peace building in Kenya. They discussed plans to promote international youth service exchanges, and Kenyan GPF organizers also met with the leadership of Jamii Bora, a microenterprise project inspired by Grameen Bank founder and Nobel Prize winner Muhamad Younis. The Global Microcredit Summit will be held in Nairobi from April 7- 10, 2010, and Caprara sees strategic purpose in a combining a bottom-up peace- through-service initiative with microcredit loans that empower developing world citizens to address their own needs. “

“Jamii Bora in Swahili means ‘strong’ or ‘better families’,” Caprara says. “We laud these grassroots initiatives of service, engaging in a comprehensive peace building vision rooted in the family from all sectors of Kenyan society.

“When the Global Peace Festival came to Nairobi, it made the young people reflect on their lives,” said Ida Odinga, wife of the Kenyan Prime Minister, at a GPF-sponsored conference in London in November 2008. “We saw those 30,000 young people from different ethnic backgrounds and different religious backgrounds coming together with one destiny — recognizing the importance of being Kenyans and the importance of belonging to one family under God. They came together and said, ‘We want to promote peace and improve our environment.”

Mrs. Odinga particularly praised the river cleanup and the active involvement of young people in the restoration effort: “They know that unless they do something now to clean the river and make sure it remains clean, they have no future. The Nairobi River belongs to them. Nairobi, the city, belongs to them. They feel proud to go and work for these things. It has given them an idea of what they can do with themselves.”

Hyun Jin Moon’s Global Peace Festival makes history as one of Japan’s largest interfaith gatherings

Posted in Charitable tagged at 7:57 am by hyunjinmoon

In what may have been one of Japan’s largest-ever interfaith gatherings, 50,000 people packed Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium for a Global Peace Festival (GPF) that was the culmination of months of community service and outreach aimed at encouraging the country – already a strong player in aid and environmental issues – to become a global force for peace.

GPF international president Hyun Jin Moon praised Japan for its strong record of providing development aid, and called for Japanese citizens to become more involved in voluntary peacemaking and service efforts in Japan and around the world.

“I’d like to see Japan’s community and volunteer partners joining with those of other countries to establish a global peace corps,” said Moon. “Imagine if young people from enemy nations worked side by side in service.  Any initial misunderstandings and hatred would fade away as they sweat, cry, and laugh together with a common purpose and cause.”

Participating in the festival were more than 100 local non-governmental and community service partners, five of which were presented awards for exemplary work in support of United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

The nationwide community service projects that preceded the festival included a bottle-cap-recycling drive started by schoolchildren in Tokyo.  Spurred on by a goal of collecting 400 caps each, children at the festival turned in more than a million caps, enough to provide vaccinations for thousands of needy children throughout Asia.

Welcomed by Professor Hiroo Suzuki, Chair of the GPF Japan Executive Committee, festival participants heard speeches by Japanese TV personalities and were entertained by the Mongolian singing sensation Nominjin and the Kawagoe Fuji Children’s Drum Groups.

In attendance was a large delegation from the International Leadership Conference, which included former heads of state, as well as congressional representatives from 55 countries who also joined religious leaders for a “merging of the waters” ceremony that symbolizes unity of the world’s major faiths.

“No nation is doing more for global peace than Japan, whose foreign policy is focused on helping reduce poverty in the world,” said keynote speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr., a long-time Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives.  “But no democracy or any other governmental system can succeed without a moral basis, without moral moorings, without a spiritual dimension, without a global ethic, without moral values.”

Japan’s Global Peace Festival was one of 20 events held in 2008 that attracted more than 1 million people committed to the vision of peace and “one family under God.”

Hyun Jin Moon Joins Paraguayan Officials and Entertainers Gathered for Peace

Posted in Charitable tagged at 7:56 am by hyunjinmoon

As Paraguay’s Cultural Peace Festival participants looked skyward from Asuncion’s historic Plaza de Armas outside the National Congress today, soldiers borne by helicopter fast-roped into the crowd carrying flags of Paraguay, the United Nations and Global Peace Festival – a dramatic kick-off for a gathering in support of global harmony and interfaith cooperation.

After remarks by the President of the Congress and other government representatives, Thomas Field, President of the new Global Peace Foundation of Paraguay, introduced Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, who spoke to the gathering about the importance of unity among nations and people as ‘one family under God’.

Taped for an April broadcast on Paraguay national television, the four-hour program that followed included musical performances by 23 different acts, including local music icon Quemil Yambay, who received a GPF award.

The festival was the culmination of recent cooperation between the GPF and the nation of Paraguay. Dr. Moon visited the country in February and July 2008 to deliver speeches at the National Congress Hall and Olympia Stadium. Previously, the Women’s Federation for World Peace, also sponsored by the Global Peace Foundation of Paraguay, was attended by more than 350 female leaders of the country, including representatives of the Congress and Senate.

Paraguay’s Peace Festival was one of 20 events held in 2008 that attracted more than 1 million people committed to a worldwide vision of peace and interfaith harmony.

Hyun Jin Moon Calls for One Family Under God at Global Peace Festival in Washington

Posted in Charitable tagged at 7:47 am by hyunjinmoon

The grounds of the U.S. Capitol, the seat of American democracy and scene of numerous historic marches and gatherings, served as the setting for the U.S.A. Global Peace Festival (GPF), where a diverse crowd including American civil rights icons and Grammy Award-winning entertainers assembled in August in support of worldwide interfaith harmony.

“The great thing about the festival is that it brings people together with neighbors from other faiths and cultures in a safe encounter,” said event director Paul Murray, Pastor of the Apostolic Lighthouse Church in Baltimore.  “When people see Muslims and Jews from Jerusalem and other trouble spots embracing each other in tears of forgiveness and reconciliation on the stage, they naturally reach out right away to those of other faiths in the crowd.”

Dr. Joseph Lowery, former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and close colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the podium recalled King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered just a short distance away at the Lincoln Memorial.  Invoking the memory of King’s death, he called on GPF participants to create a new movement that would bring King’s vision of peace to the global stage, and referred to participants as the “Joshua Generation,” a term based on the biblical story of how Joshua’s generation led the Israelites into the Promised Land.

“We believe that 40 years is long enough to wander in the wilderness,” said Lowery.  “We must become the Joshua Generation that Martin envisioned, leading the world into a promised land as one family under God.”

Former congressman and civil rights leader Walter Fauntroy, an aide to Dr. King and the principal organizer of King’s historic march on Washington in 1963, electrified the crowd by identifying King’s “dream” with the growing global movement for peace that brought people of all faiths to the National Mall.

“There are those who say we are dreaming if we bring religious leaders together in the cause of peace,” he said.  “They say you are dreaming if you think you can solve the problems of poverty, war, injustice, and hatred. That’s what they said to Martin Luther King in Birmingham.  But we marched until we made that dream a reality.  We’re tired of the wilderness of terror and hatred.  And beginning on this day we are launching a global movement to end the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty.”

Keynote speaker and international GPF president Dr. Hyun Jin Moon told the crowd that “God’s blessings for this country were not for this nation alone, but were meant for all people of the world.”

“America was founded on the principles of the Declaration of Independence,” he said. “This was a secular document but carried profound spiritual authority.  It invited all to come and worship freely in this country. The principles of the Declaration, the dream of religious freedom and human rights grounded in recognition of God is the inheritance of all the world’s peoples.”

Like previous GPF festivals held around the world, Washington’s GPF was preceded by local community outreach and service initiatives conducted in partnership with prominent non-profits and area civic organizations.

Service is just another way of saying ‘I love you,'” said Rev. Mark Farr of the Points of Light Institute.  The Institute, Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington D.C., and more than 242 partner organizations coordinated a citywide day of service.  “Food for Peace” helped fill the shelves of the Capitol Area Food Bank, which had recently revealed that thousands of additional families in the area had become vulnerable to hunger.  Festival attendees brought food from as far away as Chicago.

In another initiative, the Points of Light Foundation worked with area youth to register “a million acts of kindness and service.”

“We do unto others as we would have them do unto us,” said organizer Archbishop George Augustus Stallings. “A million acts of service and kindness may not seem to be associated with peace, but they are the seeds of peace. They make us more compassionate.”

Thousands of children in attendance from more than 25 countries – including refugees from Bosnia and Serbia – expressed a “longing for peace” through the “Children’s Cloth of Many Colors,” a creative work arising from their experiences in societies disrupted by war.

“There’s a purity to the quilt, a vulnerability and an innocence,” said project founder Gerry Eitner.  “It’s the soft, powerful love of children that gives the quilt its amazing power of transformation.  Personal miracles have happened around it before…  Each child has enveloped their cloth with feelings of what peace on Earth would be like for them, and the sweetness and beauty of their creations can be overwhelming.”

Dr. Moon, who holds degrees from Columbia University and the Harvard Business School, founded the Global Peace Festival and other organizations with the objectives of reducing poverty and mitigating conflicts between nations.

“Without a spiritual root, fundamental human rights will continue to be abused,” he said. “Today, true interfaith work means not just tolerance and a willingness to sit together and listen, but a celebration of the essential values that are shared among faiths.  Let us make a solemn pledge to expand the American dream to the whole world, so that all peoples may join together as one family under God.”

Washington, D.C.’s Global Peace Festival was one of 20 events held in 2008 that attracted more than 1 million people committed to a worldwide vision of peace and interfaith harmony.
The grounds of the U.S. Capitol, the seat of American democracy and scene of numerous historic marches and gatherings, served as the setting for the U.S.A. Global Peace Festival (GPF), where a diverse crowd including American civil rights icons and Grammy Award-winning entertainers assembled in August in support of worldwide interfaith harmony.

“The great thing about the festival is that it brings people together with neighbors from other faiths and cultures in a safe encounter,” said event director Paul Murray, Pastor of the Apostolic Lighthouse Church in Baltimore.  “When people see Muslims and Jews from Jerusalem and other trouble spots embracing each other in tears of forgiveness and reconciliation on the stage, they naturally reach out right away to those of other faiths in the crowd.”

Dr. Joseph Lowery, former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and close colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the podium recalled King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered just a short distance away at the Lincoln Memorial.  Invoking the memory of King’s death, he called on GPF participants to create a new movement that would bring King’s vision of peace to the global stage, and referred to participants as the “Joshua Generation,” a term based on the biblical story of how Joshua’s generation led the Israelites into the Promised Land.

“We believe that 40 years is long enough to wander in the wilderness,” said Lowery.  “We must become the Joshua Generation that Martin envisioned, leading the world into a promised land as one family under God.”

Former congressman and civil rights leader Walter Fauntroy, an aide to Dr. King and the principal organizer of King’s historic march on Washington in 1963, electrified the crowd by identifying King’s “dream” with the growing global movement for peace that brought people of all faiths to the National Mall.

“There are those who say we are dreaming if we bring religious leaders together in the cause of peace,” he said.  “They say you are dreaming if you think you can solve the problems of poverty, war, injustice, and hatred. That’s what they said to Martin Luther King in Birmingham.  But we marched until we made that dream a reality.  We’re tired of the wilderness of terror and hatred.  And beginning on this day we are launching a global movement to end the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty.”

Keynote speaker and international GPF president Dr. Hyun Jin Moon told the crowd that “God’s blessings for this country were not for this nation alone, but were meant for all people of the world.”

“America was founded on the principles of the Declaration of Independence,” he said. “This was a secular document but carried profound spiritual authority.  It invited all to come and worship freely in this country. The principles of the Declaration, the dream of religious freedom and human rights grounded in recognition of God is the inheritance of all the world’s peoples.”

Like previous GPF festivals held around the world, Washington’s GPF was preceded by local community outreach and service initiatives conducted in partnership with prominent non-profits and area civic organizations.

Service is just another way of saying ‘I love you,'” said Rev. Mark Farr of the Points of Light Institute.  The Institute, Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington D.C., and more than 242 partner organizations coordinated a citywide day of service.  “Food for Peace” helped fill the shelves of the Capitol Area Food Bank, which had recently revealed that thousands of additional families in the area had become vulnerable to hunger.  Festival attendees brought food from as far away as Chicago.

In another initiative, the Points of Light Foundation worked with area youth to register “a million acts of kindness and service.”

“We do unto others as we would have them do unto us,” said organizer Archbishop George Augustus Stallings. “A million acts of service and kindness may not seem to be associated with peace, but they are the seeds of peace. They make us more compassionate.”

Thousands of children in attendance from more than 25 countries – including refugees from Bosnia and Serbia – expressed a “longing for peace” through the “Children’s Cloth of Many Colors,” a creative work arising from their experiences in societies disrupted by war.

“There’s a purity to the quilt, a vulnerability and an innocence,” said project founder Gerry Eitner.  “It’s the soft, powerful love of children that gives the quilt its amazing power of transformation.  Personal miracles have happened around it before…  Each child has enveloped their cloth with feelings of what peace on Earth would be like for them, and the sweetness and beauty of their creations can be overwhelming.”

Dr. Moon, who holds degrees from Columbia University and the Harvard Business School, founded the Global Peace Festival and other organizations with the objectives of reducing poverty and mitigating conflicts between nations.

“Without a spiritual root, fundamental human rights will continue to be abused,” he said. “Today, true interfaith work means not just tolerance and a willingness to sit together and listen, but a celebration of the essential values that are shared among faiths.  Let us make a solemn pledge to expand the American dream to the whole world, so that all peoples may join together as one family under God.”

Washington, D.C.’s Global Peace Festival was one of 20 events held in 2008 that attracted more than 1 million people committed to a worldwide vision of peace and interfaith harmony.

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