These NGOS, as well as fifteen prominent leaders, founded on August 1 the World Association of United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations (WAUNNGO). WAUNNGO was to become the precursor to WANGO.
WAUNNGO's mission was to promote greater cooperation, respect, and coordination among the many non-governmental organizations affiliated with the United Nations, as well as private institutions and individuals around the world who share a common vision of peace for humanity. WAUNNGO's founding goals were as follows:
- Support the work of the United Nations, and of such regional organs as the Organization of America States, the Organization of African Unity, and the Council of Europe;
- Serve United Nations NGOs by promoting better communication, understanding and cooperation;
- Convene representatives of NGOs, private institutions, and world leaders;
- Increase public awareness of the work of NGOs through educational programs and publications; and
- 5. Present an annual Universal Peace Award to persons with distinguished careers dedicated to world peace.
On August 18, 2000, at the Convocation of World Leaders in the United Nations, WAUNNGO presented the first Universal Peace Award to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, for his distinguished and extensive international and inter-religious work for world peace. Rev. Moon is the founder of numerous organizations devoted to such activities, including the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, the International Security Council, the Assembly of the World's Religions, and the Women's Federation for World Peace, and he is a visionary who proposed such innovated proposals as the International Peace Highway Project, the creation of Peace Zones between nations in conflict, and the addition of a "religious general assembly" to the structure of the United Nations. Many other organizations that he founded also seek to enhance unity among individuals and institutions, such as the World Media Association, the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, and the Association for the Unity of Latin America. Dr Nicholas Kittrie, chair of WAUNNGO and President of Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Peace and Justice, presented the Universal Peace Award.
Rev. Moon not only became an active and early supporter of WAUNNGO, but a visionary who felt that the goals and vision of the organization should be grander, and should embrace the more dedicated and principled actors in the entire NGO community. From this foundation and inspiration, the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) came into being. With the generous initial support and guidance of Rev. Moon, WANGO has enjoyed an active agenda of programs.
As WANGO, the association assisted the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) with sponsoring Assembly 2000, Renewing the United Nations and Building a Culture of Peace, held August 17-19, 2000 in the United Nations and at the New York Hilton. Prompted by the Secretary General's statement, "We The Peoples," and the International Year for a Culture of Peace, Assembly 2000 gathered from the voices of the world's religious, political, and civil society leaders suggestions and recommendations as how best to achieve the renewal of the United Nations. This event was chaired by H.E. Ambassador Makarim Wibisono, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, and was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of the United Nations of Indonesia, Mongolia, and Uganda, as well as the IIFWP. Among those addressing the conference were H.E. Sir Edward Heath, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; H.E. Oscar Arias, former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Laureate; H.E. Kenneth Kaunda, former President of Uganda, and Hon. Robert Dole, former Majority Leader of the United States Senate. As WANGO, the association subsequently assisted with production of the proceedings of the conference.
The latter part of 2000 saw WANGO completing some major, ground-breaking events. On October 20-22, 2000, WANGO co-sponsored The Millennium Declaration of the United Nations: A Response from Civil Society, an international conference with sessions held at the United Nations and the New York Hilton hotel. This conference was designed to record and promote civil society's response to the historic United Nations document, The Millennium Declaration, adopted by the 165 sitting Presidents and Heads of State convening at the Millennium Summit of World Leaders, held in September of 2000. The October WANGO event drew more than 500 representatives from a wide range of NGOs from more than 100 nations. The program itself was structured around the eight major themes and six values of the Millennium Declaration. This conference was co-chaired by H.E. Makarim Wibisono, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman of the IIFWP, and Dr. Wally N'Dow, Secretary General of WANGO.
Due to the overriding success of the conference, it was determined that there was a great need in the field for sectors of civil society to be exposed to and provide feedback to the Millennium Declaration. As a result of the conference in New York, queries poured into the WANGO office from all over the world. NGOs and other leaders wanted the opportunity to be part of the process of fashioning a response to the Millennium Declaration. In what was a bold decision by the WANGO leadership in partnership with the IIFWP, a world tour was put together to share the values and vision contained within the Millennium Declaration with all sectors of civil society.
For the last two months of the year 2000 (Nov. and Dec.) a series of 189 conferences and seminars were held in 189 nations. Representatives of NGOs, as well as members of governments, ministries and cabinets, UN bodies, media and academicians participated. Over 20,000 participants attended these programs in 189 countries, a response much larger than anyone had anticipated. These programs centered on the six values of the Millennium Declaration: Freedom, Equality (of individuals and nations), Solidarity, Tolerance, Respect for Nature, and Shared Responsibility.