New Directions for a World in Crisis
New Demands for Interfaith: Religions Must Take Greater Responsibility
The Current Crisis: Education, Media, and the Family
New Directions in Foreign Policy
New Initiatives in Leadership and Governance
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Former U.S. Vice-President Dan Quayle, in welcoming guests to Assembly 2001, "Global Violence: Crisis and Hope," told participants that they were going to take part in "an extraordinary meeting with some very extraordinary people." By the end of the four-day gathering, convened at the New York Hilton from October 19-22, few disagreed.
Dr. Thomas Walsh, Secretary General of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), one of the two sponsoring bodies, congratulated the 380 political and religious leaders, media and NGO representatives, scholars and peace activists from 101 nations for their "courage" in coming to New York. In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Walsh singled out Assembly 2001 Co-Chair Dr. Rodrigo Carazo, former President of Costa Rica, for his efforts to assure that the meeting be convened despite the tragic circumstances of September 11, 2001 which placed it in jeopardy of being cancelled.
Originally, the Assembly was to consist of two concurrently run conferences. The World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO), Assembly 2001 co-sponsor, planned a meeting to focus on NGO responses to the United Nations' special session on children. IIFWP planned a conference around the broader theme of a "New Vision for Leadership" in keeping with its ongoing series on "The Search for Solutions to Critical Global Problems." Following the dramatic and shocking events which took place in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11, the two conferences joined together. Several of the sessions and topics originally planned were retained, but adapted to the worldwide crisis of terrorism and global violence.
Reverend Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman of Assembly 2001, highlighted a number of the Assembly's themes in his "Keynote Address" at the Opening Banquet. He noted that "the roots of the present crisis are deep" and that "solutions are not simply of a political or military nature." He emphasized that "family breakdown leads to a wide range of social problems" and that "world peace begins with personal transformations of individuals." He also suggested that the use of religious symbolism has caused people "to wake up to the mission of peace through interreligious harmony." But "religions and religious leaders must reflect if they have preached God's love for all people universally, beyond nations, religion, and race." Dr. Kwak encouraged leaders in the fields of religion, politics, academics, the media, and NGOs "to develop and promote attitudes of living for the sake of others, breaking down the barriers that divide people" and suggested that they would find a model of doing so in the life and work of IIFWP and WANGO founder, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
New Directions for a World in Crisis
The Assembly's Opening Plenary and the session that followed brought together a group of world leaders, representing a range of perspectives, to offer their reflections, insights and recommendations "to a world in crisis." Underlying these sessions was a recognition that the optimism following the end of the Cold War and start of the new millennium may have been misplaced and that "the state of peace remains fragile and vulnerable." In this respect, speakers in these sessions and the ones to follow had the opportunity to affirm the extent to which and, more importantly, how the ideals of establishing a "Culture of Peace" and "Dialogue Among Civilizations" might be achieved.
The Rt. Hon. Lloyd E. Sandiford, former Prime Minister of Barbados, acknowledged that the "heinous, abominable, monstrously terrifying act" of September 11 negatively impacted the Caribbean region which, unlike more diversified economies, is dependent to a large extent upon travel and tourism. Nevertheless, he took the position that despite the threat of another war and "terror on our doorsteps," hope for the end of a "bipolar world" was still justified. The work that needs to be done, he said, is continuous with that undertaken previously but efforts need to be "re-doubled." The solution to poverty, ignorance, disease, the environment and social blight, he continued, is "in ourselves" not in the "stars under which we were born."
Dr. Jerry Fallwell, Chancellor of Liberty University, took a different position. Noting the inadequacy of bombs, missiles or air craft carriers to cope with the present crisis, he pointed to "something more powerful--prayer." Dr. Fallwell, who hardly could be accused of inactivity or quietism given his role in awakening American evangelicals to political action, said that he had appealed on radio for a million people to pray daily for a resolution of the crisis. "Peace," he said, "is one of God's purposes, and God can do what we can't."
The Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr., Speaker of the House of the Philippines, maintained that a "dialogue of civilizations" was the key to peace. He did not regard the unfolding events as a "clash of civilizations" though "misguided people on both sides of the cultural divide would make them appear to be so." Nor did he regard any culture "as being superior to another." The "greatest lesson" from the terrorist attacks, he said, "is that the global community cannot allow conflict in any one part of the world to fester, because it will, sooner or later, generate dangerous complications elsewhere." He concluded that "Interaction and understanding across cultures is both our best safeguard against war and our only basis for political and economic cooperation, partnership and eventual community."
The Hon. Dan Quayle, former Vice-President of the United States, countered the conventional wisdom that terrorists are "mentally deranged." He called them "focused, dedicated, intelligent, organized and believers in their cause." He said that expectations for peace need "to be in line with reality" and foresaw a "long, unfortunate and difficult challenge." Nevertheless, he saw that the world was "together as never before." The terrorists, he said, "intended to split the world apart, but the world came together." This, in his estimation, offered the world's people the chance to understand their differences but also to find "common values" which he identified as respect, love, peace, faith and liberty. However, Mr. Quayle maintained an uncompromising stance toward those who would utilize terror to achieve their ends. "This is the time to be morally clear," he said in a press conference immediately following the plenary. "Nothing justifies terrorism."
H.E. Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia and leader of a large number of Muslims, was adamant in his opposition to terrorism. He said that those who would be the most noble and pious "need to be rooted in democracy" and that "justice" needs to be "embedded in compassion." A "non-hegemonic foreign policy," he maintained, was "the call of the day" in achieving peace and needed to be "remembered by all countries, including the strongest." He saw the utility of a "council of elders," possibly implemented within a continental framework, as a way working toward non-hegemony and peace
Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon delivered his Founders Address, "The Path to World Peace in View of God's Will," at the end of the opening plenary session. He noted that the end of the Cold War led people to expect "an era of peace and stability" but "we came to realize that conflict, hatred and selfish desire are imbedded deeply within each one of us and are still active." Efforts to eradicate these "inner conflicts and struggles" and to resolve them "at their root," he suggested, lead to religious rather than economic, political, diplomatic or military solutions. The way to "fundamental solutions" for unresolved problems, according to Rev. Moon, is through "perfection in true love" in the family. Hence, he described family breakdown, the emotional instability of youth, "free-sex culture" and ultimately AIDs are "a greater terrorism than that over which the world is now trembling." He concluded by setting forth the following necessary steps to bring peace into the world:
Arnaud de Borchgrave, Editor-at-Large for The Washington Times and UPI, criticized the triviality of U.S. media, particularly in relation to international news, prior to September 11, 2001. He said in the post-cold war era, the media gave far more air time to coverage of individuals like Sonya Harding, O.J. Simpson, Monica Lewinsky and Gary Condit than Osama bin Laden. It also was less expensive to cover "domestic melodramas" and "ignore the rest of the world." Hence, there was blindness to forces shaping the Islamic world and especially to the spread of the terrorist network to 60 countries. According to de Borchgrave, ten years after the cold war, U.S. media saw only the global triumph of "democratic capitalism." The media did not connect anti-capitalist demonstrators in Seattle and elsewhere to bin Laden. However, this sentiment, poverty and Israel provided the ingredients for "a clash of civilizations" and "new world disorder." De Borchgrave said that the best way to counter the image of an "uncaring capitalist world" was to "dig out" George Marshall's 1947 speech at Harvard and undertake a "Western New Deal." He said there was a historical opportunity to adopt a "revolutionary new approach to development" paralleling U.S. action in Europe following the end of World War II.
Sir Nicholas Kittrie, Chair of the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Justice and Peace, took a harder line based on "historical lessons" derived from the world's experience with Nazism and Bolshevism during the twentieth century. He said the issue was self-defense against "misdirection and massive deadly force." Grandiose promises of an uncorrupted world of brotherly love were "harbingers of totalitarianism." He represented Osama bin Laden as a "spiritualization" of Hitler and Stalin but affirmed that the present crisis involved two conflicting outlooks toward authority and legitimacy. One, he said, was based on the universal and changeless application of "holy divine books." The other was based on popular agreement, social contracts, and an acceptance of constant change. It was unclear whether Kittrie saw any resolution of these positions. In the short term, he recommended a "counter-offensive" against the perpetrators of terror. Longer term, he said the future rests on a civil society, NGOs, finding ways to compromise and share resources, and tolerance.
H.E. Ramiro De Leon, former President of Guatemala, defined the three major issues of the present crisis as terrorism and violence, poverty and the lack of moral-ethical values. He said that a great crisis requires great solutions and outlined an action-agenda at worldwide and state levels. The only organization capable of action at the worldwide level, he held, was the United Nations. De Leon advocated the establishment of a permanent commission to deal with education and the promotion of "peace culture." Such a commission, he suggested, would provide the basis for dialogue, decision-making and the execution of peace-keeping policies. He also noted the necessity of the media to provide more accurate coverage and to be part of the peace culture. At the state level, he said it was necessary to strengthen security and justice forces, combat poverty, promote the centralization and participation of all ethnic groups in addressing problems and providing legitimacy for actions, educate for tolerance and moral-spiritual values including family values, fight against corruption, and coordinate national policies with international issues.
New Demands for Interfaith: Religions Must Take Greater Responsibility
Session chair Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Director of the World Peace Institute and IIFWP, noted that one hundred years of interfaith activity inaugurated by the Parliament of Religions in 1893 has yielded mixed results. On the one hand, leaders and laity from many traditions have become "comfortable" with interfaith prayer, worship and varying degrees of cooperation. On the other hand, horrific conflicts proliferate throughout the world, much of it with religious overtones. Additionally, religious institutions, often secretly, work to undermine one another. The question, then, was whether religious bodies and leaders can take the "next step" in interfaith, becoming more accountable and recognizable contributors to lasting peace and the resolution of dehumanizing conflict.
Rev. Junsei Terasawa, a Buddhist monk known for his social activism, characterized the September 11th terrorist attack was "inevitable" given the post-cold war, post-Gulf war "drift" of one war after another. These conflicts, he suggested, were not a matter of one combatant versus another but represented the failure of the international community and modern civilization. He offered specific examples from his on-the-ground experience in Iraq, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. Terasawa also criticized the "two-bloc problem," i.e., dividing the world into believers vs. infidel or civilization vs. barbarism. He noted that the Buddha also fought a war but "without any money and without lifting a finger against anyone." In this respect, he agreed with Rev. Moon that the real enemy was within.
In one of the Assembly's most highly charged presentations, Dr. Khalid Duran, an Islamic scholar, departed from his prepared remarks to announce his excommunication by a New Jersey Muslim association for a book of his in press. This, he said, was tantamount to a death warrant. He then pointed out that representatives from the same organization that excommunicated him were present! In his subsequent comments, Duran welcomed the extension of the war in Afghanistan "to liberate it from tyrants," contended that one could not speak of family values when rape was practiced in Iranian prisons, and condemned slavery in Sudan. This precipitated a outburst from several in the audience and an intervention from the session chair who offered his profound apologies and stated that neither he nor the conference organizers were cognizant of the truth or falsehood of Dr. Duran's claims. On resuming, Dr. Duran said the real problem was terrorist infiltration to the U.S. and the misuse of Islamic terminology and symbols. He said that the American Muslim majority would "not be a silent majority any longer" and would no longer be intimidated by the terrorist element.
Rabbi David Broadman, Chief Rabbi of the Rabbinate of Savion in Israel, spoke to the impact religious leaders can have in helping to resolve violence. He noted that terrorism against Jews as "Christ-killers" was commonplace until 1962 when then-Pope John XXIII presided over the Second Vatican Council which decreed that the Jews did not kill Christ. Afterwards, Broadman said, the relationship between Jews and Christians "totally changed." Recently, he noted, the Pope had been in Jerusalem, asked forgiveness for the persecution of Jews, and called Judaism Christianity's "elder brother." Broadman expressed regret that this sort of reconciliation had not yet occurred between Judaism and Islam, particularly as the two faiths were "so close."
Dr. Andrew Wilson, Academic Dean at Unification Theological Seminary, argued that the practice of sacrificial love must apply beyond individuals to nations and religions. Paraphrasing from the Bible, he said "greater love has no religion than this, that it lay down its life for its fellow religion." Wilson applied this precept directly to prohibitions that many faiths have to religious intermarriage. According to Wilson, the imperative of love and value of peace "trumped" the old tradition of religious exclusivism in marriage. Affirming Rev. Moon's program of "Exchange Marriage Blessings," bringing together partners from enemy families and nations, he suggested that this would be best, if not the only way to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Current Crisis: Education, Media, and the Family
Three sessions, two of them concurrent, dealt with the current crisis in relation to ongoing concerns. "Protecting Our Future" was originally to be the theme of a WANGO conference focusing on NGO responses to the United Nations' special session on children. However, rather than a comprehensive treatment of issues related to youth, this session focused on education, particularly as related to challenges of global violence.
Print and electronic media, particularly in the United States, have been confronted with major challenges as a result of the September 11 attacks and their aftermath. The responsibility to inform the public of potential threats without fomenting fear even as the media, itself, has been the object of attack is only one of these challenges. Another has been to explain distant peoples, unfamiliar regions, and a misunderstood faith without precipitating prejudice. The session on "The Current Crisis and the Role of Media" examined aspects of these challenges.
Dr. Adrian Cristobal, Associate Editor of the Manila Daily Bulletin, appeared to question whether the media could speak meaningfully about the crisis. He commented that in the face of irrationally destructive acts that cast "darkness over civilization as a whole" it was "obscene to be analytical" and prayers were the more appropriate media of expression.
Tashbih Sayyed, editor-in-chief of Pakistan Today, also questioned the extent to which the media could speak meaningfully about the crisis, not because of the enormity of evil but because of the enormous disparities in the world. He referred to the myth of the global village over against the reality of a real village. Real villages, he said are characterized by homogeneity and cooperative undertaking that strike a balance between individual and community interests. The global village, by way of contrast, is marked by striking differences and conflicting agendas with little or no concern for the welfare of the whole. Fear of competition, he suggested, gave birth to terrorism but "the media gave birth to fear." He insisted that the media strive to develop a "global mind."
John Fund, a member of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, pointed out several unique characteristics of American media which presented additional challenges. One is its commercial, private, for-profit base. This provides diversity which is a strength, but it also means that "ratings" are a factor in reporting which can tend to accentuate the sensational. He suggested that the present "Anthrax anxiety" has led to hysteria and fear "more dangerous than the real problem." Another singular characteristic of American media is the celebrity-status of media personalities and a preoccupation with celebrities in general. Because of this, threats to network anchors or articles about celebrities refusing to fly can give way to "overblown panic-mongering." According to Fund, "sensationalized, over-heated media reports" give terrorists a "partial victory."
An explicitly stated assumption of IIFWP and WANGO is that the well-being of families is essential to the well-being of social, political, economic and civic institutions. Conversely, family breakdown undermines social stability. Beyond this, the absence of a moral vision that empowers and enriches families leads to suffering. The session on "The Current Crisis and the Significance of the Family" explored ways to strengthen families and family values.
New Directions in Foreign Policy
Session chair Rodrigo Carazo noted that nations today are facing a crisis in values and therefore in governance and leadership affecting domestic and foreign policies. Today's conflict, he said, "is beyond the battle of ideology or land--it is for the soul and heart of humanity." He contended that the fundamental response to the world's crisis must be based on "a consensus of values and moral vision" just as the founders of nations were committed to moral and ethical principles and ideals as a foundation for their nations. With this in mind, he asked the panel "to reflect on ways in which we can rethink current thought, political practice and identify new directions and new possibilities in the formulation of foreign policy, international relations and leadership." Their responses were a mixture of realism and idealism.
H. E. Stanislav Shushkevich, former President of Belarus, said that the attack of September 11, 2001 raised the great necessity of preventing a future conflict of civilizations. While acknowledging that different cultures were at different stages of evolutionary development, Shushkevich suggested that the principle of justice, though subject to different definitions, was common to all and could serve as a basis of negotiation which was the only way to peace. He then discussed the situation in Belarus where, despite a 1994 coup supported by Russia, there was a strong desire to come out of the situation peacefully. Nevertheless, should state terror continue and people continue to disappear, he said that other methods would be applied.
Rev. Dr. George Stallings, Archbishop of the Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation, took a strongly idealist line, stating the solution to the present crisis lay in the "moral resolve of nations and people to rise above demonic influence and partisan agendas." He did not minimize the necessity of conducting an inventory of collective hurt and pain, anger and grief, but counseled patience, true love and living for the sake of others. Stallings based this counsel upon biblical understandings such as one's true enemies were not flesh and blood and injunctions such as vengeance is the Lord's. In so doing, he demonstrated that there are important resources for peace within religious traditions.
Dr. Eliezer Glaubach-Gal, Chairman of the Foerder Institute in Jerusalem, found room only for expectations "in line with reality." Given the "endless disputes" in Belfast, Bosnia, East Timor, Rwanda, Kashmir in addition to the "rock" concerts witnessed from his balcony in Jerusalem, he saw no choice for the time being but to "turn away from aims of conflict resolution to those of conflict management." This, he said, was not pessimism but reality. At the same time, he affirmed the "Kantian principle" that "democracies generally live in peace with other democracies." It followed, then, that as there were more democracies in the world, there would be less and less conflict. Glaubach-Gal said that this was true in Islamic countries as well such as Turkey or in Bangladesh or Pakistan where free elections resulted in female leadership.
Imam Ameer Pasha Salahuddin, Director of the Islamic Center of Passaic, New Jersey, recounted his personal conversion and noted that part of the reason why Islam is misunderstood is because of the "baggage" converts bring with them. He said that "Muslims hurt more than anyone else in relation to the recent tragic event" because the terrorists claimed an Islamic affiliation and justification. Nevertheless, he pointed out that the Koran teaches that "oppression is worse than slaughter" because "oppression creates this kind of spirit." He identified equal treatment and the elimination of unjust policies as a way to peace.
Rt. Hon. Edward Schreyer, former Governor General of Canada, addressed the issue of fossil fuel consumption. This, he indicated, was clearly connected to foreign policy and the quest for peace as "desperate nations" conditioned to overdependence or even addictions to non-renewable resources "will not act rationally." He said that during the first decade of the 21st century the world would reach the midpoint of fossil fuel depletion with the same amount of global resources left as have been consumed in oil. Between 2010-2020, the same midpoint would be reached for natural gas. Notions of "sustainable development" only offer a false sense of security as each year fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions increase. The world is "sleepwalking" its way to disaster and there is no "quick technological fix." The question is how to begin the process of conservation which Schreyer said is a dilemma of intergenerational as well as international ethics.
New Initiatives in Leadership and Governance
Session chair Neil Salonen, President of the University of Bridgeport, described the present global polity as an "anarchic, self-help international system" for which there is no theory to explain, much less predict actions. "Hard realists," he noted, perceive international institutions as "proxies" for the desires and interests of powerful states. However, there also is the reality of "non-state actors" and "moral entrepreneurs" who act independently and even against large state interests. International mechanisms with a positive agenda of peace, Salonen maintained, have a history of failure as was the case for the League of Nations or limited successes as is the case the United Nations. However, realist theory would not have been able to predict developments like the European Union which works against powerful state actors taking unilateral action. Panel presentations in this session focused on improving international governance structures, particularly in light of global violence and other realities of the contemporary world not anticipated by the UN Charter.
The Hon. Richard Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General, said that the UN must play a key role in the present terrorist crisis and outlined six key responses as follows:
Dr. Gordon Anderson, Secretary General of the Professors World Peace Academy, pointed out a number of new challenges which leaders must face in fashioning viable international governance structures. Globalization, he noted, confronts leaders with disappearing or invisible borders which the UN originally was designed to protect. Second, leadership needs to accept limitations on power, particularly monopoly power which inhibits economic and political development. Third, leaders need to address the issue of representation. Presently, Anderson noted, the UN General Assembly represents nation-states which leaves out displaced peoples. He suggested that Rev. Moon's proposal to establish a council of religious leaders was an effort to represent the wider constituencies as have been the work of NGOs. Finally, utilizing terminology of the American theologian and social ethicist H.R. Niebuhr, Anderson said that international leadership is challenged to abandon the principle of henotheism or faith in one's social group and its leaders in favor of "radical monotheism" which he defined as faith in a transcendent center of values.
Dr. Noel Brown, President of Friends of the United Nations, affirmed the work of "inclusive globalization" which the UN already had undertaken through the Millennial Leader's Summit." The question was whether its initiatives would remain global priorities or "shelved" in light of the terrorist threat. Noting that post-war periods typically release reserves of energy and resources, Brown outlined a three-point program and action-steps for a "post-terrorist world." First, he advocated the mobilization of moderates, coalition-building and the development of Islamic statecraft. He also suggested convening a meeting of the 83 nations suffering human losses in the World Trade Center bombing. Second, he advocated poverty eradication-wealth generation through implementation of a Middle East free trade agreement with an emphasis on Middle East/Mediterranean tourism. He proposed a "Global Summit for Peaceful Tourism" with American corporate sponsorship toward that end. Third, he advocated bringing an end to environmental degradation and eco-terrorism. This situation, he suggested, had come to a pass where it was "too late for pessimism."
Assembly 2001 included two luncheon programs with speakers, a "Bridge of Peace" program, regional meetings among participants, an Interfaith Prayer and Meditation, and roundtable committee sessions.
The first luncheon program featured an address by Nation of Islam leader, the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan. Rev. Michael Jenkins, President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU)--North America, highlighted the important relationship between religious and political leaders in introducing Minister Farrakhan. He maintained that a relationship characterized by mutual respect is critical to achieve equality among peoples, prosperity and peace. Minister Farrakhan's speech, which sparked controversy at the Assembly and in the press, included pastoral and prophetic elements. The pastoral component consisted of a part confessional--part apologetic account of his spiritual journey. As a "child of slaves," he acknowledged growing up angry, bitter and hateful. However, over time, he recognized that these feelings were "impediments to making him a pure channel for the Word of God." He also came to recognize the "false, artificial barriers dividing the children of Abraham and people of the earth." The end point of his spiritual journey was a recognition of "one religion" followed by many faiths. Hence, Minister Farrakhan maintained that he was a "Muslim, Christian and Jew."
The prophetic component of his speech consisted of an effort to "speak truth to power," i.e. to the United States government. He described the U.S. as "the greatest country on earth with the greatest possibility for good" but also possessing "the greatest possibility for evil." Consistent with his understanding that the prophetic "assignment" is to "point out error," Minister Farrakhan highlighted several matters for which the U.S. needed to "acknowledge, confess, repent and repair." However, he crossed the line for many by questioning the motives and veracity of the U.S. in its handling of the present terrorist crisis.
The second luncheon program featured speeches by the Rt. Hon. Tsakhia Elbegdorj, former Prime Minister of Mongolia, and the Hon. Danny Davis, U.S. Congressman from Chicago, Illinois. Elbegorj expressed appreciation for the Assembly's multicultural diversity, especially for the representatives of virtually all religious faiths who he said were the "voice of mankind." He also welcomed the presence of many former heads of state who he said were more free and realistic than sitting heads of state whose views were driven in one way or another by political considerations. Elbegorj sounded a note of concern about an exclusively military response to the terrorists and questioned whether Afghan civilian casualties should be added to count of the "5,000 innocents." He also cautioned against states taking "draconian measures" against their own populations "in the name of the fight against terrorism." However, he concluded by saying just as former U.S. President John F. Kennedy "became a Berliner" so "after September 11, 2001, we all have become New Yorkers."
Rep. Davis noted that the U.S. had been "sheltered" prior to September 11 with no foreign assaults on its land since the War of 1812. He contrasted the "vital, developing process" of democratization with terrorism which he said was an "expression of political weakness" and a tactic of "desperation and failure." He said terrorists hoped their acts would inspire others to join their cause but the outcome was the opposite and their actions isolated them. But, like Elbegdorj, Davis cautioned against coalition-building just among governments and arms. Equally important, or even more important, was coalition-building among people.
The "Bridge of Peace" program included remarks by H.E. Dr. A.G. Ravan Farhadi of Afghanistan who assured participants that Islam respected the lives of innocents, other messengers of god, and human rights including the right of women to be educated. he regretted the extremism of a foreigners in Afghanistan and said "Afghans themselves never have been on record as having committed any extremist act or terrorism." He requested prayers for the future of Afghanistan and expressed hope that the war going on would be short so that it would not be misunderstood by the Islamic community. Ms. Tomiko Duggan and Mr. Antonio Betancourt introduced the "Bridge of Peace" program in which representative participants from current or formerly enemy nations crossed a symbolic bridge in coming together and beginning the process of reconciliation.
Regional meetings which followed the bridge ceremony afforded participants the opportunity to continue the dialogue with representatives from neighboring nations. The Interfaith Prayer and Meditation brought together representatives from the world's leading religious traditions. Roundtable committee sessions brought participants together to address the current crisis from the standpoint of their specific field of expertise or profession. Separate meetings were dedicated to the role of NGOs, religious leaders, America's response, the U.N., the media, and the role of governments. Participants discussed ways in which their area had fallen short or failed to contribute to the establishment of a peaceful world and what positive steps can and should be taken to correct weaknesses and allow their areas to offer more constructive solutions to global problems.
The Closing Banquet included thanks by two representative participants to the hosts, the reading of an Affirmation signed by participants and a Closing Banquets address delivered by Rev. Moon.
Rabbi David Broadman from Jerusalem and Sheik-Ul-Isalm Maqsood Qadri from Pakistan offered heartfelt appreciation to the conference hosts, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. Dr. Jameson Kurasha from Zimbabwe read the Affirmation of participants which,
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