Dakar, Senegal—The two-day summit (Jan. 18-19, 2018) was organized and sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), in cooperation with the government of Senegal under the presidency of H.E. Macky Sall and the National Assembly of Senegal.
Approximately 1,200 participants, including 15 heads of state (current or former), 12 vice-presidents, 6 presidents of National Assembly, 35 ministers and heads of government, 150 religious leaders were among the participants from more than 60 countries. The theme of this first summit was “New Africa: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values,” and was held at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Center (CICAD).
With Africa’s unique cultural heritage and rich human and natural resources, the summit’s goal was to discuss the crucial issues of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values, and to search for solutions to common issues facing the continent’s 1.7 billion inhabitants and 54 nations.
Master of ceremonies Mr. Adama Doumbia, the UPF regional secretary general for Africa, began the opening session on January 18 by welcoming to the stage UPF founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and the president of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall, who entered to a standing ovation.
Session I, the Opening Plenary, included the National Anthem of Senegal (entitled The Red Lion) sung by the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea, interfaith prayers by Imam Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Cissé (Senegal) and Archbishop Johannes Ndanga (Zimbabwe), followed by the distinguished speakers.
Cheikh Mansour Diouf, president of the Africa Summit 2018 Steering Committee, praised President Macky Sall for supporting the “first Africa Summit for peace, unity and human sustainable development.” Cheikh Mansour praised the founder, saying that “she lives for peace and only for peace, that she would like to share with all of humankind.” He thanked President Sall for convening the summit as an expression of his devotion to peace, and the various members of the Senegalese government, traditional chiefs and youth leaders whose contributions to its being held were significant.
Dr. Thomas Walsh, the chair of UPF International, expressed gratitude to the president and praised the conference center as “a world-class, state-of-the-art facility.” Dr. Walsh called the president a mentor for many UPF members because of his sincere concern that the summit be a total success. He thanked Dr. Moon for the worldwide movement she leads with vision, clarity, and deep spiritual wisdom. “Within her,” he said, “is a profound practical capacity to apply this spiritual and moral vision to solve problems humanity faces.”
He also expressed gratitude to those who helped organize the summit, including Cheikh Mansour; Kathy Rigney, regional president of UPF-Africa; Rev. Bakary Camara, UPF regional president for East Africa; and key leaders assisting Dr. Moon, including Professor Yeon Ah Moon, president of Women’s Federation for World Peace International, an affiliated organization; Hoon Sook Moon, general director of the Universal Ballet in South Korea; Mrs. Wonju McDevitt, chief secretary for Dr. Moon; and Dr. Young Ho Yun, secretary general of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), another affiliated organization.
H.E. Dioncounda Traoré, president of Mali (2012-2013) and the Africa co-chair of IAPP, gave a gracious introduction to the UPF founder.
Dr. Moon welcomed the participants to the Africa Summit and offered a unifying vision for the continent with her emphasis on the family and living for the sake of others. “We have entered a new era,” she said. “My hope is that the African continent will become the heavenly continent which attends God as the central point and becomes the most prosperous nation in the world.” People naturally seek a life centered on peace, she said, “just like a sunflower follows the sun.”
Africa is a beautiful continent, she said, “and can become the shining light of the world.” She explained her motivation for coming to Senegal. “Today, with the heart of a True Mother and a True Parent, I have come here to pray and eradicate the historical pain that this continent has endured, so that this continent can stand once again in the providence of God and begin a new history.”
She said she wants to establish the International Highway Project (Peace Road) through Senegal to connect the nation and continent to all the world’s nations, including Korea. She concluded her remarks with a prayerful hope: “We can establish together a world of peace, equality, unity, and happiness. Together we can realize the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. I believe in the African continent. Please work together with me to realize this beautiful ideal.”
His Excellency Macky Sall, president of Senegal, thanked Dr. Moon for coming to Senegal and for delivering “the message of hope to Africa, the birthplace of humanity.” He congratulated UPF Chair Dr. Thomas Walsh for “making peace and dialogue the basic principle of human relations.” He thanked UPF for the bestowment of the honor of the Good Governance Award: “I take this as encouragement in our shared ideal toward common good,” and expressed his gratitude for the generous US $100,000 gift, which will be used to help handicapped children and the SOS Children’s Villages NGO. He especially thanked the Little Angels for singing Senegalese songs and being ambassadors for peace.
In facing Africa’s problems, he quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “The greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” Although the challenges are many, the president said that “the silence of good people is a problem; nothing is more harmful to the cause of peace than silence, apathy and resignation. That is why we are here today.”
He looked forward, he said, to a new Africa based on the qualities of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values (quoting the summit’s theme). He further expressed his belief in an Africa able to take care of itself, that thinks and acts for itself. Despite its history, Africa is stable, active, diligent. It must affirm itself as an actor, define the dynamism of today and the future, he said. In that light, the president mentioned the remarkable resources Africa has, in terms of precious metals and minerals, but emphasized also the quality and youthfulness of its peoples. In terms of its resources, both material and human, he said, Africa is by no means poor.
The UPF Leadership and Good Governance Award was presented to President Sall by Dr. Moon along with Dr. Thomas Walsh, in recognition of the president’s excellence in leadership, based on the core values of service to God and humanity and promoting harmony and cooperation beyond barriers of race, religion, nationality and culture.
Mr. Adama Doumbia, the regional secretary general of UPF for Africa, was the moderator.
H.E. Dr. Nizar bin Obaid Madani, the minister of state for foreign affairs of Saudi Arabia, spoke about his nation’s efforts to promote dialogue and realize peace and justice. The country stands against terrorism and extremism, he said. “We all believe in the ideals of peace and freedom. Saudi Arabia has a Public Investment Fund, which supports joint African-Arab projects for human development, fighting poverty, solving conflict and standing against terrorism.”
H.E. Dioncounda Traoré, the president of Mali (2012-2013) and Africa co-chair of IAPP, pointed out that the topic has been tackled in many forums, but because UPF has a unique approach—based on the principle that we are one human family created by God—therefore “our cause at this summit is good and noble.” Africa needs the will and determination to be the “New Africa,” the president said. “New governance, leaders, local partners and international, and countries that uphold universal values, particularly integrity and honesty, are needed to guide the continent forward.”
H.E. Mahamane Ousmane, president of Niger (1993-1996), thanked Dr. Moon and the work of UPF to promote peace through interfaith dialogue, which is “so crucial for peace and to empower the family as the foundation for the society. … Africa cannot develop without peace.” The president reaffirmed the value of dialogue for interfaith cooperation and called on the participants to build a culture of peace and dialogue in their respective countries.
H.E. Maria Des Neves, prime minister (2002-2004), second vice president of the National Assembly of Sao Tomé and Principe, spoke about the importance of education, especially for youth and women. “Educating the women is educating the universe,” she said. The prime minister recommended that a “new Africa” must begin with the education of the youth. A continent with so much diversity, she said, must educate the young people on the importance of knowledge, working hard and developing self-reliance. She noted that on a map Africa appears in the shape of a question mark, so “we have to ask the question how Africa can prepare for the new age through interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values?”
Dr. Tageldin Hamad, the vice president of UPF International, served as moderator. Discourses included the following:
“Character Education and Family Values” by Dr. Robert Kittel, president, Youth and Students for Peace. Starting with the founder’s address which emphasized the importance of the family as the foundation for an ideal world, this was topic that speakers over and over again brought up. This presentation directly related the Africa Summit theme of Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values to the importance of the family as the origin of these values. The model for realizing these ideals is the family. As was pointed out, the family is the place where these principles are first learned and experienced substantially.
The slide that brought the biggest applause from the audience came after quoting from religious scriptures, psychology and sociology showing how all of them talk about living for the sake of others. They use different words, but the concept, the principle, is the same—we must be public-minded. The conclusion was this, “You don’t need to change your religion to be good.”
The Sunhak Peace Prize was introduced through a video, Living for Future Generations, and remarks by Dr. Sakeena Yacoobi, the founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning and a Sunhak Peace Prize laureate. The Sunhak Peace Prize recognizes individuals and organizations that have made enduring contributions to the promotion of peace and living for the sake of others, which often goes against common social practices.
“Interdependence and the New Village Movement” was presented by Mr. Ok Gil Kim of the Korean Saemaul Headquarters (New Village Movement) as a way to help develop African nations, just as it was successfully implemented in South Korea in the 1960s after the Korean War. Mr. Kim said that sustainable development “depends on the leadership. If the leaders can be inspired and dedicated by this approach and be willing to be the vanguard, then change is possible.”
“Science and Peace” addressed the effects of climate change. Dr. Michael Glantz, director of the Consortium for Capacity Building, University of Colorado, United States, and an associate member of the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), pointed out that climate issues have a positive byproduct: They bring nations together to counter their common problems. In other words, climate change has the power to unite Africa. Shared problems “provide a reason for the countries to get together and do something about it,” Dr. Glantz said. He gave the example of El Niño, the climate phenomenon that causes major damage. It’s important for nations to review and compare their disaster policies on local, national and continental levels, he said. Warning systems and meteorological services can make a difference. He concluded by saying, “Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge is empowering.”
“Toward Mutual Prosperity: International Peace Highway Presentation (Peace Road)” was given by Dr. Thomas Walsh, the chair of UPF International and the chair of the World Peace Road Foundation. The International Highway Project (Peace Road) is a visionary call for a superhighway free of tariffs and passports, linking the entire globe. The project was proposed initially in 1981 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Dr. Walsh also put into perspective the various peace initiatives being introduced in the session “as part of a grand and comprehensive strategy to restore society but beginning at the level of the individual,” he said. “An individual who lacks integrity or is corrupt can only multiply such character and create unethical institutions,” he said—therefore the need for character education.
Two commentators responded to the UPF initiatives:
Professor Oumar Ndongo of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal, spoke about the two systems in society: “Capitalism, which was founded on individual proprietary with its tendency toward materialism, and communism/socialism, which was founded on collective propriety; however, neither system fulfills everyone’s needs.” Professor Ndongo proposed a third approach: a more harmonious system for society based on the model of the family. He gave the analogy of the human body—which functions with harmony and mutual cooperation—and society—which likewise should interact cooperatively, with each part playing a role on the individual level but also at the higher societal level.
Sen. Ibrahim Mantu, deputy president of the Senate of Nigeria (1999-2007), raised the question: “Where does badness come from?” The senator said young people are impressionable and learn from an early age. Every person with whom a child comes in contact becomes a role model, either for good or bad. “We must concentrate on raising up our youth and inculcate the principle to live for the sake of others,” he said. Referring to the testimony by Sunhak Peace Prize laureate Dr. Yacoobi, he said he almost wept to hear about the situation of women in Afghanistan but also their courage and the difference that even one person can make. He was intrigued by the New Village Movement and emphasized the role of leaders to initiate change. He urged everyone to research this important initiative and study it carefully, and likewise, the presentation by Dr. Glantz on climate change. In conclusion, he praised President Sall and Mother Moon for “trying to make the world a better place.”
Session IV (A). The Role of Parliamentarians in Peacebuilding. Jacques Marion, the regional vice president of UPF for Europe, was the moderator (report provided by the session chair). On Jan 18 at 4:30 pm we had the first breakout session for parliamentarians. It was attended by about 150 MPs representing over 35 African nations. There were four panelists, two women and two men, from Senegal, Benin and Malawi, representing both French-speaking and English-speaking Africa.
Greetings on behalf of Senegal to the assembled parliamentarians were given by Hon. Alioune Badara Diouf, president of the Defense and Security Committee of the National Assembly of Senegal, who reviewed the ways his committee deals with various aspects of conflict prevention in his country.
Hon. Eric Houndete, vice president of the National Assembly of Benin, spoke about the need to strengthen the institutions for peacebuilding. He reviewed some concrete problems that parliamentarians were dealing with in Benin, from sheepherding to terrorism.
Hon. Esther Chilenje, first vice president of the National Assembly of Malawi, emphasized the need for parliamentarians to adopt a spiritual approach to preventing conflicts and to gain trust from people in their constituency.
Hon. Aida Mbodj, a member of the National Assembly of Senegal in her fourth mandate, twice minister for Family and Women’s Affairs, emphasized the role of the parliament in conflict prevention and economic development, and spoke about the importance of women parliamentarians in defending the cause of women in society.
Many comments were made by parliamentarians in the audience, who represented the specificity of each region of Africa, north, south, east and west. Recommendations were made for strengthening peacebuilding by dealing with many of the human, legal, economic or political challenges they faced in their nations. Several called on IAPP to develop a network connecting parliamentarians throughout Africa and to help with regional problems.
More recommendations that could not be expressed due to the limit of time were brought up to the rapporteur, Professor Cherif Diatta from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, who was commissioned to record and report.
Session IV (B). The Role of Religious Leaders in Peace and Development. The co-moderators were Abdou Gaye, religious affairs advisor to the president of FFWPU-Africa; Rev. Mwalagho Kililo, the president of FFWPU-Kenya; and Dr. Oumar Thiam of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal (rapporteur). Speakers addressed the role of religious leaders in peace and development to complement and counterbalance the purely secular approach.
Imam Moussa Dramé, the central imam of Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, said: “We must accept other faiths in diversity. Jesus is the symbol. He didn’t distinguish between Jew and Gentile. Often we’re quick to judge others and transform others into enemies. This is contrary to God’s way. God is love. As Ambassadors for Peace, we need to work so that we can establish peace and follow what we teach. It’s the path of salvation. Peace is another word for development. If there is peace, then there is a path to development. We must go back to our role as religious leaders and establish a framework for peace and development.”
Other speakers were Archbishop Johannes Ndanga, the founder and president of the Apostolic Christian Churches of Zimbabwe; El Hadji Mansour Sy, the co-president of the World Council of Religions for Peace, Senegal; and Col. Marcellin Zannou, the founder, l'Eglise du Christianisme céleste, Benin.
Dr. Oumar Thiam of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal (the rapporteur), in summarizing the session, made a number of interesting points: There is a need for cohesion of mind and body to make a culture of peace. Healthy spirit in a healthy body. “We need cooperation between religious and political bodies that goes into the renewal of the families through marriage.” To make peace substantial, there must be unity between the mind and body and through the family and marriage.
All of Senegal’s presidents have recognized the importance of religion and that religious leaders have a role to play in establishing peace in society, Dr. Thiam said. Religion in Senegal is like a spiritual energy that can lead to development, he said. The panelists emphasized prayer, teaching and to exclude extremism and crimes that are constantly attached to Islam. There was a consensus among the panelists that all religions want peace, love and cohesion. “It’s not possible to put a price on the value of peace. We need to know what is not peace in order to measure what is peace,” he said. He recommended that before we condemn others, we should examine ourselves. Likewise, before we condemn Islam because of a few extremists, we should consider our own faiths.
Session IV (C). Traditional Rulers, the New Village Movement and Sustainable Economic Development. Philbert Seka, the secretary general of UPF-Ivory Coast, was the moderator, and Dr. Abib Sène of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal, was the rapporteur.
Participants assembled to discuss the New Village Movement, initiated in South Korea in the early 1970s, as a potential model for rural development programs in Africa. Launching a community-based, rural development program was the basis for Korea’s transformation. Traditional rulers and leaders had an opportunity to study the New Village Movement for lessons in sustainable development that might be applied in their respective nations.
His Royal Majesty King Nadiope Williams, Uganda; Chieftainess Rhoda Kapami Muwezwa, vice chair of the House of Chiefs, Zambia; Mr. Kim Eun Sang, a specialist of the coffee industry; Hon. Patricia Annie Kaliati, a member of the National Assembly of Malawi; Hon. Joseph Mwanamvekha, the minister of agriculture of Malawi.
Session IV (D). Youth Education and Nation-Building. George Ogurie, the president of FFWPU-Nigeria, was the moderator, and Dr. Mamadou Ngom of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal, was the rapporteur.
The thought that the future of nations, and indeed the world, is in the hands of our young people was generally expressed by the panelists. Young people have ambition, energy and boundless dreams. Education no longer can be limited to the traditional areas of reading, writing and arithmetic. Young people need to be objective and open-minded, in addition to getting a good education and the needed marketable skill sets. Even more important, however, they need to acquire the ability to create stable, loving families and acquire good parenting capabilities.
Hon. Sira Ndiaye, a member of the National Assembly of Senegal; Mrs. Inderjit Rehal, the director of the Curriculum Development Department, Kenya.
Dr. Robert Kittel, the international president of Youth and Students for Peace, spoke about “The Family as the School of Love” and the “Four Family Loves: A Curriculum for Building Good Character and Loving Families.”
Mr. Conan Marc Trevor Kouame of the Regional Academy of Marine Sciences and Technologies, Ivory Coast, and Ms. Gisèle Niyitegeka Girabana, University of Val-d’Essonne, Paris, France, expounded on the Good Character and Loving Family curriculum, in particular the question “Where Do I Learn to Be Good?” They said: (1) Before being smart or popular, it is more important to be good; (2) The family is the best environment in which to learn “living for the sake of others”; and (3) Students should be encouraged to love and honor their parents.
After dinner, participants were treated to a musical performance by the HyoJeong Little Angels, who delighted everyone with traditional Korean dances and songs in French and English.
(Dr. Robert Kittel contributed to this report.)
To read the second report on the Africa Summit click here.