- Tuesday, November 29, 2016

International Leadership Conferences (ILC) have been taking place around the world throughout the past decade to promote peace and human development.

The ILCs, which are a project of the Universal Peace Federation, are built around one or more of its five purposes: interfaith peacebuilding, peace and security, marriage and family, youth and service, and the United Nations and non-governmental organization (NGO) relations.

Collaboration, dialogue, mutual respect and interdependence are key words to many ILC participants: “The new agenda of the 21st century has only three letters: A-N-D,” Dr. Walther Lichem, a retired Austrian ambassador, told an ILC held in Seoul in February 2016.

“Every issue must be dealt with in the context of its interrelatedness and interdependencies with other issues and agendas,” he said.

The ILCs draw hundreds of international delegates from dozens of countries. The gatherings permit networking and capacity-building among leaders from all sectors, including current parliamentarians, government ministers, diplomats, grass-roots activists and leading figures in religion, media, academia, and civil society.

A key goal of an ILC is to develop a new model or “best practices” for leadership and good governance: a model that is innovative, principled and effective in solving problems.

In recent months, ILCs have been held in Seoul; Tokyo; London; Lusaka, Zambia; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Asuncion, Paraguay; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Kathmandu, Nepal. These conferences have addressed critical problems such as climate change, extreme poverty, the rise of extremist ideologies, and the refugee crisis.

A highlight of the ILCs has been the Peace Road 2016 project. Youth and adults in many nations have held public events in which they bicycled, walked, ran cross-country, rode horses or even climbed mountains to show support for the vision of an international peace highway, as envisioned by UPF founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.

Another highlight this year was the inauguration of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace. Almost a dozen chapters of IAPP already have been established in various regions; many more are planned.

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