- Monday, February 4, 2019

The First Africa Summit for Peace, Security and Sustainable Development, held in Dakar, Senegal, Jan. 18-19, 2018, showcased the theme of “New Africa: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.”

The conference was oriented around five objectives: (a) to promote a united, interdependent and prosperous Africa; (b) to advise leaders on the importance of universal values in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations; (c) to promote cooperation among all religious and cultural traditions; (d) to encourage mutual prosperity and peace in Africa through village-level development projects; and (e) to utilize the power of art and culture as instruments of peace.

In fulfillment of these objectives, the following issues and initiatives were introduced:

Interdependence: Strengthen bonds of solidarity and promote mutual development by sharing knowledge and technology. Presentation topics included the New Village Movement (Saemaul), which played a significant role in rural development in South Korea after the Korean War, and coffee production using research and technology from the award-winning Hawaiian Queen Coffee farm, which was established by the founders of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF).

Mutual prosperity: Promote prosperity among all nations by breaking down barriers. A key presentation was on the International Peace Highway, a project intended to encourage global travel in a peaceful world. A memorandum of understanding was presented to participants to support the International Highway Project, also known as the “Peace Road” project.

Universal values: Promote the adoption of universally shared values through character education. A presentation was made about textbooks and teacher manuals related to the UPF Character Education Program.

The First Africa Summit also launched three important peace initiatives to contribute to cooperation and human development at the national and continental levels:

•The International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP).

•The Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD).

•The International Association of Chiefs for Peace and Prosperity (IACPP).

The latter organization — for tribal chiefs — was created in recognition that “traditional rulers are the custodians of the land, people and traditions” and are highly respected and honored among their people.

The summit’s nearly 100 speakers, representing more than 60 African nations, addressed challenges facing the continent. Poor governance and corruption were at the top of the list, followed by poverty, terrorism, drug and human trafficking, cybercrime, environmental issues and unemployment.

But there are signs of hope for unprecedented transformation: Foreign investment is increasing, the population is young, the lands are rich in resources, and the people are receptive to new technologies and digital communications. According to the United Nations, by the year 2100, four out of 10 people in the world will be African. The world is moving in the direction of Africa taking on a greater role as a bridge between Eastern and Western civilizations, and in her keynote address, UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon expressed her hope for Africa “to become the light of the world.”

This article is based on materials from the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, with thanks to Dr. William Selig, Dr. Robert Kittel and Dr. David Earle. For more information, please visit familyfed.org and upf.org.

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