UPF launches the International Media Association for Peace (IMAP) during the World Summit 2020

By Thomas P. McDevitt


The first official event of the extraordinary World Summit 2020 in early February this year was a one-day conference for the newly launched International Media Association for Peace (IMAP) attracting more than 521 media professionals and high-ranking government and business officials from 72 countries representing Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, North America, Japan and Korea. The program was held at the Lotte Seoul Hotel in the heart of Seoul’s business district on Sunday, February 2, 2020.

Sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), World Summit 2020 held from Feb 2-7, included more than 6,000 international leaders from the spheres of government, religion, business, media, academy, culture, women and youth. Coinciding with the centenary commemoration of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s birth in 1920, each event of the weeklong series was designed and produced with prime-time quality.

The IMAP Conference included 403 practicing journalists, editors, publishers and social media influencers, who convened around the theme of “Establishing a Global Environment of “Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values the Role of the Media.” Sponsors of the media conference included Universal Peace Federation in partnership with media companies The Washington Times, Segye Ilbo in Seoul, and Sekai Nippo in Tokyo.

Media professionals from around the world addressed essential industry issues including the current state of the media, impact of distruptive innovation, how to reclaim and upgrade the mission of journalism, freedom and responsibility of the press, the role of media in solving critical social and geo-political challenges and the case for a new global association. The essential question for this gathering was the role of media in building a world of lasting peace. Following the IMAP Conference, all practicing journalists in attendance had access to all aspects of World Summit 2020 to optimize news and opinion coverage of the events, interview VVIP personalities.

Based on a series of four expert panels and working sessions, the conference concluded with a unanimous launch of the International Media Association for Peace (IMAP).

Program and Speakers

Opening Ceremony and Keynote Presentations. This session set the stage for the IMAP Conference introducing the core themes of media innovation, a call to revive the mission of journalism, and the opportunity to launch a new association for media professionals who can work together for the greater good of humanity towards lasting peace

Moderated by Mr. Kim Hyun Wook, former news anchor at KBS; Welcoming
Remarks were delivered by
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, Chairman, UPF International; Mr. Hee-taeg Jung, President & CEO of Segye Ilbo; Mr. Masahiro Kuroki, President & CEO of Sekai Nippo; and, Mr. Thomas P. McDevitt, Chairman of The Washington Times

Congratulatory remarks were offered by Hon. Park, Won Soon, Mayor of Seoul; Hon. Park, Yang Woo, Minister of Culture & Sports, Korea; and, Mr. Lee Byung Kyu, Chairman, Korea Association of Newspapers.

Keynote Speeches were presented by Hon. Cliff Stearns, Member of U.S. Congress (1989- 2013), Executive Director APCO Worldwide, and past President of Association of Former Members of U.S. Congress; and, Dr. Shin Jai Won, Vice-President, Hyundai Motor, heads newly established Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division of Hyundai Motors.

Session II: State of the Media Industry and Impact of Disruptive Innovation

Subject matter experts from Europe, Asia and Latin America provided an overview of the state of the media industry and the impact of disruptive innovation on the quality of journalism and the challenges to economic sustainabliity for news organizations.

Moderated by Mrs. Jung-Mi Hwang, Vice President and Executive Editor of The Segye Times, the Session Panelists included Mr. Juan Senor, President, Innovation Media Consulting; Mr. Yuya Watase, Chairman of the Pacific Alliance Institute and Executive Director of The Washington Times, Japan; Prof. Predrag Vujovic, Founder and President of the Public Relations Business School in Serbia; and, Ms. Vera Lucia Tabach, President Brazilian Association of Press and Electronic Media in Brazil.

Session III: Addressing Critical Challenges of the Media & Restoring the Mission of Journalism

This working session explored media challenges such as freedom of the press, fake news, bias, polarization, and the relionship between human rights and freedom of the press. Speakers then focused on rediscovering the mission of journalism in today’s global environment.

Moderated by Mr. Peter Zoehrer, Executive Director, FOREF-Europe, the Session panelists included Prof. Han Kyu Sup, Seoul National University; Mr. Chris Dolan, President and Executive Editor, The Washington Times; Dr. Aaron Anthony Rhodes, Human Rights Editor of Dissident Magazine, a project of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Germany; Mr. Lutfi Dervishi, host of the political talk show “Perballe,” on Public Television, Albania; Mr. Salvador Alehandro Nasralla Salum, TV Broadcaster, Founder and President, Anti Corruption Party of the Republic of Honduras, Honduras; and Prof. Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Harvard University & Chairman, Nation-Building Institute (NBI), Thailand.

Session IV: Regional Issues and the Case for a New Global Association of Journalists and Communications Professionals

The final session explored the role of media in regional areas of focus including Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Setting the stage for the launching of IMAP, panelists addressed such questions as What would a new association stand for?, What would it do?, and, How can IMAP benefit journalists, publishers, readers, etc.? Finally, What kind of partnerships would be helpful between IMAP and related UPF programs like ISCP, IAPP, IAPD, IAED, and IAAP? The Session concluded with a Signing Ceremony for the IMAP Resolution.

Tom McDevitt, Chairman of The Washington Times served as moderator. Panelists included Michael Breen, CEO, Insight Communications Consultants, Korea; Bill Gertz, National Security Correspondent, The Washington Times; Hon. Jean Victor Nkolo, UN General Assembly Spokesman; David Morgan, Managing Partner at D. Morgan & Partners, Co-Founder of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association; Mr. Thomas Schellen, Editor at Large for Executive Magazine; and, Mr. A. Curtis Farrow, President, Irving Street Reps, USA.

IMAP Launch

During the Cold War, Rev. Sun Myung Moon together with his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han co-founded the World Media Association that convened dozens of global conferences and fact-finding trips addressing issues like freedom and responsibility of the media. Following Rev. Moon’s passing in 2012, Dr. Hak Ja Han, in partnership with hundreds of global leaders, has implemented an enlightened grand strategy for peace creating a global culture as “one family under God.” It was her vision to re-engage media professionals through the newly launched IMAP project that will work in tandem with several similar UPF programs that have generated global and national networks of current and former Heads-of-State (ISCP), incumbent Members of Parliament (IAPP), interfaith religious leaders (IAPD), business and economic leaders (IAED), and scholars from the academic field (IAAP).

During the final plenary session, the assembly of journalists reviewed and adopted the founding IMAP Resolution that called for a renewal of the mission, quality and craft of journalism in an era of heightened global tensions, economic uncertainty and significant disruptive innovation within the communications industry. As a project of UPF, IMAP aims to attract and serve media professionals who seek to enhance their journalism and leverage the influence of the media profession in the pursuit of peace, common prosperity and universal values.

As described in the IMAP Resolution, “IMAP recognizes the vital role that journalists play in guarding against totalitarianism and supporting the expansion of freedom. IMAP represents a worldwide professional network of journalists who support a socially responsible and moral media to convey accurate content, address the challenges of our time based on the highest principles of ethical journalism, and understanding that universal values are key elements of a world of peace.”

IMAP participants also attended the Feb 3rd half day event to celebrate Segye Ilbo’s 31st anniversary, which included numerous national political leaders and the heads of the major and secondary political parties in the Republic of Korea.

The IMAP project will develop based on the vision laid out in the IMAP Resolution through global, regional, national and local followup planning sessions.