The UPF World Summit 2019 was held from February 7 to 11 in Seoul, Korea. 1200 participants including current and former heads of state and government, members of parliament, religious leaders and NGO representatives from 110 nations attended the event. The theme was: “Addressing the Critical Challenges of our Time: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.” The Summit commemorated the centenary of the March 1st Independence Movement, a milestone in the early days of Japanese colonial rule that marked the consciousness of the Korean nation.

On February 8, UPF Founder Dr. Hak Jan Han Moon inaugurated the International Summit Council for Peace in the presence of 40 current and former heads of state and government, first ladies and high-level dignitaries. H.E. Evaristo Carvalho, president of Sao Tome and Principe; Sir Iakoba Italeli, Governor-General of Tuvalu; former US Vice President Dick Cheney and former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich were the keynote speakers.

Hon. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission between 2004 and 2014, addressed the Summit on the issue of peace on the Korean Peninsula. Former heads of state representing five continents shared their wisdom and experiences in two panels on Peace, Security and Human Development. Two concurrent sessions featured the global assemblies of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) and the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD).

On February 9, the award ceremony of the Sunhak Peace Prize was held, honoring individuals who devoted their lives to human rights, conflict resolution or environmental protection. Two African laureates shared the one-million-dollar prize. Somalian top model Waris Dirie was recognized for her worldwide campaign against Female Genital Mutilation, while African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina was rewarded for creating innovative agricultural programs in support of small farmers in Africa.

On February 9 afternoon, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak Yeon opened the World Summit symposium on the theme: “Changing the Paradigm of the Korean Peninsula: A Roadmap for Peace”, sponsored by the Segye Times and the Washington Times – two daily newspapers created by the UPF Founders. The symposium featured international scholars and political leaders – such as former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former US Ambassadors involved in Korean Peace Talks – as well as Korean scholars and government officials.

On February 10, the UPF Founders were honored at a spectacular birthday celebration at the Cheongshim Peace World Center, outside of Seoul. Seven leaders from different religions opened the event in prayer. All Summit participants were invited as guests of honor to watch a program that featured a dazzling musical and ballet performance.

H.E. Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati and Sunhak Peace Prize laureate, gave congratulatory remarks to the founders of UPF on their birthday, thanking them “ for the most precious gifts given to us: these values to live for the sake of others, and to live under God as one family.”

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