UPF and WFWP Conference: Peace Education, Nourishment of Consciences

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By UPF and WFWP Italy: On the occasion of “International Day for Peace” convened by the United Nations, it was held the conference on the theme “PEACE EDUCATION: nourishment of consciences” in Monza, on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. It was organized by the Universal Peace Federation in collaboration with the Women’s Federation for World Peace and sponsored by the Italian UNESCO Commission, the City Council of Monza, the House of Culture of Monza, the Province of Monza Brianza.

The various sessions of the conference have treated many themes like role of women in the peace process, or how to find of a real path to peace.

Gabriella Mieli, vice president of WFWP Women’s Federation for World Peace, in her speech she pointed out how Rev. Moon, the founder of WFWP, has always stressed the fundamental role that women have in this era: “The theme of the day was two- fold, and concerned about education and the motto given by the UN: “Partnership for Peace – Dignity for All”. And women are fully involved, as it has always been in their DNA thinking about how to nourish (physically and spiritually) the younger generations, and they have always tried to do so through collaboration rather than competition”.

A session of the conference had as its title “The role of the economy”. With a brief introduction Carlo Zonato (UPF president Italy) recalled that not only interfaith and international cooperation, but also interdisciplinary efforts are fundamental in the philosophy of UPF. Someone asked: “How can economy contribute to peace, when it seems that often is the cause of conflict?”. One answer was given by prof. Stefano Bartolini, Professor of Political Economy and Social Economy at the University of Siena, and author of the book “Manifesto for happiness.”

First, Prof. Bartolini explained that it is normal for economists to talk about happiness: during all of history the subject of happiness has been addressed mainly by philosophers and poets, but it is natural that also economists do so in their own way (analyzing the data). And the connection between happiness and peace is almost immediate: happier people are also more peaceful

In his book, Prof Bartolini affirms that economists generally think that more money corresponds to a higher degree of happiness, and they tried to find this correlation in the statistical data regar- ding the United States.

One can easily see that to a curve of the GDP growing almost constantly corresponds a descending curve on the data about the happiness of Americans, including both “subjective” data (obtained analyzing the perception of the respondents about their level of happiness), and “objective” data (which shows a greater spread of mental illness and consumption of soft and hard drugs).

“The real prevention of problems lies in promoting happiness. Unfortunately we have created a society that is not based on cooperation, which is instead one of our most important biological capabilities”. One of our challenges is to return to invest in this huge relational capital.

Other speakers covered topics such as the relations of African states among themselves and with the West. Dr. Beatrice Nicolini, Professor of History and Institutions of the Catholic Università del Sacro Cuore in Milan, showed some of the strengths and weaknesses of many African states.

There was a discussion about environmental ecology and on how to eliminate the culture of waste, especially in the food. Finally, other speakers emphasized the importance of religious values in creating more and better integration and understanding between different cultures. from newspaper “Il Dialogo di Monza” “Some great small ideas for a peaceful world”

It was a day interwoven with words, stories and suggestions the one that took place yesterday at the Urban Center Theatre of Monza. A day that has given space and voice to many small stories that tell how it is really possible to build a world of peace in everyday life. A day in which proposals have been made that many seem maybe out of this world, visionary and utopian, but that perhaps need just a pinch of goodwill to become reality.

The theme was “Educating for peace”, the subtitle “The nourishment of conscience”, the occasion, the celebrations of the International Day for World Peace organized by the UN; the organizers UPF (Universal Peace Federation), WFWP (Women Federation for World Peace) and the Municipality of Monza. There has been talk of sustainability, sharing, and interreligious dialogue, care of the planet and of others. The ‘enthusiasts’ speakers, mostly representatives of religious organizations and political association, is credited with introducing themselves appointment as people first, bringing their experiences and ideas with humility and willingness to listen, in a climate constructive and open.

“Never before Monza has been called to be an open city, a city which is a ‘house of cultures’, a city of peace,” said Mayor Roberto Scanagatti opening the conference, after an introduction by Carlo Chierico and Ettore Fiorina, both representing UPF Monza. “We are all called to spread a culture of peace, and this is a battle that must be waged every day. Recognising ‘the other’, ‘the different’, as a subject with whom you can exchange important only way we can real- ly make the difference nourishment for the conscience.” The reference was to current events and to the territory, to the issue of migrants and their reception, a problem that is part of a global geopolitical situation that during the conference several speakers have called “a kind of Third World War.”

Giuseppe Cali, honorary president of UPF Italy, led everyone across the world introducing Modadugu Vijay Gupta and Anota Tong, award winners of the Sunhak Peace Prize, awarded by the association at the world level. The first, an Indian biologist, is promoting aquaculture as a solution to food crises in the world. The second, the President of the Republic of Kiribati, is committed to solve the difficult environmental problem of his island, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean that   is being gradually submerged following the climate change. Two facts that have introduced one of the most pressing and urgent topics of our time, which represented, together with the issue of international migration and the encounter between cultures, the second com- mon thread of the day: the theme of the care for the planet and for our natural resources.

Francesca Radaelli: The International Day of Peace reached a conclusion with the traditional “VIGIL PRAYER for Peace”; at 9 PM in Trento e Trieste square just in front of Municipality of Monza many representatives of faiths and associations offered their prayers, reflections and songs dedicated to the Peace Day.