Switzerland: Peace Road 2016
By UPF Switzerland
The Peace Road event in Switzerland took this year place in the Western part of the country centering on Geneva, in contrast to the last year’s event that took place in the East and centering on Zurich.
There were several locations from where efforts were made in support of the Peace Road 2016 project in Switzerland. Peace Road cyclists in a symbolic effort gathered in the city of Biel at the Central Square. In the capital city of Bern cyclists and supporters gathered in front of the Federal Parliament building, connecting their location to the main arrival location, Geneva, “Place des Nations”, in front of the UN Offices.
The main Peace Road tour in Switzerland this year began at 10h00 am at the UPF Peace Embassy in Belmont, outside of Lausanne, and the cyclists followed the main road alongside lake Geneva all the way to the “Place des Nations” in front of the UN Offices in Geneva.
The cyclists had to challenge a distance of 75 km passing through the cities of Rolle, Nyon and Versoix and were supposed to arrive in the afternoon at 4h00 pm in front of the UN compound.
The experienced cyclist, Mr. Jonah Gindroz, a young Unificationist, took on the job of leader of the team of cyclists and coach, making sure that all the participants arrived well at the final destination.
For the last 10 km from Versoix to Geneva, the cyclists were joined by a team of cyclists from Geneva under the leadership of the local UPF/FFWPU leader Mr. Michel Reymond. They passed the last part in a very fast pace and arrived 30 minutes before the expected time at the Place des Nations.
They were well received by a gathering of supporters and the whole group gathered for a picture and some refreshments in front of the UN Offices.
At 16h00 in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, a short presentation introduced the Peace Road project that this year in Switzerland emphasized the International Peace Highway that can bring unity and harmony beyond cultures, races religions and nationalities. The International Peace Highway was launched by the founders of UPF and FFWPU Dr. & Mrs. Moon in 1982 at an annual conference on the Unity of Sciences (ICUS) and has ever since gained more and more interest in vast parts of the world.
The idea of challenging the divisions particularly in Asia through the establishment of a 5th UN Office in the DMZ on the Korean Peninsula was another important topic emphasized this year. The gathering displayed a large banner promoting the creation of the 5th UN Office in the DMZ as well as a strengthening of efforts for the re-unification and reconciliation between the 2 Koreas, putting an end to the painful history of division for over 70 years.
The final emphasis of Peace Road 2016 in Switzerland was to pay tribute to a forerunner of the Peace Road project, Mr. Ron Mc. Gerity, a US citizen and resident in Geneva who became an Ambassador for Peace in 2012. His efforts for Peace through cycling around the world, promoting the message of the Geneva Spiritual Appeal, are widely recognized in Geneva to this day. The local director of FFWPU and UPF Geneva, Mr. Michel Reymond, a personal friend and sponsor of his attempt to cross the DMZ from South Korea to the North in 2012 spoke briefly about his life and his very unique efforts for world peace. Unfortunately his efforts for the Korean Re-Unification were not successful, but he seemed to have left a great inspiration in Korea that finally resulted in the launching of the Peace Road project based in South Korea.
Mr. Ron Mc. Gerity died in 2014 because of a tragic accident while on the road with his bike in Russia. His memory will certainly live on through the Peace Road project that is conducted throughout the world.
In support of the small rally in front of the UN Offices, various religious Leaders and Peace Activists gathered, amongst them Mr. Hafid Ouardiri of the” Fondation de l’Entre- connaissance” who paid tribute to the great ideals of Peace Road 2016. The event at the Place des Nations came to a close after 17h00.