Australia: Inauguration of IAPP

 

Prepared by UPF Ausralia

On 19 August 2017, the Inaugural Conference of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) took place in Sydney Australia. More than 80 people attended, including local Sydney Ambassadors for Peace and over twenty interstate (from Victoria, Queensland, and Australian Capital Territory) and international guests (from Vanuatu and Fiji).

The morning session was emceed by Mrs Jynene Helland and was held at the Oceania Peace Embassy. The welcome to country prayer was given by aboriginal elder Pearl Wymarra.  This was followed by welcoming remarks from UPF Regional Chairman, Rev Shang Seon Park. Dr Thomas Walsh, Chairman of UPF International, gave an impressive overview of UPF and the world wide IAPP initiative. Hon David Clarke, Member of the Legislative Council of the Parliament of New South Wales, presented a highly inspiring introduction to the work of UPF. UPF Australia Vice President, John Bellavance spoke on “Values in Leadership,” explaining how IAPP transcends party politics and focuses on “head wing” thought which is based on universal moral, ethical and spiritual values.

After a break, the morning session continued with a presentation by President of UPF Australia, Greg Stone on “Family Values and World Peace.” This highlighted the profound importance of the family unit as the essential foundational building block of a peaceful and prosperous society, nation and world. Anne Bellavance, WFWPI Vice President (Oceania) and WFWP Australia President, spoke on “A Conversation About Parity.” Her talk stressed the need to secure equal opportunities for women in all fields as well as the critical roles that women need to play if we are to achieve peace. Mica Camara, FFWPU Oceania Director of Youth, gave an overview of the Youth and Students for Peace initiative.

After lunch at the Peace Embassy, the participants were taken by bus to the beautiful Jubilee room at the Parliament of New South Wales, where the afternoon session, including the formal inauguration of the Australian Chapter of the IAPP took place. The emcee for the afternoon session was Greg Stone. After Rev Shang Seon Park welcomed everyone, Dr Thomas Walsh explained in more detail the significance and role of IAPP. This was followed by a panel discussion chaired by the host of the afternoon session, Hon David Clarke, Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) of NSW Parliament. Other panellists included Hon Rachel Carling-Jenkins (MLC) from the Victorian Parliament, Rev Hon Fred Nile, MLC NSW, Hon Lou Amato MLC NSW, Hon Iliesa Delana, Assistant Minister Youth and Sports Fiji, and Hon Andrew Napuat MP Vanuatu. A message was also read out from Hon Paul Green MLC NSW.

The panel discussion was vibrant and inspiring, with many of the participants mentioning God and speaking about the need for strong family values and righteous, moral leadership in Australia and elsewhere. This was followed by Q & A and time for comments from the audience. Finally, the resolution for the formation of IAPP Australia was signed by all and we concluded with group photo, afternoon tea and informal discussion.

Everyone was very inspired by the quality of the speeches and their high moral tone, together with the magnificent venue, the oldest parliament building in Australia, which was highly appropriate for the occasion.

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