Zambia: Inauguration of IAPD
by Fabrice Djimadoum, UPF Zambia
The initial preparatory meeting for the inauguration of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) which took place at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lusaka – Zambia on December 15th, 2017 was finally culminated during its official launch on 7th April 2018 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka. The event was televised live on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.
The prime vision for the establishment of the IAPD was mainly to unite all religions so that they cooperate with one another. This means a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and others, should also work together with the leaders of governments and civil societies and the private sector, as partners, for the sake of building the world envisioned by our founders, our ancestors, and, indeed, all people.
The meeting was attended by over 450 participants for the entire hall was fully occupied. Religious leaders representing all different religions in the nation attended the launching ceremony. The majority emerged from the Christian religion composed of 38 denominations. The remaining were the Muslims, Jews, Hindus and the Baha’is. Among the prominent participants who embellished the success of the launching ceremony were the 3 Members of the Parliament including the chairman of the House of Chiefs, the Chief Whip and 6 traditional chiefs. Besides these, there were other members from private sectors, civil societies, non-governmental organizations, Ambassadors for Peace including Miss Peace of Zambia award prize winner.
The success of this launching ceremony of IAPD was due to the efforts and organization of the Steering Committee comprising of the UPF, FFWPU and IAPD members which was led by the good leadership of the chair of IAPD Bishop David Masupa.
Three days before the actual official launch of the main event, Bishop Masupa held a press conference at Intercontinental Hotel where over 23 participants from 13 media institutions attended. Bishop Masupa implicitly informed the journalists on the intention of launching the association on Saturday. He furthermore defined and explained the composition and structure of the IAPD.
Bishop Masupa also emphasized on the main objective of IAPD and winded his speech up by affirming the notion that God will use IAPD as a vehicle to improve the living standards of the citizens starting with a core institution of the family. As usual, journalists were given ample time to pose their queries which were answered.
The IAPD launch ceremony began by singing the National Anthem by the Invited interfaith choir followed by the opening invocations conducted by 5 religious leaders that is of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and the Baha’i.
After the acknowledgment of the prominent members who had attended the meeting by the emcee, he invited Bishop John Mambo, the Vice Chair of IAPD who gave the opening remarks on behalf of the UPF Chair Hon. Gen. Malimba N. Masheke. In his opening remarks he offered his gratitude to the attendees and welcomed everyone to the official launching ceremony and encouraged all faiths to be united in matters regarding peace and development of the nation.
The opening remarks were well received by the audience. Then they were given a privilege to watch an inspirational documentary video realized by the MBCNet Korea in titled “2018 Africa Summit – Senegal Peace Declaration for a New Africa”.
The Young African Children’s Hebrew Choir, the Africa Unity Choir and other choirs performed beautifully. Also the Tong Il Moo Do (TIMD) martial arts demonstration was done by the youth group as part of entertainment, and the TIMD philosophy, which is based on filial piety, mind–body unity and character development, was explained by the Director of Ceremony.
Thereafter the emcee John Mwananshiku called upon the IAPD Chair, Bishop David Masupa, on the podium to introduce the Guest Honour, the Permanent Secretary Mr. Alex Ndhlovu the representative candidate of the Honourable Minister of Community Development and Social Welfare.
Mr. Alex Ndhlovu began by declaring an amazing historical moment whereby the new organization of IAPD had endeavored to break down the barriers of religious disunity and sectarianism by fostering on national peace to the glory of God the Creator. He went to inform the religious leaders how the nation was in dire need of love, wisdom and proper guidance from all religions for the welfare of the peace and sustainable development.
He then expressed his major concern over the breakdown and falls of cultural values, ethics and moral values prevalent in the communities. On this he had a positive notion that if religious leaders could instill into their followers the sense of goodness, altruistic love and ethical standards; this would facilitate to save them from evil.
He finally concluded his speech by urging each religion to complement one another in the efforts for peace, to respect and cooperate with one another and to learn from one another. He reminded the audience that the government need religions in order to make this world a better place for our children and us.
After an uplifting speech from the Guest of Honour, 5 religious leaders gave their proclamation statement with an emphasis on unity, love and peace.
The Chair of IAPD Bishop Masupa gave a joyful statement on the historical event that had managed to gather all religious leaders of major faiths and were all willing to address critical challenges of our time including poverty, hunger, environmental degradation, family breakdowns, exploitation, conflict and violence with one voice.
He informed the audience about the incredible initiative of the first launch that took place in Seoul, Korea during the International Leadership Conference (ILC) of 11th – 14th November, 2017. He acknowledged that IAPD was a result of the God given world visionary leaders of True Parents who realized that peace and development of any nation are best advocated for by religious leaders.
He said that religious leaders all over the world have a moral authority from God to influence peace, unity, social and economic development of any country as their position has been so from time immemorial.
Bishop Masupa thanked the former presidents of the nation who had upheld godly principles and values that have contributed to the peace, unity and prosperity of the country. As a result, the emerging IAPD finds its base on the godly foundation of the patriarchs in Zambia.
He encouraged all religious leaders to emulate the principle of living for the sake of others as the order of the day.
After that he read through the “Resolution of Interreligious Association for Peace and Development” and the religious leaders affirmed their agreement by signing the resolution.
The chairman of the House of Chiefs encouraged the audience to seek peace within, which is the foundation of peace in our communities.
The media was represented by three major television stations such as Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), Prime TV and the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS), three radio stations and 5 popular newspapers.
Four religious leaders and the Permanent Secretary, the Guest of Honour, were awarded the Ambassadors for Peace certificate due to their valuable contributions they had rendered in their societies. The Permanent Secretary was really thrilled whereby he stayed up till the end of the program.
The launch ceremony was concluded with the closing remarks by the Heavenly Africa Group Chair who shared with the audience concerning the Philosophy of Peace of True Parents centered on the Three Blessings. The message was well received with great ovation from the audience.
The following day on Sunday after the service, the Heavenly Africa Group Chair with the entire staff attended the celebration victory ceremony for the success launching of the IAPD. At that juncture various testimonies were given by different members and invited guests who had attended the launch ceremony of the IAPD. The victory celebration was colorful and so enthusiastic.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to True Mother for endless support for this event and through her gesture we are so moved and inspired.
We would like to thank the Heavenly Africa Chair for his support and diligent guidance, encouragement that facilitated in the success of the event. We are also grateful for the IAPD Chairman, Bishop Masupa for great commitment and determination by holding on to the flag of victory despite undergoing various disappointments and embarrassments from different angles.