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Peace Conference Attracts Top Pacific Leaders

Peace Conference Attracts Top Pacific Leaders

The Prime Minister of the Solomons Sir Allan Paul Kemakeza was joined in Apia today by many top government and religious leaders from around the Pacific, including the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Hon. Saufatu Sopoanga, OBE , the former President of Vanuatu, Hon Ati G. Sokomanu, the former Prime Minister of Fiji, Major General Sitaveni Rabukau and the First Lady of Palau Mrs. Debbie M. Remengesau.

Over 70 governmental and religious leaders have gathered to hold the inaugural conference of the Interreligious and International Peace Council (IIPC). When asked why this conference was inviting both political and religious leaders, the Vice Chairman of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) Oceania, Rev. Paul Saver had this to say. "A whole human being consists of the unity of both mind and body. Government leaders represent the body aspect. Religiuos leaders represent the mind aspect. Therefore, in order to chart a path toward true peace on all levels that takes into account both the physical and spiritual dimensions of a human being, government and religious leaders need to form a leadership partnership. BACKGROUND. IIFWP Interreligious International Peace Council Initiative Introduction

>From its inception in 1999, the IIFWP has been advocating the establishment of an Interreligious Council within the United Nations system. In this way the IIFWP works to support the United Nations, further strengthening it in its effort to solve critical global problems and "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."

On November 10, 2003, a resolution (A/58/L.13) was tabled at the 58th Session of the General Assembly by the Republic of the Philippines. This resolution proposes to establish an Open-ended Working Group to explore the possibility of instituting a process and/or establishing a mechanism within the United Nations system with the objective of utilizing the potential of interreligious dialogue and cooperation to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations to promote international peace and harmony. This is a challenging, exciting and necessary venture for the United Nations. It is an idea whose time has come.

At this critical time in history, there is need for serious examination of the existing institutions and practices of global governance. In particular, there is an urgent need for innovative models of good governance that illustrate the practical potential and effectiveness of interreligious and international cooperation in addressing critical problems in society, the nation and the world. For this reason, the IIFWP is moving forward with its plan, developed at the September 2002 Convocation in New York on the International Day of Peace, to establish regional Peace Councils. These councils are being established to demonstrate that people of diverse racial, religious and cultural backgrounds can work together and contribute in significant ways to the solution of some of our world's most serious problems. Regional Peace Councils are being established in Korea, Japan, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania.

The IIFWP is also establishing an Interreligious and International Peace Council (IIPC) to be based in New York City. Members of the IIPC are leaders from various fields: religion, politics, education, civil society, etc. who are committed to active involvement in the work of the Peace Council, going beyond sectarian or national self-interests. They affirm the highest spiritual and moral principles and seek to apply them in the broadest possible way for the sake of peace and the overall well being of humanity. The members of the IIPC will meet and deliberate on the critical issues of our day, working toward practical and comprehensive solutions to our world's most pressing global problems.

IIPC members affirm the following core principles, which are basic to the founding vision of the IIFWP:

a. God, as the ultimate reality, is our common origin, the source of love and goodness

b. The cosmos and human beings are both spiritual and physical in nature;

c. Peace is rooted in the principle and practice of living for the sake of others;

d. Peace calls us to overcome barriers of race, religion, nationality;

e. Both interreligious and international respect, harmony, and cooperation and necessary for peace to be achieved.

Members of the regional councils will be linked to the IIPC, which is global in scope. The structure, functions, procedures and tasks of both the regional and the Interreligious and International Peace Council are not yet firmly established, and are currently being discussed and developed.

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