A Conference Experience

The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) International Leadership Conference in Abuja Nigeria. July 15 - 18, 2011

Grace (left) at the plenary session with other delegates

I was privileged to attend the above Conference, sponsored by the Wales (UK) UPF. It was poignant and relevant for me being a Nigerian by birth. The experience was also educational and exhilarating. I was booked into the Sheraton Hotel in Abuja which was also the Conference venue.

The centre was teeming with delegates from all over the world, religious, political and community leaders, and many others from across the globe. These were men and women of different races, cultures, religions, and nationalities living out being God's global family. They came from Asia, Eurasia, Canada, Japan, Europe, North and South Korea, United States, Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean and Middle East.

Grace (left) at the plenary session with other delegates

The plenary sessions were well-organised, the topics were very relevant and all the speakers were good but most were brilliant. Topics included Towards an Era of Universal Peace in Africa and the World; UPF: Interfaith Cooperation for Peace and development in Africa; Principles and Practices of Conflict Prevention and conflict Resolution; Marriage and Family as the Cornerstone of Peace; Principles for Good Leadership and Good Governance; The Role of the United Nations and the African Union in Promoting Peace and Development in Africa; Human Development: Toward Economic Prosperity and Improved Health; UPF 2011: Nigeria, Africa and the world. Last but not the least was the Founder's Programme at the Convention Centre in Abuja. We were shown films of the progress of UPF over time and all over the world. Delegates were also entertained by a choir from Port Harcourt which was one of the best choirs I've ever listened to. They made my hair stand on end!

The UPF Director of Communications, Dr Michael Balcomb was particularly brilliant. The gist of what he said had some resonance with me, which is that unresolved issues carry on from generation to generation both locally and globally. He stated that there is always a purpose for everyone's life.

Grace (left) at the plenary session with other delegates

Dr Thomas Walsh, the UPF President played his role to perfection as the moderator of the Conference. He was easy to listen to and was a charismatic speaker.

Between each plenary, we were very well fed and entertained. For instance, we were taken on a tour of Abuja: to see "Aso Rock" which is the Military Base encompassing the Presidential Residence, the Interfaith Church and the Shopping Mall. We all mingled happily in the spirit of love and friendship. I personally made two firm friends.

The climax of the conference was the Founder's (Dr. Rev. Hyung Jin Moon) key note speech on the evening of Sunday, 17th July, the day before the conference ended. The Conference Centre was packed and Dr Moon spoke non-stop for six hours at the age of ninety-two, standing at the podium. I was compelled to listen attentively to his message of love, family, service, peace, honesty and stability. He was a strong speaker full of vitality and depth.

I hope my country will benefit from the ethos of this Conference and I personally look forward to furthering the message of Dr Moon and this Conference: messages of peace, principles, spirituality, service, dialogue, interfaith cooperation, family, partnership and reconciliation and that for peace to prevail in the world, we need to be genuine ambassadors for peace.