International Day of Peace Virginia Peace Road
Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Virginia organized a Peace Road event on September 29 at the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Family Learning Center in partnership with the local chapters of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) and the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC). Approximately 45 participants attended the event which centered on the theme “The Right to Peace: Connecting the World through Peace Road.”
Mrs. Barbara Moseley-Marks, UPF Virginia Executive Director, provided the welcoming remarks followed by an impassioned call for the ending of violence. She explained that this Peace Road honors the International Day of Peace as well as the 70th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, milestone programs of the United Nations.
An instructor at American University, Alex Cromwell told about his work in peacebuilding with youth groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said when young people are taught to hate others, for example in the case of Israeli and Palestinian youth, they tend to carry those values throughout their lives. Mr. Cromwell then shared a moving story about a Palestinian youth whose perspectives changed when he attended a school with Israelis and came to have first-hand experiences with them. “We have a choice,” Mr. Cromwell said, “to repeat the cycle of violence or begin to see others with compassion and love.”
Dr. William Selig explained the initiation and history of the Peace Road, which was followed by an Interfaith Water Ceremony where, one by one, the clergy poured water into a large bowl and offered powerful prayers for peace and good will. After the ceremony concluded, Mrs. Marks started the Peace Road with a “flag off.”
Report contributed by Dr. William Selig.