World peace advocate and staunch supporter of interfaith cooperation Rev. Sun Myung Moon yesterday praised President Arroyo and Speaker Jose de Venecia for their pioneering efforts in pushing global interfaith dialogue that has won the approval of the United Nations.
Moon is in the country to open the inaugural convocation of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in Manila.
Together with peace leaders that included Neil Bush, younger brother of US President George W. Bush, Moon arrived yesterday as part of a 100-day tour that is taking him to 100 cities in 67 nations and covering a journey of almost 100,000 miles.
Manila is the 82nd city to be visited by the South Korean world peace advocate. He is scheduled to fly next to Palau on the Solomon Islands.
De Venecia was at the airport to welcome Moon and his 11-member delegation that included his wife Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon; Dr. Chung Kwak, chairman of the International Inter-religious Federation for World Peace (IIFWP); Dr. Thomas Walsh, secretarygeneral of IIFWP; and Dong Moon Joo, president of the Washington Times.
De Venecia also accompanied Moon and party during their one-hour call on President Arroyo at Malacañang Palace.
Mrs. Arroyo praised Moon for his global peace efforts and God-centered, family-centered economic and social initiatives in various parts of the world, including projects in a number of Philippine cities.
Moon said the UN global interfaith dialogue has now led to major regional dialogues in various parts of the world, complementing serious peacemaking efforts in conflict areas whether in Mindanao, Aceh in Indonesia, Nepal, Chechnya and others.
De Venecia first brought up the proposal for an interfaith dialogue when he joined President Arroyo during her call on Bush at the White House two years ago.
Bush had reportedly called the proposal "a brilliant idea."
In November last year, following de Venecia’s presentation at the Security Council, the UN formally adopted the global interfaith dialogue as an instrument to help reduce ethnic and politico-religious tensions in conflict areas of the world.
De Venecia joined President Arroyo at the UN last September when the Philippine leader was elected chairperson of the 16-nation global interfaith dialogue at the UN. Mrs. Arroyo also acknowledged Moon’s pioneering efforts in pushing initiatives to help unify the Korean peninsula.
De Venecia, the chairman emeritus worldwide of the UPF, joined Moon and his delegation at the UPF’s inaugural convocation in Manila.
Gen. Florencio Magsino, a graduate of West Point Academy, chairs the steering committee of the unification movement under the UPF.
The other officers are Michael Zablan, president of the unification movement for Manila; Dr. Christopher Kim, president for Asia; and Genie Kagaoa, secretary general of IIFWP-Asia.
"Reverend Moon, who founded the IIFWP, has pioneered dialogue and peace-making," De Venecia said.
Moon’s movement now owns universities in the United States and Korea, and newspapers in North America and Latin America devoted to peace-making and inter-religious dialogues to avert a clash of civilizations.