Preceeding the “PEACE STARTS WITH ME” Festival at the Vienna Stadthalle with the WFWP Founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, a luncheon reception was held at the ARCOTEL Wimberger bringing together members of the Vienna Diplomatic Community, faith leaders and other international guests.
Around 140 persons gathered to enjoy the buffet, create friendships and discover one another’s passion and focus in the areas of peace and human development before walking to the Hall together.
Emcees for the event were Ms Tina Coombs, Special Advisor for WFWP Europe and Ms. Natascha Schellen, VP of WFWP in Germany. Words of appreciation were given to the Vienna WFWP team who had been preparing for this and other events for months. Some of the Ambassadors, their wives and guest from the government missions and the UN were introduced, as were representatives of each region present.
Over 35 nations were counted. True to Vienna’s reputation, the afternoon´s entertainment created a lovely atmosphere. Isabel Krapf and Karoly Berki warmed the audience by performing typical Viennese waltzes and a North Korean song about the beauty of nature, prepared especially for Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who would be giving the keynote address at the Stadium later.
An impressive video was shown highlighting goals and vast network of WFWP programs worldwide.
Remarks were offered by the Ambassador of Costa Rica to the UN in Vienna, HE. Pilar de Saborio de Rocafort. She explained that Cost Rica was a nation that had decided to disband its military and reinvest for education and development decades ago. While they can be proud of that move, it doesn’t solve everything. A framework for peace and behaving like family is needed. This is where values and family education comes in. Government and legal issues are one aspect. Referring to the title, “Peace Starts with Me”, she explained how important it is to foster a culture of listening and respecting one another and different views at a personal level-with the goal to learn and be better.
Ms. Carolyn Handschin, WFWPI Vice President welcomed and thanked the guests for coming. She explained about some of the other exciting events taking place throughout the city, including an important conference to inaugurate the European Chapter of an organization bringing religions together to contribute to peace (IAPD).
A youth and cultural event the day before has brought 900 young people together to train in leadership and peacebuilding.
The WFWP panel on, “Values Education and Healthy Families – Fostering an Environment for Prosperity, Citizenship and Interreligious Harmony”, brought together 60+ women lawmakers, educators, business leaders, human rights defenders and other civil society leaders to discuss best practices and build networks within the larger frame of the convention, “Peace starts with me”.
Entertainment continued with the stirring String Quintet B.A.C.K composed of Adam Szentannai plus three more talented young Hungarian musicians.
The cultural program closed with a soulful version of “Never Enough” sung by young Swiss vocalist and composer, Julia Handschin.
By Carolyn Handschin and Renate Amesbauer
(Deutsche Übersetzung kommt in kürze!)