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Beyond Coexistence: Dealing with the Challenges of Interdependence

Values Education and Healthy Families – Fostering an Environment for Prosperity, Citizenship and Interreligious Harmony

this has been a breakout session of the conference on

Toward Interdependence and Mutual Prosperity: The Role of Religious Leaders and Parliamentarians

That took place in Park Hotel Schönbrunn, April 28. – 29. 2018.

Building a peaceful world of co-prosperity and shared values has long been the goal of religion, politics and educational institutions. In a stable, loving family, individuals may naturally develop capacities for love, respect, communication, cooperation, service, conflict resolution, forgiveness and other social skills that are relevant to life in the wider society. How can this universal principle be applied and extended to encourage harmonious social relations and partnerships for peace in our communities and in the family of nations?

The Moderator, Ms. Carolyn Handschin, UN Office Director, Women’s Federation for World Peace International welcomed a full room, describing the session’s theme as being the critical component in all discussions on peace.  Professor Yeon Ah Choi Moon, Chairwoman, WFWPI spoke of creating a culture of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values, as espoused by the Founders of WFWPI. To make our peace culture sustainable at a time when the selfishness of nations pushes harmony away, we must look to family as the basic unit of all human organizations. While the participation of women is needed everywhere, the highest priority is educating our society with a righteous value system and love to motivate.

Hon. Dr. Vasilika Hysi, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Albania focused her statement on the responsibility of parliamentarians in strengthening inter-religious harmony. Albania has a tradition of religious coexistence. In these times of radicalization, preserving it requires continuous effort. Dr. Hysi defined six areas where MP’s must be vigilant. These include, defending non-discrimination laws, promote inter religious /cultural understanding and cooperation, adopt measure that reduce inequalities and poor education, encourage self regulation to prevent hate language in media, lawmakers and faith leaders need to work together to prevent extremism and promote good models.

Hon. Nina Nováková, Member of Parliament (2013-2017), Czech Republic is currently working with civil society in search of solutions to current threats. Three worlds, “pragmatism” with its uncritical belief in technology to society, “hedonism” that is and denial of time honored values and instant gratification – and “bureaucracy” a dehumanized system of regulation. All three ignore ethical consideration. If society is ecosystem, family is basic structure. Need to understand and respect it. It is a place to learn virtue. Our society lacks fidelity, which cultivates empathy.  Pragmatic criteria wants to claim objectivity, but the safe environment of family is only breeding ground for healthy conscience, commitment and true freedom to love deeply and live virtuously. No society, as no family can survive without fidelity at its core.

Rev. Ivo Sasek, President, Organische Christus Generation (OCG), Switzerland, is a pastor, writer and founder of a media network. He values family and the role of women. It was women who remained with Jesus to the end, he said. Speaking in metaphor and parable, he referred to humanity’s need to live together in harmony referring to the life cycle of ants and their need for community for survival.  When people change from self-absorption to concern for others, quality of life and breadth of accomplishment changes dramatically.  But we have to learn to live together. Only with God as our center, that can be done. Incredible insight comes to solve problems with this connection, not through ideology, but by recognizing our innate common core. Annemarie Sasek, wife and mother of Rev. Sasek’s 11 children added a few words from the audience in closing.

Ms. Tahirih Danesh, Senior Programme Consultant, Ward and Brown Foundation, United Kingdom, is also a human rights researcher and activist and member of the Bahai faith. This day is the celebration of the founding of her religion. Having suffered torture as a child, smuggled to freedom, she turned to human rights. While education is critical to human rights, legislation is equally so. We need to form families that last. Millennial generation is different from their parents. The internet has transitioned the younger generation to the intangible, accumulating experiences (metaphysical). Living in a time where spirituality is priority, search for authenticity, becoming true self. That is first function of parents in a family, loving and letting go- love is also the creative force for civilization building.

Almost 20 minutes of discussion with the audience provided opportunity for many views to be shared.

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