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Universal Peace Federation and

Women’s Federation for World Peace

43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

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“Communicating Change: Youth Perspectives on Peace”

European Leadership Conference: July 1th – July 3rd  2011

Vienna International Centre (United Nations Building) and NH Danube City Hotel, Vienna



UPF Austria, Vienna: Intergenerational Cooperation brings Inspiration to the UN in Vienna

It is significant that this third European Leadership Conference of the Universal Peace Federation in 2011 took place in the Board Room of the International Atomic Energy Agency based at the United Nations in Vienna. This Authority has and does play a major role in securing world peace in that it regulates and monitors the use of nuclear energy and the observance of international treaties associated with prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Our Austrian UPF chapter took up the challenge to host a European Leadership Conference during our annual planning meeting in Prague in March. Peter Haider, Austria’s UPF Secretary General, congratulated the UN in his welcome speech for proclaiming a "Year of Youth 2010/2011", when suddenly to the surprise of even the experts the young generation was at the forefront of peaceful revolutions and movements for more democracy and youth participation based on human rights and human dignity in Tunisia, Egypt and other parts of the world. Later he commented that NGO activity in the UN in Vienna is most times confined to much smaller meetings of the more older generation. That is why UN staff are very impressed when they see an NGO meeting which attracts over 200 in one of their major conference halls, 70% of whom are under 30 years of age.
Mrs. Zena Eggough, UPF Austria’s Vice President and UN Liaison, played an important role in securing the use of the most prestigious available room at the UN Vienna for this event. Her beloved husband, Martyn Nkanu Eggough, died just one month ago. He was one of the most eminent Nigerians involved in international governance, being a Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) based in Vienna. Zena plans to attend the International Leadership Conference in Abuja, Nigeria, later this month. She was deeply impressed by this Vienna Conference, especially by all the outstanding young people who participated.

In August 2010 the UN declared the International Year of Youth - the conference was designed to support this important UN theme. As a result UPF received the support of UNOV, the NGO Liaison office at Vienna and UNIS, the United Nations Information Service, which promoted the Conference through its official channels. This publicity directly contributed to the 250 participants who registered on line for the conference.

Friday, 1st July  - Vienna International Centre (United Nations)



14:00              SESSION I: International Year of Youth

                   Chair: Peter Haider (Secretary General, UPF Austria)

Welcome Address: Janos Tisovszky (Director, UNIS Vienna)

Opening Address: Hai Ok Song Lee (UPF Europe)

Dr. Willem Van Eekelen, former Defence Minister of the Netherlands (1986 -1988) and  former Secretary General of the Western European Union

                   Karim Rihan, Austrian Service Abroad and peace activist during Egyptian Revolution

                   Nicole Heydari, Cultural analyst in Afghanistan with the US and French forces

                   Hon. Sri Ranga, Member of Parliament, Sri Lanka




The Director of UNIS in Vienna, Mr. Janos Tisovszky welcomed the conference participants to the UN Vienna. He mentioned that partnering with young people is essential for positive change and that this is supported by the Year of Youth, which seeks to promote dialogue and mutual understanding. He also alluded to the unprecedented events of 2011 (a reference to the ‘Arab Spring’) and how social media provided a new dynamism, used not just for social interaction, but as a way to promote global change and to empower youth to be instrumental in realising this change.

Mrs. Hai Ok Song Lee (wife of UPF Europe’s Chairman who was in Japan reporting on the recent UPF Founder’s Tour in Europe), emphasised that promoting good character is a foundation for good leadership and that we often underestimated the importance of the family as an instrument for grassroots peace-building. In conclusion she quoted from UPF’s Founder’s UN Speech in 2000 which advocated the importance of providing a place for religious leaders and spiritual wisdom in matters of global governance at the United Nations.
Referring to the large number of young people attending she mentioned: ‘When I entered the UN International Centre I was welcomed by so many young people. It touched my heart and I feel I am getting younger by being here!

Dr. Willem van Eekelen (former Defence Minister of the Netherlands) spoke of himself as part of the elderly young.
What do I expect from young people today – above all a sense of values and responsibility and a good dose of idealism and hope. Do you have a clear idea of what you want to do in life? Idealism is not pursuing a starry eyed impossible objective, but keeping a goal in mind whatever you do.
If you have a problem, it is very difficult to solve it by attacking it head on. If you are able to change the context, you have a chance. But to change the context you have to know in detail what makes the other side tick. What are his or her motives and interests and where might it be possible to find common ground. In Europe we have changed the context through a process of solidarity and enlightened self-interest. Maybe a strange mix of idealism and pragmatism, but it works, if we are able to maintain our values and norms, apply them responsibly and keep our idealism throughout the course.


The last person on the first panel was Mr. Sri Ranga, Member of the Parliament in Sri Lanka. He claims that Youth was reluctant to enter the parliament and wasn’t very interested in politics. He used to work in Journalism when it was life-threatening to do so, and tried to unite both populations in Sri Lanka, for instance by conducting interviews in Singhalese and subtitle them in Tamil during the war time, as dialogue is essential to solve a conflict successfully. He claimed that while none of the religions advocate war and violence, political leaders do insist on difference, which is what divides populations and countries. Hon. Sri Ranga stressed mutual respect and called for leaders to be educated and to share experiences among each other.




16:00              SESSION II: Youth Perspectives on Peace

                   Chair: Carolyn Handschin (WFWP Europe)

Matthias Reisinger MBA, founder of emersense and HUB Vienna

Josef D. Sedlak and Elisabeth Rohrmoser, "Pioneers of Change", Plenum Society for Holistic Sustainable Development

Neelam Rose, CEO UK Swagger CIC

Dr. Alexander H. Karakas, Trialog Institute for Intercultural Exchange

Bogdan Pammer, Youth Committee UPF Austria

The defining character of this conference was the part that youth played in the organising and presentation of the conference and their sense of being supported and encouraged by the wisdom, experience and appreciation of their elders.

The UPF Austria Youth Committee played a crucial role and the conference attracted an audience which was predominantly young. This was expressed in terms of a very successful collaboration between established UPF staff and the support of young volunteers who revealed their flair and enthusiasm for the cause in major staff roles and in the outstanding cultural evening which showcased the talents of the Vienna Peace Choir and several other young performers who delighted hearts and minds. The contribution made by some outstanding young speakers who shared about their adventurous contribution towards peace through social entrepreneurship and active roles in global hot spots was extremely impressive. These young people convinced UPF’s Ambassadors for Peace and staff that we are indeed forging meaningful links with leaders of the future. They in turn were very appreciative of the platform that the conference offered them to interact with ‘wise elders’ and the feeling of appreciation and encouragement that this provide as a recognition of their efforts.
Just to mention some examples:

Karim Rihan – The Egyptian Revolution – my experiences
An 18 year old of Egyptian family background, just finishing high school in Vienna who spent his one week midterm holiday in Tahrir Square in Cairo as his heart compelled him to support change and to take his seat on an empty Austrian Airlines jet airliner bound for Egypt when everybody else was leaving Cairo!
I saw old and young, women and men, rich and poor, Moslems and Christians fight for freedom and dignity in unity. For the first time I saw Moslems and Christians praying and eating together.

Nicole Heydari - Cultural Analyst in Support of the US, Polish and French forces in Afghanistan now studying at Vienna’s prestigious School of Diplomacy.
I had to build my own credibility with Afghan leaders – eventually I became the resident expert and the military recognised the value of the information I gathered. I realised that many families’ land and property were being damaged by the road building initiated by the foreign military and that this caused much resentment. I could arrange and implement a scheme of compensation to resolve this issue. The best progress which I was a part of was the promotion of good relations between the foreign forces and the Afghan population. A famous Persian poet wrote 800 years ago – Human beings are one – if one member is afflicted with pain – all feel it – he who does not feel the pain of others cannot be called a human being.

Neelam Rose – 20 year old Social Entrepreneur, a young Moslem woman, National Union of Students and member of Birmingham Youth Parliament.
From 13 years of age I wanted to change the world – my mother told me: ‘ change our community as a start’. I saw lots of funding for youth centres but nobody attending. I started to work to get young Mums more involved in the community and next with youth who felt they did not have a voice. They were interested in media and journalism – we did projects and then got support, working with 100s of young people. We now produce educational programs and publications for use in schools. To succeed you need the community on your side –you need to listen first to what young people and parents want.

Andre Hackett – South London based Social Entrepreneur in his 20s – founded a Company called Make A Change.
My journey started trying to solve the gun and knife crime that was killing or putting into prison my friends. We sold hundreds of T shirts and had 750 knives and guns melted down into key holders with the slogan ‘Education is the Key’ and auctioned them to fund youth projects.
Andre felt great encouragement last year to be a recipient of a UPF and WFWP Youth Award given in the UK Parliament.




Saturday, 2nd July - NH Danube City Hotel, Wagramer Strasse 21, 1220 Vienna

07:00           Morning meditation 


07:30           Breakfast (for hotel guests)


09:00           SESSION III: Principles of Peace and Value based Leadership 

Carolyn Handschin             

Dr. Herbert Rauch, European Sustainable Development (respondent)


10:30           Coffee Break


11:00              SESSION IV: From a Culture of Conflict to a Culture of Peace

                        Jack Corley                          

Zena Eggough (respondent)


The contribution of young volunteers in the preparation of the conference resulted in innovative elements being developed as part of the ELC program:
World Café discussion groups – which enabled all participants young and old to interact centring on productive exploration and discussion on the key topics of the conference - Dr van Eekelen mentioned that he enjoyed this part of the conference most.
Ambassador for Peace Fair – an opportunity for Young Ambassadors for Peace and the organisations they represent to be displayed in the conference room for all participants to view and the additional support this gives for good networking.





14:45           SESSION V: Communicating Change – Part I

This part of the program will be held in a World Café setting


Peace Education
Input: Dr. Stefan Stoev (Founder & Chairmen of the IDEA Society, Gedenkdienst Representative at the USHMM 04/05)


Youth and Interreligious Cooperation

Input: Heiner Handschin (GIIA - Geneva Interfaith Intercultural Alliance)




17:30           SESSION VI: Communicating Change – Part II


Intercultural Exchange and Social Cohesion
Input: Lana Khattab (ACUNS - Academic Council on the United Nation System, Vienna)


Social Entrepreneurship
Input: Andre Hackett (We Make a Change Ltd)


20:00           Cultural Program and "Ambassadors for Peace"-Award ceremony






Sunday, 3rd July - NH Danube City Hotel, Wagramer Strasse 21, 1220 Vienna

07:00 Morning meditation in the Coptic Church St. Markus, Wagramer Str. 17 A


09:00           SESSION VII: As a Peace Loving Global Citizen, an insight into UPF’s Founder and Origins

                   Tim Miller

                   Comments and questions    


11:00           SESSION VIII: UPF Update and Participants Reflections

         Jack Corley


14:00           Departures (Some sightseeing can be arranged for those with flights after 17:00)