of the Universal Peace Federation in Austria
Charity event for Baby Hospital in
Report in German
Inauguration of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in Austria was held on December 18th
2005 in the ballroom of “Parkhotel
Schönbrunn” close to the well-known Schönbrunn
Castle in Vienna.
Peace Choir created a beautiful atmosphere by performing Christmas carols and
songs of peace. More than 300 guests filled the ballroom, when the president of
the Austrian chapter of the Interreligious and International Federation for
World Peace, Mr. Peter Haider, gave
his opening remarks. He mentioned that the founders of the UPF, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Moon, would have
liked to visit Austria
on this occasion as part of a 100-city world tour. Unfortunately the Schengen
list prohibited their entry into Austria. They were represented by
the European president of IIFWP Dr. Yong Cheol Song.
part of the program was dedicated to raising funds for the Baby Hospital
In order to focus the audience’s attention on the Holy
Land, a video about the activities of the Middle East Peace
Initiative (MEPI) was presented. Since MEPI’s beginnings in spring 2003 more
than 40 pilgrimages with symposia, conferences, peace marches and sightseeing
tours were organized bringing together Jews, Christians and Moslems. Several thousand
participants have visited the holy sites but also the places of today’s
Nicola, a medical doctor and honorary president of the Austrian Palestinian
community, spoke about the situation in Bethlehem
today and about that particular hospital. He was followed by the Palestinian
Ambassador to Austria,
Dr. Zuheir Elwazar, who gave insight into the situation of the Palestinians. As
a special gift of thanks Dr. Nicola gave a present to the UPF that he had received
a few weeks ago from the mayor of Bethlehem, who
was then on a visit to Austria.
“El Shaddai” and other songs from Peter and Ikuyo Wressnigg, an
Austrian-Japanese couple, concluded the first part.
break, while enjoying refreshments and lots of typical Austrian Christmas
cookies, you could meet not only Austrian VIPs, but also people from Afghanistan, Chechnya,
Armenia, Korea, Japan
and the USA, each of them
representing organisations of their people in Austria. Among others the Embassies
of Indonesia, India and Nigeria
were represented. Members of a newly formed Union of Oriental Christians,
representing all the different Orthodox churches, appreciated the support for Bethlehem.
second part of the program, which was opened again by the Vienna Peace Choir,
all the guests were invited to participate in the World Peace Blessing, a
solemn reaffirmation of one’s marriage vows and a promise to respect family
values. This Blessing Ceremony was introduced and carried out by Mr. and Mrs.
Peter Zöhrer, President of the Austrian Family Federation for World Peace.
A video was
presented about the UPF Inaugural World Tour, highlighting its inauguration on
September 12th 2005 in New
York and special messages from prominent political
leaders. The Native American Elder Reuben Silverbird, who wore traditional
Austrian clothes, gave an appraisal of the achievements of the founder. Then
after a few personal words of introduction the President of the European Peace
Federation, Dr. Yong Cheol Song, read the message of the founder on behalf of
Ambassadors for Peace were appointed, among them the Viennese Bishop of the
Syrian Orthodox Church. 3000 Euros were handed over to Dr. Nicola for the Baby Hospital.
Beethoven’s “Song of Joy”, the European Anthem and “We wish you a merry
Christmas” by the Vienna Peace Choir concluded the program. The guests were
reluctant to go home, because they were enjoying the unique atmosphere, which
had been created.