Peace Road 2015
In celebration of the life of Rev. Sun Myung Moon as the third anniversary of his ascension approaches, thousands of supporters and friends of peace all around the world are walking, riding and driving the proposed course of the Peace Highway.
Until today, there has never been a road or highway specifically conceived and built as a highway to world peace. Father Moon was not just a man of ideas, he was a man of action, and he thought very seriously about the Peace Road as a way to unite the world, centered on God. “This tunnel and highway can help make the world a single community at last. Think of how much money the world is wasting on war. The time has come for nations to work together, pool their resources and, as the prophet Isaiah taught, beat our swords into plowshares and pruning hooks.”
The idea of the International Peace Highway, first raised at a 1981 interdisciplinary conference of Korean, Japanese and American scientists in Seoul and later expanded to include a proposed tunnel crossing of the Bering Strait, exemplifies Father Moon’s conviction that humanity is really one family under God. He believed that if people could meet each other in daily life, through culture, trade, and travel, they would come to break down the historic fears and misunderstandings that often divide us from our closest neighbors.
Below are highlights of Peace Road events around the world. For news on all Peace Road events, visit the official global Peace Road website.
Finish Line – Seoul, Korea
On August 28, 2015, the epic Peace Road journey reached its finale in Seoul. In celebration of True Father’s life and legacy, this international trek spanned the three months leading up to the third anniversary of True Father’s ascension. From as far as the South African Cape of Good Hope to Santiago in Chile, thousands of supporters around the world walked, biked and drove along the proposed course of the Peace Highway, a vision long held by True Father. Participants also rode to show support for the unification of Korea and lasting global peace.
At the final ride in Seoul, participants including the recent graduates of the Global Top Gun Workshop gathered near the famous golden statue of King Sejong, who developed the Korean alphabet. There, banners were lined up with photo displays of Peace Road activities in 120 countries. Riders received flags from various countries to clip onto their bikes, representing the global significance of the Peace Road. Top Gun participants offered a musical performance by singing “Tongil” (or “Unity” in Korean), and various Unificationist national leaders shared messages testifying to the success of the Peace Road events in each of their regions.
After a bike ride through Seoul, riders and onlookers gathered at the Korean congress and attended a concluding Peace Road event called, “International Symposium for Advancing World Peace and Korea’s Unification”. During the welcoming ceremony, many VIP and foreign dignitaries came in support. Flags of different nations were lined up on stage, and along with other musical performances, Top Gun participants sang “Tongil” once more. There was a video presentation highlighting all the countries who participated in Peace Road, after which Peace Road riders from around the globe were welcomed on stage with loud and cheerful applause.
After the welcoming ceremony, representatives from each region shared presentations on Peace Road events, informing everyone on the locations where Peace Road rides took place, how many participants were involved and how many kilometers were traveled. They emphasized that the idea of the International Peace Highway is more than just a dream. Peace Road events will continue annually, spreading awareness of this vision which was first raised at a 1981 interdisciplinary conference of Korean, Japanese and American scientists in Seoul and later expanded to include a proposed tunnel crossing of the Bering Strait. Exemplifying True Father’s conviction that humanity is really one family under God, the Peace Road journey is one of the many events this month seeking to carry on a piece of True Father’s legacy.
Diplomats, clergy, former congressmen and well-wishers packed a briefing room at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Thursday, August 6, 2015 to hear about the campaign to raise awareness about the Peace Road, a proposed highway to connect six continents.
The event, followed by a cycling trek to the Korean War Memorial and to the White House, was the final stop of the Peace Road journey in the United States, which had begun in Las Vegas on May 30.
Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Continental Chair of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) North America shared with the audience the vision of the Peace Road Project, initiated by True Mother three years ago based on True Father’s vision for world peace. Dr. Kim pointed out that the cycling events in 120 countries was a three-month project that had started with cyclists holding rallies in Santiago, Chile. Following events in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Kodiak, Anchorage, Nome and the United Nations Headquarters in New York City spread the news of the Peace Road on both coasts of the United States.
“Instead of just having meetings in cities, we are bicycling from South America to North Korea and to South Korea; and from Hokaido in Japan to Pusan, South Korea and from South Africa to Paris and then coming to Seoul,” said Dr. Kim. He further explained that the idea of the Peace Road relates to the need for infrastructure to connect nations but is also a symbol of the quest for unity among all peoples.
“Without unity, we cannot bring peace to our community. Without unity within ourselves, we cannot bring peace into our homes, peace into our land, into America and the world,” he said.
“The idea is to recall how we can bring the philosophy of peace and unification based on the teaching of Father and Mother Moon. After this, find out how we can unite into one despite racial differences and different nationalities. Let us have one mind, one heart and one idea that lead to unification of North and South Korea as well as all peoples who are divided, who are struggling and who are depressed because of disunity. We want to spread this idea around the world,” he said.
Dr. Michael Jenkins, the moderator of the event, told the audience of the improvements in undersea tunneling in recent years that make the passage underneath the Bering Strait a goal worth pursuing. Such a tunnel, long championed by True Parents, would make it possible for trucks to drive from the tip of South Africa to the southernmost tip of South America.
The cycling in Washington, D.C. was led by Mr. Pierangelo Beltrami, the winner of a Bronze medal at the Paralympics Games in Seoul in 1988 and of a Silver Medal at the Paralympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. Mr. Beltrami, who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident as a teenager, had taken up bicycling as a hobby in the 1980’s but became a serious competitor in 1988. He explained that he drew strength for the rigorous training regimen from the teachings of True Father.
“True Father gave me the power to believe that all obstacles could be overcome,” he said, adding, “All those medals I got were because of True Parents.” Al Bryant, the cycling trainer who had helped Beltrami prepare for the Paralympics, stood by him at the ceremony.
According to the custom of the Peace Road rallies, the official Peace Road Flag, which had made its way from Santiago and was carried to Nome, Alaska and to New York City, was transferred to Washington, D.C at the briefing. Beltrami and Bryant then led a group of 15 cyclists which included participants from Columbus, OH, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.
The cyclists stopped at the Korean War Memorial, at the front of the White House and at the Ellipse behind the White House near the Holy Ground consecrated by True Father on his first national tour of the United States in 1965. At every stop the uniformed cyclists chanted “Peace Road,” to the fascination of some Washington tourists who responded in kind.
Peace Road cycling treks and rallies will continue in Russia and will conclude in South Korea on August 30, 2015, at the third anniversary memorial of True Father’s Seonghwa (ascension).
On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, the Peace Road entered the global spotlight at a United Nations gathering, where a group of over 60 people discussed the vision and impact of a road that would connect six continents. Part of the Peace Road journey, this event coincided with the 70th anniversary of both the United Nations and the separation of North and South Korea.
The meeting was sponsored by the Mission of Grenada to the United Nations and organized and co-sponsored by the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) and Universal Peace Federation (UPF), and it concluded with a cycling trek at Central Park to promote the idea of the Peace Road.
Speakers, representatives of various organizations and guests gathered early at the UN Headquarters building in New York City, greeting new faces and browsing the Peace Road exhibit—a display of posters with photos of Peace Road events around the world.
At 10:00 a.m. the briefing began, the highlight of which was a report on the 2015 Peace Road by Dr. Byoung Ho Son, President of UPF Korea and of the Peace Road organizing committee in Korea. Dr. Taj Hamad, Secretary General of the Universal Peace Federation, was the moderator of the gathering. “Peace Road 2015 is a journey to raise hope that we can build a peaceful world,” he said as he opened the meeting.
Dr. Thomas Walsh, President of UPF, then gave some welcoming remarks, sharing the history of True Father’s idea to build an international highway, and updating everyone on the current status of plans to build a tunnel at the Bering Strait, to which UPF has been encouraging the Russian government to give more attention in the near future.
Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Chairman of UPF USA, gave opening remarks, saying that “we call these days the Super Speed Era, but through this Peace Road we want to take time, go from town to town, village to village, city to city, and we want to meet people.” He shared that the origin of world peace begins with the unity between mind and body, and without this we cannot build a peaceful community, nation, or world.
“We are in the United Nations, where people represent their nation looking for world peace,” said Dr. Kim. “On the Peace Road, we bike from Los Angeles to San Francisco, to Portland to Seattle, Vancouver, Anchorage and Kodiak. We share with mayors, government workers, farmers, city workers, and we ask them, ‘How can we bring peace starting from you?’ This is our message to the world.”
Dr. Byoung Ho Son then began his message and report. He described the origin of the Peace Road project, which started with a Peace Bike project in 2013 where Japanese and Korean participants rode together for 3800 kilometers. In 2014, 14 countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia participated for 6000 kilometers. This year, the global Peace Road journey involved 120 nations around the world.
“The Peace Road can be called a global peace project where global citizens can participate beyond borders of religion and race,” said Dr. Son. He shared about True Parents’ suggestion for a project called the World Peace King Bridge Tunnel from Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to Santiago, Chile with the aim to realize the ideal of one family under God. “They also concretely proposed and strived to realize a Japan-Korea tunnel project and the Bering Strait project,” he said. “It has been 70 years since Korea has been divided into North and South. The reunification of Korea is the basis of global peace. The Peace Road project will create an urge for realizing the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. Our hope is that the United Nations will be interested and cooperate with us. We ask for your support and cooperation regarding the Peace Road world tour.”
Dr. Hamad responded by saying that UPF will present a report to Ambassadors and officials of the United Nations. Antoine Denis, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Grenada to the United Nations and host and co-sponsor of this event, then took the floor to further address next steps in the Peace Road cause.
“This Peace Road program and exhibition convened here today at the United Nations is about world peace,” he began. “It represents a growing intolerance of violence and conflict in our world. Going on a long journey begins with a first step, and if we do it together we can go very far.”
“Peace Road marchers, riders, walkers are more than just travelers,” he continued. “They must be seen as change agents and messengers.”
Mr. Denis announced that the United Nations is now embarking on a momentous collective journey, with member states determined to see certain goals fully met in their strategic plans for 2030. As homework to the group, he said, “Today I call upon Ambassadors for Peace and Peace Road riders to adopt and embrace the Sustainable Development Goal #16. I encourage you to become familiar with the 17 goals and 169 targets designed to stimulate action.”
The United Nations gathering highlighted the importance of creating peace-building partnerships, and joining forces to realize the dream of a unified and peaceful world.
Adjourning from the United Nations Headquarters, participants signed the Peace Road Declaration and then regrouped at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park at 1:00pm, to “walk the talk,” as Dr. Hamad announced at the close of the UN meeting.
There, Miilhan Stephens, Vice President of FFWPU USA, gave a short overview of the purpose of the Peace Road.
The group took a photo and invited other bikers at the park to join in the ride, giving them extra T-shirts and hats to wear and flags to hold. Many other local bikers learned about the Peace Road while biking alongside the Peace Road riders on the scenic bike route throughout the park, asking them questions and cheering them on.
After the last Peace Road event in the United States this Thursday in Washington, D.C., the journey will continue on to Japan, and finally Korea—“the most divided nation in the world,” said Dr. Ki Hoon Kim. “The finish line is the 38th parallel which divides North and South Korea. We want to bring peace from here to Korea.”
In late July, the Peace Road flag moved up the West Coast of the USA, reaching the northernmost point of the trek: Alaska. With just one month left of the journey, the world looks forward to the ceremony in Korea to celebrate this enduring vision. Here’s the latest from Alaska and Canada:
A small delegation of six people made the journey to Nome on August 3, 2015 for the final leg of the Peace Road in the United States. Nome, a former gold-rush town, sits on the shores of the Bering Sea and can only be reached by boat and air. There is no road connection with the rest of Alaska although the city has long wanted one.
The Peace Road group was warmly welcomed by City Manager Ms. Josephine Bahnke in a short ceremony at the Nome City Hall, where the Peace Road flag was formally presented to the city by FFWPU USA President Michael Balcomb. The group shared about True Parents’ vision for the Peace Road and their long standing love and investment in Alaska. Reporters from the local radio station interviewed the group, who explained about True Parents’ vision of the Peace Road and their long love for Alaska.
After viewing some of the photos of the Peace Road program in Kodiak—where almost 150 people participated—the city representatives present said were really keen that the Peace Road come back in 2016 and hold a full-fledged parade. In an interview with the local radio station, Mr. Leo Rasmussen, a former mayor of Nome and his wife Irma, said there had been a real hope establishing a connection to Russia back in 1992 when the Soviet Union ended, but in recent times momentum has been lost. They hoped the Peace Road effort would reignite interest. A recent CNN report about a new Russian enthusiasm placed Nome as an important stop and first US waystation on the proposed Intercontinental Highway.
Peter Nagle, a local Unificationist who is currently gold-mining off the beaches of Nome, joined the short parade down to the shores of the Bering Sea, and since he was the only one wearing waterproof boots, kindly offered to plant the flag in the waves facing out toward Russia, less than 100 miles away.
After the ceremony, Ms. Bahnke gave the Peace Road group a personal tour of the city, including the recently expanded port and docks, the historic St. Joseph’s Church, the windswept simple graveyard on a hill overlooking town where many of Nome’s earlier residents are now resting. Peace Road participants promised they would be back again next year for a bigger Peace Road program.
On a bright and sunny afternoon on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, Peace Road activities were held with over 100 participants.
The day’s activities started at the historic North Garden building, where True Father and Mother stayed at during their many visits to beautiful Kodiak. The crowd consisted of local church members, participants of the Ocean Challenge Program, and members of the Kodiak community, including President of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Group.
Dr. Michael Balcomb, President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) USA, gave a message about the meaning and vision of the Peace Road, and over 30 bikers were cheered on as they biked to the downtown area. Once there, the bikers were met by the mayor of Kodiak and were congratulated for their participation in the Peace Road event.
After the biking event, all the participants as well as additional members of several local churches met in the beautiful property of Chiniak for a huge celebration. There was a volleyball tournament, Frisbee games, a barbecue dinner, bonfire, and an open mic.
At the end of the night, floating lanterns were released, with the rare blue moon shining in the background with all of the participants’ hopes and wishes written on them. Families and friends, Kodiak residents and visitors from all over the world joined together with a common goal for peace and shared a truly warm and unforgettable experience together.
A group of 37 family members and friends of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) in Anchorage from ages one to 70 gathered for a Peace Road 2015 rally at Delaney Park for an 11:00am biking event.
Local community leader, Eugene Harnett, introduced the Peace Road 2015 vision and affirmed the importance of the Peace Road running through Anchorage. The 20 participating bikers moved out along the Delaney Park Strip and onto the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail along the scenic, mountainous Cook Inlet section of the Pacific Ocean.
Riders returned to the rally point greeted by enthusiastic volunteers and good food. Emcee Eugene Harnett opened the celebration program with the group singing God Bless America and an invocation prayer by Pastor Donna Avey of the Anchorage Family Church.
A representative former resident of Kodiak Island, Mrs. Kazuyo McCarty, transferred the Peace Road flag to Mrs. Jaena Tranberg, who accepted for the Anchorage community. This Peace Road flag will be taken to Nome for the concluding North America event Monday August 3rd.
Dr. Michael Balcomb, President of FFWPU-USA, spoke about the importance of recognizing that the Peace Road is not only an actual road, but also the process of our daily lives to bring more peace in our relationships. He challenged everyone present to do something in the next week that will bring more peace to the people in their lives.
Gathering with the bikers to hear the remarks were passersby going to the Governor’s Annual Picnic, some of whom were Alaska Native residents born in Little Diomede Islands, which is a central link to the Bering Strait Tunnel. As we build the awareness and the understanding of the Peace Road and the Bering Strait tunnel, the cooperation and the blessing of the Alaska Native peoples is essential.
Dr. Balcomb personally signed certificates for each biker and volunteer, thanking them for their participation. All present signed the Peace Road signature board and closed the program with the singing of the Tongil Unity Song.
Vancouver, for the past two months, hardly experienced any rain. However, on the very day of their Vancouver Peace Road rally, it poured like a typical summer day in Vancouver. Despite such weather, more than 70 Unificationists, Ambassadors for Peace, friends and families stood together at Bear Creek Park on Sunday, July 26 to rally for global peace.
During the opening ceremony, Dr. Yuri Pankratz, a Professor from Simon Fraser University and Ambassador for Peace, together with Dr. Moon Shik Kim, Director of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) Canada, emphasized in their messages the legacy of Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Dr. Pankratz reiterated that, like them, we need to continue to pursue the dream of realizing one world under God.
In a symbolic motion, Rev. Larry Krishnek, who successfully held a Peace Road event the day before in Seattle, transferred the Peace Road flag to Dr. Kim. Participants joined in fellowship and music as the flag was passed along to Vancouver.
After the song, Rev. Alan Wilding led the crowd in reciting loudly, “Victory for God and True Parents! Victory for One Family under God!” As they cheered, Rev. and Mrs. Kambashi released dozens of colorful balloons up into the Vancouver sky, representing peace over the land.
As the rain started to pour harder, the peace bike cyclists started their Peace Road journey by riding in front of the rest of the participants, who walked and repeatedly shouted the slogans above. As they finished the walk entirely through the blessing of rain, the sunshine came out.
Rain or shine, Rev. and Mrs. Moon devoted their lives every day for world peace. Participants in Vancouver felt Rev. and Mrs. Moon were walking with them in spirit. Next they will pass on the flag to Alaska as the Peace Road rally continues!
In mid-July, just past the halfway mark of this two-month-long event, riders continued along the Peace Road in the USA! Here’s what happened in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland and Seattle:
In Seattle, Washington, the Peace Road Bike Tour began at 10:00am on July 25 at the beautiful Warren G. Magnuson Park. As Seattle’s second largest park, it includes pieces of Seattle’s military past and sits on a splendid mile-long stretch of Lake Washington’s shoreline in northeast Seattle. The bicycle trek commenced through the grounds of the park to the historic Lochkelden Mansion built in 1907 by the Dennys family among the founders of Seattle City. Toshiaki Yamamura, a young Unificationist who led the tour, mentioned that everyone had a great time and many expressed that they want to do it again next year.
At the Lochkelden Mansion, Pastor Nelson Mira of the Seattle Family Church spoke about the significance of the Peace Road initiative according to its founders, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon. After his speech, two representative bikers officially brought the Peace Road flag to Seattle by handing it to the guest speaker, Rizwan Samad. Scott Dolfay, one of the bikers, gave brief remarks, highlighting the significance of holding the ceremony at the Lochkelden Mansion, a property tied closely with the founding of Seattle.
Rizwan Samad, Seattle’s prominent Human Right Activist, conveyed his congratulatory address and began by saying, “First of all, I want to thank you and congratulate you for all the hard work and effort to bring Dr. Moon’s peace message to this planet, to make a better place for us and for our future generation.” Samad mentioned that this peace initiative came in a very relevant time in history, as bombs fly over the skies where innocent people live. Samad also said, “This type of event is important for many reasons, namely humanity. War is not usually the fault of one person, because as the saying goes, ‘It takes two to tango.’ Your dedication and action here at this peace rally is an effort to end the ‘tango’ of war and start the ride for peace.” Samad added, “I applaud you and I stand with you as your brother, fellow human, and a Muslim who wants what every one of us wants. Peace is the brick that builds a house.”
After Samad’s address, Ambassadors for Peace, bikers and Unificationists of all ages read messages for peace from many religious leaders, including Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. Each speaker signed the Peace Road poster after they spoke. Brian Granstrom, the head of the Seattle Family Church Music Ministry, led every attendee in singing the Unity Song in English and in Korean. Gerhard Wiesinger, the emcee of this event, explained that the song originated in Korea and is significant for the reunification of the country, a cause in which the Reverend Moon invested a lot of his effort.
One remarkable participant and Peace Road rider was Angela Noriega, a recent Unificationist who is blind and has an incredible story of discovering Unificationism, the Divine Principle and Father and Mother Moon through the internet. She rode on a tandem bike with another rider so that she could take part in this event.
The program concluded with the transferring of the Peace Road flag from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia. Samad handed over the flag to Rev. Larry Krishnek, who gave brief remarks. He thanked everyone for the event and reassured that the flag will make it to Vancouver, and then Alaska, along the Peace Road.
In San Diego, Peace Road 2015 riders gathered on the morning of July 25 at Balboa Park, the site of the 1915 World’s Fair. The group started with a prayer for peace at their kick-off ceremony for the Peace Road event. Cyclists geared up for the exciting journey on the road.
The San Diego program was officiated by Pastor Walter Frank, who began the ceremony by receiving the Peace Road flag. Participants watched proudly as they officially gathered for the event.
Pastor Walter Frank explained, “Rev. Moon has a hope in the Peace Road the hope of all humankind to live in peace and harmony. There have been many roads built to wage war, many roads built for commerce. We want to build a road for peace, peace between all nations and for brotherly love to arise on the earth.”
The San Diego event was represented by cyclists from Canada, the Native American community, the USA, Portugal, Japan and France. The event finished with a toast of symbolic champagne to True Father’s dream of world peace through the Peace Road.
In Portland, eight brave cyclists left the summit of beautiful Mt. Tabor Park and rode to Peace Memorial Park overlooking the Willamette River and Downtown Portland. Several heat waves occurred this summer, however on July 25th when the cyclist ventured out, they had the first day of rain. Cyclists rode slowly and carefully, particularly on the steeper downhill areas.
Mt. Tabor, the start of the six-mile ride, is home to one of the Holy Grounds created by Rev. Moon in 1965. Participants prayed and began their journey there. The destination for the event was Peace Park, a venue dedicated by War Veterans in the hope to put an end to warfare and strive for peace.
The rainy ride included a stretch of scenic pathways along the banks of the Willamette River on the Eastside Esplanade. At the rally, a youth band led the gathering of about 50 participants in song, including Tongil. Pastor Eric Sylte briefly shared the vision of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who inspired for decades the idea of a world highway that would help usher in the new world of peace. Following after was a closing in prayer and a wonderful celebratory meal. Participants, satisfied and inspired, joined in signing their signature on a Peace Road board.
Cyclists had a great time, and the crowd was lively at the rally. Some mentioned the event reminded them of the rain at Yankee Stadium, and they were glad they came.
In addition to the Peace Road event, on the prior Saturday, a dozen people gathered at Eugene Oregon’s Holy Ground to pray and later gathered at a Korean War Memorial, where True Mother dedicated a beautiful bench.These two additional events were planned in honor of the anniversary of Rev. Moon’s Seonghwa (ascension) anniversary and for the success of the Peace Road event.
Los Angeles residents pedaled for peace on the morning of Saturday, July 18, beginning with a program at 10:00am at the rotunda of the Pasadena City Hall, in conjunction with the annual Parents’ Day event. Bicyclists rode through historic downtown Pasadena to the Pasadena Unification Center at the top of Holly Vista Drive, where participants and their supporters enjoyed lunch together.
More than eighty people came together for the joint event that celebrated families on a micro- and macro-level. Gerald Philips, the district Representative of the Assembly member Chris Holden, a current assemblyman, gave the welcome address.
Keith McCarthy, former mayor of Downey, gave the keynote address. “It takes just a few minutes of passion to create a child, but it takes a lifetime of passion to raise a child. And a whole lot of patience, and more patience. But without healthy families, our neighborhoods deteriorate, our cities break down, and our nations decline. That’s why it’s important to celebrate parents.”
Speakers at the Parents Day event included emcee Nat Nehdar, chairman of the Pasadena Human Relations Commission, Reverend Ricardo de Sena, the secretary general for Universal Peace Federation in North America, Nasser Zomorod, the executive director of Universal Peace Federation in Southern California, and George Augustus Stallings Jr., who flew in from Washington, D.C. in order to attend the event. “Without parents, there is no life, there is no lineage, there is no love,” Stallings said. “The greatest title in the world should be the word ‘Parent,’ because by definition, it means that we have brought forth life. There is no greater blessing than to be able to call someone ‘mom’ or ‘dad.’”
The audience consisted of former Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca, representatives from city hall, and various religious organizations.
The Peace Road project was then introduced to all attendees by Nehdar. He explained that the Peace Road is a bridge to unite the world and that in many cities along the proposed road, people are participating in symbolic bike rides. The flag, which has already traveled through much of the world, was handed off to a Pasadena City Hall official. Participants lined up to sign their names on the board to show support. The many drivers and ten bicyclists set off on their route, and everyone reconvened at Pasadena House to celebrate and eat together.
Mina Zomorod, a young Unificationist participant, expressed shock at the positive energy she felt from the audience. “So many people who never heard about the Peace Road before were so excited to support the project,” she said. “Many people were asking questions and trying to get more information about who we are!”
“The whole event was very elegant. Pasadena City Hall is a beautiful, very historic building. We were so lucky to be supported by the city of Pasadena through the use of this venue,” said Pastor George Kazakos of the Los Angeles Family Church. “It was wonderful that these two events could be celebrated together, because the friends and family of the Parents Day honorees were happy to be acknowledged as parents of the year, and also to be connected to this context of a global family.
The family was celebrated both locally and globally. One world family is being connected through the Peace Road, and that was really highlighted, because we celebrated family at National Parents Day.”
In San Francisco, cyclists for peace and well-wishers rallied at Crissy Field along the San Francisco Bay near the Golden Gate Bridge at 10:00am on July 19 to celebrate the Peace Road. The main event of the day would be a trek across the Golden Gate Bridge ending at scenic Vista Point near Sausalito.
At 10:30am, participants were greeted by local leaders and supporters, and enjoyed a short presentation explaining the purpose and objectives of the Peace Road Initiative. Reverend Kevin Thompson of the Bay Area Family Church welcomed the bicyclists and their supporters, and read from part of Father Moon’s speech which first proposed the Peace Road at a 1981 interdisciplinary conference of Korean, Japanese and American scientists in Seoul.
Reverend Thompson then spoke about the significance of the Peace Road as a substantiation of one family under God, through culture and commerce. By taking part in this tour, he said, we are supporting Reverend Moon’s dream. Once the world is connected through the Peace Road, one world culture can spread so easily. “We are putting the rubber to the road, to show our commitment to the concept of one world family.”
The flag, which travelled from Los Angeles to the Bay Area overnight, was passed on to the bikers. Thirty seven riders and 100 walkers then set off through Crissy Field and over the bridge to Vista Point. Then they made a return journey back to Crissy Field.
“It was a beautiful day and it is always meaningful to do something in Father Moon’s memory as a unified family,” said Josh Hardman, a young Unificationist. “But I really feel like this event can be so much more than a leisurely bike ride, depending on our future actions. This is a historical step towards creating a peace road and a unified world, because we’re going to make Father Moon’s vision happen!”
Peace Road participants gathered on the morning of July 9 at the market square of Turku, the oldest town in Finland. The group started with a small kick-off ceremony for Peace Road 2015 Finland. Two cars followed the bikers as they set off toward the capital city of Helsinki. The first stop was in the market squares of Salo and Lohja. On the way the participants greeted the people in the local neighborhood. Next in Helsinki, the main event consisted of a peace march around the Töölönlahti bay, where the march began and ended at the Finlandia Hall. During the march at the Finlandia Hall, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) 40-year anniversary conference took place. Pamphlets were passed around for those who wanted to learn more about the Peace Road event. Participants concluded the event with a toast for peace and refreshments.
On July 5, Luxembourg held a Peace Road event under the theme “European Unity.” Thirteen persons took part in the tour, even though temperatures reached 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit)! The launch was held at the birthplace of Robert Schuman, an architect of European integration. Schuman (1886–1963) was a French politician who is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of the European Union.
The participants visited a number of meaningful places by car, including the American cemetery where 5,500 soldiers who died in World War II are interred, as well as Schengen, a small village in Luxembourg where the Schengen Agreement was signed, which led to the creation of Europe’s borderless Schengen Area. Near the end, they moved on to the Abbey of Echternach, founded by St. Willibrord in the seventh century. To conclude the 120 kilometer (nearly 75 mile) tour and for a victory celebration, they visited the Holy Ground established in Luxembourg by Reverend Sun Myung Moon on August 9, 1965.
On July 5, Hong Kong held a Peace Road event at the Zoological and Botanical Gardens with 100 participants. The local Peace Road organizers focused on encouraging young people to participate on college campuses. The Peace Road team moved 91.5 kilometers (almost 57 miles) from Hong Kong University to Lingnan University, continuing on to the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The last stop was at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
All day long, using two buses, the Peace Road team visited major universities all around Hong Kong and held educational activities. For the launching event, Chae So Ok, deputy of the 12th National People’s Congress Committee of Hong Kong; Namhi Hwang, president of FFWPU Hong Kong; and Gwang Seok Song, secretary general of UPF-Korea, attended, as did a professor at Zhejiang University and the president of the Confucian Society. After the activities at the major universities, they gathered at Millennium Hall to read the words of Reverend Moon.
On July 4, in the hamlet of José Ignacio, Uruguay, seventy persons participated in a Peace Road event under the theme “Strong Family.” José Ignacio is where Rev. Moon was fishing in December 1996 with 33 rods, representing the nations of South America, Central America and the Caribbean region. This act represented the unity of South America and North America and unity between Protestant Christianity and Catholic Christianity. Local Unificationists still repeat the tradition every year.
At 11:00 in the morning, the Peace Road team went from Montevideo to José Ignacio to hold the launching event. Mr. Cono Rossi, representing local Ambassadors for Peace; Mr. Sergio Freitas, a professional cyclist; and Mr. Dong-mo Shin, the regional leader for FFWPU of South America, gave welcoming speeches. The opening event ended with a prayer by Mr. Jorge Mendez.
After the launching, ten cyclists left on the 40 kilometer (almost 25 mile) journey from José Ignacio to the resort town of Punta del Este. Other participants followed them on foot, some marching and others jogging. The last eight participants to finish the journey arrived late at night after walking for ten hours.
The closing event was held in Punta del Este at 4:00 pm. Juan Pigola, an Ambassador for Peace; Dong-mo Shin; and Kazuhiro Tusake, president of FFWPU-Uruguay, all spoke. In the end, they cut a cake and a Unificationist named Elena da Silva led them in three rousing cheers.
On July 4, a Peace Road march was held in Tanzania. The 3-kilometer (more than 1.86 mile) march started around 4:00 pm from Mombasa Bus Terminal and ended in the town of Pugu. Among 50 marchers were several from the city of Dar es Salaam, including Frank Mavula, the City Council youth development director, and Rev. Stylos, the UPF-Tanzania secretary general. FFWPU members as well as members of the Association of Motorcyclists and some Ambassadors for Peace also participated.
The ceremony began with the singing of the Tanzanian national anthem and a peace song, and a prayer by Sheki Juma Ugoga. Hon. Mavula and Rev. Stylos each gave a short speech. Marchers insisted on holding another Peace Road march before August.
On July 4 in Niamey, Niger, the Peace Road flag rode on under the theme “Forgive, Love and Unite.”
Among the 120 participants were Family Federation members, students, members of the foreign office community and of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) living in Niger.
The launching ceremony took place at the sports stadium (palais de sport). There were three meeting points on the way to the sports stadium. In front of the stadium, a former minister of defense welcomed all the participants.
Also on July 4, a Peace Road event was held in The Hague, the seat of government in the Netherlands, under the slogan “Renewal of the Road to Peace in Europe and the World.” The event drew 106 participants, who met at a Sufi center. The weather was unusually hot for the Netherlands. The day started at 11:30 am with registration and a reception including coffee and tea, followed by a kickoff meeting at which FFWPU National President Hans Campman explained the vision of Peace Road 2015 and Dutch elder statesman Dr. Wim van Eekelen spoke warmly about the activities of the Universal Peace Federation.
After a light lunch, the main event began with a 10 km (over 6 mile) walk passing 24 important institutions or monuments. (Some participants took a 5 kilometer route.) At 5:00 pm, after the completion of the march, everyone met and sang, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me” before releasing 21 doves. This was followed by a closing session and festive meal. Eleanor Flowers Klerkx led everyone in singing “We Are the World,” after which the celebration cake was cut and the participants joined in three cheers. At the end, participants were joyful, filled with a sense of victory and unity of heart, having overcome a challenge together.
On June 27, a Peace Road event was held in Morocco. Holding it here was a major challenge, as there were no Unificationists living in the country full time, and the event took place in the middle of Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims. So a Unificationist representative of Morocco, Umberto Angelucci, the regional FFWPU president of the Middle East region, delivered the Peace Road flag from Casablanca to Rabat, 86 kilometers (more than 53 miles) away, by train. A group of 25 held the Peace Road event inside the Academe of Sports Martial Arts Alliance. The participants included four Ambassadors for Peace: Abdellah Benlamhidi, a lawyer and professor; Hajiba Benaboud, a Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) activist who is also a public health supervisor; Khalid Benaboud, her husband and a very accomplished master of martial arts; and the main organizer, Abderrazak Elkhaoudi, a master and martial arts trainer. Among those in attendance were key martial arts masters from various disciplines, social activists and youth. With their support and a few adjustments, Morocco held a very successful Peace Road rally.
Out of respect for their Muslim hosts, they chose to host the event after Iftar, the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan, when they break their daily fast. Because of their tradition, the event took place at 9:30 pm. Everyone recognized the special impact of Rev. Moon’s visionary proposal of a peace highway. Some recalled the former Moroccan king’s emphasis on building a bridge to Europe (Spain), which of course would be a key part of the peace highway.
At the end of the event, participants distributed Rev. Moon’s autobiography, and each spoke highly of his vision and work. David Fraser Harris, the secretary general of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) for the Middle East, said, “I was honored and happy to be part of this dynamic event, which provided a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with Peace Ambassadors and share the vision of the UPF founders with them. This was a great renewal of the work done by our former missionaries, and we hope we can continue in the future on this foundation.”
On June 19, FFWPU and UPF in Mali organized a Peace Road 2015 rally. The theme was “For a Mali of Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.” The event was held at the ACI 2000 neighborhood of Bamako, Mali’s capital. It was organized with the partnership of the National Malian Federation of Bicycle Riders. At 4:00 p.m. some 105 people gathered for the launching ceremony. Youssouf Cisse, an Ambassador for Peace and candidate in the last presidential election, and Amadou Togola, the national president of the Malian Federation of Bicycle Riders, participated. They sang the national anthem and the president of FFWPU Mali, Dembele Jules, gave a speech explaining that the Peace Road was set up by Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, as a project for world peace.
Fifteen professional bike riders were selected for a 15 kilometer (more than 9 mile) contest because as Muslims, they were fasting. Some prizes were given to the five winners, and symbolic prizes were given to the other cyclists. Fifteen police officers ensured that all went safely. Amadou Togola, who is also a newly appointed Ambassador for Peace, gave the congratulatory speech. He explained that bike riders in Mali are “riders for peace” and promised to make a lasting partnership with FFWPU. After his speech, the banner was signed by the officials and the event was over. The event was covered by three newspapers: the government newspaper (Essor) and two private newspapers (the Challenger and the Independent).
On June 28, Madrid, Spain held a Peace Road event with 90 participants. A group of young people began in the city of El Escorial, 50 kilometers from Madrid. They first posed for a picture in front of the famous monastery, built in the 16th century by King Felipe II. They took the train to Madrid and walked around the city, visiting famous landmarks. From the Recoletos Train Station they went to Plaza Colon to see a monument of Christopher Columbus. They then walked to “Plaza de Cibeles,” one of the most famous places in the capital. In the center of this square stands the famous Cibeles fountain, sculpted in 1782, by Ventura Rodríguez. Iconic buildings dominate each corner of the square. They were built between the 18th-20th centuries.
The Peace Road riders continued their way through “Puerta del Sol,” at the very center of the city, and finally arrived at Real Palace to meet another group of people who had been walking from Puerta de Toledo. They took pictures together in front of Real Palace, and in front of Almudena Cathedral.
They concluded the Peace Road event with a Concert for Peace by three musicians. Around 90 people enjoyed music of the world, connecting to the world through their shared dream for peace.
On Sunday June 28, over 70 men, women and children rode their bikes and departed on the Czech leg of the international Peace Road 2015. The route was 26 km from the Prague city center to a nearby town called Dobřichovice, along the rivers, Vltava and Berounka.
Those without bikes took a shorter route of 7 km by starting their trip with a short train ride. The youngest participant on a bicycle, Charlotte Musil, had no problem keeping up with everybody over the whole distance. At the destination, the camping restaurant “Weir of Good Hope” sounded speeches by the Czech Republic National Leader and the UPF Secretary General in testimony to True Father as a peace-maker, who visited North Korea to embrace the Dictator Kim Il Sung, and who was striving all his life to see the Korean peninsula united. The local music ministry choir sang Arirang and Tongil. At the destination, there was barbeque and cake for everyone.
In Poland, the Peace Road theme was called “No more war, no more communism”. Gdańsk is the place where the World War II began in 1939 and where communism ended in Europe due to the Solidarity Movement in 1980. Gdańsk is also the place where many religions and nations lived together.
Riders started in a park that commemorates the first victims of the World War II – Polish postal workers in Gdańsk. They prayed, listened to a speech, placed flowers and lit candles. Then they marched to the monument which commemorates the victims of Communism in 1970 near the Gdańsk Shipyard, where the Solidarity Movement was established after the strikes in 1980.
Afterwards, they marched to the cemetery of non-existent cemeteries, which commemorates all religions and nations which lived together in the past in North Poland. Again they prayed, listened to a speech and lit candles.
Peace riders finished the Peace Road 2015 in Gdańsk on the hill, from where they had a beautiful view of Old Gdańsk and New Gdańsk with shipbuilding cranes. Natural cranes are the symbol of the Heavenly Kingdom, so this sight reminded everyone of the hope that God’s Kingdom will be established together with True Parents in Gdańsk, in Poland, in Europe, and in the entire world before 2020. This was the last prayer in Gdańsk during Peace Road 2015.
^ Peace Road kicks off in the Democratic Republic of Congo
On June 15, 2015, Peace Road world tour for Burkina Faso took place in Ouagadougou. Bikes, motorcycles and cars flying Peace Road flags went through the town from the Patte d’Oie crossroads to the Municipal Stadium – about 7 km. Three bikes led the way with the leader holding the flag. They were followed by motorcycles and cars that participated in the rally. Some policemen cleared the road at intersections. The rally took about 15 to 20 minutes to reach the Municipal Stadium. The arrival ended with a picture in front of the main banner.
They presented the peace road flag to the state representative, Mr. Fousseni Ouedraogo, who was sent as a representative of the Prime Minister. After a two-minute explanation about the global meaning of the Peace Road, the National Leader of FFWPU invited the national official to sign the flag and asked that he may help to send a top representative of Burkina Faso to Korea in August 30, where the flag will go. The official representative Mr. Ouedraogo signed the Peace Road banner.
Then Mr. Ouedraogo gave a speech, explaining the Prime Minister’s interest in peace activities. He assured us he would report to the Prime Minister about the invitation. Ambassador Peace Mogho Naaba Baongo, the traditional king of the Mosse tribe, which comprises 48% of Burkina Faso’s population invited us to his palace. He always supports our activities. His majesty kindly signed the flag and gave an interview explaining how it is important for him to see young people acting for peace.
The Peace Road event ended with some popular entertainment, such as dances by the Les petits anges dancers, new hope choir, popular singers and majorettes.
To conclude everything, His Majesty, King Mogho Naaba Baongo, joined Peace Road participants in a final photograph.
From June 17 – 20, 2015 the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Suriname held the Peace Road 2015 project. Despite the heavy rainy season, these were four beautiful sunny days. Ambassador for Peace, Mrs. Mary Ghafoerkhan-Karamat Ali, who is a faithful member of the Surinamese Islamic Association (SIV), and who was one of the main speakers that day, reminded the audience of the fact that the Ramadan fasting period had started.
On Wednesday June 17, they had launch at Congress Hall at the Independence square. They started the program at 10:00 a.m. with several Ambassadors for Peace seated. They had a special item added to our program, a candle-lighting ceremony in remembrance of 8 of their Ambassadors for Peace who are now in the spirit world. Everyone appeared deeply moved and grateful. Hoon Dok Hwe was done by the National Leader of FFWPU Suriname, Rev. Roel Rotgans, who read the first chapter of True Father’s autobiography.
Afterwards there was a special message and Congratulatory song. Everybody who attended was asked to sign the PEACE ROAD 2015 banner and several group pictures were taken.
After they closed off the program inside the Congress Hall, they all walked outside to the monument close by, which was donated by the South Korean government to Suriname in remembrance of the fallen Surinamese soldiers in the Korean War. A beautiful wreath was laid at the monument and we released 93 balloons in the colors of the Surinamese flag into the air with three cheers of Og-mansei.
The next day, Thursday June 18, they held their first Peace Bike ride from Paramaribo to New Amsterdam, District Commewijne. The start was at 4:00 pm. at the Head Office of GOW2 Energy Suriname at the Van ‘t Hogerhyusstreet close by the Jules Wijdenbosch bridge. In total, 7 riders participated–4 from the army, 1 from the Surinamese Cycling Union, 1 youth and 1 motorcyclist. It was a heavy but exciting ride, especially going up the Jules Wijdenbosch bridge.
On Friday June 19, they held their second Peace Bike ride from Poelepantje-William Kraanplein, Paramaribo to Lelydorp, District Wanica. It was an easier easy and more relaxing ride. They had 4 riders from the army, and 1 motorcyclist. On the way a motorcyclist called out to join them on the ride, so they attached a Peace Road flag to his motorcycle, which he gratefully accepted.
Media Coverage: They got good media coverage from 3 television stations and 1 newspaper. On Tuesday June 16, a day before the launch, they were twice on television station “RBN” that evening for an interview and the next day Wednesday June 17, there was an article in the newspaper “Dagblad Suriname.” On the day of the launch June 17 they got media coverage from “Apintie Television Station” and their launch appeared on their most famous and widely watched everyday hot itemed television news program named “In de Branding.”
On Thursday June 18, the first day of their Peace Bike ride, they had media coverage from newspaper “Dagblad Suriname” with an article appearing on Saturday June 20 in their newspaper, and on Friday June 19, the second day of their Peace Bike ride, they had media coverage from their national, government-owned television station “STVS.” They reported on them twice in their news journal, once the next day Saturday June 20, and again the day after that.
On June 20, in Zimbabwe, Africa, FFWPU and UPF members, with the Zimbabwe United Nations Association (ZUNA) had selected children from ten schools and some of their teachers to take part in Peace Road. They had arranged for fifteen police officers to escort them from Harare City town House. 165 participants gather for the launching. The Zimbabwe government doesn’t allow any public gatherings because of the difficult political situation. Their Ambassadors for peace stayed away for that reason. They had to have police clearance for this march but still on the day of the march there were plain clothes policemen and central intelligence asking them questions before and after the march. Once they were satisfied, they left them alone so that the march was indeed a success.
Media Coverage: The day before the event they appeared on national TV Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC) and explained Father Moon’s vision for peace and the peace projects initiated by True Father and about the forthcoming 3rd anniversary of his ascension. They explained about Peace Road 2015 and that they wanted to march to bring attention to the world about Father Moon’s achievements.
On June 20, in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, they organized a Peace Road march with peace bikes. They prepared a hundred white T-shirts and a hundred and twenty blue T-shirts. The event started at seven in morning from round point at the Bafata airport to the national palace. They marched and rode bikes for 7 kilometers.
The national television, radio and private radio covered this event, broadcasting it to the people for two days. At the end of the event, there was a speech about using peace messages. The national TV also carried the information in its main journal for two days.
On June 21, many participants held the Peace Road march in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the fifth Central America nation. They started the march from a few blocks away from the Presidential Palace, Tegucigalpa, walked down ten blocks to the National Stadium then kept walking down to the Congress Palace, a total of 28 blocks.
Honduras is in the middle of conflicts, so everyday many organizations are marching. They also call their marches “Marches of Peace.” The day before (Saturday), one of those marchers threw a bomb at the Congressional Legislative Palace. Fortunately, it did not explode. Because they also had planned to finish at the Congressional Legislative Palace, the authorities advised them to stop the march the next day and reschedule it, but they decided to do it anyway.
On that same Sunday, someone else threw a bomb at the Justice Palace and it exploded. The circumstances were not easy, but under the protection of Heavenly Parent, the Peace Road march was successful. At the end, near the Congressional Palace, they celebrated the victory of their March for Peace and Family with folk music, dancing and some speeches.
On June 16 the Peace Road event in Cote d’Ivoire was launched in Yamoussoukro, the Administrative Capital City. The Regional President, Rev Dr. Cho Dong Ho and the National Leader, Philbert Seka, members from UPF and FFWPU gathered in front of the UNESCO International Peace Foundation to launch the Peace Road event in Cote d’Ivoire.
The main event was held in Adzope on June 23, a city near to Abidjan, the economic capital city. The tour had the theme: “One Cote D’ivoire, One Family”. It started at 9:00 AM. The Governor of the city, the President of the District of la Me Me, the Mayor and Members of Parliament attended the event. At 9:30 AM, Mr. Adama Doumbia, General-Secretary of UPF Africa and Rev Philbert Seka, gave signal to depart to 54 riders from Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria, France, Guinea, Benin and Burkina Faso. All the participants were dressed in the Peace Road colors. The Riders went through 100Kms. More than 4,000 people attended the main event. It was a kind of festival for the population to see people from diverse nations as rider to promote peace.
The 100 Km tour started in front of the city hall. At the end, the National Leader gave a speech to explain the meaning of Peace Road and mention the importance for people to break down barriers and live together as One Family under God. The authorities did congratulated UPF for holding such a wonderful event to build peace in the country. The event was covered by National TV and many other media.
On June 23 along the course of the Peace Road in Central America, Guatemala received the Peace Road baton. They marched from their FFWPU national headquarters to John Paul II Plaza. Participants marched with Peace Road the banner and flags. With the support from the traffic police, the march ended successfully.