Global Peace Convention 2012: A Historic Triumph for International Leaders, Representing 40 Countries from Around the World, Who Gathered in Atlanta (GA) to Discuss Peace

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Government officials, human rights activists, service entrepreneurs, ministers, students and volunteers from around the world convened in Atlanta (GA) to talk peace, leadership and service. Eleven former Latin American Presidents presented the Latin American Presidential Mission, a statement for peace.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Center - site of the International Young Leaders Assembly. Discussion featured Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian, Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, Dr. Paul Murray, etc.

I earnestly believe that if my father were living today, his heart would be warmed by the work of this great organization around the world. And in fact, I believe without a shadow of a doubt, he would be a part of your group.

Participants from around the world attended The Global Peace Foundation’s (GPF) Global Peace Convention (GPC) recently held in Atlanta, Georgia on November 29 – December 1, 2012. Co-Chaired by Georgia Senator Emanuel Jones and Dr. Robert A. Schuller, the GPC resembled a mini United Nations summit with 40 nations represented at the conference. Government officials (including 11 Latin American former presidents), activists, service entrepreneurs, ministers, students and volunteers from Asia to Africa, India, South America, and the USA, convened at workshops, panels and plenaries on peace building through leadership and service within and between nations as a means toward economic and social posterity.

Senator Jones remarked that this “is the first time in Georgia history, that I am aware of, where we had this many Latin American former presidents in one place.” After meeting with the group a few times during the convention, Jones remarked about how meaningful and ground-breaking the discussions were on bridging solid Latin American-North American relationships.

More than 800 participants shared best practices, developed collaborative strategies and launched initiatives in areas of education, health care, environmental sustainability, community-driven development, and conflict resolution in line with the convention theme, “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Building Healthy Families, Ethical Societies and a Global Culture of Peace.”

The Reverend Dr. Bernice King, daughter of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, in her speech to the GPC at their welcoming banquet, stated "I earnestly believe that if my father were living today, his heart would be warmed by the work of this great organization around the world. And in fact, I believe without a shadow of a doubt, he would be a part of your group.”

Convention activities served to clarify the importance of principled leadership not only in public office, but in corporate life, the non-profit sector, and other areas of civic life as a precondition for social cohesion and peace. Presenters from Atlanta and around the world led dialogues and discussions on bridging societal gaps and forging benevolent intercultural commerce, as well as tolerance.

Highlights of the convention included:

(1)    The America’s Summit which featured seven former presidents of Latin America in a groundbreaking collaborative dialogue on regional cooperation, sustainable development, North-South relations, and transparency and democratic governance. H.E. Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala led the launch of the Latin American Presidential Mission, an initiative of eighteen (18) former Latin American Presidents who have pledged to seek solutions to help current presidents of their respective countries promote peace.

(2)    A session at the Points of Light Institute in Atlanta on “Strategies for Transforming Volunteerism: International, National and Local Perspectives.” Executives from the Institute joined with GPF leadership to provide an overview of the forces shaping volunteering in the United States and the roles being played by social entrepreneurs.

(3) The Global Peace Business Forum was a revolutionary collaborative discussion on regional cooperation to promote peace and prosperity through trade and investment among nations. The sessions were co-hosted by the Global Peace Business Council, the World Trade Center of Atlanta, and the China-US Investment Council, and included presentations from Kenya, Uganda, Guatemala, Kurdistan/Iraq, Paraguay, Uruguay, USA and many other nations.

(4)    GPF’s Global Peace Awards honored government, civil society and faith leaders and organizations whose exemplary efforts have substantially improved the lives of others and have a sustained commitment to realizing a world of peace. Among the awardees was Dr. Jeffrey M. Johnson who is on the Board of Advisers to the Morehouse College Research Institute. He is president and CEO of the National Partnership for Community Leadership, and won the Leadership in Strengthening Families Award for his work promoting responsible fatherhood.

(5)    The International Young Leaders Assembly, entailed a young leaders’ training session at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

The Global Peace Convention concluded with the civil rights-centered Power of Legacy Town Hall gathering and discussions moderated by Dr. Paul Murray, co-chair, with Dr. Robert A. Schuller, of the Coalition for American Renewal. The panel speakers included Rabbi Dr. Analia Bortz, Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Georgia State Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan, and TV personality, Judge Glenda Hatchett.

The GPC convention was global in scope and in reach as the GPC social media team brought select sessions online in real time with live updates on social media channels and live-streaming.

The Global Peace Convention advances innovative responses to the challenges of conflict and underdevelopment by drawing upon the expertise of government, faith-based, and civil society partners, and by involving stakeholders from affected regions. Grounded in a comprehensive, values-based approach that recognizes the fundamental rights as well as responsibilities of all people, the Global Peace Convention presents a vision for peace and social progress that reflects the highest human aspirations.

The Global Peace Foundation is building a network of grassroots leaders to develop community, national, and regional peace building models as the foundation for ethical, cohesive, and compassionate societies, guided by the vision of One Family under God. That vision states that: All people, regardless of race, nationality, religion, or culture, are part of One Family Under God. Through partnerships with organizations around the world, GPF programs and celebrations work to facilitate intercultural and interreligious cooperation, strengthen families and communities, and foster a culture of service and peace. The Global Peace Foundation was founded by Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon, who is also its current chairman.

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