It was the first time that Upf Lebanon organized such event, in collaboration with Family Federation Representatives and Sheikh Abou Zeid.
Lebanon is facing an incredible difficult situation, in many ways. And especially recent events, of violence between different groups of Lebanese, it became very obvious that it is very important to promote National Unity, especially among the young people.
Hence Upf Lebanon reached out to students from LAU and AUB bringing them together across their religious and cultural boundaries to visit first a Mosque, where they were welcomed by Sheikh Abou Zeid, who gave them an inspiring message inside the Mosque. Next we went to a church where all the students where warmly welcomed by two priests of the church, Father Joseph Khoury and Father Ibrahim Saad, who also gave a great message to the students.
A determined minority advocating for peace and national unity against the tides of division and mutual hatred in Lebanon will be a majority with God, UPF Lebanon president Thomas Schellen told the marchers before they visited a mosque as the starting point of the Peace Road walk.
In its essential meaning, the 2021 march thus sent a signal to communities and participants that national unity in Lebanon is both crucial and possible for internal peace and a return to prosperity.
In an equally vital second part of this year’s message, UPF Lebanon emphasizes how our country is inextricably entwined with the global decisions in the fight for saving the climate that topped the international agenda at the very day of November 6, as a peak of peoples’ calling out to the delegates at the COP 26 summit in Glasgow. “Today’s highly important task of finding climate justice and climate peace and the long-standing quest of our search for peace in Lebanon both depend on your future leadership. Climate justice and peace among the communities in Lebanon are tasks where your generation is called to take the initiative, just as they are natural missions for the communities’ religious leaders,” Schellen told the participants on their second stop, a church in the Old Town of Saida.
Students that participated in the 2021 Peace Road reflected in the following days on the event which they had made a success, saying that it stood out among their volunteering as an experience full of hope and joy amidst the challenging times.
In the previous five years, the “Peace Road event in Lebanon, has been convened annually as a bicycling celebration in varying districts around the country.
The Lebanon event is part of the global Peace Road initiative of the Universal Peace Federation and sends a sign of the Lebanese people’s desire for lasting peace. The Peace Road concept is rooted in the proposal for an “International Highway of Peace” that was first proposed by the UPF founders, the late Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han Moon, in 1981.
UPF Lebanon is registered as Lebanese non-profit organization, and has over the past 14 years been dedicated to peace education, interfaith collaboration, strengthening of families, and humanitarian aid activities in Lebanon, specifically including the implementation of food box distributions and family festivals in the past two years. UPF Lebanon is associated with the international Universal Peace Federation that was established in 2005.
As with regards to our first Peace Road event to promote National Unity in Lebanon, we truly hope to continue with this project and reach out to many more young people across any religious or cultural boundaries in order to foster a true National Patriotism.
Also we truly wish to thank the honorable Sheikh Abou Zeid and the two noble priests Father Joseph Khoury and Father Ibrahim Saad, for making this event possible and welcoming and inspiring the young people with their great message of Peace.