SEOUL, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Some 400 political and civic leaders across the world gathered in Seoul Monday to discuss ways to promote peace across the globe.
The four-day assembly of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) comes at a time when tensions are running high on the Korean peninsula and the Middle East -- from Israel to Lebanon to Iraq.
The forum, titled "Peace-building and Human Development: the United Nations and Beyond," was focused on ways to secure a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula and end the warfare in the Middle East.
"They called for global cooperation beyond religions and nations to find solutions to the critical problems facing the world community," an organizer said.
In an opening address at the meeting, Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, UPF president, asked for the world's political and civic leaders to make more efforts to resolve the humanitarian plights facing the people in the war-torn regions.
"I hope this meeting would serve as an occasion to remind the world that international efforts beyond religions and territories are vital to promoting peace in the world," he told the participants, who included former Mongolian President Ochirbat Punsalmaa and Ghana's first deputy Parliament speaker Freddie Blay, among others.
The meeting was organized by the Inter-religious and International Peace Council (IIPC), founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church.
The Church has previously pushed for the establishment of an Inter-religious Council at the United Nations.
An institutional part of the world body, with a status like that of the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council or the Trusteeship Council, the Inter-religious Council would help bring an end to violence which is increasingly inter-ethnic and inter-faith, promoters said.