Bijna 70 deelnemers waren aanwezig bij de European Leadership Conference in Langesundbad, Noorwegen, van 8-10 augustus 2008. De groep was heel divers qua leeftijd en achtergrond: vertegenwoordigers van een breed spectrum aan geloofsrichtingen en wereldbeschouwingen, afkomstig uit vele delen van Europa, maakten deel uit van het gezelschap dat in grote harmonie bij elkaar was. Langesund Bad is een klassiek kuuroord uit de vorige eeuw en vormde de perfecte locatie voor deze conferentie. Een prachtig landschap, een fascinerende kustlijn en sfeervolle gebouwen zorgden voor de juiste setting voor onze presentaties en discussies.
As it was a bit challenging to find the suitable flight to the local airport, a bus was set up from the main airport to bring the majority of participants to the hotel. The 2 hours ride on the tourist bus went smooth and the time was spent well by having lunch and doing the check in and registration.
The miniconference on Saturday on Community Cohesion was very meaningful in this diverse audience. The conference with the title ”Unity in diversity – finding the way to harmony in a multicultural society” gave valuable impulses to the participants on how to proceed this important work of building harmony in our societies. Ms. Saleha Jaffer spoke of her experiences with community cohesion in London. She mentioned that community cohesion is a buzz-word and many are doing it, but that UPF is the best in the market.
Dr. Jan-Willem Bertens from the Netherlands spoke of international aspects of community cohesion. He spoke on how local events as the film Fitna or the cartoons in Denmark could trigger international tension.
Mr. Alf Mønnesland spoke on family values as the common factor in all culures. He emphasised how family-relations form a universal experience, something we all are concerned about, and how more focus on this could bring us closer together as a global family.
Tim Miller’s presentations on the founding principles of the UPF (universal principles for peace building) were well received and were, according to many, an eyeopener in its framework of universal values for peace. Many of the participants agreed with mr. Miller that mankind’s growing awareness of a loving and passionate God as the parent of mankind, is the beginning of lasting peace. Our lecturer explained that Gods ideal of family and loving family relationships, as well as the principle of ’living for the sake of others’ are essential for peace. Each presentation was followed by a series of comments, to the degree that the moderator had to set a stop.
The cultural evening gave everybody a chance to show the artistic side of themselves. Music, songs, yoga, lyrics and dance created a nice close of a day. The three days were, as usual, a good blend of presentations, cultural performances, walk in the nature, sharing and social gathering - in total a mix that was well received by all the participants.
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