The program began with a welcoming address by Chantal Chételat Komagata, Secretary General of UPF Switzerland and an introduction by Professor Adrian Holderegger, Professor at the University of Fribourg in the field of moral theology and ethics and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Ethics and Human Rights.
The main presentation on the topic, “Cultural Rights as Human Rights”, was given by Patrice Meyer-Bisch, coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Ethics and Human Rights and UNESCO Chair for Human Rights and Democracy, University of Fribourg. Professor Meyer-Bisch gave an extremely talk in which he explained the concept of cultural rights, as distinct from human rights, and that current and potential conflicts are largely caused by violations of these cultural rights, as well as the fact that numerous development strategies have proved inadequate due to their neglect of these rights.
Following this enlightening presentation, the political point of view was given by Ricardo Lumengo, member of the Swiss Federal Assembly or Parliament since 2007, and the point of view of the UN NGOs was given by Carolyn Handschin, Deputy Director, Women’s Federation for World Peace International, United Nations Office, Secretary of the UN NGO Committee on the status of Women and Co-founder and Coordinator of the Youth Interfaith Program, GIIA, and by Jesus (Gary) Domingo, Minister for Disarmament and Humanitarian Affairs, Philippines Mission to the UN – Geneva, Co-founder and Vice President, Geneva Interfaith Intercultural Alliance (GIIA), PhD in Political Science.
The religious point of view was given by Dorcas Pimizi (Judeo-Christian) and Naïma Serroukh (Islam).
Finally, the point of view of UPF was given by Reverend Joon-Hyun Pak, Dean of Peace Academy for Seoul Citizens, South Korea, Interfaith / Ecumenical ministry, Invited Professor at Sun Moon University and Unification Theological Seminary, Author of numerous books based on Christian Theology and True Family Values and, last but not least, Abel Boon Bang Wang to Switzerland. Reverend Pak emphasized the importance of this forum as an alternative to the traditional left and right-wing viewpoints, as exemplified by the World Social Forum and Davos World Economic Forum, respectively, both of which also started from humble beginnings. The Universal Peace Federation’s founder describes this as the “Headwing” viewpoint. Headwing brings the two wings into balance, as a bird needs both wings to fly.