Four-day Global Peace Conference to draw hundreds to Atlanta

Eleven Latin American former heads of states are among the more than 500 people in Atlanta this week for a peace-building conference, drawn in part by the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Atlanta is the first American city to host the fourth annual Global Peace Convention which brings world and community leaders, policy makers and other experts to downtown Atlanta Thursday through Saturday. The goal of the convention is to develop strategies for education, health care, environmental sustainability, community-driven development and conflict resolution, making King’s hometown a logical choice for the convention, convention officials said.

“Atlanta is a thriving city with increasing global connections but most of all Atlanta was one of the centers of the civil rights movement and the civil rights movement represents values that the Global Peace Foundation resonates closely with,” said Michael Marshall, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based foundation, which runs the convention.

“The spirit of that movement, appealing as it did to universal principles and shared values that transcended sectarian boundaries, resonates perfectly with what the Global Peace Foundation is trying to achieve today,” said convention co-host, author and minister Robert A. Schuller. Georgia state senator Emanuel Jones is the convention’s other host.

The main events will be at the Marriott Marquis hotel Friday and Saturday with pre-and post-convention activities on Thursday and Sunday. The conference is open to the public. The Carter Center will host The Americas Summit Thursday. That daylong program brings together the Latin American former presidents and heads of states to improve ties among themselves as well as forge better relations with the United States.

“What makes this a little different is it’s not just focusing on business and politics but it is looking at the ethical values and the moral principals that can sustain strong and healthy democracies,” Marshall said. On Friday, that group will announce at a 3:30 news conference at the hotel the creation of The Latin American Presidential mission, which will work to turn its ideas into practical plans, Marshall said.

This is the fourth year of the Global Peace Foundation’s convention. The foundation was created by Hyun Jin Preston Moon, son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, head of the Unification church, which has no ties to the foundation.

Other convention highlights:

- Points of Light workshop on Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. looks at volunteerism in the United States.

- Global Peace Business Forum runs Thursday through Saturday and will cover ways to promote global trade and investment as keys to ending poverty and creating economic development.

- King Center Leadership Forum will be Sunday at the King Center. It is an international training session for young people and will be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Participants will be appointed Global King Ambassadors.

For details on registration and daily rates to attend the event, go online to www.globalpeaceconvention.org.

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