Mr Chansamone VORAVONG – President of FORIM – The forum of Organisations for International Solidarity on Migration Issues since 2005, a national platform of some 700 associations of diasporas cooperating in sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb, South-East Asia, the Caribbean Seas, the Indian Ocean. President of OLREC since 1989, he established the Laotian Communities Organization for Refugees and National Conciliation in1989, for the resolution of the Indochinese refugees’ crisis, cooperating with the UNHCR and countries concerned. OLREC now focuses on cooperation for development.
Mr VORAVONG came to France in 1981 as a refugee and became a French citizen 15 years ago. FORIM was created in 2002 as a national platform to bring together organisations working for immigration and has been recognized by France. It will soon have its 10th anniversary assembly at which Mr VORAVONG will reassert his vision of a world of solidarity and peace in the current context of hostility toward immigration in France.
Mr VORAVONG stated that the members of FORIM come from all corners of the earth and are new French [citizens] committed to partnering with others to lay the foundation for peace. Their goal is to establish new ethics for living. The encounter between human beings is an opportunity for enrichment. Life gives us the good fortune to meet and get to know each other. Immigration should be an act of love and commitment on both sides. Neither side should be set in stone, since society is also evolving. The definition of immigrants is people whose hearts and minds occupy two different countries, the original and destination. Immigrants are in the best position to propose sustainable development if they have not lost their structure in the race to become westernized. Spiritual life and moral values must be developed, including the virtues of trust, respect for others, forgiveness, mercy, etc.
Mr VORAVONG cited Monsignor GAILLOT as well as Mr Moulinet, secretary general of UPF in France, Brigitte Wada, president of WFWP in France, and Mr Laurent Ladouce, director of the Culture et Peace Centre, as role models for his own life that have reassured him of the existence of other people prepared to stand up for peace.
Mr VORAVONG said that he met UPF in the 1990’s when he was director of a project to promote democracy in his home county of Laos. This project was not looked on kindly by the government of Laos. It was difficult for Mr VORAVONG to be introduced to the government of Laos, since he is not himself a head of state. However, his organisation was able to convince the exiled H.R.H. Prince Sauryavong SAVANG who escaped after the war in Vietnam to help them. At a press conference, he announced that he was ready to organise all of the refugees to work for peace. Therefore, he was able to work with H.R.H. Prince Sauryavong SAVANG in order to meet with the current government of Laos.
During this time, he was introduced to the Summit Council for World Peace founded by Reverend Moon (now part of UPF) and travelled to North Korea as part of a delegation in an attempt to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and bring North Korea to the negotiating table. In conclusion, he stated that he never regretted his decision to work with UPF as an ambassador for peace, in spite of the misunderstanding surrounding its work and that he continues to do so.