USA: Students Discover the Power of Principle
By FFWPU USA: The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) started off the year by hosting an international student workshop, MOMENTUM 2016, in New York City. Over 40 participants gathered from across the country and the world to join the leadership training from January 6-10, 2016. International participants came from Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Germany, South Africa, and United Kingdom.
The first day kicked off with a welcome and orientation given by Teresa Rischl who shared the vision for CARP from the Founders, Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon: “At every major turning point in history, the power responsible for a new culture originated with young people.” The participants were enlivened by the incredible history and purpose of CARP, knowing they are being trained to make a real impact on their family, friends, school, community and ultimately world.
CARP introduced its newly revised mission statement:
“To inspire and empower students by engaging them in the study and application of Unification Principles.”
Based on the mission, CARP introduced 7 basic Unification Principles that would be the focus of the content for the next few days. The morning principle, “Each person is a valuable part of humanity,” gave participants a chance to discover their own sense of value and to discover what the world would look like if each person’s value was fully acknowledged by others.
Naokimi Ushiroda, CARP America President, then guided participants to create their own affirmation statements that honored their personal strengths and the unique value each person offers. Here are a few examples from our participants:
“I am an unrelenting creator, and I feel so complete as I interact with my family more, continue to create my spiritual habits, and clean the church (internally and externally).” – Kensho Kaneko, New Jersey
“I am an open-minded friend, and I feel so joyful as I listen to their story and put myself in their shoes.” – Hitoe Hiraki, California
“I am a confident risk-taker, and I feel so accomplished as I build up CARP at University of Bridgeport greater with other CARPies!” – Yasutaka Ozawa, Connecticut
Lunch was sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation. Director Richard de Sena was able to interact with students and share his testimony on the value of young leaders guided by a clear purpose. He also encouraged participants to be open to learning more about UPF, as someday they may find themselves called to its mission like he had.
The next session, led by Justin Okamoto and Teresa Rischl, focused on the principle, “We can develop genuine relationships through sincere, selfless interactions.” They distinguished the difference between self-centered and selfless interactions and how the experience of focusing on the other person takes away discomfort, fear, concern, worry, etc. The experience of being present with others and truly listening to the words, emotion and deeper commitment of the other person is monumental to developing the kind of relationships we want with others. Participants were moved with the possibility that listening and being with another is one of the greatest gifts they can give.
The last principle of the day, “We all come from the same common source, a God of love,” took a different approach. Participants were challenged to formally debate for and against the existence of God. Olga Majitova, a guest facilitator, organized the group into two sides and asked them to debate in the activity, no matter their personal belief. For many it was the first time students had the chance to debate in a way that put their listening training to good use. At the end of the debate, participants were left to consider how their beliefs could help or hinder them from being their fullest, best version of themselves. The ideal of a perfect source of love compels everyone to engage in a deeper, more profound and connected state where exemplifying love (or God) is an access to being the best version of oneself.
Participants concluded the night by engaging in genuine relationships through fellowship, icebreakers and exploring the excitement of New York City. Many participants expressed that their experience of discovering and engaging in Unification Principles was new, unexpected and exciting. With Day 1 down, students have more to look forward to to go deeper into the principles that bring about unity and that are worth living.
Stay tuned for more CARP updates from MOMENTUM 2016!