Asian Leadership Conference: Providing Vision and Leadership for Nation-building and Peace
By UPF Asia, Ursula McLackland
The Asian Leadership Conference organized by UPF Asia, on September 15 -19, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand, with 90 participants the largest number as well as the highest level of VIPs ever. The VIPs included:
- 14 current Members of Parliament, including a current Deputy Minister and one former Minister
- 5 Governors and deputy governors
- 3 Under Secretaries of State: Ministry of Religion and Cults, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Royal Palace
- A 4-Star General who is the Director General of the Ministry of Defense and Counselor to the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia
- 2 Deputy Director Generals, Ministry of Information and the Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia
These top government leaders also brought many other high level officers from their respective ministries. The Cambodian delegation alone comprised of 43 participants.
Another unique feature in this ALC that 14 VIPs brought their wives and participated in the Interfaith Peace Blessing together. In fact, the Sri Lankan MP and his wife who had participated in the Blessing during the last ALC and completed the 40-day separation and 3-day ceremony by now brought 10 other MP couples this time.
The Opening Session itself captivated the audience and participants started to ask for copies of the presentations. As always, Dr. Yong’s special presentations in the morning set the tone for the day and challenge all participants to change their life-style and practice true love with their spouses from now on.
Besides teaching the Divine Principle focusing on Chapter 1, 2 and Restoration through the Blessing, we also taught the practical applications of these principles for peace, leadership, family and nation-building. The participants learned of True Parents’ heart of true love and sacrificial life upon which they build a worldwide foundation reaching every nation in the world. They were also deeply impressed by the presentation from Rev. Kamol Thananopavarn, National Leader of Thailand. He illustrated how the Blessing and Pure Love Movement provides a solution to Thailand’s most urgent problems-the breakdown of the family and youth immorality-and how the Thai government seriously cooperates with FFWPU throughout the country.
As we had a large number of Members of Parliament from Sri Lanka and Nepal as well as a strong representation of the Cambodian Senate, we also included a special session on “The Founders’ Vision for the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP).” Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, Convenor of IAPP South Asia and former Cabinet Minister in the Government of Nepal, explained the vision and purpose of IAPP and encouraged all participants to launch the IAPP in their own nation. The two commentators who had participated in the launch of the IAPP in Nepal strongly supported Hon. Ek Nath’s call for the development of IAPP throughout the region and the world.
After participating in the Interfaith Peace Blessing Ceremony on the 3rd day of the conference, the Sri Lankan Member of Parliament Hon. Ajith Mannapperuma who was one of the representative couples on stage invited Dr. Edgar Tanate, National Leader of Sri Lanka, to hold a Blessing Ceremony with 1,000 couples in his constituency. He proposed to follow the pattern of the ALC with a half day education program in the morning and the Blessing Ceremony in the afternoon.
Ms. Angela B. Thaung, Secretary, Religions for Peace, Myanmar said in her reflections in the Closing Session she was ‘thrilled by the Interfaith Peace Blessing… and learned that marriage and love is utmost important factor to attain a peaceful society.’
She also requested UPF to invite MPs and policy makers from Myanmar to future conferences as Myanmar has a great diversity of races and religions and thus many problems that need reconciliation. She expressed her confidence that with the support of UPF and the wisdom of the universal principles she learned in the ALC, peace can become a reality in Myanmar.
Mr. Dissaphol Nantarid, retired prison superintendent of Mahasarakam province, Thailand, was so deeply moved by the content of the ALC presentations that he wrote a letter to his daughter who is about to enter university the following day:
My dearest daughter Lucky,
I was chosen to attend a seminar in Bangkok from September 15-18, 2016 on “Pure Love-stop problems, develop society”. There were lecturers from the USA, Germany, Korea and Thailand. The contents were totally excellent and impressive. They were all about the importance of strong, healthy families, parents living an exemplary life for their children to follow. They emphasized the dignity and honor of women and the need for keeping purity until the wedding day because whoever induces us to a tainted way, especially in regards to sexual relations, we regard such a person as someone who does not honor others, is selfish and greedy. This content moved me so much. That is why I would like to encourage you, my dearest daughter, to be strong. Do not easily be a slave to someone’s emotions. You are going to spend your life in university until your graduation in about 5 years. Please keep your purity and chastity just as a king cobra highly values its eggs. You can associate with friends but please choose good and moral persons. If you can do so, I will be so proud of you.
With great love and care, from Father