Launching of Youth and Students for Peace in Bangkok
Youth and Students for Peace Launching for Asia, Pacific and Greater China Regions in Bangkok, Thailand — June 12-13, 2017
By Robert Kittel, YSP International
The Government of the Kingdom of Thailand gave its full support for the launching of the Youth and Students for Peace (YSP) by: sending two Cabinet Ministers, including the senior-most Deputy Prime Minister who came on behalf of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha; mobilizing 6,000 students from 200 schools, and officially co-hosting the 2-day program.
YSP is a global network of young people dedicated to building a world of lasting peace and mutual prosperity by living for others, creating families of true love, and contributing to society. It builds on the values of filial piety, supports inter-generational families and cultivates a sense of social responsibility.
The first event, on June 12, was at the United Nations Conference Centre, ESCAP1 Hall in Bangkok which seats nearly 1,200 people. However, throughout the day approximately 800 international guests coming from 35 nations attended, along with more than 900 guests from Thailand making for a total of 1745 participants. The theme was, “The Role of Youth and Students in Creating a Culture of Sustainable Peace.”
The following day, on June 13, over 12,000 participants, mostly students, joined in a Youth for Peace Rally held at the IMPACT Arena with the theme, “Pure Love: Solving Social Problems, Building Healthy Societies.” Participants made a public pledge of loyalty, filial piety, purity and service to others.
United Nations Conference Centre, ESCAP Hall – June 12th
The Chief Guest and conference host was Dr. Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, MD., Minister of Education, from Thailand. The Keynote Address was given by Dr. Sun Jin Moon, International Chair of the Universal Peace Federation, who spoke on behalf of her mother and YSP Founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
Dr. Teerakiat Jareonsettasin spoke in English and said, “The end goal of education must be character, nothing less. And the key to achieve character is only through love.” He went on to explain that love in the cognitive realm becomes truth, in the realm of action it becomes right conduct, and manifested in feelings love becomes peace.
The Honorable Minister continued saying, “I am very pleased that your movement, your programs, tap into the foundation of character that is love. Therefore, the Thai government will continue to support all activities, from any movement in fact, that promotes the spreading of love because when love manifests as understanding then nonviolence is there automatically.”
Dr. Sun Jin Moon, a graduate from Harvard University, encouraged young people to achieve distinction in their career choices and especially to cultivate universal virtues and values. She said, “In addition to the acquisition of the skills required for excellence in a career, it is also equally important, if not more important, that we develop our moral character by cultivating virtues such as empathy, and living for the sake of others.”
Holding back her tears Dr. Moon continued, “Thus, my parents placed family at the core of their global vision of peace. In fact, it is by building families of true love, raising children of good character, guided by the principle of living for the sake of world peace that we contribute to sustainable peace.”
Dr. Robert Kittel, the newly appointed YSP international president, highlighted the four loves that are learned in the family: 1) Parents’ love for their children called parental love; 2) Children’s love for their parents called filial piety; 3) Siblings’ love where brothers and sisters love each other; and 4) Conjugal love between husband and wife.
He then stressed the role youth and students play in creating a culture of sustainable peace, saying, “Of these four loves, it is the role of youth and students to take responsibility for two of them. First, they are responsible for filial piety or children’s love. Secondly, they are responsible for the pure love between brothers and sisters. The other two loves—the parental love and the conjugal love—are reserved for couples, that is, for spouses (husband and wife) and for parents (father and mother).”
Other speakers at the Inaugural Session included: Gen. Terdsak Marrome, President, UPF-Thailand, who paid tribute to Thailand’s late Monarch, HRH King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and gave Welcome Remarks
Hon. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Minister of Education from Sri Lanka, began by noting that 75% of the global youth population live in developing countries. He emphasized that “to inculcate a communal responsibility among all our people” and share a best-practice in Sri Lanka where they developed “an effective vehicle for the youth to express their views through the institution called ‘Youth Parliament” consisting of 225 elected youth representatives to foster democratic ideals.
Hon. Dr. Pen Pannha, MP, Member of the Permanent Committee and President of the Commission on Legislation and Justice of the Cambodian National Assembly, reminded everyone that, “Ending wars is an enormous and difficult task for us all. But maintaining and ensuring peace – particularly strengthening the culture of peace – is a duty to be fulfilled before we achieve complete sustainable development.”
Additional Congratulatory Remarks were also given by: Dr. Chung Sik Yong, Regional Chairman, UPF-Asia, Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, President, UPF International, Hon. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Minister of Education, Government of Sri Lanka, Dr. Pen Pannha, Chairman of the Commission on Legislation and Justice of the National Assembly, Cambodia, and Mr. Kamol Thananopavarn, President of Youth Federation for World Peace-Thailand, served as MC
SESSION II: The Principles of Sustainability and the Responsibility of Youth in Nation-Building
This session first sought to identify the basic principles of sustainability. In essence, it pursued a common understanding of the meaning of being good which is in harmony with the world’s great religious teachings. The concept is simple; it is live for the sake of others. This was the motto that Father Moon adopted throughout his life. The opposite is also true; living for myself is selfish. Having a universal definition of goodness helped lay the foundation for appreciating the role and responsibility of youth in nation-building. Students, and indeed everyone, needs to understand this element of building good character and work to make it a social and cultural norm.
Moderator: Ms. Lily Lin, President, Women’s Federation for World Peace, Asia
Speaker: Dr. Robert S. Kittel, President YSP
Panelists:Mr. Juan Jr. Romero Araojo, Chief, Youth Formation Division, Department of Education, Philippines, Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, Former Minister for Peace and Reconstruction, Nepal, Gen. Charan Kullavanijaya, President, National Defense College Association of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, Thailand, and Hon. Dr. Nem Sowath, Director General, Ministry of Defense, Cambodia.
SESSION III: Preparing for a Successful Future: The Importance of Marriage and Family
This session discussed the importance of marriage and family for both public and private well-being. These institutions are associated with a wide range of emotional, economic, health, educational, and safety benefits that help local, state, and federal governments serve the common good. Cohabitation and same sex marriages do not provide the same bond of love and support that the traditional family consisting of father, mother and children does. This is because the level of commitment—or willingness to sacrifice— is fundamentally weaker in cohabiting relations. To help revive marriage and family, speakers appreciated Father and Mother Moon’s initiative of building world peace through the Interfaith Peace Blessing Ceremonies.
Moderator:Mr. Richell Jalipa, Lecturer, International Peace Leadership College, Philippines
Presenter: Mrs. Ursula McLackland, Secretary-General, UPF Asia
Panelists: Hon. Netani Rika, Chairperson, Standing Committee, Foreign Affairs and Defense, Fiji, Dr. Chu Wu-Hsien, Chairman, National Religious Federation, Chinese Taipei, Ms. Meenakshi Sharma, Founder & Director, Vishwa International Academy, India, and Prof. Yoshio Kawakami, Professor Emeritus, Tezukayama Gakuin University, Japan.
SESSION IV: Symposium: Responsibility of Youth to Build a Culture of Peace
Two of the youngest Members of Parliament in their respective countries, a beauty queen, a government official representing his Ministry, and two National Directors for youth ministries affiliated with the sponsoring organizers made for a powerful and exciting closing symposium. It was lively, interactive and educational. One of the key concepts was that peace cannot come via force. We need to create a good culture in order for peace to blossom. Put another way, everyone participates in peace-building; it is not a spectator sport. With this closing session, the seminar ended on a high, hopeful note.
Moderator: Mr. Koji Matsuda, President, YSP Japan
Presenter: Mr. Naokimi Ushiroda, National Director of Youth and Students, FFWPU USA
Panelists: Hon. Christopher De Venecia, Member of Parliament, Philippines, Hon. Dave Ahmadshah Firkano Laksono, Member of Parliament, Indonesia, Mr. Arunchat Kuruwanich, Subcommittee on Promotion of Children and Youth Council, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Thailand, Ms. Asmi Shrestha, Miss Nepal World 2016, and Ms. Mica Camara, Oceania Youth Director.
“Youth for Peace Rally” held at the IMPACT Arena – June 13th
The day after the program at the United Nations Conference Centre, there was a Youth for Peace Rally on June 13th for 12,000 students at the IMPACT Arena in Bangkok. Working with the Ministry of Education, more than half the audience were students from schools in the capital city, Bangkok. The remainder of the audience were guests of the Universal Peace Federation and its affiliated organizations from Thailand, Asia, Oceania and the Greater China region.
In the audience were the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, 2 former Cabinet Ministers, 7 incumbent Members of Parliament, 5 Governors, 4 Vice-Governors, 6 high-level government officers, a total of 55 heads of universities, 220 school principals, 4 military officers, 66 community leaders, and 57 NGO leaders. The largest international group was from Cambodia (800), then Philippines (120), Nepal (112), Korean religious leaders (91), and Singapore (62).
Following a video about the 21 years of Pure Love Education in Thailand, the Director of Pure Love in Thailand, Mr. Jakrin Iamsam-ang, addressed the rally theme, “Solving Social Problems, Building Healthy Societies.” Schools will build on this and create Pure Love Clubs so students can have the support networks needed to keep their promise to remain pure until married.
On behalf of the Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Opening Remarks were given by the Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong. Then, Dr. Robert S. Kittel, President of YSP International, presented the vision of YSP, lead the Pure Love pledge and introduced the YSP Founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who then gave her Inaugural Remarks.
The Deputy Prime Minister was gracious and encouraging, saying “I would like to express my admiration to the UPF – Thailand and the affiliated organizations and the Ministry of Education for carrying on this very beneficial project for young people” who he said “were important” for the future of the nation.
Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong continued, “I would like to express my gratitude for the vision of the [YSP] founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who loves and cares for young people…” He then restated YSP’s mission statement, noting it was “a network for young people who have dedicated themselves for the establishment of sustainable world peace and mutual prosperity through living for the sake of others, building families of True Love, and contributing to the society.”
True Mother spoke without notes, as she normally does, and chose the topic, “The Providence through Human Civilization, Asia’s Mission in Heaven’s Providence.” She began by pointing out the different approaches to life taken by the East and West. Whereas Western civilization sought to develop primarily through materialism, the East placed a higher emphasis on spirituality. As a result, four main religions have emerged from the Asian cultural sphere.
Mother Moon explained that the root of problems we face today actually originated in our first human ancestors. They fell from God’s grace due to “greed” and ended up with “self-centered hearts.” However difficult and painful this was, God didn’t give up, but has worked throughout history to restore humankind back to our original state of goodness. In this providence Jesus had a central role to play but needed to get married to complete his mission. For Jesus to fulfill his responsibilities as the “Last Adam” he needed to find the Last Eve. Unfortunately this did not happen 2,000 years ago, so this element of his mission was postponed until the Marriage Supper of the Lamb at the second coming.
The YSP Founder emphasized that, “Human power cannot solve all the difficult problems being faced around the world. Only God, the true owner, the Heavenly Parent, can solve them.”
She mentioned that together with her husband, Father Moon who passed away five years ago, they are taking on the mission and responsibility of True Parents. Over their lifetimes together they have put more effort and resources into solving the fundamental problems of the world than any couple in history.
Directly addressing the Asian youth in the audience, she challenged them saying, “When through you—the 12,000 young people gathered here today—that light from the East appears and you all become one in leading the culture of heart based on filial heart and ride on the strong wave from the Pacific Civilization, which True Parents opened, and advance toward the world, you also become the lamp, the light and savior to all people of the world.
“Will you do this work? This path alone gives hope to Asia and this will open the kingdom of heaven on earth, one family under God, a world of freedom, equality, peace, unity and joy centered on God.”
True Mother ended on a positive note encouraging the youth and students, explaining, “The united world that we all wish for is not distant. When you practice true love, living for the sake of others as True Parents teach, in your families and nation, that place becomes the kingdom of heaven on earth.”
The motivation for the Ministry of Education to co-host the event and the purpose for schools to send students to the Youth for Peace Rally was for them to understand the importance of purity prior to marriage. Several elements of the program addressed this issue, including:
- Recreational Games by Pure Love Power Team (20 min.),
- Video Presentation “21 Years of Pure Love Thailand” (7 min.),
- Inspirational Message: “Solving Social Problems, Building Healthy Societies” by Mr. Jakrin Iamsam-ang, Director, Pure Love Thailand (15 min.),
- Video Introduction “Youth and Students for Peace” (YSP) (7 min.),
- Pure Love Pledge led by two Thai students: Mr. Chollakot Chaisitdamrong and Miss. Wern-i Chin.
The highlight of the program was the launching of YSP which was a 2-step affair. First the “Resolution and Launching: Youth and Students for Peace” was signed by three VVIPs: Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, Gen. Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, and Gen. Terdsak Marrome.
Then Mother Moon and the Deputy Prime Minister struck the gong three times marking the official launching of YSP.
Throughout the program professional entertainers and motivational speakers kept the audience spellbound. These included:
- Tong-il Moo Do martial arts performance,
- SYNERGY – Mr. Muraki Masahiro and Mr. Yano Hyoshin, inspirational speakers from Tokyo University,
- Mr. Saharat Manitayakul, inspirational speaker,
- Song for Peace – Nueng,
- Music for Peace by Mr. Tadakuni Sano, Secretary General of YSP Japan,
- Music by Apple Heaven, and
- The Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea.