Asian Leadership Conference (ALC)
“Providing Vision and Leadership for Nation-Building and Peace”
By Dr. Robert Kittel, YSP
Tears flowed. Lives were changed. Thirty-four participants from 10 nations sang, danced, laughed and learned together. At least one marriage on the brink of divorce was saved. Newlyweds received a marriage- and family-based education that will last a lifetime and help them be better spouses, parents and grandparents.
At the end of the 3-day program, everyone joyfully participated in the Interfaith Peace Blessing Festival (IPBF) in an atmosphere that built on yet transcended the various religious traditions that so often divide us. In the audience were Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and a Muslim. The overwhelming feeling was that we became one global family under the love of God, our Heavenly Parent, centered on our True Parents’ teachings.
This Asian Leadership conference (held on April 20 – 23, 2018, in Bangkok) not only had an impact on those who attended the program in Bangkok, but participants were strongly determined to go back to their communities, constituencies and countries to share these life-changing principles with their people.
One government minister from the Indian state of Sikkim was resolute about going home and holding an IPBF in their state’s sports stadium. He attended the ALC with his wife along with his four children who were all married and had brought their spouses. Reflecting at the end of the graduation ceremony he said this education was more valuable than whatever subjects his children studied at the university.
The youngest Member of Parliament from Bhutan said these teachings would be the best gift that she can give to her people. She was even planning how to reach out to the royal family. In the closing session she told participants that before coming to Thailand she had had an argument with her husband and they had not spoken to each other for two weeks. She was seriously thinking about divorce. But listening to presentations that focused on the importance of marriage and family from various perspectives¬—religious, sociological and historical—she finally sent a one word text to her husband, “hello.” He responded “hello” and she said that was enough. She was crying on stage and everybody had tears in their eyes.
A Hindu guru who comes from a centuries-old priestly lineage and hails from the holy city of Vrindavan, India said that as he listened to the universal principles taught during this conference he felt that he was hearing the essence of Hindu cosmology but in the name of Father and Mother Moon. The principle of mind and body, the dual nature of divinity and creation, are all deeply embedded into Hindu thought. Remarriage at the age of 60 years old was a Hindu tradition as was the importance of the number 40 in the 40-day separation. Even the indemnity stick was used in the Hindu tradition at Holi, the festival of colors.
This Indian gentleman who met our movement while he was a guest lecturer at Harvard University 40 years ago, said he had been waiting for four decades to receive Father and Mother Moon’s Marriage Blessing. Since the majority of participants were from India, 20 in total, his testimony had a profound impact on conference participants.
The “Four Family Loves” curriculum, a 12-chapter character education manual based on the four realms of heart, was introduced. Each delegate was given a hard copy teachers’ manual. They were also given the link to download the accompanying powerpoint files and could go back and start teaching this content immediately.
Conference participants included: Members of Parliament, state ministers, political leaders, businessmen, the head of a government secretariat, social workers, the president of the Islamic center, Christian pastors, Buddhist and Hindu leaders and worshippers, provincial board members and youth council members.
As a parting gift, all participants were given a name card with the link to a google drive that contains the photos, videos and the PPT presentations presented during the conference.