Europe and Middle East: YSP Leaders’ Meeting & Peace Designer Education
By by Antto Hassinen, YSP Europe and Middle East
We had the first leaders’ meeting of YSP EUME with five out of six sub-regional directors gathering in Vienna, Austria, under the leadership of our regional YSP leader, Jeong-hye Yeom, on January 27th to 29th 2019 at FFWPU headqurters, Vienna, Austria. The President of YSP International, Dr. Robert Kittel, had sent YSP International Senior Vice-President Koji Matsuda and director of YSP USA, Naokimi Ushiroda, to educate, inspire and guide the leaders of YSP EUME. We are so grateful that they could come to us at this time! The YSP leaders meeting was combined with a one-day Peace Designer education workshop lead by Mr. Ushiroda on January 28th that was also attended by other youth leaders in the EUME region.
We started off our meeting on the 27th with dinner in a restaurant together with our FFWPU regional chairman Dr. and Mrs. Balcomb, Mr Koji, Mr Ushiroda, Mrs. Yeom, the five sub-regional directors as well as the Austrian national leader, Mrs. Elisabeth Cook who hosted and supported the meeting in the Vienna FFWPU headquarters. During the dinner meeting Dr. Balcomb asked each of the five sub-regional directors as well as Mrs. Yeom to shortly report on their mission and future plans.
Next morning after morning HDH, Dr. Balcomb gave us directions and advice based on the reports he had heard the night before. He encouraged us all to work harder and especially to improve our communication with each other, our sub-regional heads as well as with True Mother. Although he only had a short time, his guidance was meaningful and to the point and we really appreciated that he made the extra visit to Vienna just to meet us and empower us in our YSP work.
After breakfast we started the Peace Designer education workshop that was joined by 17 other youth leaders from surrounding countries, making a total of 23 participants from 11 countries. The workshop started off with a one-hour introduction to YSP given by Mr. Matsuda.
This was meant mainly for the 17 youth Mr. Ushiroda trained us to hold Peace Designer seminars in the future by holding an actual Peace Designer seminar with us while adding comments and instructions in between the sessions.
It was refreshing to hear the peace and character education session that was held in the beginning; the contents were basically the three great Blessing and the four realms of heart but presented in a very clear, non- theological manner that would be appealing to non-Unificationist participants. After lunch we focused on developing our own peace projects.
Leaders who were not all fully aware of what YSP’s role and mission is. Mr. Matsuda gave a very clear explanation that lead us smoothly into the main event of the meeting: Peace Designer education.
By the end of the day, each group had presented their own idea for a peace project and we concluded the Peace Designer education by handing out certificates of completion to all the participants. We also had a session where the youth leaders gathered by sub-region to share their national situations and discuss possibilities for future cooperation within the sub-region.
After the other youth leaders returned to their home countries, the YSP leaders stayed for one more day of setting goals and making plans about YSP in our sub-regions and the whole EUME region under the guidance of Mr. Matsuda and Mr. Ushiroda.
We made new, stronger goals for our sub- regions and the whole EUME region for the end of 2019 and reported them to the YSP International President, Dr. Kittel, over an internet call on the 29th. Dr. Kittel listened to our reports and goals and shared his heart and recent experiences with us. His words were deeply touching and encouraging to all of us and they are sure to guide us in the year ahead.
At the very end of the meeting, Mr. Matsuda still shortly introduced the S!NERGY program from Japan to us before we all headed back to our home regions.
Over the two days, we had a very warm and supportive atmosphere among the YSP directors. We have been in regular contact ever since the inauguration of YSP in EUME last April and have gotten to know each other quite well but this was the first time that most of us gathered together. We could be
energized by each other’s company and support and gain new inspiration through sharing practices and ideas with each other over meal and break times. We really look forward to meeting each other again after everyone has had the opportunity to put our plans into action and bringing great results in our sub-regions.
We are deeply grateful to our True Mother for her constant love and encouragement to the young people of EUME. Starting YSP was such a wonderful expression of True Mother’s trust and love for the young people that we want to bring her joy by making YSP reach its full potential and really transform the young people in the world so that they can lead lives of pure Hyo-jeong!