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Peace Education

Malaysian Parliamentarians Attend Peacebuilding Conference in Hawaii

Kona, Hawaii - Fifteen Malaysian parliamentarians attended an International Leadership Conference hosted by UPF-North America and UPF-International in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2, 2014.

The parliamentarians were invited to Hawaii by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon to learn more about the vision and activities of the late Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, founder of UPF, and eight of them were accompanied by their spouse. They were accompanied by Mr. Yutaka Yamada, leader of UPF-Malaysia; Dr. Chong Young Yoo, senior adviser of the Parliamentarians’ Federation for World Peace-Malaysia; his wife, Mrs. Kang Chong Cha; and KuiChin Tan, special assistant to Dr. Yoo.

Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, chairman of UPF-North America, with his wife, Tamme, hosted the welcome dinner at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Speakers included the Hon. Dan Burton, a former U.S. congressman, and Mrs. Tomiko Duggan, director of public affairs of UPF International in Washington DC. Congressman Burton expressed his condolences for the downing in July of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine. In response, the Hon. Dr. Marcus Makin Mojigoh, representing the Malaysian group, expressed his gratitude to the congressman for his thoughtful remarks as well as to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for her generous invitation.

At the Opening Session the next day, Mrs. Duggan introduced UPF and gave a PowerPoint presentation about its core values, mission and activities in more than 80 locations around the world. Then Dr. Michael Jenkins, chairman of Operations Holdings Inc., talked about the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI), which brought thousands of religious leaders from the United States to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. He shared deeply about the life and activities of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon in the United States. Mr. Ricardo de Sena, secretary general of UPF-North America, presented three lectures: “The Principles of Creation,” “The Root Cause of Conflict” and “The Principles of Restoration and Reconciliation.” His lively presentations were well received and provided an insightful understanding about the principles for building world peace.

Most of the participants were Muslims and agreed that the principles that bring peace, freedom and love are universal, offering comments such as “We all are the children of the Creator, and people have a right to enjoy their lives, live in freedom and have happy lives. Selfishness, hate and greed are the cause of the conflict and ultimately of war."

Mr. Farley Jones, director of the Pacific Rim Education Foundation, and his wife, Betsy, spoke at Session III on “The Significance of Marriage, Family and the Blessing.” They are early followers of Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s movement in the United States. In their remarks they emphasized the profound prayerful life and devotion of Rev. and Mrs. Moon to the United States and their heartfelt desire to bring this nation back to its religious roots.

On the afternoon of the second day, the participants went to the Hawaii Queen Coffee Garden. Dr. Kim talked about various educational projects of Rev. and Mrs. Moon in Hawaii and their vision of God’s providence centered on the Pacific Rim. He referred to their many prayerful hours “in quiet communion with our Heavenly Parent.” Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the island, is the highest point on the earth when measured from the bottom of the seabed to the top of the summit, and Rev. Moon sometimes referred to it as the “closest point to Heaven.”

The lecture room with its panoramic windows overlooking a pool and a tropical garden was an ideal location for the group. The participants enjoyed drinking the delicious Hawaii Queen coffee, which took first place in the 2013 Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, Crown division. Afterward, they visited the 168-acre farm in the heart of the Kona coffee belt.

Dr. Thomas Walsh, president of UPF International, arrived on the evening of Sept. 28. Due to his many commitments in New York, he was unable to join from the beginning of the program. Three of the participants had met him before, but for the others, it was their first occasion to meet the UPF president. He spoke about UPF’s World Summit and its peace initiatives, including programs such as the UN International Day of Peace celebrations held each year in Malaysia. The Malaysians were especially interested in the presentation on “Renewal of the UN and UPF Initiatives and Support for the Work of the UN.” Dr. Walsh, spending nearly one hour on questions and answers, impressed the parliamentarians with his knowledge of current affairs and vast experience. They expressed a unanimous desire for continued cooperation with UPF.

Dr. Yoo spoke about a vision for Malaysia’s contribution to the Pacific Rim culture. He pointed out the similarity of Korea and Malaysia as models for a “peninsula culture,” and referred to a calligraphy Rev. Moon had created for him on the theme of “Malaysia rising from the bottom to the top for the fulfillment of peace.”

Beside the lectures, highlights of the conference included a sightseeing tour around Hawaii’s Big Island, including a visit to Punalu'u (Black Sand) Beach, which is near an active volcano in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the city of Hilo and the Punalu'u Bake Shop. The tour guide said that Rev. and Mrs. Moon also visited these sites. A third-generation Japanese-American born in Hawaii, he was very knowledgeable about the history of Hawaii and the story of Captain James Cook, the early British explorer who died in Hawaii. He said he has been proud to serve as a guide to Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s guests in Kona.

The group was fortunate to see three Hawaiian green sea turtles on Punalu’u Beach and to enjoy the area’s exotic flowers and tropical foliage. It was windy and rainy at the volcano, but fortunately the sky brightened and the sun came out by the time lunch at a nearby hotel restaurant was finished. The group was able to see the volcanic cone with smoke coming out of the crater. It was too dangerous to go near the area where molten lava was flowing.

The guests celebrated their final day in Kona visiting the Hawaii King Garden and the Queen Garden, where Rev. and Mrs. Moon have stayed when they visit Kona. Everyone was captivated by the natural beauty of the gardens and trees such as banana and avocado. The setting sun over the ocean’s horizon was especially breathtaking.

That evening, a “Pure Love and Peace Ceremony” was an opportunity for couples to renew their marriage commitment and reaffirm their love for their spouse. Those who had come with their spouse stood together. Everyone wore a white scarf with the words “True Family” and “Peace Ambassador.” Each participant concluded the ceremony with three cheers. Then all the parliamentarians were honored with appointments as Ambassadors for Peace. During dinner the participants were inspired by the beauty of the surrounding nature and the hospitality of the staff conveying the loving spirit of Rev. and Mrs. Moon.

The group flew to Honolulu on the island of Oahu, arriving in the early morning of Oct. 1. From the airport they went directly to Pearl Harbor, headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The spirit of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his speech “Pearl Harbor—May We Never Forget” was very much felt as the group visited the memorial and paid silent respect to those whose lives were lost on the day of the Japanese air attack, Dec. 7, 1941. After about an hour the participants moved on to Pali Lookout with its panoramic views of Windward Oahu and the Ko’olau mountain range. After checking into their hotel, the participants enjoyed free time walking along the white sands of Waikīkī Beach and marveling at the beautiful view of Diamond Head, the volcanic cone across the bay, or exploring Kalakaua Avenue, with its high-end hotels, designer shops and cafes—all full of tourists.

The farewell dinner was at a Thai restaurant. Many of the dishes were similar to Malay cuisine; for example, the Massaman curry was thoroughly enjoyed by the Malaysians. One participant said: “This is so delicious. I almost feel like I’m back in Kuala Lumpur.”

Dr. Walsh accompanied the delegation to Honolulu and warmly invited suggestions for future cooperation. Mr. de Sena accompanied the group to the airport.

The parliamentarians repeatedly expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for her generosity and special love toward Malaysia.

Appreciation was also expressed to those who made this program such a success. Special thanks to UPF International staff Mrs. Genie Kagawa and Dr. Frank LaGrotteria, who corresponded with the Malaysian coordinators, to David Jung, the tour coordinator in Hawaii, and to Mr. Alberto Faccon, who designed the conference program booklet.

Aloha! In Hawaii, the word Aloha is the common word for greeting and farewell. In the Hawaiian language, it means affection, peace, compassion and mercy.

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