ALC Gathers Leaders on Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. – The Universal Peace Federation and The Washington Times Foundation co-sponsored an American Leadership conference, entitled Discovering a New Paradigm to Address our Critical Challenges, on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at the Washington Times. The 80 registered participants blossomed to over a 100 as interest for this program on reviving America spread.
The program consisted of five sessions of readings, comments and deep discussions around tables on such topics as Character, Leadership, and Good Governance, Marriage and Family as our Essential Resource, Building Community and Civil Society beyond the Boundaries of Race and Religion, and America as God’s Hope – Is this even possible today?
Mr. Tom McDevitt, Chairman of the Washington Times and Board of Directors, and Chairman of UPF-USA, Dr. Michael Jenkins, President, the Washington Times Foundation, and Mrs. Tomiko Duggan, Executive Director of Public Affairs of UPF-USA DC region, welcomed the guests. Richard de Sena, Secretary General of UPF-USA, served as MC.
Respondents included: Ms. Cheryl Wetzstein, Manager of Special Sections, The Washington Times; Mr. Alan Saunders, President and CEO, Saunders Consultancy, Rev. Ernest Patton, regional Pastor for the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, Dr. Doris McGuffey, Founder and CEO of the Center for Dimensional Transformation, Rev. Ralph Chittams, President of the DC Chapter of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, and others gave comments on the readings to stimulate deep conversations. Each table had a reporter to share the insights reached by each group.
Ms. Wetzstein reported on teen birth rates and the number of out-of-wedlock births in the last 40 years. The rise of abortion affected the decline of out-of-wedlock births, while more teens are using contraception to avoid pregnancy which allows them to experience a “success sequence” which includes graduation, marriage and then having children. This helps to lower the poverty rate, with 75% becoming part of the middle class. Abstinence education funded by the government since 1997, decreased the prevalence of young sexual activity. But the sad reality is that fewer people are marrying, many are prolonging marriage, staying married, and fewer are having children. She concluded with, “sixty percent of children are born to married couples.”
Mr. Saunders spoke about cultivating the heart and good character. Within a healthy family, good character can be developed by children who also need support from the community with good role models. Service to others is key in this development. He mentioned that people who had suffered serious trauma improved better by giving of themselves. He said that what motivates good character is the practice of perseverance, honesty, compassion and integrity. He concluded with a quote by Helen Keller, “Character cannot be developed in…quiet.”
Rev. Ernest Patton said that the family affects both the culture and the nation. Within the family, one experiences four kinds of love: parental, sibling, husband and wife, and children’s. The experience of these types of love is the foundation of true human happiness. “It is the training ground and school of love that prepares people for life in a peaceful, prosperous, and loving society, nation and world.” He quoted from the reading entitled, The Family and World Peace, by Rev. Moon who with his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, taught about the sacredness of marriage. Rev. Patton urged people to do their “homework” before they marry to make better marriages and that everyone needs a safe place to love and the home is the best place.
Dr. McGuffey said as she looked around the room she felt that this new paradigm had already taken place! She said that this kind of family can be duplicated all over the world, better than McDonalds or Wendy’s! She said that God created interconnectedness in human beings, thus Living for the Sake of Others should be natural. She added that God made humankind needing an object to love, to give and receive love. She concluded that all of us are born for one purpose alone, “so that God can be made manifest through each one of us.”
Rev. Chittams asked if Americans can be relied upon to make America God’s Hope? He said that the greatest singular, secular statement is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” He said that God never intended Hell for any human being. He added that America is a spiritual entity that needs another Great Awakening. He added that “Jesus never asked the government to feed and clothe the poor, it is up to us…. Go Do Something!” He concluded by saying the Declaration of Independence is a perfect document written and influenced by imperfect men. Imperfect Abraham Lincoln reluctantly interrupted the nation in order to stop the inhuman practice of slavery.
As the conclusion of the program, eight new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed. They included Mrs. Jamie Aziz, Esq: Producer and host of the documentary “We the People,” Mr. Tanveer Wani: Kashmiri American Youth Leader, Ms. Kanwal Abidi: Correspondent at Metro 1 News Washington, DC, Dr. Hyunsook Choi, Maryland Governor APA Commissioner, Mr. Asim Siddiqui: News Correspondent “AAJ News” Washington, DC, Ms. Zulfia Qahar: NOVA student, Activist for Peace, Rev. Ralph J. Chittams Sr.: President, Washington DC Chapter, Frederick Douglass Foundation and Mrs. Mahera Ahmadzai : Provincial Manager / Paktia who all promised to work for peace.
Future plans for other ALC conferences in the region begun, to be held within 30 days by Mr. McDevitt, Dr. Michael Jenkins, Mrs. Duggan with the participants at the gathering.
Contributed by: Tomiko Duggan, Executive Director, UPF Washington D.C.