Ambassadors For Peace Banquet

Clifton, NJ – The Ambassadors for Peace (AFP) in New Jersey were reunited as they re-launched the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) New Jersey Chapter at a dinner banquet organized on January 31, 2016 at the Clifton Family Church with the theme: “Peace Building and Human Development: Beyond the United Nations”.

More than 100 participants including 9 newly appointed AFPs gathered over sumptuous meal of baked salmon and chicken and some flavor of latino cuisine finished with sweets and desserts. The program was opened by a beautiful interfaith prayer offered by Rev. Reuben Rodriguez representing Christianity, Guru Dileepji representing the World Yoga Community, Dr. Dawud Azad representing Islam, Grandmother Lygia De Castro representing the Native American, and Rev. Gregorio Agulan representing Unificationism.

Dr. Thomas Walsh, President of UPF International was the Keynote Speaker. He briefly introduced the work of UPF centering on its vision and mission. He narrated some key programs that are currently being organized such as the International Leadership Conference in Korea on February 12-16, 2016. And he encouraged the current and new Ambassadors for Peace to actively participate and become agents of a peaceful and harmonious world through local engagements.

The dinner was also graced by the presence of Hon. James Anzaldi, the City Mayor of Clifton NJ and Hon. Joseph Makhandal Champagne an Ambassador For Peace and Former Mayor of South Toms River NJ. On their congratulatory remarks, they both mentioned that despite the diversities and differences in our humanity, there is a powerful Being that we can depend and center our lives on.

Three amazing speakers shared topics on: the “Principles of Peace” presented by Rev Richard De Sena, President UPF USA; “Peace Building Activities in Central Africa” shared by Rev. Ralph Oppeinheimer, Adviser to UPF Central Africa; and “Principles of Peace in Action” presented by Rev. Manoj Jacob, Director UPF New Jersey.

Cultural presentations were showcased as part of entertainment such as an Indian classical dance (Bharatha Natyam) performed by Ms. Asha Kurian and line dance performed by Ms. Elena Bahian and Ms. Christine Rapada of FICA. Then a heart pumping martial arts demonstration was displayed by the practitioners of World Tongil Moo Do Federation USA and the Unified Martial Arts School of New Jersey led by Master Shota Iwasaki and Master Ryan Abenir, respectively.

In the end, each Ambassador for Peace was invited to take part and own the future development of the five areas of UPF work that includes among others: Civic Involvement; Interfaith Peacebuilding; Peace Education; Strengthening Marriage and Family; and Youth and Service. They were also encouraged to contribute by becoming paid members of the state chapter. Furthermore, a monthly Peace Forum will be organized to provide more opportunities for AFPs to interact and act upon the goal of establishing a local Peace Council.

UPF New Jersey would like to recognize and thank all those who supported and volunteered to organize the banquet especially to the members of FFWPU New Jersey, Rev. Merlyn Velasco-Loja who gave the vote of thanks and Mr. Emiljun Rapada of UPF USA who served as the emcee of the event.


Reported by: Tony Vozza, UPF NJ Executive Director & Emiljun Rapada,UPF USA

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