UPF Introduces Principles of Peace to Ambassadors for Peace
New York, NY – The Universal Peace Federation hosted the 1st Introductory Leadership Seminar on March 19, 2016 at the FFWPU Learning Center, 4 West 43rd St. New York, NY. The seminar was geared on empowering Ambassadors for Peace to be effective peace-loving leaders in America.
Twenty-six (26) participants spent four hours together studying and sharing on three significant topics: 1) Vision for Peace: Universal Principles of Creation; 2) The Root Cause of Conflict; and 3) The Principles of Reconciliation. Bishop Irene Wilder of the Faith Restoration Center from Brooklyn NY gave a moving invocation followed by a video presentation on UPF’s core values and areas of work.
For the first time, UPF USA introduces a new approach to sharing the Principles. Instead of just the presenter giving the talk, participants were asked to discourse and reflect on a question given to each group. Three groups were organized and each were given different questions to discuss. Each participant can share their personal reflections and experiences which added more value and more real-life perspective on the topics presented.
Here are sample questions given during group discussions provided by the members of UPF USA Peace Education Committee:
“Do you agree that humankind, not God, is responsible for the problems we see in today’s world? Do you think that humankind has the ability to overcome the problems? What would it take?”
“Does it really matter what a leader does in his or her personal life, as long as the leader is working to help others?”
“How can Ambassadors for Peace bridge the gaps between people of differing racial, religious or ethnic backgrounds? How can they help bring enemies together?”
Most of the participants were deeply engaged on the conversations that they even pass their break time. Every discussion brought powerful reflections and display of human emotions. Ambassador for Peace Rae Beth Maye quipped “This is the most interesting and invigorating seminar that I have attended after so many years. I feel very inspired and hopeful”. Ambassador for Peace Margarita Cabral encouraged everyone to act on what have been learned from the seminar by forming small groups and sharing it to our communities and neighborhoods. Further she said, “We have to go out to the community and we have to teach, we have to educate, we have to promote, and we have to facilitate not just for ourselves but for others. Most importantly, we have to evaluate and get feedbacks”. Finally, Rev. John Arias who facilitated one group gave a brief summary report on their group’s discussion which generally reflected everyone.
But the most inspiring reflection was that of Ms. Eve Harrison, a singer. She confessed “Thank you for inviting me and sharing the Principles of Peace, this is the answer to my prayers. I am definitely interested to become part of UPF”. Rev. Desmond Green, the UPF Executive Director of Caribbean Affairs led the group in singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” to conclude the seminar and each participant received a certificate of attendance.
Everyone was so excited to come together again next April to discuss how to contribute to the different areas of work of UPF USA such as Interfaith Peacebuilding, Marriage and Families, Peace Council and Youth and Service.
Reported by: Emiljun Rapada, UPF USA