UPF VA Celebrates Family World Peace Festival

Parade of nations led by the youths

Fairfax, VA – The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – Virginia hosted a Celebration of the Family World Peace Festival. It was a wonderful event held at the Learning Center of the NOVA Family Church on Saturday, March 16th from 10 AM to 2 2PM.

The program started with an invocation by Pastor Werner Seubert. Tetsuya Nomura led several young people carrying flags from around the world on the Parade of Nations. It was a beautiful reflection of the Universal Peace Federation’s 120 national chapters and global network.

Barbara Moseley-Marks, executive director, UPF-VA extended a warm welcome and explained the inspiration and purpose behind the organization. Quoting the co-founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, “If there is peace in the family there will be peace in the world,” Ms. Moseley-Marks challenged the participants to “think globally, act locally,” and urged everyone to advocate for our children and the health of the family.

Several inspiring speakers followed beginning with Maria L. Vargas, regional executive director, UPF – USA Northeast, who gave an outstanding overview and vision of the family festival national tour. Ms. Vargas, originally from Puerto Rico, described the family as the school of love and emotionally decried the impact of pornography on the community. “It is poisoning our families, and it is up to us to take a stand!” she ended.

Indira Kumar, President, Global Economic Foundation, shared her insights on Family Happiness. “While today’s family is confronted by many uninvited influences, the key to being happy and well-being is directly shaped by the quantity and quality of family interactions. It all comes down to the family,” she said.

An interpretative Nepalese dance was performed by Man Kumari Thapa about a young girl’s yearning for love. The story is from that country’s ancient culture. It was a lovely performance and brought tears of happiness to everyone.

Enjoying lunch together after the first part of the program

After a delicious lunch prepared by Michiko Yokoyama and animated conversations among the participants, Dr. Zulfiqar Kazmi, chairman, The Common Grounds, USA spoke about the work and activities of UPF in Pakistan. Dr. Kazmi and his wife, Tanvir Kazmi, have been active for many years in their home country. He testified to their outreach work with Imran Khan, who is the current prime minister, but who they had first met in 2000. Dr. Kazmi also showed pictures meeting Rev. and Mrs. Moon and receiving a commission to lead UPF activities.

The final keynote speaker was Bandita Sharma Dahal, Esq., a family immigration attorney in northern Virginia. Ms. Sharma Dahal outlined many of the challenges facing immigrants. She made the distinction between being illegal and undocumented and said, “Our Lord taught us that we should stay connected as a family and community and that we should show kindness especially to the vulnerable.”

To close the Family World Peace Festival, Dr. William Selig of UPF International gave a brief backgrounder on the history of the Blessing Marriage Movement initiated by Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon almost 60 years ago. He spoke about the importance and role of the family to affirm and support one another and be a place of safety and refuge from the challenges of the secular world. Finaly he called on everyone to join in a Blessing Toast to True Families. With cheers of agreement and determination, and following the model couple on the stage, we clinked glasses, drank the Holy Juice, and received the sanctification prayer by Dr. Kazmi.

Guests and organizers of the World Peace Family Festival in Virginia

Guests and friends, some of whom came from as far away as North Carolina and Norfolk lingered for photos, conversations and networking. Ms. Moseley-Marks said plans are underway for the next UPF event to be held in the area. “Family is a gift from our Heavenly Parent and we must do everything possible to protect it,” she concluded.

Contributed by: Barbara Moseley-Marks, Executive Director UPF-VA