The Words of the Yong Family
Dr. Yong's address at the Leadership and Good Governance Award Ceremony in Honor of Dr. Pawan Chamling, Hon. Chief Minister of Sikkim Gangtok, Sikkim, India
This is my very first visit to this magnificent city of Gangtok. I believe God has surely blessed your state with great natural beauty but more important is the beauty that lies in the heart of the Sikkimese people.
Through our representative in Sikkim, we came to know of your Honor’s selfless and unchanging efforts over many decades exemplifying UPF’s motto of ‘Living for the Sake of Others.' Thus it was easy for us to select you for this prestigious award. Your accomplishments for the sake of the Sikkimese people, especially the upliftment of the poor, downtrodden, and marginalized, are truly remarkable. I am confident that you will achieve your aspiration for the people of Sikkim to be poverty-free and 100 percent literate, two very important goals out of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals.
Similarly, UPF strives to collaborate with governments, civil society, and the private sector to accomplish these Millennium Development Goals and fully agrees with your vision of making education a top priority. However, we need to see education not only as the teaching of certain skills and knowledge but also grasp its broader significance in helping our young people to become individuals of good character, build stable and loving families, grow to be good citizens and make a peaceful world.
The UPF Character Education Program is based on universal principles and family values. The family is the school of love, and it is in the family that a child forms his sense of values, learns love, respect, care and compassion. It is with great distress that Father Moon sees the breakdown of the family as the cause of the multiple problems in today’s society. He emphasizes that we must protect the sanctity of marriage and must teach our young people the importance of keeping the love relationship of a man and a woman within the bonds of marriage. For this purpose, Father Moon has been conducting large international cross-cultural marriage ceremonies throughout the world as one of his landmark projects.
When HIV/AIDS began to spread in India at an alarming rate and threatened to make this country Number One in the number of people living with this deadly disease, UPF-India started a national campaign stressing that abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage must be the backbone of any effective HIV/AIDS prevention program. With the support and encouragement from UNESCO New Delhi, UPF educators went from school to school and college to college warning this country’s youth not to follow the Western model of free sex but look into their own traditional family values for answers to this scourge. With deep satisfaction, we note that religious leaders and decision-makers listened to UPF’s call.
We welcome and wholeheartedly support the Indian government’s decision to replace the failed sex education program with abstinence and life-skills education in schools and colleges. The UPF Character Education Curriculum has an important role to play in this respect.
Over the past several years, the UPF-Sikkim Chapter under the capable leadership of Mr. G.M. Gurung, then Minister of Education, has made tremendous efforts to implement its Character Education Curriculum in the state of Sikkim. Right after the first International Leadership Conference, held in this prestigious hall one year ago, UPF-Sikkim started conducting teacher training programs in the different districts of the state on request by the honorable Minister.
The UPF Character Education Curriculum is now being implemented in many nations. Educators throughout the world have come to appreciate the significance of the UPF Principles of Peace taught by Father Moon as the foundation for lasting peace.
We must understand that lasting peace is not based on political, military, or economic power. Lasting peace is based on the internal conditions rooted in the heart, the human spirit, and the mind.
There are so many diverse people in our world from different national, racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds; people with different personalities, characters, levels of intelligence, talent, awareness, and experience. One wonders at times, with such infinite diversity, how can peace be possible? What does it take to unify and harmonize this diverse world?
If we are to achieve a world of lasting peace, we must go beyond the pursuit of power. The only way to achieve true and lasting peace is through the practice of true love. There is no shortcut to peace. The only gateway is true love, unselfish love. Peace will only be achieved as human beings overcome selfishness, and cease practicing self-centered, individualistic lifestyles. We must understand and practice the core principles of cosmic law. According to these principles we must align our hearts, minds and culture. Not through weapons or force, but through education, and by our example of practicing true love and living for the sake of others.
Honorable Chief Minister, let me conclude by congratulating you for being such a shining example and model of a responsible leader who truly cares for his people with the heart of a parent. Father Moon has always taught us that a good leader is someone who lives for the sake of others and who invests everything he has for his people, just like a parent who is ready to give and give again without expecting any reward.
On behalf of Father and Mother Moon, I am proud to present you with the prestigious Leadership and Good Governance Award as a leader who strives to practice these values not only in your private but also in your public life.