The Words of the Yong Family
Medan, Indonesia -- Twelve young members of UPF's Asian Leadership Training are spending May and June in Medan on the Indonesian island of Sumatra joining Indonesian youth in meeting people from Sumatra's diverse religious communities and experiential learning.
As the Founder of UPF emphasized that without unity among the religions there won't be unity among the nations, the goal of the Asian Leadership Training program is to learn to love and live together in harmony with members from all faith traditions. The multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural environment of Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, provides many opportunities to meet and interact with young Indonesians from different backgrounds.
The seminar on "The Need to Educate for Character and Pure Love" at Harapan University on May 8 allowed them to mingle with students mainly from Muslim background, while the majority of the 400 student participants of the international seminar on "Leaders of Good Character" held at Sisangamangaraja University XII on May 31 were Christians.
June 5 was a day for the ALT members to discover Buddhism, the beauty of its culture and the warmth of the hearts of Lord Buddha's followers. Mr. Sutopo, the head of the Buddhist Association in Medan and member of the FKUB Medan, the government-sponsored interfaith forum, arranged for the team to visit the Buddhist Academy, Bodhicitta, a Buddhist school with 2,000 students from kindergarten to high school, and several Buddhist temples in Medan.
ALT conducted an exciting cultural exchange program for the high school students of the Academy, which included songs, games, dance, and a lecture on pure love. It was not only the first time for the school students to meet and talk with youths from six different countries but also for the Indonesian university students who are training under ALT, to visit a Buddhist school and interact with young people from other religions.
At Borobudur Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Medan, members of the Buddhayana Foundation and their youth representatives warmly welcomed the UPF team, hosting them for lunch and arranging a lively interaction between their members and ALT inside the temple. During the tour around the temple, the team members were eager to confirm their fortune in front of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy Kuan Yin.
After a brief visit to the traditional Chinese temple representing Taoism, they went to the temple built by Tamils who came to Medan from India several generations ago and converted to Buddhism. Their leaders welcomed the visitors with Indian warmth and hospitality and would not let them go until they had tasted a traditional Indonesian snack popular with the Tamil community.
There was a beautiful synergy and harmony among the Buddhist members and the team throughout the day. The wholehearted preparations made by each Buddhist institution and their leaders throughout the day deeply touched everyone's heart and made them feel like 'One Family Under God'. With more and more interaction and cooperation among the members of the different communities, the conviction grew that world peace can become a reality in our lifetime.
On the initiative of the UPF-Asia Chairman Dr. Chung Sik Yong, this Asian Leadership Training program began in 2008 under the leadership of Mr. Yutaka Yamada to train young people to become global leaders who can usher in a peaceful world. It is a six- to 12-month volunteer program providing youths with the opportunity to live and work together with young people from other nations, religions, and cultures. Currently, the members come from China, Japan, Philippines, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia. The educational content of this program is based on the UPF Principles of Peace, pure love, and building a culture of heart and service. Through this program, young people experience the joy that comes from living for the sake of others.