Unification News for October 2000

Toward World Peace and Unification: Students’ Symposium held at Chung Pyung

by Edwin Pierson—Seoul, Korea

This is a brief report on the "International Students Symposium for World Peace and Unification" held in the Chung-pyeong International Workshop Center, Korea (August 10th---15th):

For the last couple of months, our True Parents have been pouring out an incredible amount of investment of resources and heart all for the sake of the unification of Korea. And what does it all represent, what does it mean? To quote the speech on North/South Unification(February 10th, 2000):

"The unification of our country involves more than the mere unification of national territory. It begins with the unification of the human mind and body that were divided against one another as a result of the fall, and it is the model for the unification of the world that has been divided in two. Thus, this issue must be understood from the perspective of God's salvation providence. It must be resolved on a providential level."

The main providential nations involved in various ways with Korea (particularly in its division) are: Japan, China, Russia, and America. Therefore, through I.E.F. and the World University Federation, as well as IIFWP and FFWPU, True Parents have been inspiring/spurring several conferences/cultural exchanges bringing these five nations (incl. only S.Korean students so far) together for dialogue and discussion around the topics of "Lasting Love" and "World Peace and Unification".

This conference in Chung-pyeong was the largest so far--approx. 2,500 students total from all five nations. Around 80 veterans from the 16 nations that had come to the aid of Korea under the U.N. were also in attendance. It was somehow, as well, the most significant, though such understanding and explanation must come from others, not me.

My personal experience as a member of the staff from Washington, D.C. will be very different from a student or anyone else, but overall I was impressed by the organization of this breathtaking endeavor. From D.C./North Carolina, we brought approx. 40 guests and the total American delegation was somewhere close to 400. As a staff guy, well, let me just say that is was a bit of a challenging and sobering experience.

The days of the conference itself were August 12th and 13th in the main hall at Chung-pyeong International Workshop Center. A brief opening ceremony was held in Seoul at the Little Angels Performing Arts Center on August 11th followed by a boxed dinner and a performance of "Swan Lake" by the Universal Ballet Company. (Compared to Chung-pyeong, the Little Angels Center is now rather small, unfortunately, for such a large gathering)

The speakers were all very excellent and discussions followed each session/topic. For expediency, the small group discussions were among the individual nations and then a few select representatives were chosen to give a brief report to the main body of the conference. Most of the time these were quite good. I personally will not forget hearing the comment from a female Chinese professor who said: "I am a Communist, but I also believe in God".

Hyun Jin Nim spoke on the first day at Chung-pyeong and was warmly received. True Father spoke on August 13th and was also warmly received though I do not have the speech contents. True Mother's presence however, definitely was seen and felt by this young audience of students who had mostly never heard or seen True Parents before. She sat on the stage listening and watching attentively, nobleness and true love radiating.

The day ended with a beautiful Brotherhood/Sisterhood Ceremony on the stage constructed outside in the "Tree of Love Plaza". The weather "cooperated" nicely. Not a cloud in the sky, and the "plaza" was in the shade just as the program began. Everyone seated in the "plaza" also was asked to sit in rows according to country in order to facilitate a sharing of signatures, addresses, and fellowship that crossed the boundaries of these important nations. I personally sat next to a Russian/Korean who bore a remarkable resemblance to the dear departed "Great Leader", Kim Il Sung. Finally we were all treated to a rousing variety of entertainment that included a live performance by "The Little Angels"; a tear filled video of their visit to N.Korea and the trip South by the "Angels of the North"; musical offerings from each of the five nations that ran the spectrum from traditional folk music to hard, acid, rock and roll. The final offering was from a professional Korean pop/jazz artist who definitely has Janis Joplin in her "genes".

Fireworks topped it all off...ash coming down on us all...though quite lovely and most unexpected by most of the crowd (not me).

At one point True Parents were seen observing some of the program from a window in the main building. Earlier they had held a special VIP banquet with some of the Veterans from 16 nations and others who were also in attendance for this most historic conference.

The following morning, all the participants were bussed to ImJin-Gak, next to the 38th parallel and the site of the "Peace Bridge" which was built in 1953 in order that over 12,000 POW's could be released to the South following the end of hostilities.

A Rally for the "Declaration of World Peace in the New Millennium" was held from 10 AM to around Noon, participants seated in a plaza there(again in sweltering heat). After a salute to the national flags of main nations represented, Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak gave the chairman's address. Hon. Min Ha Kim of the Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification gave congratulatory remarks. A representative of the Korean War Veterans read a message to the United Nations. A Korean student read a Declaration of Resolution and as a finale hundreds of balloons inscribed with the rally name and motto(as well as personal names) were released in a simple yet beautiful symbolic gesture of hope toward north/south unification and reconciliation.

The Declaration of World Peace in the New Millennium was handed out in a brief "march" in Seoul later that day. It reads in part:

"We are now standing at a great historical turning point. This is the time to bring about a new era of peace from the ashes of conflict and struggle.

"Today we each solemnly swear to become a pillar of peace in the forefront of the Purity Movement, the True Family Movement, the Unification Movement of the South and the North, and the Global Community Movement to realize world peace. We raise high the banner of revolution for the sake of a peace that transcends freedom and liberty with True Love. World leaders, scholars and youth! We are eagerly awaiting your participation in this new Revolution of Love for the sake of everlasting world peace in the new millennium!" (August 14th, 2000)

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