Unification News for June 2003

Mongolia CARP: Campus Culture Gaining New Ownership

by Jesper B. Henriksen

It began at a branch university in Mongolia’s third largest city, and is now catching on at four major universities in the capital Ulaanbaatar. Local students are taking charge of the CARP foundation on campus and are displaying a real sense of ownership over the culture in their universities and their nation.

At the branch of Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Erdenet city a project called "CARP Club" has steadily grown strong during the last few months. The CARP club is located in an office building adjacent to the campus. It is managed by a long-time CARP core member who has built its foundation with a firm vision for how this city and its youth can develop a model of cultural and moral development. The Erdenet Women’s Federation for World Peace has also played a role in establishing the club, as part of its "City of Morality" initiative. The CARP Club now counts 80 students as active members. Among them are the leader of the student union, the two top students, the vice-rector’s two sons and several other trend-setting students.

The club has the trust and support of the university’s rector and vice-rector. This relationship has allowed for the club manager to be employed as a teacher at the university, teaching a newly developed class on morality and ethics.

The activities of the CARP Club are already beginning to have recognizable impact on the campus culture and the university’s atmosphere. At a seminar in early March, club members and some of their parents heard lectures on "Student Culture" and "Lineage and Future". Although these club members are new to the unification movement, they responded with determination to expand their activity from the campus and into the city, where they plan to lecture to high school children about morality and study ethics and engage them in various character-building activities. Some among their parents, who had come with a skeptical attitude, gave their full approval and promised to give their active support and to send their other children to the club’s activities as well.

In Ulaanbaatar city, the atmosphere on campus has until recently been hesitant and even negative towards CARP. A strategy to develop CARP by attracting students off campus to become CARP members has not shown much result. Then in mid-February things began to change. At the Mongolian Agricultural University (MAU, Mongolia’s third largest), one class of fourth course students, who had been among the most skeptical, had a change of heart and decided to invite our W-CARP Mongolia international advisor to lecture to them on student culture. Three CARP members are students in this class and have for three years endured various misunderstandings and even ridicule for their involvement with CARP and their moral life-style. It was perhaps their perseverance, which made way for a new atmosphere.

A half-day seminar was organized and the class heard lectures on Culture of Heart, developed along W-CARP president Hyun Jin Moon’s outline for this content, and on lineage, culture and inheritance. After they had heard the model of a healthy culture of heart and an analysis of current development of the structure of Mongolian society vs. the development of its culture, an earnest plea was made to them to consider what kind of culture they would let their children inherit. Would their children even know the best qualities of their ancestral culture? The students responded strongly with a heart of patriotism and an awaked sense of ownership over their own culture. It was as if this class, which has had a reputation for its unhealthy culture, realized that now was time to take responsibility as the older brothers and sisters on campus and set a good example for their younger peers by building a healthy campus culture. They listened to the World CARP mission statement and adopted it unanimously with determination to establish a CARP club centered on their own class. Right away a clear sense of unity grew between the class and the W-CARP core members. They have by now gained their rector’s full approval, received the use of a room on campus as a CARP club office, won the co-operation of the student union in their faculty and educated all their faculty’s class leaders about their vision. They intent to develop strong CARP activity at their faculty before they graduate in June and to pass that on to younger students, whom they will support to make this a campus-wide club from next semester.

At Mongolian National University (MNU), which is considered the top school in the nation, A CARP club project was launched off campus last spring, however the student union leadership last year blocked CARP from becoming an official student club.

One CARP Club member, who previously sat on the union board, made this winter a new connection with them. On March 22nd, the CARP club co-hosted a one-day seminar with the student union for their own leadership. Eleven of twelve board members attended along with several dormitory leaders.

The seminar content was similar to the one given at MAU. The response was also very good and prompted sincere discussion about how to build a healthy campus culture.

The MNU student union and MNU CARP Club will now work together to organize Service for Peace and other culture-enhancing activities. As an immediate development, CARP Club has been invited to be partner in a project to set up a campus-wide cable radio station, on which CARP will be able to design a part of the program content. Considering the role especially this university’s student leadership plays in forming both culture and politics in the nation, MNU CARP Club intents to "live for the sake of others" in a real sense in its relationship with the student union. Our aim is to involve all 10,000 students at this university in improving their campus culture and also to be able to call on all of them for future SFP events.

At each of these seminars W-CARP staff was also able to engage the students in a constructive discussion about the meaning and purpose of religion as a "repair shop for fixing the individual mind-body unity, from which one must graduate in order to accomplish the higher purpose of family and true love", in the words of W-CARP founder Rev. Moon. Through this discussion the anti-religious sentiment among students, which previously had blocked their acceptance of CARP, was replaced with an understanding of how CARP’s mission aims at creating healthy families and culture, and this allowed them to see CARP as a valuable partner in their own efforts to improve campus culture.

A student union leader from the Computer Science branch of Mongolian University of Science and Technology in Ulaanbaatar participated in a small weekend seminar for MUST CARP Club contacts in mid-March. As soon as he got back to campus, he immediately organized a one-day seminar for 40 student leaders and selected top students at his school, and invited CARP to lecture. The response was good here also, and the student union is now considering how to improve the campus culture in co-operation with MUST CARP Club.

In a similar development, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification of Mongolia recently launched a student club involving students from Mongolian Medical University and one law school. This club calls itself "Motherland Club" and aims likewise to take ownership over the culture on campus. W-CARP Mongolia acts as advisor on this project.

At W-CARP Mongolia members are now challenged to respond to this new demand for their involvement and leadership, as well as having to personally look at their own sense of ownership, which now has serious competition from students on campus.

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