Unification News for January, 1997

St. Petersburg Student Wins Miss World University

by Oleg Sergeyev-St. Petersburg, Russia

On the 8th of December 1996, the 19th "Mister & Miss University Pageant" was held in Tokyo, Japan. Ekaterina "Katya" Plaksina, from St. Petersburg, was named by the judges to be Miss University 1996. Katya is an art student in the 1st year of the St. Petersburg Academy of Culture.

The sponsors of pageant were Collegiate Association for the Research of the Principle of Japan, Youth Federation for World Peace and Women's Federation for World Peace. The Mister & Miss University Pageant was first held in Japan in 1978. Since then it has been held annually in different countries. Pageants have been held in Seoul, Moscow, Pyong Yang, Beijing and New York.

Can you imagine a beauty pageant without a swimsuit competition? The "Mister & Miss University Pageant" differs from other beauty pageants, as it evaluates not only external beauty, but also their inner beauty; their ideals and aspirations, their communication with people of different nationalities, and other "internal" qualities. Another difference is that not only young women, but also young men participate together in the Pageant.

The event is also a festival of entertainment by the participants, and is televised in Japan. Students entertained in national costumes with their songs, dances, and dramatic productions showing the uniquely beautiful folk and cultural art of their countries, or to express the kind of music and ideals which inspire the youth of their home countries.

A young Russian 17 year old, Katya Plaksina said, "Sometimes our Russian-ness is used to block others, to keep them out, as if to say, `Our culture is superior to all others.' But young people today want to embrace the people of the whole world. So I danced and sang Russian folk songs as best I could, as an offering to the young people of the world. I said in effect, `This is Russia. We have a beautiful gift for you. Please receive the best I have to offer from my beloved country. I love my country and I love you.' I danced and I sang and I was declared the best by the judges. Thanks to the friendly and warm atmosphere made by each participant, the Pageant helped each to realize our responsible role as a member of the world family. We explored possibilities to create new culture, based on peace and friendship between nations."

The Chairman of Pageant Organizing Committee, Mr. Tokuno Agi greeted the large crowd in Tokyo's Shinjiko Luminae Hall, and described the purpose of the Pageant as lasting world peace, which he said, depends friendship and harmony among young people.

The Pageant program included two phases: the first gave participants an opportunity to show their entertainment skills in singing, dancing, and sporting skills. In the second phase, judges asked participants questions to evaluate their ideals, their views on the family and on societies' problems, their understanding of world problems and their suggestions for their solution. Katya said these questions were the most difficult of all. But some of the questions were easy, like: "Tell about the most bright experience in your life." These questions gave judges an understanding of the internal world of participants. The judges were distinguished people from Japanese society and international personages interested in world culture.

The judges of the Mister & Miss University Pageant were: Hikouki Yamoguchi (Professor of Kamadzava University) Chairman of the Committee of Judges Tomoko Inukai (Art Critic) Michimasa Irie

(Professor of Ioyama University) Akiko Inoe (Professor of Women's Koritsu University) Don Chor Kim (Ministry of Culture of South Korea) Yoshiro Nakamatsu (Chairman of International Inventor's Association) Tamiko Hirano (Opera singer) Shin Ilimatsu (Professor of Tokyo Electro-Mechanical Institute) Sergei Harlamov (Embassy of Russian Federation; Department of Cultural Exchange) Sinsuke Kobaya (President of Company "Magic hand")

The concept for the Mister & Miss University Pageant was originally proposed over 19 years ago by Rev. and Mrs. Moon. They suggested that a beauty pageant emphasizing moral values and internal character should be promoted, since the media and entertainment industries go to great efforts to promote external beauty as a universal and commercial value. The pageant began in Japan and each year has been increasing in size, number of participants and media impact.

Students from 16 countries became the participants of the Pageant - Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Rumania, Russia (CIS), Sri-Lanka, Tanzania, Tianjin China, Venezuela, and USA.

As with all beauty pageants the highlight was the decision of the judges, who announced the crowning of Frederic Ancheta (from Philippines) as Mister University 1996 and Ekaterina Plaksina from St. Petersburg (first year art student of St. Petersburg Academy of Culture) as Miss University 1996. These two will spend the coming year speaking in public arenas in favor of moral values in society and international cooperation.

Katya said, "Winning was a complete surprise to me. The other participants were all such beautiful people, so talented, with such beautiful hearts. I just wanted to take them home with me. So as far as performing I decided to just do the best I could to represent my beloved Russia. I hope this pageant can be held in St. Petersburg in the coming years." 

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