Unification News for March 1999

RYS Promoting Peace Around the World in 1998

John Gehring -- NYC

As a peace project, the RYS had eight major projects in four continents during 1998. These service projects were designed to provide examples of religious cooperation in a world scarred by religious conflict. For young adults, the RYS provides an opportunity to practice their highest ideals while making true and lasting friendships. Part of the key to the RYS's success is that it is FUN.

Often the young adults who participate in the RYS have a rich internal experience where they discover they have something special to offer to people. This self-discovery has motivated many of the RYS graduates to take active roles in contributing to peace.

Project Activities:

An International RYS project was hosted in Guatemala on May 14-23 under the theme: "Sharing true values through educational uplift". This project was the 4th RYS Friendship America's Project, an effort to promote cooperation among the nations and faiths in the America's. Participants helped repair and construct parts of three schools.

European RYS was active in organizing a project in Bloke, Slovenia under the theme: "Building community through service". A special European RYS leadership training was organized from July 7-9 and then was followed by the RYS project on July 10-19.

Cooperation between the WFWP-Japan and the IRFWP led the RYS to Thailand hosting on August 19-30 it's sixth RYS project. This project under the theme of, "Building health and harmony through service" was carried out with the cooperation of the Northeastern Drug Dependence Treatment Center and several local organizations. RYS helped build a nurse's station and a basketball court for those in treatment.

A large regional RYS project involving over eighty participants from twelve nations took place in Bougerere and Kampala, Uganda on September 17-29 under the theme of, "Peace, health and community building" in cooperation with the support of the Ministry of Gender. The work of participants included building a medical clinic and repairing a school.

In an effort to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka the RYS completed its 5th national project in October 3-5 bringing the various ethnic and religious groups together to help repair a school.

South Africa holds out the hope for peaceful reconciliation. The RYS on December 12-16 held an environmental project with the cooperation of the Gauteng Province, Ministry of Youth. Drawing together youth from various religious and ethnic groups the participants helped work on various environmental projects.

In Hyderbad, India religious tension has often erupted into violence. The RYS held an international project from December 12-20 and drew the support of a wide range of religious leaders. Participants worked on building an interfaith orphanage in hopes of provided an environment of religious cooperation.

A final RYS project in 1998 ran from December 25th into January 4, 1999 and was hosted in Santiago Atitlan on the shores of Lake Attilan in Guatemala. Participants helped add a wing to the Shimjung School which will now expand its student body beyond the 110 Mayan children.

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