Articles From the December 1994 Unification News


17th Annual Mr. & Miss University Pageant held in NYC

Combined report by Reverend Kathy Winings, Tony Devine, and Peter Ross-NYC

The Mr. and Miss University Pageant was founded by the Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon seventeen years ago in order to introduce a new concept of beauty, a beauty based on character and personality. While customarily hosted in Japan, the last three pageants were hosted in Korea, Moscow, and Beijing. On Sunday, December 4, it reached New York.

Representing their countries as ambassadors of goodwill, this year's 24 finalists represented the diversity of our global village with nations such as Croatia, Tanzania, Brazil, Korea, Japan, China, and Bangladesh proudly represented. The United States was represented by Miss Tweeran Verheyen, a junior at Marymount College, and Mr. Matthew Jones, a junior at Williams College.

The application process to qualify for the finals was a result of the efforts of the primary sponsor, the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP). Each country or region then followed the application process in selecting the national finalists. In the interests of hosting a final event that was both entertaining and of appropriate length, the organizing committee decided on a maximum of 24 finalists.

The two other sponsoring organizations were: the Women's Federation for World Peace and the International Relief Friendship Foundation (IRFF). As an international organization of women, one of WFWP's concerns is to encourage youth and young adults to get involved in social service. In America, a number of WFWP chapters have been active throughout the United States in sending aid to Rwanda.

IRFF became involved with this year's Pageant when the organizers decided to offer all proceeds from the event to support IRFF's shipment of much-needed medical equipment and medicines to Rwanda. IRFF will send these medical supplies to Rwanda, valued at over $500,000, by the end of December 1994, in order to contribute to the rebuilding of Rwanda's devastated hospital system. Founded in 1975 by the Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, IRFF has assisted and supported worldwide projects designed for long-term development assistance and has promoted cooperative programs in the field of education, agricultural management, technical training, and health care. IRFF is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in association with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI). In this regard, it is appropriate to remember the wise exhortation of the Talmud: He who saves one life is considered as if he had preserved the whole world.

Recent studies have shown that today's young adults are genuinely concerned with many of the challenges facing humankind, not the least being those of a humanitarian and environmental nature. Here in America, the support for President Clinton's AmeriCorps and similarly motivated programs, are indications of this concern. The sponsors of the 1994 Mr. and Miss University Pageant sought to give full expression to these trends by combining a celebration of all the best talents exemplified by college students with their most essential concerns for the world around them. And so they thought it appropriate to put the noblest aspirations of this year's finalists into immediate context by dedicating this year's program to the support of international relief.

One of America's most venerable statesman, Benjamin Franklin once stated: God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of [man may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say: "This is my country." The young men and women in attendance from Bangladesh, Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Russia, Slovenia, Tanzania, Tianjin-China, and the United States amplified Mr. Franklin's sentiment on an international stage and expressed their claim: "This is our world." In contrast to today's more despairing headlines, these young world citizens, rich in intellectual and artistic talent, affirmed the shared interests and common values of all people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. While these rights are denied to many in the world due to war or deprivation the goodwill required to promote these ideals was amply demonstrated by these young men and women.

Hosted at the Manhattan Center, the Pageant was a colorful and entertaining international celebration. Representatives of many of the Permanent Missions to the UN of those countries represented in the Pageant were also in attendance. Official delegations from several Consulates in the New York area were also in attendance. To begin the program, Ambassador Jose Maria Chaves read a letter of welcome and support for the benefit from the office of the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Congressman Charles Rangel extended a warm New York welcome as well.

The task of selecting the ten finalists and the ultimate winners fell to a distinguished panel of judges representing the international diplomatic corps, academia, and the world of entertainment. Those who donated their time included: Ambassador Mario Nobilo, Permanent Mission of Croatia to the UN; Hon. Delois Blakely, Deputy-Mayor of Harlem; Dr. Jay Sexter, President, Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY; Dr. Amina Gomaa, Professor of Arabic Languages at New York University; Dr. Joon Ho Seuk, President of the International Educational Foundation; Mr. Takeshi Furuta, President, Japanese CARP; Mr. Jeffrey Benson, Executive Director, Kirov Academy; and Mr. Yukinori Yao, international fashion designer. Under the astute and experienced chairmanship of Dr. Sexter, the judges reached their decisions in a gracious and timely manner.

The winners for the 1994 Pageant were:
Miss University - Miss Mona Mwakalinga (Tanzania)
Mr. University - Mr. Matthew Jones (USA)
First Runner-Up - Miss Julia Volovova (Russia)
First Runner-Up - Mr. Michale P. Mendoza (Phillipines)
Special Awards - Miss Syeda Farhana Towheed (Bangladesh)
Special Awards - Mr. Emerson Sonjor Biagioni (Brazil)
Friendship Award - Mr. Peter Vaihansky (Russia)

For many of the participants, this was their first visit to New York and so travel was a highlight. This included visits to the United Nations, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other places. The farewell banquet was held at Sylvia's in Harlem.

These college students not only exemplified their personal best, but in coming together in this international celebration they reaffirmed the hope for a better future. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his time: Today we are faced with the preeminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world, at peace.


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