The Words of the Kirkley Family

CARP Attends Annual Youth Assembly - CARP carries GPF Spirit to the UN

Sophia Kirkley
August 9, 2008

Days after the Global Peace Festival (GPF) Kickoff Event in Washington, D.C. on August 9th, CARP youth took the message of One Family Under God to the United Nations. Over 700 student leaders gathered from all over the world to participate at the UN headquarters in New York City on August 12th for a three day assembly.

This year marked CARP’s second time participating, bringing nearly 200 participants, including youth volunteers from the GPF. Different from the previous year was “The Global Peace Festival Youth Leaders Summit,” held on the 14th of August and hosted by CARP, as well as Youth Federation for World Peace. The program was built “on the successful foundation of the Global Peace Festival kickoff,” noted Sophia Kirkley, Vice President of CARP and an organizer of the event. Kirkley continued, “the event demonstrated how the mission and purpose of the United Nations aligns with the mission of the Global Peace Festival.”

Held at the Dag Hammerskjold Auditorium from 1-3pm, the program had over 150 participants, including a panel of speakers consisting of Kenshu Aoki and Justin Fong, Co- Chairs of the Interfaith Youth Council; Muhammad Khan, representative of Small Kindness to the UN; and Co-Chairs of GPF USA Paul Murray and David Caprara. The Summit provided young people of faith a voice, including American student leaders Matthew Redmond from Baltimore MD and Vineet Kumar of Chantilly, VA, as well as international students Lamin Bojang from Gambia, Stephan Kalimu from the National Youth Council of Liberia and a young female participant from Taiwan, representing the Federation of World Peace and Love. Also presented in the program was a declaration for a proposed Interfaith Youth Council at the UN, which participants recited and enthusiastically signed in agreement.

The 5th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations, was organized by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation (FAF), a non-profit associated with the UN Department of Public Information. Its executive director, Patrick Sciarratta was a keynote speaker at the New York Mini GPF, held earlier this year. Takayoshi Sugawara, a 22 year old student from Tufts University, commented on the assembly, “I got a deeper understanding of how the UN works in general, but also saw that they are looking for a new type of leadership and change, because the UN forces are failing badly. Not only because we are young people but because of the values CARP instills in us, we have tools to change the direction of the UN from the inside-out and the bottom up.” Alongside the call for general reform at the UN, CARP is calling for a new level of young leadership, wise and brave activists who embody a culture of living for the sake of others centered on the vision of One Family Under God. Kirkley noted “there are many outstanding students making a difference. United, we can achieve the Millennium Development Goals, even before 2015.”

Declaration: Global Peace Festival Interfaith Youth Council

We, young leaders from around the world, gather today at the United Nations, representing diverse backgrounds in race, religion, and ethnicity to form the Global Peace Festival Interfaith Youth Council. On this day, Aug. 14, 2008, we all declare our commitment to the following values and goals:

1. We celebrate the culture of service and living for the sake of others as the highest standard of human relationships and the way to reconcile the divided human family.

2. We uphold the building of strong marriages and families through persons and programs that contribute to mutual respect, harmony, and cooperation.

3. As young leaders, we express our determination to advance global peace and prosperity, particularly through the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

We hereby dedicate this founding of the Global Peace Festival Interfaith Youth Council, to bring together all young leaders, to take action throughout the world to achieve our shared goal of peace as “One Family Under God”.?

Quotes from Participants:

“One [memorable experience] was when I got a chance to speak with Andy Cunningham, the 22 year old Duke graduate, who helped start the Womens’ school in Africa... The impact he’s having on the world is pretty huge, and I couldn’t help but think about the kind of impact I can have as a young person.” - Kenny Wolfenberger, 21

“I felt that the purpose of this Assembly was to show us, young people, that our world has a lot of things to accomplish and we are the hope of others. There is always a place that needs our kind hearts and hands.” - Alex Zamusinski, 28

“Whatever we do, as long as we do it with God, anything is possible.” - Meido Higashino, 15

“I was really impressed by these international youth who are trying to make the world better. But also I recognized that they need Principle and the vision of One Family Under God. If they have this vision then we can change the world together.” - Hideyuki Akazawa, 20

“It was comforting to see people striving to build a better world and there were many good ideas and projects. But we can’t just make a million projects.” - Takashi Okamoto, 20

“It was a good opportunity to be reminded again of the rest of the world. Usually I am wrapped up in my own world. I got ideas for what I can do next year for the CAP conference. Even though a lot of people were doing a lot, it still seemed that internally they were confused.” - Claire Munsell, 21

“I met some amazing people who were doing a lot, but I could see the need for a guiding set of spiritual principles for the UN activities. “ - Nathan Breland, 21

I felt the times have changed. A lot of times we did our own things but now we are working together with the secular culture to bring peace, to make a better nation. - Tadayoshi Kaneko, 27 

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