The Words of the Gicole Family
Auckland, New Zealand -- The first monthly Ambassador for Peace meeting was held Nov. 24, 2013 at the UPF headquarters in Parnell. All those who participated would surely agree that this semi-formal UPF meeting was well worth the effort and certainly not one to be missed. The evening was well attended not only by Ambassadors for Peace but also included some newcomers. How wonderful it was to experience the lively and cordial atmosphere despite many of the guests being strangers to each other at the outset!
The program ran smoothly thanks to Gerald Trass' spontaneous and often insightful remarks as the MC of the event. It began with a delicious buffet style pot luck meal. Mr. Peter Holdem, UPF-Up North district leader offered a prayer for the meal. The table was laden with very tasty and appealing dishes that produced many favorable comments. As the evening commenced a brief supportive message from Ambassador for Peace Laurie Ross was read out with her apology due to illness.
This was followed by an uplifting and encouraging few words from the UPF Director Mr. Julius Gicole as he officially launched the Ambassadors for Peace network. He started by reminding everyone of the UPF principles, including that we are one family under one Heavenly Parents and that living for the sake of others is the key to realize peace. He praised the audience for their continuous effort in making a difference in the lives of others in their own individual field. However, he also encouraged everyone to go beyond their individual effort to consolidate with others, making a stronger impact in society. He further emphasized the need to really work together and build an environment where we can truly realize a one world family under one heavenly parent.
Next on the program were the three invited speakers of different faiths, who represented their communities well in speaking on the topic of "The Role of Religion in Fostering peace in New Zealand." Speakers were Rev. Rob McKay representing Christianity, D.r Ali Jiang representing Islam and Mr. Dharma Nand representing Hinduism. The talks not only gave greater meaning and relevance to the topic but also showed how these different communities were actively pursuing peace in their local districts. The articulate messages were conveyed with heart and sincerity, aspects not always apparent in speeches but these gentlemen believed in what they said and were successful in imparting this to us.
One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of an Ambassador for Peace appointment to Mr. Alsharif Fadhil, who was recommended because of his service as president of the Arabic Center for International Relations in New Zealand. Part of his job is to help students and refugees (mainly from the Middle East) who are coming to New Zealand to study, work or to stay for good. He brought with him eight members of his organization. He also shared a short message of appreciation for his appointment.
To conclude the program the Secretary General of UPF New Zealand, Geoffrey Fyers, gave a warm and reflective update to the evening's events as well as a more overall view of the work both local and international that UPF is accomplishing. Finally, Julius Gicole rounded off the evening by announcing the upcoming events and encouraged everyone to send their suggestions and ideas on what other programs and activities that UPF can be involved with. Everyone was surprised when he also announced the awarding of a yearly prize for the outstanding Ambassador for Peace starting next year. The prize could be a trip to the Ambassador for Peace's 'homeland' or another place.
Thanks to all who were involved and who helped in creating the success that this meeting was.