The Words of the Lancaster Family
Rev. Joong Hyun Pak addresses a group of Korean professors at Belvedere
Over the past 12 months 2,200 professors from a number of universities in South Korea have visited the United States to find out for themselves all about the movement Rev. Moon has founded in America. The conferences being held for them have been so successful that it is now planned that perhaps as many as 10,000 professors will be given the opportunity to participate in these conferences in the coming months.
Groups have ranged in size from over 100 to well over 200. The beautifully renovated dining room on the second floor of the World Mission Center and the many newly decorated guest rooms helped make the New York portion of this summer's series quite enjoyable.
The conferences are held during the professors' scheduled summer and winter breaks -- July-August and January- February. During the regular school year, communist influence on the campuses causes tremendous unrest and student outbreaks, and the professors feel they must stay at their universities to stabilize the campus atmosphere.
The participants first attend a weekend seminar on the Principle, held in major cities around Korea. This way they get a basic idea of the theology motivating our worldwide activities and are prepared to come to America for an even greater experience of our movement. Some of them have been active in the Professors World Peace Academy and other academic organizations inspired by Father.
In Korea the professors often hear strange rumors about Rev. Moon; many think he is more of a businessman trying to gain profits than a spiritual leader. However, when they come to America they soon realize that Rev. Moon's vision is far greater than that of a mere businessman; they begin to see his larger vision of world restoration.
In their universities the professors constantly live in the midst of the threat of communism. Some of them live just 30 miles from the DMZ, so they know well what communism has done to their nation and how it continues to threaten their future every day. But they don't understand how it can be solved until they come to America.
True Parents welcome the visiting professors to East Garden
In Washington DC they are given a dynamic seminar explaining what communism really is and what its aims are, and they are given solutions from God's viewpoint. They understand a bigger vision and how they can play a role in it. The American experience is actually their preparation to go back to Korea and share what they have learned with their students, as well as with their families and friends and society in general.
Each conference lasts a week, and like any other worthwhile conference the schedule is fairly intense. Several days in Washington and several days in New York include seminar time, sightseeing time, and special tours. The Washington portion includes tours through the offices of The Washington Times, Insight, and The World and I, Atlantic Video, the future site of the World Media Center, the Library of Congress, and the Capitol building. Cameras click wildly as they visit the Smithsonian Institute, the White House, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Washington Monument, and many other sites of interest.
In New York they are warmly received by faculty and students at the Unification Theological Seminary, where they spend a couple of hours touring the buildings and grounds and having lunch. The day continues with a tour of West Point Military Academy, then a scenic ride over Bear Mountain on down into Tarrytown, where a reception is held for them at Belvedere.
This summer they enjoyed an added feature -- an excursion to Niagara Falls. Without exception, everyone loved this experience. The professors were overwhelmed with the beauty of creation there. And they didn't just look at the Falls; they also got to enjoy a boat ride under the Falls, a climb along the rocks behind the Falls, and a helicopter ride over the Falls if they wanted to. One professor said with awe, "Niagara Falls is like God's present to us."
Each seminar continues in New York with more information presented on the Unification movement's activities and the role of academia in unifying North and South Korea and unifying our world. Their final afternoon in America ends with a trip to the Statue of Liberty. This is an optional activity, but no matter what the weather -- hot or cold, rain or sunshine -- they all seem to want to have this experience.
Over 80 percent of the professors are positive toward everything they experience on the tour. Their minds broaden, their concepts change. They are especially surprised to find how well-known Rev. Moon is in America and how much he has accomplished. Here they see the substance of our faith -- that we are not only talking about faith but building faith. Their evaluations and testimonies at the end of the conference bear witness to these changes that are taking place within them.
More than anything, their American experience has surely shown our visiting professors how much the East and West need each other -- and how it will take the efforts of both to create world peace.