Unification News for June 2002

International Leadership Seminar in Tonga

by Chihiro Midorikawa

A one-day International Leadership Seminar sponsored by IIFWP was held in Queen Salote Memorial Hall in Nuku'alofa, the capital city of Tonga, May 27, 2002.

About 90 participants gathered, leaders from various fields -- politics, religious, the media, youth groups and academia. They included one former Prime Minister of Tonga, two former Speakers of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga and 4 nobles of the realm. About half of the participants had attended previous IIFWP seminars.

In the opening plenary, warm welcoming remarks were extended by Hon. Baron Vaea, Former Prime Minister of Tonga (1991-1999) to all the participants, especially to 3 main speakers, Rev. Yong Cheol Song (Chairman, IIFWP-Oceania), Dr. Thomas G. Walsh (Secretary General, IIFWP-International) and Rev. Greg Stone (Secretary General, IIFWP- Oceania). Rev. Song expressed his appreciation in response to Hon. Baron Vaea and presented the keynote address on behalf of Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak.

The first session was presented by Dr. Walsh who gave an introduction to IIFWP. Rev Moon’s various works and vision for world peace were eloquently explained by Dr. Walsh using a Power-Point presentation on a big screen. Several participants requested a copy of the video, the materials on Rev. Moon’s life course and IIFWP activities.

Session two, after lunch was presented by Rev. Stone on the special topics of Religious Youth Service, HIV / AIDS prevention and various projects focused on the Oceania region.

Session three was presented by Dr. Walsh on "The Significance of Eternal Life and the Spiritual World" and "The Significance of Marriage, Family and Blessing." The explanation of the three phases of life and the significance of eternal life were very refreshing to most of the participants and opened their mind and increased their understanding of eternal life. The topic on the role and proper use of the sexual organs was very challenging to some of the more conservative attendees, but they couldn’t deny that the time is ripe to break such taboos. At the end of this session the World Peace Blessing Ceremony was officiated by Rev. Song for married couples in a calm and holy atmosphere. Twenty-six couples in total received the blessing and renewed their marriage vows.

At the Closing Banquet, Hon. Fusitu‘a, a former Speaker of the House of Parliament and a noble of the realm, shared with the participants that his attitude towards Rev. Moon had totally changed through attending this seminar. He said that he now understands that the reason Rev. Moon, despite so much persecution in the past, is investing so much to hold these seminars is to bring world peace.

Ambassadors for Peace certificates were presented to 10 selected participants during the Award Ceremony and later they were given to the other the participants. The seminar concluded with a new determination on the part of all the participants to work to promote world peace as newly appointed Ambassadors for Peace.

In the morning of the following day, the traveling party was officially invited by the Tongan Government to attend the commissioning ceremony of a newly arrived ship, the " ‘Otu Tonga". The ceremony was hosted in the presence of Their Majesties King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV and Queen Halaeval Mata‘aho and other VIPs including Royal family members, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the High Commissioners of China, Britain, Australia and New Zealand and so forth.

In the afternoon, the party had an opportunity to have an audience with His Majesty King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV at his palace residence. His Majesty was delighted to hear from Rev. Song and Dr. Wash about IIFWP activities and the various aspects of Rev Moon’s work for Oceania. The audience was quite relaxed with occasional cheerful laughs. The King is 84 years old this year. When he referred to the commissioning ceremony held this morning, he explained to us all the details of the vessel. I was quite surprised by his clear memory in spite of his age. His health is not so good. He can hardly walk without two sticks, but his love and passion for Tonga is very much alive. God bless all the work of IIFWP, God bless His Majesty and God bless the Kingdom of Tonga!

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