Unification News for November 2002

World Peace Rally in Samoa

by Yves & Jacinta Moreau

On the last day of September 2002, a "Samoa World Peace Rally" was held in response to the call to organize a "Leaders’ Resolution Rally for World Peace", adapted to our nation. The rally was the only public event in Samoa this year, held to mark the International Day of Peace that fell on September 21.

Our event was truly a successful one. The victory came upon the foundation of years of investment by our movement to send VIP’s, even from small countries like Samoa, to international seminars for world peace. It also came upon the foundation of recent local events such as 8 days of Seminars held in December 2000 and Rev. Kwak’s International Leadership Seminar held last year on September 10 and 11, 2001, which was sponsored by IIFWP-International.

This time, there were no overseas funds for our Rally. However, we could still work out a venue and program that was fitting for VIP’s though we could not invite as many as we had for previous events.

Yet, we gathered 40 VIPs (including 5 Ambassadors For Peace), two Government Ministers; the Minister of Youth, Sports and Cultural Affairs, Hon. Ulu Vaomalo Kini, (who attended Assembly 2001), and the Minister of Justice Hon. Seumanu Aita Ah-Wa with his wife Victoria, (who attended the World Culture and Sports Festival 2002 in Korea), as representatives of the Prime Minister.

Our most precious guest was the Chairman of the National Council of Churches, Rev. Oka Fauolo, who gave the opening and the closing prayer. It was the first time he or his wife attended one of our events.

After a lot of wind and rain over the weekend, Monday morning September 30 appeared very sunny and beautiful. Three newspaper journalists, two radio reporters and the National TV station crew were among the first people to arrive. Necklaces of flowers were distributed to the guests as they arrived.

Local IIFWP leader, Dr Unasa Va’a, from the National University of Samoa, did a very good job as the Master of Ceremonies. Rev. Oka Fauolo, Chairman of the Council of Churches in Samoa, gave the opening prayer with a sincere desire to know the ways to attain peace. A 3rd year University music student then led the gathering with a local hymn about peace.

Yves Moreau gave a 10-minute presentation on the development of interfaith activities and in particular about the vision and activities of the IIFWP.

Dr Unasa Va’a then spoke about "Cultural and Sports Exchanges as Tools for Peace". As a case study, he presented the history of the division of Korea and the Korean people, speaking of the DMZ that he had visited when he attended a World Media Association conference in Korea back in 1983.

With this background, Dr. Va’a proceeded to speak of the various peaceful initiatives that have been taken to bring the Koreas closer together. In particular, Dr. Va’a spoke of the beauty of the Little Angels’ Performance as a lead-in to a video "Little Angels Folk Ballet Visits Pyongyang". All participants were very moved by the beauty of the video showing the Little Angels’ trip and performances in North Korea in May 1998, that helped to warm the hearts of people of North and South Korea.

The time came for the Government Minister of Youth, Sports and Cultural Affairs, Hon. Ulu Vaomalo Kini, to share about his experiences at Assembly 2001 in October 2001. He had been very moved by the ‘Bridge of Peace’ ceremony between historical enemies. After his prepared speech, Hon. Ulu Kini literally started to preach (he is a lay preacher in his village) using appropriate Bible quotes to testify to the importance of loving and sharing with others.

Next was the video "Freedom, Faith and Family" to give an overview of Rev. Moon’s life and work. The audience was very attentive throughout. The national TV station used parts of the video for its report about the rally in the evening news.

A shortened version of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon’s speech, "The Origin of Peace is God", was read by Dr Jacinta Moreau. Everyone listened carefully and later the participants were happy to receive a copy of her speech as they were leaving the seminar.

The reflective spirit continued with the song, ‘From A Distance,’ picking up on one of the themes in Dr. Moon’s speech, which reflected the words of the song, ‘God is watching us.’

In the final minutes of the program, the audience was invited to sign in support of the affirmations "Toward Global Peace" that have been circulated by IIFWP around the world during the last couple of months. The Chairman of the National Council of Churches nodded in agreement as the four affirmations were read out loud, and almost every participant came up afterwards to queue to sign.

The unanimous feeling as participants mingled at the close of the program was that it had been a meaningful and heartwarming program. Muhammad Bin Yhaya Daniel Stanley, President of the Samoan Islamic Centre, was very happy to have been a part of the event, together with some of his Muslim followers, in a nation in which the vast majority are Christian.

The national news that evening gave a 7-minute report on the rally, including interviews with some of the participants who expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to gather to consider ways to attain lasting peace. According to comments we received following the TV news report, to gather 40 renowned VIPs was really a great success for a non-governmental organization.

A couple of days later, the weekly government newspaper, Savali, printed an article that supported the idea of gathering leaders from different walks of life, to solve problems in society. The article particularly drew attention to IIFWP’s philosophy of embracing all religions of the world, and showed photos taken at the rally of the Chairman of the Council of Churches and the leader of the Samoan Muslim community. The daily Samoa Observer newspaper also gave a short but positive report of the rally.

IIFWP-Samoa may organize a similar event each year around September 21, commemorating the International Day of Peace.

For more information, E-mail: moreau@samoa.ws

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