UPF-Richmond, November 19, 2013
Leaders in Richmond, Virginia gathered to welcome Universal Peace Federation's proposal for 'Sustainable Peace in our Nation and World.' The event was co-hosted with AdvanTech, a non-profit organization working in conjunction with the Economic Department Authority of the City of Richmond to promote economic development in the Richmond area.
(Above, left & center) Mr. Dale Fickett, executive director of AdvanTech, RVA, welcomes all participants and outlines the vision and objectives of his organization for 'Social Innovation' in the City of Richmond. AdvanTech helps to provide capital, talent and resources to small businesses. He emphasized that "Job creation and economic growth for those in need" is one of the most noble aspirations of their efforts. Mr. Fickett is also active with the Social Justice Commission of the Cathedral of Sacred Heart, Richmond, of which he and others on the Executive Board of AdvanTech are members. In his remarks, he noted that, "Being situated in Richmond, the State Capitol of Virginia, and being in close proximity to the nation's Capitol, we have the great opportunity to drive the social innovation agenda." He also laid out other projects in which he is involved: impact investing and water purification for developing countries. UPF-Richmond is happy to welcome Mr. Fickett as an Ambassador for Peace (AFP).
Among those attending the program were: the current president of the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond (ICGR), Ms. Rebecca Skinner (Unity Church of Bon Air, Richmond); a former president of ICGR and League of Women Voters, Ms. Lynn Johnston (Unity Church of Bon Air); three deacons from the Sacred Heart Cathedral; a lay clergy (Catholic) involved with the Prison Ministry, Richmond; two leaders of the Muslim faith (and leaders in the African Community Network, Richmond); leaders of Cambodian and Zen Buddhism in Richmond, members of Soka Gakkai International and Falun Gong; founders of the Identity Group, Mr. William Russell and Mr. Omer Kounga; students from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and J. Sergeant Reynolds College; several local business leaders; and the President of UPF-Jamaica, West Indies, Mr. Dennis Salmon who was on a visit to the U.S.
(Above, left) Ms. Lynn Johnston and, (right) Mrs. Sarah Boyles, Zen Buddhist Priest (her husband in background), receiving Ambassador For Peace Certificates. AFP Certificates are signed by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, his wife.
To enlighten the attendees on the work of UPF with the United Nations, and throughout the world, two videos: "Introduction to UPF" and "Ambassadors for Peace" were shown (said videos can be viewed on the UPF website: www.UPF.ORG).
(Above, center and right) Mrs. Rebecca Skinner, and Mr. Dale Fickett.
(Above, left) Mr. Tim Bruch, VCU student.
Eight AFP's were appointed, three Certificates to be presented at next program.
After the appointment of AFP's, all engaged in the signature ceremony of UPF; the "Blessing-Toast" for Reconciliation, Peace and God's Blessing on our families.
In the keynote address, Rev. F. George Russell, Director of UPF-Richmond, explained that a new paradigm is needed for global transformation to an era of lasting peace. He said that traditional and conventional approaches are lacking due to their ethnocentricism and parochialism which have limited their perspectives on reality. Festered by these ingrown flaws, they continue to be divisive often times pitting one religion against another, race against race, party against party, and nation against nation.
(Above, left) Venerable Cang Kim (AFP 2005), Abbot of the Buddhist Monastery in Richmond who gave the Invocation for the program, addresses everyone.
He said that Rev. and Mrs. Moon, founders of UPF, came to pronounce the above ideal and model to the world. They are at the heart of their vision for lasting world peace and the very basis for them holding the mass intercultural marriage ceremonies.
"The overall effort," he said, "is to realize 'One Family under God;' a universal family in which we all 'Live for the Sake of Others.'" He called it the "LSO Lifestyle."
At the conclusion of the PowerPoint Presentation, participants were told to take away what they could accept. On behalf of all, one participant responded: "We are all in agreement here!"
(Above) A lively Roundtable Discussion ensued (continuing after official close of program).
Many thanks to all those who supported and participated!