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Peace Education

Japanese Tea Ceremony in Washington, DC

Washington, DC, USA - May 26 was the hottest day of the year with the temperature at 90 degrees. The driveway and entrance to the UPF Peace Embassy was watered down to cool it and welcome the guests, signifying purification of the surroundings of the "Tea House" as the guests arrived. Black sedans and diplomat-plated cars arrived one by one, dropping off their guests, who were greeted at the door by a kimono-clad hostess.

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The hall of the Peace Embassy was transformed into a Japanese tea house for the occasion. A Japanese lunch was served afterward.

Over 40 guests, including nine ambassadors and four wives of ambassadors and leaders of NGOs in the Washington DC community, attended the ceremony where one "leaves all his or her cares outside."

H.E. Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, recently appointed as Ambassador of Afghanistan to the USA, enjoyed the tea ceremony as it was reminiscent of his two previous years in Japan. H.E. Mohamed Lemine El-Haycen, Ambassador of Mauritania, and H.E. Abednego Mandla Ntshangase, Ambassador of Swaziland, commented that Japan has a long tradition of self-discipline and respect for the elderly reflected in the good traditions such as the tea ceremony, which teaches people how to live peacefully with others.

Long-time friends H.E. Purificacion Angue Ondo, Ambassador from Equatorial Guinea, and H.E. Winston Thompson, Ambassador from Fiji Islands, have attended several times before. They returned to enjoy a bowl of green tea to help keep tranquility in their hearts.

Among the new guests were Mrs. Talia Figen Tan, the wife of the Ambassador of Turkey; H.E. La Celia A. Prince, Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and H.E. Jacinth Henry-Martin, Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis, who tasted the bitter flavor of the green tea for the first time. Japanese sweets were offered before the tea to complement the bitter flavor of the tea.

The UPF – DC office offers the tea ceremony twice a year. The tradition of the Essence of The Way of Tea is the “Heart of Peace” because it encourages all to share in the ceremony, which promotes respect for others regardless of their station in life and letting go of personal cares while attending the tea ceremony to allow for self-reflection and community sharing.

The UPF is committed to building a world of peace where all people from different cultures, races, nationalities, and religions can live as true brothers and sisters as “One Family Under God” by practicing the universal principles of “living for the sake of others and for the whole.”

The organizers thanked all guests and friends of UPF for their support and participation in this unique UPF program.

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