Peace Tours 2005-2007
Peace Tour Builds UPF in Thailand
Written by Pasit Sirimalai
Wednesday, November 29, 2006Five American Ambassadors for Peace arrived in Bangkok on November 22 to deliver the UPF peace message. The following day, three of them went to three provinces, accompanied by Thai Ambassadors for Peace, and the other two spoke at venues in Bangkok.
The events went well despite the martial law that had been imposed by the government that gained power through a coup. The support by Ambassadors for Peace who are former and current senators, governors, and members of Parliament enabled the events to go forward without problems. The Americans did their best to represent the Universal Peace Federation Founders, Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, and they inspired the Thai Ambassadors for Peace and gave them great confidence.
Bangkok: Radisson Hotel
The peace rally in Bangkok was held at the Radisson Hotel on November 24. Registration started at 9:30 am. Many participants came early, and the ballroom was almost full before the official event began. There were about 230 participants, more than half of them being Ambassadors for Peace and their friends and guests. We made special arrangements to set up two tables for Muslim participants, centering on several Ambassadors for Peace. Others were supporters and associates.
The event started smoothly with invocations by three religious leaders, a famous Buddhist monk, a priest, and a Muslim leader.
Rev. Betty Tatalajski delivered the Founder’s speech. Her gentle spirit and charm captivated the crowd. The participants listened attentively and followed the text in Thai, which was distributed to all the audience. Rev. Tatalajski offered a prayer for blessing of marriage after her speech, and most participants took part. The event ended with a delicious Thai lunch.
Prof. Pradit Charoenthaitawee, who is the President of the Universal Peace Federation Thailand and the Human Rights Commissioner of Thailand, gave opening remarks. He is a well-respected figure in Thailand and was one of His Majesty the King’s private doctors. This was followed by the presentation of certificates to 13 newly appointed Ambassadors for Peace. The first recipient was a well-known and respected academician, Prof. Sunee Sinthudecha, who is the president of Rattana Bundit University. Her presence added prestige to the Ambassadors for Peace and encouragement for the crowd.
Nakornpathom: Whael Hotel: Rev. Carlos Torres
Nakornpathom is only a two-hour drive from Bangkok. The peace rally was held at Whael Hotel in Nakornpathom. The majority of the participants came early and showed much interest in the event. There were about 200 participants, including students, teachers, media professionals and NGO leaders. Mr. Suntorn Keawwijit, Chairman of Cultural Forum of Nakornpathom, came to give the welcome address.
The response from the participants to Rev. Carlos Torres was very good. They were very attentive, and most of them found the topic very informative and interesting. The Thai Ambassadors for Peace in this area were very supportive; they helped invite guests and worked very hard side by side with the staff and took full responsibility for the event. Some officials expressed interest in having a UPF team assigned to work for peace in this area.
Chiangrai- Inncome Hotel, Rev. Gregory Odlin
Mr. Daet Chaikla, director of the Sports Authority of Chiangrai, was the main person responsible for the mobilization, and he was very helpful despite his hectic schedule.
There were about 150 participants, including religious leaders, local government officials, NGOs, teachers and staff from Chiangmai, and some staff from Bangkok. We started our program with invocation by three religious representatives: Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim.
The Deputy Governor of Chiangrai, Hon. Worachai Auttamachai, came 15 minutes late because of two earlier speaking engagements. He stayed and listened attentively until Rev. Odlin finished reading the Founder’s speech.
Rev. Gregory Odlin enjoyed talking to the Muslim participants after the program. Most of the representatives from the various religions said it was the first time they had attended such a meeting with various religious groups. Mr. Chaikla explained to them that he was coordinating a local Religious Youth Service project which included young Muslims from the three provinces of southern Thailand, where there is serious problem of terrorism.
Khon Kaen: Charon Thani Princess Hotel, Rev. Dr. Gilda Price
The Khon Kaen rally had the largest number of participants, 296, which included religious representatives, students, teachers, families, media professionals, local government officials, and NGO leaders.
Hon. Pridi Hiranpruek, former senator and Ambassador for Peace in Bangkok, accompanied Rev. Gilda Price to Khon Kaen.
The event was well received by almost all participants. The participants were very attentive and they were following the reading of Rev. Price but in Thai version.
Some participants expressed a desire to hold this kind of event in their own community. Rev. Price was also inspired to see quite a number of young people in the audience
Phetsanulok: Topland Hotel, Rev. Andre Jackson
Many participants came an hour before registration began. Representatives from three religions welcomed Rev. Andre Wayne Jackson and Dr. Porntep Pimonsathien. Rev. Jackson talked to them about Rev. and Mrs. Moon's life and peacebuilding work. The event opened with a performance of traditional Thai music by students from Rajabhat Phiboonsongkam University, followed by a traditional Thai Blessing Dance.
The representatives from Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam offered prayers o blessing and spoke words honoring the other religions. Then they lit candles of peace together.
Dr. Porntep Pimonsathien, a Committee Member of the Universal Peace Federation in Thailand, gave the opening address. He said he did not come as a former provincial governor but as an Ambassador for Peace. He talked about cooperating with the federation and attending a seminar with Father Moon in Korea.
Because Rev. Jackson was reading in English and the participants were reading the Thai text, the interaction between the speaker and the audience was delayed. However, Rev. Jackson tried to passionately express Father Moon’s spirit to everybody. After the formal ceremony finished, Rev. Jackson and all the participants took photographs together. Many people congratulated Rev. Jackson and shook his hand.
To read a message delivered during the UPF peace tours click here.