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Melbourne Workshop Studies Relationships and Self-Actualization

Melbourne, Australia – Finding meaning and connection in life is the focus of a series of seminars that commenced in Melbourne on April 6, 2024, organized by UPF-Australia, together with WFWP and FFWPU. Titled “Way2Happiness and Peacebuilding,” the series will feature four workshops over the course of the year.

The first of these events focused on the importance of forming good relationships, particularly in the family, as the basis for a good and peaceful society. Thirty-five participants attended in person, while three joined online from Adelaide. Attendees included several leaders of the Melbourne-based Beit Jala Palestinian Association, a humanitarian organization.

Dr. John Bellavance, vice-president of UPF-Australia and Oceania coordinator for the International Association of Academicians for Peace, explained the importance of the principles of subject and object, and giving and receiving, in relationships. Additionally, he spoke about the importance of the family in achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

The second presenter was Mrs. Anne Bellavance, president of WFWP-Australia. She said that the complexity of modern culture has made the simple endeavors of building successful marriages and families more complicated and more challenging than ever before. She shared that a successful relationship with one’s partner depends on how each responds to the other, and is willing to change for the other. The number one cause of breakdown in a relationship is turning away from the needs of the other, she said.

The next presenter was Rev. Daniel Meadows, the Victorian director of FFWPU-Australia.Rev. Meadows posed the question: “Can we find a universal definition of what it means to be ‘good’?” He said this question is important, because individual happiness depends on peoples’ ability to work together toward a common goal that we all share – the desire to be happy.

The dictionary has 57 definitions of “good.” If our definitions differ, then we will not easily get along because we would all insist that we are good. Hence, a universal definition of what is good is needed. For Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the definition of goodness was “living for the sake of others.” Rev. Meadows concluded by saying that we learn to be good, to reach beyond ourselves, by “living for the sake of others” within the family.

Mr. Philip Sacca, an ambassador for peace, was born in the town of Beit-Jala/Bethlehem in Palestine. He explained his life journey and work for peace. During his years in Palestine, Mr. Sacca, who is an engineer by training, was involved in social and engineering projects to support the region’s development.

He currently works with the United Churches of Australia, the Churches of Christ, and several mosques. For many years, Mr. Sacca has supported groups of volunteer doctors on annual trips to Nazareth, which has the largest Arab population in Israel. Working with Ms. Moira Kelly, founder of the Children First Foundation, he brought 26 adults and children with complicated medical needs from Gaza Strip and the West Bank to Australia for treatment. They also sent Australian surgeons to Gaza hospitals, operating on over 600 complicated cases in Gaza, Nablus, and Beit Sahour hospitals.

Also with Ms. Moira Kelly, Mr. Sacca built gardens in Victoria which he calls Global Gardens of Peace. They plan to do the same in the refugee camp of Khan Younis in Gaza and have raised money for this. However, due to the current conflict, this money is held in trust.

The last presenter was also an ambassador for peace, Dr. Lillian Mwanri. She is an associate professor of public health at the Research Centre for Public Health, Equity and Human Flourishing at Torrens University Australia, Adelaide. She is a co-founding member and advisor for the African Women’s Federation of South Australia (AWFOSA), which equips African women with skills and knowledge to actively participate in socioeconomic and cultural life in Australia.

As chairperson of the Tanzanian Community Association of South Australia (TCASA), Dr. Mwanri helps children and families maintain their cultural identity.  The group teaches cultural knowledge to children and newer members of the organization. It also organizes celebrations such as Independence Day and Union Day, which help to strengthen family ties and are a powerful cultural educational tool for children.

Participant feedback described the seminar as “a profound experience” that provided “food for the soul” with “thought-provoking and relevant presentations.”

By John Bellavance, Vice President, UPF-Australia
April 6, 2024





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