The Words of the McLackand Family
Medan, Indonesia -- In the early morning of Oct. 8, 2014, about 3,000 students lined up to enter the main auditorium of the University of North Sumatra for the International Youth Convention on the theme "Young People of Character -- The Hope of the Future." UPF-Indonesia and the University of North Sumatra co-hosted the event in partnership with several other institutions of higher learning, especially the State University of Medan.
Since the auditorium has a maximum seating capacity of less than 2,000, many students chose to sit in the aisles throughout the program rather than being turned away. They joined 100 participants from 13 countries to hear several UPF keynote speakers from around the world who addressed critical issues for young people today.
After rousing Opening Remarks by Dr. Raja Bonsu Hutagalung, vice rector of the University of North Sumatra, Dr. Robert Kittel, education director of UPF-Asia, asked all the youth present to remain pure until marriage as the foundation for a happy married life in the future. The students responded emphatically, making a pledge of purity guided by Ms. Elvi and Mr. Giscard. Dr. Chung Sik Yong, chairman of UPF-Asia, introduced UPF's core principles of peace based on the motto of 'Living for the Sake of Others' established by its founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon. The audience responded well to his explanation that giving precedes receiving in order to establish relationships of true love. Mrs. Ursula McLackland, secretary general of UPF-Asia, expanded on this concept in her presentation on "Raising Public-minded Leaders," asking the young people to become model leaders by putting the public interest above private matters. The Vice Governor of North Sumatra, Ir. H. Tengku Erry Nuradi, who had rushed from a previous engagement in order to learn about UPF, acknowledged the value of UPF's principles of peace in his address.
All the presentations were interspersed with cultural presentations, such as songs and dances by talented students from the State University of Medan and a renowned Indonesian country singer, and crowned with several martial arts demonstrations in order to keep the young audience engaged throughout the program. Mr. Hajime Saito, secretary general of UPF-Indochina and instructor in three different martial arts, explained the value of practicing martial arts for the sake of character building. Afterwards, students of unified martial arts (Tongil Moodo), aikido, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and merah putih (Pencak Silat, an indigenous Indonesian martial art form) gave demonstrations that amazed the audience.
The program concluded with the presentation of 20 Ambassador for Peace certificates to faculty members of partnering institutions and another 20 Collegiate Ambassador for Peace certificates to outstanding students from Indonesia and other nations. This was followed by photo sessions with Indonesian youth who wished to have their pictures taken with the international dignitaries.
Four newspapers and one local TV station reported very positively about the conference. They especially stressed the importance for the young generation keeping their purity and respecting family values, concepts very close to the heart of Indonesian parents and teachers but being fast eroded among the youth with the trends of modernization and globalization.