UPF celebrated its 14th year Anniversary on September 12th.

UPF USA’s structure is divided into five sub-regions (same sub-regions as FFWPU).  Sub-Region 1 consists of the ten northeastern states.  Below is a summary of UPF Sub-Region 1/New York activities and initiatives.  (The list is not exhaustive and does not include other UPF SR1, national and international events and initiatives.)

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Celebration of the Family World Peace Festival National Tour, 2018-2020
The Celebration of the Family World Peace Festival National Tour celebrates the global family. The tour kicked off in New York on December 8, 2018, at a conference held at 4 West 43rd Street, co-organized by UPF and FFWPU NYC, and is scheduled to run from December 2018 – February 2020.  There are two components to the Celebration of the Family World Peace Festival:  an educational component on the value of the God-centered family; optionally may include an Interfaith Peace Blessing.

Celebration of the Family World Peace Festivals have been held in the States of:Connecticut, Las Vegas, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia,West Virginia, Washington, and, with more on the way.

UPF Sub-Region 1 Regional Leadership Retreat, April 23, 2019, East Garden, New York
First UPF Sub-Region 1 Regional Leadership Retreat.  Presenters included: Dr. Thomas Walsh; Dr. Michael Jenkins; and Hon. Dan Burton.  UPF SR1 leadership and their core UPF staff attended.

UPF Sub-Region 1 State Field Visits, January – February 2019
UPF State Field Visits were conducted by the UPF Regional Executive Director, N.E., Maria L. Vargas, during January-February 2019, to States where then serving UPF Executive Directors, which included:  Delaware,Connecticut,New Jersey,Pennsylvaniaand Rhode Island.  Meetings were held with the UPF State Executive Director, their core UPF staff, and local FFWPU District Pastor.

Launch of UPF Sub-Region 1 Intranet, May 2019
A UPF Sub-Region 1 Team intranet was launched in May, to provide staff the resources and information needed to be effective and successful in their mission.

Peace Road 2019 World Tour: New York Metro Area, August 10, 2019
The Peace Road 2019 World Tour: New York Metro tour included three segments:  Peace Road Bike Tour at Central Park; Peace Walk at United Nations;  One World Peace Festival at Learning Center, located at 4 West43rd Street, New York.  The event was co-organized by: UPF, ACLC and FFWPU.

Peace Road 2018 World Tour:  October 20, 2018, New York: Youth leading the world
The Peace Road 2018 World Tour: New York was organized and led by youth leaders. Yuki Jones served as the Peace Road Captain; Peace Road Youth Coordinators included: Youth Ambassador for Peace Resfred Arthur; Youth Ambassadors for Peace David Wolf, Youth Ambassador for Peace Stephanie Dias; and Naria McGee, President, Youth and Students for Peace.  The 2018 Peace Road was geared toward youth organizing and participation, symbolizing youth leading the world to peace.  Most of the Peace Road participants were youth.  The tour included a Peace Road Bike Tour around Central Park, led by Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Demian Dunkley, Miilhan Stephens, Yuki Jones and youth coordinators. Peace Road:Connecting the world through peace.

Together for Peace, World Youth Culture and Music Festival, April 2018: Youth peace conference
The Together for Peace World Youth Culture and Music Festival was the first UPF youth event held in the nation.  The event was led and coordinated by Ambassadors for Peace and youth leaders.  Youth leaders Yuki Jones and Yasutaka Ozawa served as event coordinators.  The youth conference, which included youth and Ambassadors for Peace presenters, included a panel on: “Elements for Peace”, a panel on “Arts and Culture for World Peace, and performances by youth and Ambassadors for Peace performing groups.  A Parade of Nations” was held, celebrating one world family.  During the Ambassadors for Peace Appointment Ceremony, eighteen youth were appointed Youth Ambassadors for Peace.  The event was sponsored by UPF, Youth and Students for Peace, UTS and supported by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Community Engagement.

Ambassadors for Peace Forums
In 2017 the first Ambassadors for Peace Forum was held in the nation, in New York, for Ambassadors for Peace.  Several Ambassadors for Peace Forums and seminars have been held, on topics such as:

  • Together for Peace: Development and sustainability for all
  • Nations of Peace: Principles and best practices of true leadership, character and governance
  • Necessity and impact of education and information disseminationfor world development in a rapidly changing world
  • Fostering Peace and Prosperity: global solutions

Puerto Rico Relief Fundraiser
UPF New York held a Puerto Rico relief fundraiser following Hurricane Maria, which  severely destroyed the island of Puerto Rico..  A total of $29,000 was raised, including $16,000 from an online crowdfunding campaign; and $13,000 in in-kind donations from Southwest, Airbnb, Humless and Lowes.

Puerto Rico Relief and Recovery Missions
Two Puerto Rico Relief and Recovery Missions were made to Puerto Rico, which included Phase I, held during March 2018, and Phase II, held in May, 2018:

Phase I
Phase I Puerto Rico relief and recovery mission included a construction project, replacing the roof of a FEMA case home in Cupey, PR, where the roof was destroyed during Hurricane Maria.  Relief and recovery mission also included distribution of solar lamps in Orocovis and Morovis, remote mountainousregions of Puerto Rico, still without power, six months after Hurricane Maria struck the island, leaving most of the island without power. The solar lamps bring light and hope.  Two solar lamp models were distributed:  The LuminAid 2-in-1 solar lamp model includes a USB port, to charge cell phones, and folds flat for storage.  The Solight solar lamp model distributed also folds flat.  This model is recognized by United Nations agencies, such as UNDP, and distributed in refugee camps and disaster areas.

Puerto Rico relief and recovery mission was sponsored UPF, UPF PR, Sun International Peace Federation, andlocal volunteers; the construction relief project was co-partnered with the Union Church of San Juan.

Phase II
Phase II Puerto Rico relief and recovery mission included installation of solar generator and solar panels in a community center in Adjuntas and Jayuya, PR, located in remote mountainous regions, still without power eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.  The solar generators powered one refrigerator and few lights in the community centers.  After installation of the solar generator and solar panels in Adjuntas community center, a local community leadersaid, while almost bursting into tears, “Thank you, we have not seen power here in six months”.

In support of sustainability and disaster preparedness, a workshop and presentation series, on the theme, “We are Prepared and Strong”, which covered the value and essentiality of solar energy, and disaster preparedness, was presented to executive representatives of: Habitat for Humanity, the PR Hotel and Tourism Association; Retailers Association of PR, and a workshop was held at the I.Y.T.A Yoga Studio, located in San Juan,whose President and Founder is an Ambassador for Peace.  (The I.Y.T.A Yoga Studio is one of the first yoga studios in Puerto Rico, training yoga instructors.)

The Puerto Rico relief and recovery missions was made in partnership with:Sun International Peace Federation, UPF Puerto Rico, Connecting Paths, PR, a local Puerto Rico NGOswhose President and founder is an Ambassadors for Peace,and Humless Corp.  Local volunteers and two U.S. volunteers served on the mission.

Video:  Phase II Puerto Rico Relief and Recovery Mission:  https://youtu.be/XQeIoKDHm_k


Maria L. Vargas
Regional Executive Director, N.E. (Sub-Region 1)
Universal Peace Federation USA
September 12, 2019