Here’s an interview with CARP’s International Liaison, Nina Urbonya, on her college experience, international travel, and what it means to be a global citizen.
Tell us more about your college experience.
College was daunting especially in the beginning where many times, I found myself being the only foreign face in a classroom full of Korean students. It challenged me to see myself in a new way and to open up to a new culture and way of living. I had thought that Korean students were only interested in academics and that they were almost robotic in their studying but I discovered students with passions, dreams and a drive to use their talents to make their nation proud.
Throughout my time in college, I found that the conversations I had with my friends outside of the classroom were as insightful as those within the walls of the classroom. My three closest friends on campus were non-Unificationists and that allowed me the space to learn to articulate my beliefs and thoughts on various social aspects. They respectfully listened and I gladly listened to their thoughts. Our conversations would go on for hours, and we would sometimes agree and many times disagree on certain things, but because of the trust and respect, these conversations broadened our minds and allowed us to see from a different point of view.
What was your involvement with CARP before your current role and what was your experience?
My first two years of college, I stayed at a local CARP center where students from various colleges lived together. Being away from home in a foreign country, CARP helped me feel grounded and connected.
On campus, we met up once or twice a semester. The seniors or grad students would take us out to dinner and share many stories about what CARP was like in the past.
During my college years, CARP Korea also hosted annual World CARP conventions and I would help emcee the events thanks to my knowledge of Korean, Japanese, and English. It was at one of those CARP conventions in 2013 that I first met Naokimi and Teresa from CARP America.
In 2015, I attended the Global Top Gun Workshop in Korea where I got to meet amazing people from all over the world. We made so many global connections through the workshop, it would have been a pity not to keep them going. That is why I was hired by CARP America to develop those relationships and keep the network growing.
What do you do as International Liaison? Share with us some of your work and achievements since you started.
I connect CARP America to other CARP chapters around the world. With my knowledge of several languages, I am also able to facilitate communication between CARP leaders of various nations and help to organize and host international events/workshops such as the Global Top Gun Youth.
Since I started in 2015, I have connected with 86 countries around the world and have traveled to Europe and Asia to introduce and share our programs as well as understand how we can support each other in tangible ways.
I’ve also been able to support CARP Los Angeles on their annual Japan trip where we organize and host a CARP conference for students from America, Japan and Korea to share best practices and get to know each other better. It’s always very rewarding to see students gain new perspectives and understandings through these experiences and connections.
I also want people to know that they are not alone. So I try to connect communities and people as much as possible. Sometimes, starting out a CARP chapter alone might be daunting but there are other people out there who have gone through the same thing from whom we can learn. And most importantly, I want people to know that there are people all around the world who have the same vision and working towards the same goals.
What do you think it means to be a global citizen?
I think a global citizen is someone who has a big heart and mind, who can embrace the world. One who uses their talents to make a contribution to the world.
True Father said, “Think of the world as your stage in setting your goal.”
Start with your family, your school and your community but don’t stop there.
We’re lucky in America, we have the opportunity to meet many international friends without travelling very far. Get to know someone from another culture, cook them one of your favorite meals and invite them over or go out to their favorite ethnic restaurant. Experiences with people who grew up from a different background than us help us to see things in new ways. And it makes for very interesting conversations!
As a global citizen, we should be able to put our feet into the shoes of everyone around the world and try to feel and understand their perspectives.
How many countries have you been to? What is your favorite thing about traveling to new places?
17 countries so far. One of my favorite things to do is exploring local places like the market and observing the different things being sold and the way of life of the people. It’s fascinating to me when I discover things that might seem very strange to us but is considered normal in those countries. It really helps to push me beyond my small thoughts.
I also like to explore and admire the various landscapes; landscape in Austria is so different from that of Indonesia. I love trying out fruits and local delicacies that I’ve never seen before!
I’ve been lucky to have local friends in most of the countries I’ve travelled to. They have been very patient with my curiosity and told me many stories upon request.
Traveling can also help you to feel grateful for what you have back home. I visited several places last year where I stayed at very humble homes. Some houses had only cold showers, no AC despite the sweltering heat, some rooms had cockroaches crawling up and down the walls and some places used no toilet paper. Living in America, it’s easy to take things for granted. These humbling experiences helped me to be more grateful.
What advice would you give to students thinking about studying or traveling abroad?
I would highly recommend doing a home-stay (preferably with a family you know or have some connection with) even if it’s just for a few days. It will help you to learn the cultures and manners of the country in a very natural way. The family can also let you know when you do something that may be seen negatively in that culture and save you from embarrassing yourself or worse, offending others.
I’ve seen foreign students who come to Korea to study and only hang out with other foreign friends who speak English. They end up going home without really experiencing the culture or language! One way that I made some Korean friends in the beginning was by joining a table tennis club on campus. There is nothing better than sweating it out together and having fun to make new friends. So if you get the chance, join a club on campus.
If you’re going just to travel abroad, try to find out the stories behind certain landmarks or lifestyles, preferably from locals. They usually have many fun stories to share.
1.Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you are currently doing, including your involvement with CARP or youth activities.
I am a full time student at Pasadena City College studying Early Childhood Development to become an Elementary School Teacher. I work as a tutor part time at a middle school.
I am also a Board member for the PCC Chapter of CARP. My position on the board is one of the event coordinators. I help to create events for the members to learn and practice the seven principles. Every month as CARP we try to do one fundraising, social, and community service event.
2. What were 3 highlights of your trip to Japan last year?
Learning about how CARP was started and its purpose was very impactful for me. It’s easy as a local chapter that just started off to think of CARP as what is being created in the community. I remember thinking that I and the other board members were creating CARP. When in reality CARP has existed and had a purpose for a lot longer than our local chapter. Learning the history helped me to see a bigger picture and connect PCC to that picture.
Being able to connect to CARP students from Japan, Korea, and even other parts of America was a really great experience. It showed me that even though we are all doing the same thing we have very unique ways of getting to our goal. Also that even though we are all different and far apart we are all trying to achieve the same thing and we’re all working together. I loved the brotherhood/sisterhood ceremony we did because it really made this point clear to me.
Lastly, being put into groups of Japanese, Korean, and American CARP students and going out to get to know each other was so much fun! We were in groups of about seven people and got to choose what activity we wanted to do all together and afterwards we stayed at a CARP house and had dinner. It was a great experience because we got to be in small groups and really grow closer.
3. Did you learn something new/ gain a new perspective after the trip?
I gained a greater perspective on the importance of CARP. Before the trip I thought it was something to do because it was the thing that was being done. I did not really see the significance or value of it. Through this trip I saw how valuable CARP is for myself and my community. This is the place that I can learn about and practice living in God’s family. CARP teaches me how to be a better person and how to care for others. I also saw how valuable it is to give God’s word to people who have never heard it, how it can make such a big improvement to someone’s life and turn it around.
4. Were you able to implement or apply some of the things that you learned either in your personal life or as part of your CARP chapter’s strategy?
I was able to apply my new perspective into what I do in my local CARP Chapter. Now when we plan events or meetings or strategy, I don’t think of just PCC CARP. I try to think about Japan, about Korea, and how what we do here connects to them – how we can work with them, too.
5. Why did you decide to go again this year?
Last year I went because I was invited and CARP LA was planning it. I was able to gain a lot still, but not make really good use of my trip there. This time I want to go to really learn about the other CARP groups and inherit from them so I can share that with PCC CARP.
6. What are you most looking forward to on this year’s trip?
I’m looking forward to seeing people from last year, meeting new people, and really experiencing the spirit of CARP.
7. Would you recommend this trip to your friends? If yes, why?
Yes, because it is a great way to learn and to grow. True Mother shares often about the need for CARP, the need for educated youth. This trip is a way to understand more deeply her heart as well as start to go on the way she is asking university students and youth to go. Even if you are not in CARP I see it as a great way to be educated and connect to True Mother’s heart.
On April 13th, CARP Las Vegas held its grand opening for the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) chapter. The event brought together CSN students, CARP members, local Unificationists, and eight CSN professors and faculty.
CARP members were touched by a recent message given by Mother Moon (co-founder of CARP), where she expressed to CARP members nationwide to establish a culture of heart on their campuses.
In response to Mother Moon’s direction, CARP UNLV and CARP CSN members reached out to professors at both universities for several weeks before this grand opening in hopes to share this message.
The members were proud to be able to share the founders’ vision for CARP and for America at the opening ceremony.
The Grand Opening Program
With CARP UNLV president, Jinil Fleischman (read his testimony here), as emcee, the program started with a musical offering by CARP members Angelica Moraes and Kailey Teo. Angelica is a member of Apple Heaven USA and performed in Korea at Father and Mother Moon’s birthday celebration.
The two performances moved the hearts of the audience with an ode to America’s ideal.
Following a video highlighting CARP’s past activities, the new president for the CSN CARP chapter, Chungbom Katayama, then gave a presentation on the vision for CARP and the new chapter at CSN.
He testified that Father and Mother Moon are the ones who understand the root of the problems facing society and are determined to resolve them.
Two CARP members followed suit in sharing their testimonies. Ryota Naito shared about how studying the Divine Principle in CARP empowered him to practice true love and make a change in his own family.
Then, Angelica Moraes testified to Father and Mother Moon’s vision to create a culture of heart in America. She shared about her struggle with the self-centered culture that she experienced, but conveyed her hope to build a heavenly culture in sharing Father Moon’s words about how America was prepared by God for this specific purpose.
Akira and Makiko Watanabe, the directors of CARP Las Vegas, closed out the program with some concluding remarks and encouraged all the CSN faculty to be involved in teaching the youth to fight against a self-centered culture in order to create a culture of heart.
Professors Inspired by CARP
The CSN faculty were very moved by the program and by the vision of the CARP students. One professor had to hold in her tears because she was so moved by the values that CARP stands for.
Another faculty member expressed that the CARP students can accomplish great things.
“The testimonies given can bring hope to other students. Because you guys were able to go through the experience, you can give hope to others who may be going through the same thing.”
He was so inspired by the spirit of the CARP members that he volunteered himself to provide mentoring for the club on a weekly basis.
A third professor, who teaches Public Speaking at CSN, was very moved by the speeches given by the students. He commented that they have a very amazing quality in their speeches, which he called “the CARP factor.”
One professor who had a CARP student in his class encouraged all of his students to skip part of his class in order to attend the opening ceremony. Many professors expressed that they are eager for the next CARP event at CSN, and are looking forward to collaborating more with the club members.
Praise to a Successful Campaign
CARP Las Vegas has been active on the UNLV campus since August 2014. At the start of 2017, CARP students dedicated themselves to creating another Las Vegas chapter at CSN by engaging in outreach on the campus.
With sincere devotion, they were successful in their campaign to recruit enough students and find faculty advisors to establish CARP as an official club at CSN.
The new and more seasoned members are excited for how they can continue to share the founders’ vision for the young adults at CSN and all of Las Vegas!
Contributed by David Coyne, Secretary of CARP NJIT
On Monday April 10th, the NJIT CARP Chapter organized a Japanese Cultural Festival that was held in the NJIT Campus Center Ballroom A. The purpose of this event was to offer an opportunity for all students to learn a little bit about Japanese culture through various foods, games, and art.
The chapter had been planning this event meticulously for the past two months and received funding for all activities from the school. Thus, all food and entertainment was provided free of charge. As a result, the event garnished significant interest all throughout the campus, with over 200 students participating in activities throughout the entirety of the event.
The main attraction of the event was the various Japanese dishes and refreshments that were provided; edamame, Japanese curry, sushi, and green tea ice cream amongst others. All the food was prepared by the Japanese adults within CARP community, thus, ensuring the cultural authenticity of the meals.
Additionally, the festival itself hosted a wide range of different activities that kept students engaged for hours. The activities featured during the event were: Origami, Calligraphy, Self Portraits, Anime/Manga, a Photo Booth, Kendama, and Palm Reading.
Each of these booths were run by volunteers from the community. What appealed most to the attendees was just how engaging and unique all the activities were. This festival was not merely a showcasing of Japan, but an opportunity to truly experience different facets of the culture itself.
This was done by providing step by step examples of how to create different objects at the origami booth, teaching people drawing techniques used in anime, providing kimonos to dress in for photos, writing students names in traditional calligraphy, and much more.
The two most popular booths that had people lined up until the end were Palm Reading, and the Self-Portrait booth. One unique aspect of the Palm Reading booth was that the Palm Reader would speak Japanese, while another volunteer would translate the fortunes into English. The Japanese Self Portrait booth was just as unique, as each drawing was in a Japanese animated style.
The large interest in the event on Monday allowed the NJIT CARP Chapter to establish a greater presence on campus. Throughout the event, greeters were stationed at the front doors, providing flyers with the CARP Core Principles to spread information about the club.
In addition, throughout the event at least one core member of the NJIT CARP Club was stationed at the registration desk to provide any additional information about CARP to the attendees.
In honor of the Easter holidays, we take a look at the different facets of “forgiveness.”
A sculpture of two people embracing with the title “Reconciliation.”
What could you forgive? Try to imagine the worst possible incident and imagine if you could find a way to forgive.
Take for instance this excerpt from an essay titled “Forgiveness saves your bacon” in “Searching for SanViejo: Notes to my Younger Self,” a book of essays and observations by Larry Moffitt.
“A man steals $10,000 from the loose change basket on his father’s dresser. He flees his home and spends most of it on blackjack, vodka shooters, and fast women.
The rest he squanders.
Too ashamed to go home, he becomes a drifter. After sinking to the depths of degradation, and weary of his job tuning the piano in a whorehouse, he returns to his family home, and to his father, with a remorseful heart. He hands his father everything he has left, which is two $5 poker chips.
The father tearfully embraces the son, and orders that the fatted calf be killed for a feast. This your basic repentance and forgiveness. Forgiveness is something that was invented, simply because it had to be.”
The concept of forgiveness wasn’t invented by Jesus, but he certainly stressed the concept of forgiving others, even your enemy, with his final words on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Forgiveness might seem like a religious concept, a task that only the most pious undertake, because it is a practice and teaching of many religious traditions. But in reality everyone stands to benefit from forgiveness, especially if you are the one doing the forgiving.
In this discussion around forgiveness in honor of the Easter holiday, we’ll introduce an aspect of forgiveness from which CARP students especially can benefit. By looking at the process of forgiveness not only from an individual level but from a group perspective, students and others can begin to embody part of CARP’s vision to become global citizens.
Benefits of Forgiveness
Flowers starting to bloom in the springtime such as now – a symbol of renewal.
To forgive is to stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake according to the Oxford Dictionary.
This process of changing one’s emotion and attitude towards an offender is actually an intentional and voluntary act that does not even require the offender to say “I’m sorry” (though it couldn’t hurt).
Creates hope in your life and in the greater community
A couple of CARP students illustrate a time they have forgiven and its effect on them.
“I failed a college course many years ago and it ended up snowballing enough to lose my desired degree. I felt like a failure and spent years barely getting by. Thanks to my supportive parents and doing multiple reading conditions with them, I took the first steps to forgiving myself and attempting to do more. It has taken years of recovery to get to where I am now, but I am proud of where I am and look forward to what the future brings.” – Kenei, CARP student
“The last time I forgave someone else was today, when I held the door open for this girl behind me, and she just walked right through without any acknowledgment whatsoever. In my head I was like, “Girl, please! You don’t even say thank you, or even give a simple head nod? Sheesh.” Smh (shaking my head). But then I told the story to a friend, and they said, “Maybe she was just really caught up in her own thoughts to realize you were intentionally doing something nice for her.” And then I realized the importance of not judging too quickly, considering other possible realities beyond my own, and acting with care without the expectation of receiving anything in return. So, I forgave that girl. And I forgave myself for the mistake I made of judging her.” – Kristin, CARP student
Forgiving as an Individual
An image of “forgiving.”
It isn’t easy to forgive. Mahatma Gandhi said “the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”
Just like we can train our muscles to become stronger, we can train our hearts and minds to develop a forgiving attitude. Don’t wait for someone else to say “I’m sorry.”
The process of forgiving someone else or even yourself can start with you and it’s a smart decision to develop a forgiving attitude since the benefits seriously outweigh the costs.
START training your heart and mind to regularly forgive and let go of your annoyance, anger, or resentment. Here are a few steps to try out, but an even stronger result will come from you putting in the effort to develop your own strategy for forgiving.
Relax your mind and heart. This might seem an impossible task when someone or even yourself has just hurt you, but you will make wiser decisions when you are calm.
Examine the situation deeply. Instead of ignoring the wrong that was done to you, look deeper and try to understand the situation and accept that it happened.
Accept your feelings. It’s crucial to not condemn yourself or even reward yourself for the feelings that follow an offense – analyze your feelings about a situation and accept them, but don’t necessarily act on them.
Say “I forgive you.” Try not to brush off a situation and instead communicate your feelings towards the someone that hurt you in some way. An “I forgive you” as opposed to an “It’s okay” has a much more powerful effect on both parties, too.
Forgiving as Part of a Group
“Wall of Forgiveness” at HBC building after the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot in Vancouver, CA.
On an individual level, the forgiveness process isn’t easy but it’s very achievable and even somewhat commonplace since people understand the benefits of forgiveness to some extent.
Now imagine specific groups forgiving one another – a community forgiving a company that destroyed their livelihood, one race forgiving another race for the racist behavior, one nation forgiving another nation for atrocities committed.
It’s not so easy to imagine, is it?
Yet, large-scale forgiveness processes have occurred and continue to be researched. You can check out this brochure on forgiveness research findings put out by the United Nations (UN) and the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2006.
As part of CARP’s mission to inspire and empower students to become global citizens, we encourage you to think globally when considering when, where, and how to forgive.
Considering the state of the world today – terrorist activity across the globe, ideological conflicts within our countries, racial conflicts within our communities – an attitude of forgiveness could be the healing power we need.
The benefits to forgiveness as part of group are the same to those on an individual level. As a global citizen, think of areas in which you need to change a negative attitude into a positive one towards another group and try to rectify that through the process of forgiveness.
A habit of forgiving is a tool not only for personal peace, but also for world peace.