FFWPU USA: Generation Peace Academy, the leadership training program for Unificationist-born youth, hosted its Commencement Ceremony last Saturday, June 20, at the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York. Sixty-one first-year graduates, 17 second-year graduates and seven third-year graduates concluded their GPA experience together in a simple yet moving ceremony.
The emcee for the ceremony, Naokimi Ushiroda, president of CARP-USA, welcomed the roughly 200 friends and family of GPA participants in the chapel of UTS at 9 a.m., following the procession of the 85 graduates. He outlined the purpose of the program, which is to help participants develop a relationship with God and True Parents, study and apply the Divine Principle, and experience a public lifestyle and leadership.
Susan Bouachri, director of human resources for the National Ministry Team, led the invocation, inviting our Heavenly Parent to celebrate, together with the participants and their loved ones, their accomplishments throughout their time with GPA. In his welcoming remarks, GPA Director Roland Platt talked about the unique culture that this group of graduates created on the program. He testified to their love for each other, their sincerity in seeking out God throughout the year, and their purity of heart. Next came a video showing the year in review, created by GPA Media Director Christopher Stair. It was truly wonderful to see the year encapsulated through moving imagery and video.
Four graduates gave testimonies describing their defining moments while on GPA. Each outlined how they were able to create a stronger bond with God and True Parents through their GPA experiences. Those who gave the testimonies were: first-year graduate Erika Gordon, third-year graduate Irvin Granstrom, second-year graduate Yoshika Iwamoto, and third-year graduate Patrick Smyth. After the testimonies, the GPA choir performed a touching rendition of the Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth song “See You Again” that brought the graduates to tears as they sang together. Read More