The third annual CARP Winter Ball, billed as “A Royal Affair,” drew nearly double the number of participants as last year and rave reviews from attendees. The gala on Dec. 30, 2011 was attended by more than 900 Unificationists from around the United States as well as overseas to kick of the New Year in the Hammerstein Ballroom of the Manhattan Center.
“This year was by far the largest Winter Ball,” said Victoria Roomet, newly appointed president of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) and MC for the Winter Ball. “It is hard to think that just two years ago having over 300 people attend the event seemed like such a huge, unattainable goal, and yet now we easily had almost 1,000 people attending with an awesome energy in the Hammerstein. We wanted to emphasize the importance of creative forms of expression, so we also hosted our first Arts-and-Culture Symposium the day before the ball, and I thought it was a great opportunity to highlight and enjoy talent from across the country.”
A live string quartet graced the start of the evening with a classical flair as elegantly-dressed attendees helped themselves to h’orderves and mocktails. Roomet offered a warm welcome to young and old Unificationists. Seijin Tranberg, president of Georgia Gwinnet College and spokesperson for religious freedom in Japan, introduced the keynote speaker, Rev. In Jin Moon.
Rev. In Jin Moon, along with representatives of CARP, awarded $250, $500 and $1000 scholarships to college students who had won prizes in an essay contest. The winners of the “Nurturing a Spiritual Life” category were Kimisei Miyaki from Pace University (first place), Katya Beebe from Seton Hall University (second place) and Josh Starr from Berkeley City College (third place). The winners of the “Academic Excellence” category were Sammi Vanderstock from Marist College (first place), Tanya Triggol from Indiana University (second place) and Janie Kinney from Fordham University, School of Social Services (third place). Finally, the winners of “Creating a Generation of Peace” category went to CARP chapters within universities: the University of California, Berkeley CARP (first place), the University of Washington in Seattle CARP (second place) and the University of Maryland CARP (third place).
Musical entertainment included songs from the Boston Lovin’ Life Band, a guitar solo by Generation Peace Academy graduate Henry Legay and a dynamic performance by The Rumble, a young band from Maryland. Lovin' Life ballroom dance instructors Jana Iparraguirre and Ariana Moon, together with their dance partners, demonstrated the beauty of ballroom dancing through a Viennese Waltz and a Chacha, respectively. Sonic Cult then roused the audience to its feet with several original numbers including favorites such as “Own The Game” and “Up And Up.” Finally, Generation Peace Academy, dressed in vibrant ballroom dance gowns rented from the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team, performed a synchronized Chacha and a Viennese Waltz and then eagerly invited friends and family onto the dance floor.
“Bring Out That Royalty Within”
Roomet told the gala crowd: “The theme of this gala is ‘A Royal Affair,’ which goes along with things that have been happening this year, such as the royal wedding, and with the message of our Senior Pastor, who is always encouraging us to tap into the divinity within. I know that our True Parents always see the royalty within us, so what we want to do in this gala is to bring out that royalty within and let it shine for the world to see. I think you all look amazing and beautiful tonight. I’m really excited to be culminating this year with the Winter Ball tonight and the New Year’s Eve party tomorrow.
“While you [college students] are thriving at being leaders on your campuses, be proud of who you are and where you come from so we can all work together as a beautiful community. There’s one person here tonight who has really exemplified this on his own campus at Georgia Gwinnet College. He’s been doing some incredible things. He’s currently a junior and he’s basically taking over his campus as the student body president. Right now he’s in the middle of a bike trip across the United States with his friend Josh Wildman to raise awareness about the faith-breaking issue in Japan. Let’s take a moment to see a video about their trip.”
The video documented Seijin’s cross-country bicycle trip so far, which has already drawn the attention of five TV stations and local newspapers in Dallas.
Seijin Tranberg: “Do Impossible Things”
“Good evening everyone. First of all I want to say a huge thank you to everybody. Josh Wildman and I are in the middle of our bike trip, and we just flew from Dallas Texas last night to be here. This whole bike trip has stimulated a lot of interest, and we’ve run into a lot of people who were inspired not just because we are biking across the United States but because of the cause for which we’re doing it – to raise awareness of the need for freedom of faith for all peoples across the world. A lot of people have been thanking us and saying, 'Wow, this is so inspiring,' but I want to put thanks where it’s due, and that’s to God and True Parents. Let’s give a hand to God and True Parents!
“I also wanted to give particular and special thanks to our head pastor Rev. In Jin Moon. I have the distinct honor of being able to introduce Rev. In Jin Nim, who I feel has really instilled in me this passion and love for life, the strive for internal excellence and external excellence and everything that I’ve been able to do. When I started college three years ago, In Jin Nim had just started her ministry. It was so incredible to have In Jin Nim encourage us to achieve internal and external excellence and create a generation of peace for the entire world.
“Whenever I hear this message, it’s more than just, 'Go get a good job, and raise a nice, happy family.' Those things are incredibly important too, but instead of just hearing 'Do well,' I hear, 'Do impossible things! Win the Nobel Peace Prize! Become the President of the United States! Become the next Beyoncé!' That’s the kind of message that pushed me in college, that instilled in me this vision to take my life, run with it, make something beautiful with it and offer it back to Heavenly Father and our True Parents.
“So I feel that I’m just a product of In Jin Nim’s vision, and that I am one of many more to come. I feel that many of you in this audience are going to be the next superstars who are going to make a better world. I hope you guys love each other as much as I love you guys, under our God and under our true Parents and the guidance and love of our Senior Pastor, Rev. In Jin Moon. So if everyone could do one favor for me, give the loudest, most resounding applause you’ve ever given and please rise and welcome our head pastor, Rev. In Jin Moon.”
Rev. In Jin Moon: “You and I Can Change the World”
“Welcome to the third Winter Gala of CARP here at the beautiful Manhattan Center. All of you look so beautiful, and I’m sure our True Parents would be delighted to be in our midst, but they are leaving for Korea this evening and send you their greetings and their love. Our True Parents have not just inspired us but have inspired many thousands of people around the world, and our True Father, even into 90 years of age, is working hard day and night, always thinking about how we can create peace on earth.
“Our international President, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon is on his way back from North Korea. He went there as a representative of True Parents to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our True Parents’ meeting with Kim Il Sung to encourage a peaceful reunification of North and South Korea. Now you know that Kim Jong Il has passed away at the age of 69, and the power has been transferred to his younger son, Kim Jong Un. At this important time in history where a great deal of fear has been generated because of skirmishes between North and South Korea, we have to understand that our True Parents, as God’s representatives and as the leaders who have a prophetic understanding of history, know the work that needs to be done.
“When our International President returned from commemorating this 20th anniversary, True Parents sent him right back to North Korea to be at the funeral of Kim Jong Il and encourage the North Korean government to seek a peaceful reunification of the two Koreas. Our True Parents very much prayed for Korea and for the United States to exercise its power in a way that will engender a new millennium of peace.
“When our True Parents think about out CARP students, they see you as the generation of peace. We have to understand that as dignified human beings, we need to use our lives wisely to raise better generations to come. We have to realize that everything comes from God. No matter how different our backgrounds may be, we all come from a common parent. We are all eternal sons and daughters of God, in that we are not just put into this earth to become dust in the wind. Each of us has a purpose and the responsibility to live our life with compassion, empathy and altruism.
“Victoria Roomet and Seijin Tranberg are just two out of the wonderful men and women around the world who are a part of the CARP family. So when we think about CARP, we need to think about what we’re going to do with our four years in college to be that embodiment of Generation Peace. We have a faith-breaking issue, and more than 4,300 brothers and sisters in Japan have been abducted and abused over the last three decades. When I became the Senior Pastor and the CEO of HSA-UWC, I together with my brothers, the International President Rev. Hyung Jin Moon and the Chairman of the Tongil Foundation, Kook Jin Moon, decided to do our best to liberate our brothers and sisters in Japan. Japan’s constitution guarantees religious freedom. That freedom must exist for our Unificationists as well. But Japan’s government has been neglecting the pleas of our 4,300 brothers and sisters. Often people ask, “What does America have to do with this issue?” America has everything to do with it, because many of our couples are married to Japanese brothers and sisters. So if we only think about ourselves and do not fight for our brothers and sisters’ simple right to be legitimate citizens who can exercise their right to religious freedom, how can we let Japan call itself a country that is governed by its constitution? These are the questions we’ve been asking the good men and women on Capitol Hill.
“The incredible thing about Seijin is that he decided that he’s not going to wait for his Senior Pastor to solve this problem – he’s going to be an active participant in putting an end to the faith-breaking taking place in Japan. Here a member of the younger generation is bringing this issue onto his campus, getting his fellow colleagues to understand what is taking place, saying, 'Enough is enough, we are all children of God, we all should live as one family.' If we cannot be proud Unificationists, what good are we in college? Are we just going to bury ourselves in our books for four years? Why should we just be good students? Why can’t we be more? Why can’t we be conscientious citizens of the United States? You and I can change the world. One person like Seijin can change the consciousness of his university and now he’s waking up his brothers and sisters around the United States. Even though I talk to men and women on Capitol Hill, it takes young people like you to make a difference. I’m proud to say that we now have a coalition of congressmen who will be traveling with us to Japan in January to put the right kind of pressure on the Japanese government.
“Use your time in college to find your calling in life, but while you are in this process, please be made aware that there are many things you can do while on campus. You can shake up American by becoming that agent of change, by being involved. Young men and women of this great country, think about who you are and what you’re going to do, but at the same time remember that we are not just an American family, but we are a worldwide family. Be grateful in your hearts for God and True Parents, because without them, none of us would be standing here under the roof of the Manhattan Center.”
Contributed by Ariana Moon.