Religious Youth Service
A Project of the Universal Peace Federation
Young leaders of all faiths
serving others for the well-being of
our global human community
To help young people
peacemaking skills by
providing servicelearning opportunities
based on the universal
principle of living for
the sake of others.
RYS is built upon three pillars to create a
“culture of compassion”
Understand people of
many faiths and ethnic
Learn to respect one
another and develop a
“heart of compassion”
Learn and experience
positive power to make
Briefings by leaders
in various fields
Benefit from their
Develop a network
Founded by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon at the
Assembly of World Religions in 1985
Over 250 projects have been held in 60 nations.
Planting trees and helping at an
orphanage in Tirana
Dr. Frank LaGrotteria, Director of RYS
200 White Plains Road, New York, NY 10591
(914) 631-1331 ex 107
Youth from throughout Albania and other parts of Europe assembled in Tirana for a project that included planting trees and gardens in a public park August 20-26, 2012. They also staged plays about the importance of serving others, cultivating character, and developing leadership skills; engaged in interfaith dialogue; and shared homemade desserts with children in orphanages.
Youth from several nations assembled at a village in central Estonia August 13-20, 2012, where they renovated a monument to the victims of communist repression and made improvements at the Lutheran church's summer café. Lectures, spiritual readings, group discussions, work activities, sightseeing, and reflection times helped build bonds among participants from the Baltic nations in this first Religious Youth Service project in Estonia.
Twenty-two people came together to live and work as an interfaith and international community near the Black Sea in western Georgia July 21-30, 2012. Lectures, readings, group discussions, work activities, visits, sightseeing, reflection, and spiritual practices gave people insights into the culture and faith of the people of Georgia. Participants came from Georgia's neighboring nations in the Caucasus Mountains as well as Russia, England, Netherlands, and Cote d'Ivoire.
Thethird Religious Youth Service in Georgia since 2011, the July 20-28, 2013 program aimed at uniting young people and helping them to resolve conflicts through grassroots diplomacy and interreligious dialogue, promoting dialogue between cultures and rapprochement of the peoples of the South Caucasus. Sixteen volunteers from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Russia, representing the Armenian and the Georgian Orthodox Church, Islam, and the Unification Church, participated in the program “Youth Leaders: Joint Service for Peace” in the city of Zugdidi in west Georgia. Participants visited a Georgian Orthodox Church and a mosque and helped renovate the vast Zugdidi Botanical Garden.
Young people from several Caribbean nations and the US did cleaning, painting, and landscaping at an elementary school on Jamaica's northeast coast August 3-16, 2012, while practicing teamwork and sampling Jamaica's spicy cuisine. No repairs had been made at the school for the previous five years, and the much-needed facelift was part of the preparations for the new school year.
UPF organizers in Moldova had long envisioned hosting a Religious Youth Service project in their nation to build on their interfaith initiatives. That dream became a reality when 14 young peacebuilders from four nations assembled in Ialoveni, near Moldova's capital, for a week-long project August 5-12, 2012. They worked at a geriatric center, participated in interactive learning experiences, visited places of worship, and savored the nation's historic monuments and natural beauty.
“Building Friendship through Service” was the theme of a project at the Metta Center orphanage and monastery in Banepa in the Kavre District of Nepal December 2-9, 2012. The 47 participants from Russia, Egypt, Spain, Pakistan, and Bangladesh as well as Nepal took part in community-based service, value education, leadership training, interfaith visits and dialogues, and cross-cultural learning experiences.Thirty-six young people participated in service-learning activities June 2-9 in a village in central Nepal. They developed leadership and communication skills, experienced Nepal's rich and diverse faith traditions, and helped build a library at the secondary school and renovate the community drinking water system.
Bangladeshi, Russian, and Nepali youth arrived inNuwakot in central Nepal for a Religious Youth Service project that included interactive learning opportunities and painting a school June 1 to 7, 2013. The 30 participants were joined by local students for the educational and service programs. The Sri Bhairum Higher Secondary School was established more than 55 years ago. It is the only higher secondary school in this area, and many students come from far away to study in this school. This school has more than 600 students from grades 1 to 12.
Around 80 youth leaders including staff, volunteers, and participants from all provinces of Pakistan assembled in Multan, Punjab Province, October 12-19, 2012, to spend time together as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural community. They engaged in various service-learning activities including visiting religious sites and working to provide a safe drinking water system and toilets for the Hindu slum dwellers in Multan. This first Religious Youth Service project in Pakistan offered education, training, and opportunities for the participants to develop their capacities as peacebuilders.
Participants from Russia, Estonia, and Latvia assembled in the beautiful hall of the House of Writers near St. Petersburg for a Religious Youth Service project January 24-27, 2012, helping clean the building and visiting religious sites in the area.
When a UPF organizer in Siberia read a newspaper report on July 7, 2012, about the flooding in southwestern Russia, he immediately determined to help, even though he lives in Novosibirsk, 4,140 km to the east. He organized a Religious Youth Service project with a team of ten people from various parts of Russia, who after a two-day train trip assembled and began clearing out rubbish, erecting tents to shelter the homeless, and organizing donations that poured in from throughout the nation.
In celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week, a Religious Youth Service program took place February 1-5, 2013, in Ufa, capital of Russia's Bashkortostan. It brought together young people of different faiths to promote a tradition of tolerance in relations between different religious traditions and encourage fruitful cooperation for peace.
Local and international youth joined to build a much-needed community center December 15-21, 2012, for displaced by the civil war and now living in Mahawewa in the Puttlam District of northwest Sri Lanka. This building will be used for meetings, self-help programs, family functions, cultural activities and social celebrations.
In spite of predictions that the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia would be hit by tropical storm Ernesto, an international team of youth assembled August 2-13, 2012, and did clean-up and painting at a school as well as organizing activities for its students. The schedule included a sports day with local youth and a talent show for the community.
"Dushanbe – City of Peace," was the theme of the first Religious Youth Service project in Tajikistan, which took place May 25 to 31, 2013. Activities included visiting religious and historic sites and taking orphan children on an outing. The week concluded with visiting an Ismaili shrine, cleaning and painting a fence at the St. Nicholas Cathedral, and a friendly football tournament.
A Religious Youth Project in northern Thailand on the theme of “Interreligious Cooperation and Service Shaping Character and World Peace” from March 15 to 19, 2012, promoted understanding, friendship, and harmony among youth from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
Planning for the July 9-13, 2013, Religious Youth Service program in Washington, DC, began months earlier, inspired by the successful model carried out in Albania last year. Initially outreach was to the diplomatic community. The embassies of Botswana, Ghana, and Timor-Leste responded. The daughter of the Botswana ambassador and the daughter of the Ghana ambassador were among the 18 participants.