The 3 rd Annual Commemoration of the Peace Walk Festival
Tbilisi – May 28 th , 2016 – The International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) will be hosting the ‘2016 3 rd Annual Commemoration of the Peace Walk Festival’ at 12pm on the 28 th of May in Rike Park and the Bridge of Peace of Tbilisi along with Georgian youth and women organizations. Around 1000 people will be in attendance. The title of the peace walk festival is the “Support of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War and Actualization of the Peace Curriculum”, and the program consists of a peace walk, flash mob of the youth, NGO booths, and various entertainment that can be enjoyed by all citizens.
The IPYG Peace Walk Festival that is being held for the 3 rd time this year began with the proclamation of the Declaration of World Peace by Man Hee Lee, the chairman of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) in front of the Peace Gate of South Korea in May 25 th , 2013. IPYG, the head of the youth sector of HWPL, holds the peace walk festival on May 25 th every year with the youth all over the world to commemorate the declaration as well as actualize it. The declaration that was proclaimed on that date describes the role of each sector of youth, women, press, and the leaders of each country. Three years later, on March 14 th , 2016, this declaration was actualized into the HWPL Proclamation Ceremony of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War. On this day, around 1000 key leaders all over the world attended and HWPL proclaimed the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War. Currently, the support pledge campaign of the declaration is being held worldwide. On this day, the HWPL Peace Advocacy Committee for the Implementation of the International Law on the Cessation of War and Achievement of World Peace made of youth and women organizations of Georgia will be performing a flash mob performance before the peace walk.
And the NGOs hosting various booths during the event will participate as the coordinators of the HWPL peace curriculum of the schools that have signed an MOU as a peace academy with HWPL during fall semester. The Peace Education that is specified in Article 10 of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War will suggest a turning point in the history of humanity that has commemorated war until now, and it will inspire the mentality of peace to leave a world of peace to the future generations as an inheritance. During the event, the participants can sign to support the declaration and receive a commemoration badge that includes the content of the declaration at the booths. HWPL is an international peace organization and leaders from all levels along with the youth and women all work together. HWPL hosted the HWPL World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Summit in September 2014 with around 2000 leaders worldwide and held the ‘Signing Ceremony for the Agreement to Propose the Enactment of International Law’. The HWPL International Law Peace Committee was established and the draft of the international law was proclaimed within a year. Six months later, on March 14, 2016, the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War was proclaimed. The Declaration contains contents such as proposal of answers to religious conflicts and spreading of the culture of peace, and urges for the support of current heads of states.
This declaration will also be sent to Giorgi Margvelashvili, the current president of Georgia.
International Human Solidarity Day Brings People Together for Peace
Raffles University of Johor Bahru hosted a celebratory event for International Human Solidarity Day on December 29th and 30th at Capital City Mall in Malaysia. The event was co-hosted by international NGOs called Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) to raise awareness of solidarity for peace-building. Also, the Capital City joined the event in partnership.
The event included various booths, presentations and exhibitions. The Peace Letter project, one of the most-crowded booths during the event, encouraged the participants to write hand-writing letters in support of the establishment of international law for peace.
According to the volunteer of the IPYG running the booth, the letters written by the youth all over the world have been delivered to the head of each state. He added that the contents of the letters include the voice of youth urging for the legally binding document that prevents any war-like activities based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
Several schools in Malaysia including Dato Osman Awang, Mohd Khalid are known to implement peace education in their curriculum. With the aim of fostering a culture of peace through peace education, HWPL carried out a survey during the event. The participants partook in the survey that collected the demands of the citizens for implementing peace education throughout the country.
Denise, Education Consultant in Raffles University Iskandar who headed the event, said ‘I hope that this event can be an example for our students like how to organize events in future, and also to bring our students and society to a next level to more concern the world's news. And we believe this will also help our students to be more responsible to the society. ’ in regards to the expected outcome of the event.
Co-hosts IPYG and HWPL also stated ‘ First I want to thanks for all the help in this events and being our partner until the end of the event. And I do hope that we can work together next time.’.
Religious undemocratic suppression raises human rights concerns in democratic South Korea
Pastors incite family breakdown
A New York Times advertisement space on November 28th showed a wolf in sheep’s clothing holding money and chain in his hands while a woman is bound and persecuted. Titled “Ban Coercive Conversion”, the non-profit ad is to try to raise awareness of a South Korean woman kidnapped by her own family and came to die when she was forced to dissuade herself from abandoning her religious faith.
Ms. Gu Ji In, the victim from this conversion program, was taken by their parents twice to two different places – Catholic monastery and resort pension for months. Though the religious background of the family is a Presbyterian church, major denomination in Korean Christianity, the Catholic space with the approval from the Catholic members was used for anti-human rights crime. This type of forceful conversion exceeds 1,000 victims with deaths and war-like mental traumas.
To restore justice, a public rally with 120,000 participants in Seoul back in January requested a legal punishment on this criminal activity by Christian pastors who make the “Coercive Conversion Program” to encourage parents to kidnap their children and forcefully threaten them to convert.
Without being exposed to direct involvement into the physical violence, the pastors avoid the criminal law and financially benefit from the parents. Since today, the Korean government has not released an official statement.
Korea's Mainstream Christianity Becomes hotbed of crime
The social and political influence of Christianity in South Korea has made the civil rights ignored. The Christian Council of Korea (CCK) was established in 1989 as a unified organization of Christian churches with the majority of the Presbyterian denomination. With millions of church members, the CCK exerted its influence in presidential elections and leveling heresy for firm control over social and economic power. For the last 10 years, Korean media frequently have reported the corruption of the CCK.
The CCK’s controversies have raised concerns over not only social division in the country but global conflict. During the Japanese colonial period, the Presbyterian church encouraged Korean youth to participate in the war waged by Japan in Asia and the Pacific. In 1938, the church collected money to purchase weapons and claimed it was “the order of God for Christians in Korea.”
Under the sponsorship from the military dictatorship in the 1970s, this tradition transformed into an anti-peace slogan. Recently, the president of the CCK officially said that the citizens who held candle lights in Seoul Square for the resignation of the former President Park Geun Hye are “flea” (insect) and held prayer service “for the fall of communist (President) Moon Jae In in the name of Jesus.”
Another prayer service by the CCK left remarks against the international norm, which encourages war behavior that threatens global order. A former official from the Park government said, “For the stability of South Korea, we need nuclear armament.”
Responsibility and role of religion questioned
Pastor Noel Malik, Director of Pakistan Minorities Alliance in Italy, emphasized, “Denominations who exercise those actions are not Christian. They are extremist and anti-Christian. I want to ask them. In which chapter and which verse are you following to do such bad action? If the Bible does not say, why are you doing that?"
H.E. Samuel Sam-Sumana, Former Vice President of Government of Sierra Leone, said, “Governments should be encouraged and supported to develop clearly defined policies and laws against forceful conversion and those policies and laws should be fully enforced.”
“Importantly too, there should be collaborative efforts established and undertaken by countries in the same region to track and deal with such violations of rights,” he added.
"There have been 137 cases of coercive conversion after the death of Ms. Gu since January this year. This shows how Christian pastors are cheapening the lives of people," said Ms. Jihye Choi, co-president of Human Rights Association for Victims of Coercive Conversion Programs (HAC) in South Korea.
"In order to root out this kind of anti-human right conversion, international interest is of tremendous importance," she highlighted.
HWPL Intercontinental WARP Office Meeting
During the 2018 HWPL World Peace Summit: 4th Anniversary of the WARP Summit around 100 religious leaders from 37 countries who have been participating in the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Offices up to now met on September 19th and held the HWPL Intercontinental WARP Office Meeting. The first 2 Intercontinental WARP Office Meetings were held online, but in honor of the 4th annual commemorative summit major participants from the WARP Office meetings gathered in Korea in a single location and took time to compare their scriptures.
The 1st Intercontinental WARP Office was held under the theme of ‘What is the method to eliminate evil in the scripture?’ and the 2nd Intercontinental WARP Office focused on the ‘Beginning and Origin of All Things’, so representatives of different religions compared their scriptures in these areas. The 3rd Intercontinental WARP Office focused on the founder of religion, which is one of the core topics among religions and faith communities, and a passionate discussion ensued. Also, the live online broadcasting that was streamed in 4 languages attracted the attention of many people.
Around 100 guests from Korea and abroad participated in the meeting and a panel of representatives from Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism discussed the main topic as well as responded to questions from the audience members. The focal point of this discussion was regarding “God”; however, the discussion was not limited to the god of a particular religion but rather expanded to encompass the transcendental existence of any being that is in control over all creation. In relation to the subject of “God” a number of questions were explored, such as ‘Who is he?’, ‘What is the law, cause and origin of nature?’, ‘If God exists, what type of existence does he have and what is his purpose?’, and ‘Why is there no direct communication with God?’.
This discussion first started with an O, X question being given to the panelists regarding ‘Is there a record of the existence of God in your scriptures?”. In response, the representatives of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism answered with O and the Buddhist representative answered with X. The panelists who answered O were then given time to share about the Creator and how all of creation was first created according to their respective religions. The Buddhist panelist who had answered with X explained that in Buddhist scriptures “the origins are not explained about in terms of a Creator, but rather about human life.”
Second, the question was asked regarding ‘Is the place where God is dwelling recorded in your scriptures?’, to which all panel representatives answered O aside from the Buddhist representative who answered X as with the first question. The Christian panelist explained that at the time of Moses God dwelt in the tabernacle and at the time of Solomon he resided in the temple. Also, the scriptures record that when Jesus came 2,000 years ago he himself was God’s temple and that we are also the temple. The Islam representative stated that, “It is said that there is a throne, but there is no telling where that throne is, but the angels are supporting it. Also, it is recorded in the scriptures that God is closer to you than your jugular vein.”
Third, time was given for audience members to ask questions to the panelists. It was stated that, “in Hinduism God is understood and personified as material things that we can see, and I think there is a problem in limiting God to human thought in such a way,” so the Hindu panelist was asked about his thoughts regarding this issue. The Hindu panelist answered, “God is named by each person individually.”
The final portion of the event consisted of a concert put on by the children’s choir where they sang “Heal the world, We are the world”, showing the heart that transcends religions, races and cultures. All participants promised that moving forward they would all participate in and further develop the WARP Offices in their own respective continents and countries.
These days there are many religions all around the world and disagreements and conflicts between such religions are continuing. Amid such circumstances, many religious leaders are regretful over this harsh reality and are thus putting in passionate effort into uniting and becoming one for the realization of world peace through active discussion. So far WARP Office meetings have been held online and offline in around 200 locations all over the world during the past 4 years. In the future as well, these WARP Office meetings will become the groundbreaking tool for citizens around the world to seek the truth and spread the true value of life, which is a culture of peace.
International Educators Design a Peaceful Future
Peace education is introduced in Guatemala, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Iraq in cooperation with an international NGO - HWPL
Government ministries in Guatemala, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Iraq signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with an international peace NGO, HWPL, to implement nationwide peace education in respective countries.
At the peace education session of the 2018 HWPL World Peace Summit held in Incheon, South Korea on 17 September, global educators and policymakers had a discussion on “Looking into a Future of Peace through Peace Education".
About the need for lifetime education, Dr. Barsihannor Zuhri, Dean of Universitas Islam Negeri Alauddin Makassar, pointed out that educational institutions seem unable to uphold the values of tolerance and democracy and prepare for students to be a critical generation with a knowledge and competency base.
“Effective strategy is needed to reduce the violence that often involves students in various educational institutions. One of them is by teaching the importance of ‘love of peace’ from an early age,” he added.
In an effort to promote a culture of peace by peace education, HWPL has introduced peace education for students and citizens by cooperation with 164 educational institutions from 12 countries including the United States, India, Israel, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
In January this year, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Philippines established a cooperative relationship with HWPL to integrate peace education in the curriculum of state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Dr. Ronald Adamat, Commissioner of the CHED, who signed the agreement back in January, spoke on the expectation to the peace education suggested by HWPL.
“Students would learn to uphold the principle of ‘unity in diversity’ and embrace the differences amongst people. They will be equipped with knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values in conflict resolution and peace work and further encourage them to work for the cessation of wars, hostilities, and disunity.”
On this occasion, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Kingdom of Cambodia and HWPL signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to execute peace education in nationwide in Cambodia.
In this regard, H.E. Rachana Khun, Under Secretary of State of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Kingdom of Cambodia said “HWPL Peace education is an important part of ‘Global Citizenship Education’. Particularly, the Ministry would like to request HWPL’s assistance in the writing of books on peace education, its teaching methodology, the training of peace educators, and activities to spread a culture of peace in the education sector in Cambodia.”
The host organization, HWPL (Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light), is an NGO affiliated with the UN ECOSOC and DPI engaging in peace-building projects including the establishment of international law for peace and peace education for students.
According to its official website, this forum was intended to create an environment for the feasibility of peace education and present the specific roles of the state, government, and schools for further development of peace education.
At the conclusion of the session, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL urged educators to be good teachers as well as good parents by the reason that they grow the mind of their students in saying, “This time of world is crying out for peace since it is surrounded by wars. The world is developing weapons of destruction rather than developing a culture of peace.
“Children take after their parents and follow the environment. What should the teachers bear fruits from the students? Children should learn peace from their homes and schools then our next generation will be naturally born as peace messengers in the environment of peace.”
Special Lecture for the Peaceful Unification of the Korean Peninsula Delivered by Former Presidents of Eastern European Nations
Path Toward the Advancement of the Unification of Korea Based on the Experience of Transitioning from Communist to Democratic Political Systems
The expectations of achieving peace on the Korean peninsula have greatly risen in light of the recent news of the success of the third Inter-Korean Summit held in Pyongyang and the signing of the “Pyongyang Joint Declaration of September 2018”. To support the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula, a long-cherished wish of both Korean citizens and all people across the globe, former presidents from Eastern Europe gave a special lecture in Seoul that was held under the topic of achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula and around the world.
For this special lecture, H.E. Ivo Josipović, Former President of Croatia, and Hon. Emil Constantinescu, Former President of Romania, both of whom experienced times under Communist rule and the transition to democracy, gave presentations on September 16th and September 20th respectively in the presence of around 2,000 Korean citizens.
Path to Peace in the Korean Peninsula:
Special Lecture by H.E. Ivo Josipović, the Former President of Croatia
On September 16th, the third president of Croatia H.E. Ivo Josipović gave a special lecture on the topic of the “Path to Peace in the Korean Peninsula”, which centered on the role of cultural exchange to achieve the successful reconciliation of Korea, at the Grand Hilton Hotel in Seoul.
According to the lecture, Croatia is a country that experienced mass atrocities as part of the Holocaust carried out the by Nazis during World War II. At that time music was used as a tool for Nazi propaganda; however, music also served as a method to inspire and build up the resistance and protests. H.E. Ivo Josipović explained the power of culture in the achievement of peace in the currently divided peninsula by introducing about this historical aspect of the former Yugoslavian region.
“I think music, especially traditional folk music that is derived from the same cultural roots, is a tool for sharing the same sentiments that are held by individuals from both sides of the border. Although many countries, including the United States, China and Japan, support the unification of Korea it is necessary for the two leaders to meet and discuss face-to-face. I believe that we can understand one another and accept each other’s differences through cultural exchanges, such as music and sports.”
He also emphasized the important role of political leaders to cease the ongoing conflicts in the world, citing the past case of the treaty signed by Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In relation to the establishment of a legally binding international law for peace, he added, “Presenting the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) to the United Nations as a resolution, with our intention to build peace in the world, is novel and important.”
Suggestions on the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula Based upon the Experiences throughout the Transition Period of Eastern Europe:
Special Lecture by Hon. Emil Constantinescu, the Former President of Romania
On September 20th, the “Lecture Concert for Peaceful Unification on the Korean Peninsula” was held with the third president of Romania Hon. Emil Constantinescu. The International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization (ISACCL), H.E. Gennady Burbulis, Former State Secretary of Russia and President of the Baltic-Black Sea Forum, and Petru Lucinschi, Former Moldova President, also attended and gave their congratulatory messages, lighting up the entire event.
Former President Hon. Emil Constantinescu prepared his speech under the theme of “Suggestions on the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula Based upon the Experiences throughout the Transition Period of Eastern Europe”, beginning his address with the memories of life under tyranny.
He stated, “I lived under a communist dictatorship that deprived the country and its citizens of freedom for 50 years. People were not allowed to move about freely and the political police monitored their private affairs, invading the privacy of all citizens. Both Romania and Korea were greatly influenced by World War II. This war caused the death of more than 25 million soldiers and over 73 million civilians, as well as created huge economic losses and led to the destruction of many world cultural heritage sites. The atrocities of the two wars in the first half of the 21st century proved to be insufficient for leaders to understand that peace cannot be strengthened only by managing frozen conflicts,” explaining the darkest times of Romania.
He then continued by reminding all in attendance of the power of the people who fought for freedom stating, “The incredible lack of fear and the solidarity of people forced the dictator to flee and freedom was gained. In one of history’s bright moments, people were willing to sacrifice themselves for the ideals of freedom and democracy. The answer regarding the future of freedom and democracy is the choice of each generation and, in the end, of each of us.”
He concluded the lecture by proclaiming, “In order to achieve the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula, leaders, politicians and even the youth must have the consciousness to achieve peace.”
As the final program of the event, an MOU promising further cooperation for peace in the Korean Peninsula and the world was signed between ISACCL, represented by its current president Hon. Emil Constantinescu, and HWPL, the international peace NGO that IPYG is affiliated with.
HWPL’s Chairman Man Hee Lee then delivered his congratulatory message to the audience stating, “In the Korean War, 4 million citizens were killed. Should we continue to point our guns and kill each other more? We must put down our weapons. The two leaders should hold hands in peace without having to feel the need to be noticed by any country in the world. We must achieve the peaceful reunification for the people of our country.”
Chairman Lee also expressed his gratitude to the two leaders saying, “I would like to express my sincere thanks to the two former presidents who delivered good lectures to the citizens of Korea with great concern and support. Now all people from all levels of society should become the messengers of peace to bring peace one step closer to us.”