Peace Spelling Bee Competition: Inspiring Future Generation to Cherish Peace
Moroccan Youth Organization Volunteered to Promote the Value of Peace and Develop Global Communication Skills of Competitors.
AIT MELLOUL, 29 April – A global English spelling competition was held in the cultural complex of Aït Melloul by Moroccan Association of Youth's Access Alumni (MAYA), a committed youth group benefited from the English Access Microscholarship Program by the United States Department of State.
28 student competitors from Agadir, Inezgane and Aït Melloul competed with each other to find correct spelling of around 200 English words such as coexistence, philanthropy as well as extremism, genocide, which are distinctively dedicated to the theme of ‘peace and war.’
Mr. Omar Bourass, the president of Association of Parents and Teachers of Saada High School, addressed “Aït Melloul is a small town and known for its multi-cultural ethnicities such as Amazigh and Sahara people. All these elements make it so far from adopting a foreign culture or language. We don’t see these kinds of contest here in Aït Melloul or in Agadir, despite the fact that we’ve got the brilliant students in the region when it comes to English. I’ll always support MAYA in the making of such events that also support peace” Saada High School and Campus University Aït Melloul supported this event.
Not only contributing to the development of global communication competency of the local students, MAYA provided student competitors and audiences with the opportunity to reflect upon the value of peace in collaboration with its international partner, International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), an international youth organization with whom it shares the same vision of youth engagement in peacebuilding.
Mr. Adnane Abderrahmane, the vice president of MAYA said, “As a young leader in MAYA association, I always proposed the idea of organizing a peace-related event, and the chance finally showed up with the IPYG. The whole vocabulary list related to war and peace was specifically made to encourage youths and teens to engage peacebuilding and also so that they could start reading and analyzing the ways and methods of bringing world peace.”
Before starting the 1st round of the competition, the congratulatory video from the IPYG was presented and it addressed that the global community should not leave words such as ‘refugee,’ ‘genocide,’ and ‘massacre’ to the future generation, but rather brighten the word ‘peace’ and ‘harmony,’ by working to stop wars and conflicts which are severely violating human rights.
Farah Galil, the third prize winner of the competition said, “When it was time for the IPYG video exhibition, I was already on the stage with the other competitors stressing out. [But] as the video started, I was overwhelmed with a story of a loving and caring mother raising her son for good, only until war came and took it away. The introduction video really got my attention and made me motivated and curious about how can we as a youth to support peace more.”
The prizes were awarded to Mouna Wamra and Imane Majidi of Lbakkali high school, and Farah Galil of Saada high school in order. The next competition will be held on March next year.
MAYA aims to continuously introduce the global youth movement for peace. IPYG with partnered youth associations around the world are spreading a culture of peace through peace movements such as walks, seminars, youth camps and public art projects.
Documentary on International Cooperation for Peace in Mindanao Premieres in the Philippines
A documentary film about the international peacebuilding efforts for Mindanao in the Philippines, one the world's long-term conflicts sparked by violence that left over 120,000 deaths and millions of displaced persons since the 1960s was released and screened in the Philippines.
In celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month, a peace documentary titled “Great Legacy” premiered in a cinema in Davao City on the evening of September 6, 2022. Around 500 representatives from the government, education sector, media, as well as civic society leaders, religious leaders across the country and peace advocates from Mindanao have attended.
The documentary was produced by SMV Media Group, a broadcast company based in Seoul, South Korea, in collaboration with Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international non-profit organization affiliated with the UN ECOSOC advocating for global peace. The film showcased HWPL and actors who engaged in peace-related activities in Mindanao.
Davao City Mayor Baste Duterte congratulated by saying, "By showing people documentaries and films on peace, we may encourage more to be one with us in our peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts for our communities."
HWPL’s peace movement in the Philippines started when HWPL Chairman Lee Man-hee, a Korean war veteran and peace activist, visited Mindanao several times since 2013. He mediated a civilian peace agreement signed by Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla and then Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” G. Mangudadatu on January 24, 2014 in General Santos City. Before the audience of 300 people including politicians, university professors, religious leaders, and students, the representatives on that day promised to cooperate in ceasing the conflict and building peace especially in the Mindanao region which has long suffered the aftereffects of war.
This agreement became the starting point of HWPL in raising public awareness about peace not only in Mindanao but throughout the Philippines, based on the universal principles of mutual understanding, respect, and harmony. HWPL’s peace initiatives include law enactment for peace, interfaith dialogues, peace education, and youth and women empowerment, which has brought leaders in different countries to support peace in Mindanao.
In the film, Martin Lee Hojian, former chairperson of the UN Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, praised HWPL led by Chairman Lee, and the Filipino people who had a keen passion for peace. Also, Nabil Tirmage, Asia Pacific Broadcasting Development Organization program manager, said that the civil peace agreement in 2014 is an “amazing case of realization of peace that the world should study”.
“The conflict in Mindanao has been a major variable in not only in Southeast Asian but global situation. The establishment of peace in Mindanao was a global task and required constructive intervention from the international community. In particular, it will be possible to understand through this documentary film that the efforts at the private sector, like HWPL in Mindanao, are the foundation for peace to settle down,” said an official of HWPL.
SMV Media Group announced that the documentary film will be accessible through various channels in different countries including broadcasting stations and multiplex theater.
Global Leaders in Public and Private Sectors Call for United Voice for Peace as an Institution
On September 18th, the 8th Anniversary of the September 18th HWPL World Peace Summit was held online with the theme of ‘Peace as an Institution: A Foundation for Sustainable Development’. This event held across the world in 146 countries including offline event in Ethiopia, Tanzania and so all, with 5,000 participants aired online to reaffirm the importance of the sustainable development guaranteed by institutionalizing peace while the global community has yet to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and faces another threats caused by the Russian-Ukraine conflict.
Since September 18th in 2014 when the peace summit was held for the first time, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international peace NGO under the UN ECOSOC, has called for solidarity for peace building at the global level through collective actions with various actors including heads of state, ministers, law makers, religious leaders, educators, youth and women leaders, and reporters. This annual summit shares peace activities and achievements in cooperation with governments and civil society around the world every year.
Regarding the cause of peacebuilding at the global level, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, “The global village has suffered from the unexpected COVID-19 that has hit every country. People are not alone in the midst of difficulties. We live in the same global village, and we are neighbors and families. Each one of us is the one who are obliged to make our world a better place to live. And shouldn't we pass on our good world to our descendants?”
H.E. Marinus Bee, the chairperson of the National Assembly of Suriname, expressed his willingness to establish peace at the legislative level by saying, “The role of parliaments in building peace and preventing conflict is crucial.” He added, “In collaboration with HWPL the National Assembly would like to establish a framework of cooperation in achieving cessation of war and spread a culture of peace through activities to raise awareness of peace and encourage policies and programs regarding peace education.”
Octavia Alfred, Octavia Alfred, Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and Nation Excellence of Dominica, said that HWPL’s peace education was introduced to the national school curriculum in Dominica as it was “integrated into Social Studies, and also as a stand-alone.” For the reason to develop the educational source into the civics curriculum in the country, she said that the HWPL peace curriculum is helpful “in addressing the challenges of … not just students, but even what they take home to their friends and their parents, and also out teachers.”
Mahendra Das, the Temple President of Sri Sri Radha Madhava Mandir of the Philippines, presented an institutional approach to interreligious dialogue in terms of the role of religion in contributing to peace. He suggested that regularizing international exchanges and programs to prevent conflicts based on religious misunderstanding can be a starting point for a foundation of peace.
Mr. Chung Young-min, General Director of the IPYG emphasized the role of youth as the main player of international action for peace by saying that education programs for 1,500 global youth in 59 countries are hosted to “protect the basic rights of youth around the world so that everyone can live a happy life without being left behind.”
The 10 articles and 38 clauses of the DPCW underscore conflict prevention and resolution, gradual reduction of armament and the transition to instruments for daily lives, mutual respect and conflict resolution of religious and ethnic groups, and spreading a culture of peace. The DPCW urges all actors in the global community including international organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, and civic groups to play respective roles in institutionalizing peace.
Details of the event can be viewed through the following YouTube link.
HWPL Presents Practical Peace for the End of War and Conflict in Mindanao, Philippines
This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. A terrible war, which is on the scale of the world war, devastated the country and caused millions of casualties. The war has forced Korean Peninsula to spend decades in confrontation and tension up until now. In the peninsula, which is divided in two, young people are still holding guns and aiming at each other. Moreover, as the recent war in Ukraine has had a big impact on the daily lives of the Republic of Korea, which is on the other side of the globe, people are once again feeling the need for peace.
Analysis of past Israeli-Palestinian and northeastern African conflicts mentions in many cases that knowing the cause of the conflict is a very important factor, and that the approach of ethnic-religious elements is inevitable for conflict resolution and sustainable peace. Also, the need for a peaceful process has been further raised as Russia's recent blockade of grain exports has been criticized as a criminal act that incites food shortages in countries such as Africa and the Middle East.
In a statement by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, "I call on political, religious and community leaders to reject violence and speak up against those who try to inflame the situation. We must all work toward restoring hope and the prospect of a political resolution to this conflict." As mentioned, the voices of leaders play an important role in achieving peace. As can be seen in the Eritrean-Ethiopian case, international organizations such as the African Union provide a better opportunity to mediate the peace process in conflict zone, and the leader's decision could lead to the end of the war.
In this reality, there is an international peace organization in Korea that leads the change so that the global village may be imbued with a culture of peace, named Heavenly Culture, World Peace, and Restoration of Light (HWPL). As a veteran, HWPL Chairman Man Hee Lee witnessed the horrors of the Korean War and presented answers for peace and life in the world of conflict and death. Urging everyone in the world to become one in peace, he always shouts 'We Are One!'. The representative achievement of the peace steps he and HWPL have made is the fruit of contributing to peace in Mindanao, the Philippines, ending its 50-year history of conflict.
Mindanao was a region of the largest armed conflict in Southeast Asia. The Mindanao conflict clearly shows the crisis, faced by the global community, of rampant conflicts based on ethnic, religious identity that emerged in the 21st century. Mindanao's peace was a matter of direct connection to global security issues beyond the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Efforts were made to resolve the dispute after it caused massive casualties. It’s the Mindanao peace agreement. International private organizations, along with the governments of Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Kingdom, supported the peace agreement, including Malaysia, the mediator of the official peace agreement between the government and the MILF. In addition to the official process, international organizations such as the European Union, Organization of the Islamic Cooperation and various private organizations have begun to establish peace by supporting it and providing humanitarian aid. Nonetheless, the signing of a peace treaty never ended the conflict. Mindanao's peace demonstrated the need for a fundamental and long-term approach across politics, economy, society, and culture to prevent a recurrence of war. Hence, HWPL, based in South Korea, began a journey of peace to Mindanao which is directly linked to world peace. The civic peace agreement mediated by the HWPL was Mindanao's declaration of permanent peace. Since then, HWPL and all involved, including local politics, religion, and civil society, have been cooperating for peace.
Regarding the achievements made in Mindanao since 2013, when the civil-level peace agreement was signed, Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL, consistently says, "It’s what God did" and "God accompanied us," not personal achievements. With mysterious and miraculous powers leading to the cooperation of the global community, he always emphasizes, "Let all the global community become advocates of peace and leave peace as a legacy of future generations." The possibility of peace emphasized by the HWPL will come as a reality when people of the world decide to join and become one in peace. Global family members of peace wish this process will pave a way for the world to become a global village filled with news of peace rather than war, as “We are One” resonates around the world.
Press-release of the HWPL
Institutionalizing Peace: Designing Collective Action to Bring Peace as a Culture and Norm
To tackle the current threats of life and stability from wars and conflicts, HWPL’s 9th Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace was held online on May 25th, 2022. With 3,000 participants as representatives from politics, religion, academia, media and civil society, the event with the theme of “Institutionalizing Peace: Realizing the Collective Will for Peace” presented the progress of international cooperation to realize sustainable peace ensured by legal instruments.
The host organization, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), proclaimed the Declaration of World Peace back in 2013. The declaration addresses the endorsement of national leaders, engagement of women and youth, cooperation among civil societies, and expansion of media coverage on peace. Afterward, it was developed into the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) as a process to establish international legal instruments for global peace.
Young Min Chung, the General Director of the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), an affiliate group of HWPL, said in his progress report, “730,000 citizens from 176 countries have signed in support of the DPCW for the past nine years which allows them to express their opinions in the most direct way. Recently, the IPYG is running the Youth Empowerment Peace Workshop (YEPW), where they discuss the agendas such as education, human rights, and conflicts and conduct joint action as well as policy proposals.“
The 10 articles and 38 clauses of the DPCW include prevention and resolution of conflicts, gradual reduction of war potential and turning weapons into daily tools, respecting and resolving conflicts based on religion and ethnic identity, and spreading a culture of peace. The declaration is geared towards engaging nations, international organizations, NGOs, and individual citizens in taking actions for a peaceful world.
As for the collaboration for peacebuilding, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL appealed to the participants to be united as “messengers of peace” “to bring freedom and peace to future generations.” “This time (Russia) invaded Ukraine and started the war. This is why HWPL and families of peace have long called for the establishment of international law to prevent war potentials. So, we gathered experts in international law globally … and made the declaration with 10 articles and 38 clauses.”
As a case of peace activities to resolve conflicts in India, MOUs among religious leaders were signed since for further cooperation with understanding religions based on comparative studies on religious scripture. In particular, the partnership between HWPL and the International Organization for Religion and Knowledge at Lampur led to erecting a peace monument to convey values of peace to local citizens.
Educators’ participation in peace-related activities was also introduced in the event. Teaching methodology with the use of Metaverse was demonstrated as a virtual world platform where students are able to experience peace by reading materials and observing diverse peace activities that are carried out in many parts of the world.
One of the participant students said, “I learned the need for an international law to achieve peace. We need a law that can achieve peace. It is important that people abide by the law and if all people become citizens of peace, we would not even need the law.”
Mr. Supalak Ganjanakhundee, Thammasat University’s Pridi Banomyong International College Visiting Fellow and former Chief Editor of The Nation in Thailand said at the journalist report in the event that the foundation of peace is closely related to democracy that serves as an opened room for “allowing participation of civil society” to peace process. Elaborating the current deadlock of the peace process in Southern Thailand, he said, “(A)ny peace process that would lead to lasting peace must address the problem at its root cause and must be conducted along the democratization with intensively participation of not only stakeholders but also civil society.”
HWPL has been developing global cooperation for peace both at the international level and at the national level by garnering the support of international organizations for the DPCW and working hand in hand to reinforce international norms to realize peace. With civil organizations, HWPL has been carrying out activities for the public good to ensure that peace takes root.
Press-release of the HWPL
A group of 18,000 blood donation contributes to stability of blood supply in South Korea
Blood shortages due to COVID-19 are prevalent across the world. In January, the American Red Cross declared “a national blood crisis” poising a great risk to patient care. In March, a US-based non-profit organization Memorial Blood Centers (MBC) declared the blood “emergency” due to a lack of the stock of type O blood at only 1-2 day supply and appealed to the public participation in a single blood donation that can save up to three lives.
According to the Red Cross, blood is used for a variety of purposes, including serious injuries caused by accidents, surgical procedures, anemia, childbirth, and cancer treatment. But since blood cannot be artificially produced, experts say the only solution to the blood supply lies in donating blood.
In South Korea, in cooperation with Heavenly Culture, World Peace and Restoration of Light (HWPL), 18,000 members of Shincheonji Church of Jesus and HWPL participated in blood donation for two weeks from April 18th. This number was recorded as the largest group blood donation in the country.
Namsun Cho, head of the Korean Red Cross Blood Services, said, “When the impact of the Omicron reached its peak, Shincheonji Church of Jesus launched a large scale of blood donation. It was like rain during a drought. We are surprised that the number of donors exceeded 6,000 in 3 days and more people participated. We appreciate their life-saving dedication.”
“They did a really great job in the life-sharing movement. This scale is equivalent to one army corps donating blood for a year. The number of blood donors is nearly four times the number in a normal day, a great help in overcoming the current blood supply crisis,” said an official from the Blood Services.
“We also appreciate the members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus who participated in the nationwide plasma donation for the development of a treatment for COVID-19 back in 2020,” he added.
In South Korea, blood donation certificates are issued to blood donors. The certificate can be used when paying for a blood transfusion so that the transfusion fee to patients is deducted. All the donors of Shincheonji Church of Jesus and HWPL also donated their certificates to alleviate the financial burden of patients who need blood for treatment.
Shincheonji Church of Jesus, headquartered in Gwacheon, South Korea, is contributing to the communities through volunteer activities including plasma and blood donations, although the church suffered greatly from the initial stage of COVID-19 pandemic.
HWPL, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, is a non-governmental organization under the UN Economic and Social Council and Department of Global Communication is carrying out long-term peace projects through education, relief, and youth empowerment based on solidarity with civil society and international organizations in 193 countries.
Press-release of the HWPL