Civil Society in 71 Countries Urges International Law for Peace and Justice for Religious Freedom
HWPL and civil society groups in 117 cities advocate comprehensive cooperation for peace and denounce anti-peace activities
While the global society has been sending an interest and encouragement to the historic decision of the North Korea-US dialogue following the ‘Peace Olympics’ held in South Korea, a Korea-based international peace NGO held an event commemorating “The 2nd Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW)” on March 14. In Seoul, South Korea, on the theme of "A Call for Building a World of Peace and Realizing Justice" was attended by 1,000 participants including representatives of politics, religion, and civic groups at home and abroad.
The host organization, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) affiliated with UN DPI and UN ECOSOC, announced the DPCW on March 14, 2016, to strengthen a solidarity of peace through a comprehensive cooperation of all sectors of society and to establish legally binding international law necessary for peacebuilding. The DPCW with 10 articles and 38 clauses, drafted by international law experts, includes provisions to avoid war-related actions and achieve peace, including respect on international law, ethnic/religious harmony, and a culture of peace.
Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL, highlighted that every individual in the global society is responsible for constructing global peace. He appealed to the participants by saying, “Rather than waiting to take peace for granted, it is we who should put an end to war to protect humanity and our globe, and leave peace as a legacy for future generations.” “Law of today cannot compensate for the lives sacrificed from war. What we need is an instrument that protects human life, the very law that prevents war,” he added.
“No human being and no animal on planet Earth can survive from weapons (of mass destruction). Even an error or an accident can cause widespread damage to human life and property which cannot be replenished. We all have to work 365 days and 24 hours together for peace as a messenger of peace,” said, Mr. Pravin H. Parekh, President of Confederation of Indian Bar who participated in drafting the DPCW.
“If we want to put an end to war and build peace, let us work together for peace and overcome the boundary of state, ethnicity and religion. We have to think about how to resolve international conflicts through the adoption of the DPCW as a UN resolution. And the international society should provide assistance to facilitate peace education proposed by HWPL,” emphasized Mr. Deok Gyu Lim, former president of the International Law Association Korean Branch.
In the event, HWPL issued the official statement against anti-peace actions that hinder peace and justice with unsubstantiated information and distortion from socio-economic motives and human rights abuses by religious intolerance. In the statement it addressed that HWPL “will no longer tolerate attempts to obstruct the work for peace, putting personal gain over the common good of humanity. We urge all those yearning for peace and justice to take the right path, not the path marked with lies, and join the effort to build peace together.”
The multi-national events for the 2nd Annual Commemoration of the DPCW calling for building a world of peace and realizing justice were organized in 166 cities in 71 countries, including South Korea, the United States, Germany, Ukraine, Britain, and China. 150,000 citizens and leaders of all sectors in the world took part in this global event urging the establishment of international law for the realization of a peaceful, just society and the denunciation of anti-peace activity.
The Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held a briefing dedicated to the International Rally “Amul -Hazar 2018”
On August 10 , 2018, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held the briefing dedicated to the grand sports event - International Rally “Amul-Hazar 2018”, which will be held on September 11-15, 2018 in Turkmenistan.
The briefing was attended by representatives of the “Georgian Business Week”, newspapers of ”Resonance”, “Multinational Georgia”, “Free Georgia”, international magazine “Geo Traveler”, “News Day Georgia” news agency, “Sputnik” international news agency, “TV-24” channel and others.
In his speech, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan in Georgia D. Muratov underlined that this year, which is held under the motto “Turkmenistan is the heart of the Great Silk Road, Turkmenistan has revived its significance as a key link of this ancient route. This grand sports event will be a unique opportunity to present both the past and the present of the Great Silk Road, which today, thanks to energetic efforts and constructive international policy of the Esteemed President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, is reborn again, connecting countries and peoples.
During the briefing, media representatives were provided with detailed information on the Rally “Amul-Hazar 2018”, on the enormous preparatory work, which is personally patronized by the Esteemed President of Turkmenistan.
It was mentioned that big competitions in Turkmenistan on one of the most spectacular and popular sports attract keen interest of the world community. This is indicated by the wish of the sportsmen and teams from various states to take part in the races, which route would run along the Silk Road and through magnificent Karakum Desert. This competition will be true historical event of Turkmen motorsport and will serve to the improvement of the world authority of Turkmenistan
At the end of the briefing, a video about the rally “Amul-Hazar 2018” was demonstrated. Representatives of the Georgian media expressed their gratitude to the Embassy of Turkmenistan and personally to the Ambassador of Turkmenistan in Georgia D. Muratov for organizing and conducting the briefing. Having noted that the competitions will contribute to widening the humanitarian dialogue and developing sports in general, they wished the Rally to be successful.
We’ve come to Learn about Peace, Georgia Peace Camp
Instructors and students from Cervantes Gymnasium Aia-Gess, Georgia visited the Republic of Korea between the 14th and 23rd of February to systematically learn about HWPL peace education through a peace camp and experience Korean culture.
The peace camp taught them how the core values of promoting peace from HWPL peace education can be applied in their daily lives. One of the programs implanted in them the heart to cooperate, love, and express gratitude, through which they realized that each one of them should become a messenger to bring peace, which is not far from them.
Students from Georgia actively interacted and exchanged culture of Korea. Through the peace education, they have become able to accept differences among people as well as recognize each other as global citizens who ought to live in harmony which were the key elements to end conflicts and disputes.
The students also took time to truly discover the values of peace by listening to the explanation of HWPL’s Peace Education. Also, during the time of learning about “mutual cooperation” they were divided into teams and had the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports that required cooperation. In particular, they were able to directly experience the importance of unity through a traditional Korean cultural activity that is similar to tug-of-war. One student in the class emphasized the importance of cooperation by stating, “Today’s activity taught us how to love one another, have respect for each other and become one.”
Another field trip took place in the Yongsan War Memorial of Korea. While Georgian students indirectly experienced the brutality of war through the history of the Korean War, Korean students could also share mutual empathy for the tragedy of war with Georgian students after learning about the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.
“I imagined one of our students, the smallest boy who is fourteen-years-old. When I imagined him in the war, it was so hurtful for me,” said Mairam Lomauridze, who wanted to share with her peers the true meaning of peace and the heart for peace she felt at the camp after she went back to Georgia.
Food also brought them together. The Georgian and Korean students cooked and shared both the Georgian traditional dessert, Churchkhela, and the Korean traditional food, Bibimbap. They also expressed their grateful heart for their parents and teachers by making carnations at the session.
On the last day of the camp, a ‘Mini WARP’ was organized, modeled after the WARP Summit which takes place every September with the leaders of each sector of society hosted by HWPL. Performances choreographed to express the sincere heart for a peaceful world without war deeply touched the Georgian students. They took solidarity in working together in the hope of bringing about world peace when they go back home.
Rusudan Bolkvadze, Director of Cervantes Gymnasium Aia-Gess and instructors including Darejan Lordqipanidze and Tamar Lolishvili were designated as peace education instructors who could actively implement HWPL peace education. Tamar Lolishvili, English teacher of Cervantes Gymnasium Aia-Gess, who has closely communicated with HWPL, highlighted the importance of peace education, “We must teach our students to take care of the world. They can’t do anything without knowledge. I am against wars...against fights. The best tool in this case is education.”
The instructors also promised to teach their students to become peace messengers through special lectures in Georgia. Students promised to take the responsibility of spreading and teaching the core values of HWPL peace education, such as understanding, respect and cooperation, to other student organizations.
After they returned, instructors and students continued teaching the core values of peace based on HWPL peace education curriculums.
Journalists from the Eastern Partners countries discover Moldova’s experience in transition to green energy
Twelve journalists from Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan visited the Republic of Moldova on 21-24 may to learn about the results of the Energy and Biomass Project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme. The visit took place in the framework of the EU4Energy Initiative.
The journalists visited a kindergarten in the town of Nisporeni, where 270 children have hot water thanks to solar panels installed with the help of the Energy and Biomass Project. During winter, the entire surface of the kindergarten is heated with green energy produced in the Republic of Moldova.
To heat its rooms, the kindergarten, together with the city hall, buys pellets produced in Moldova, meaning the money it spends on energy remains in the country.
Another stop on the tour was the briquette production line in the city of Balti. Ludmila Abramciuc and Ivan Damaschin are beneficiaries of the Energy and Biomass Project grant programme, thanks to which they were able to buy, and repay in instalments, the necessary equipment for biofuel production.
The journalists also attended a lesson on renewable energy at a school in Chiscareni village, Sangerei district. Together with the students of “Nicolae Casso” school, they answered questions on the green energy sector, as well as making a parabolic solar collector. Professor Nicolae Spanu guided the team through this.
The school in Chiscareni village is also the first public institution in the Republic of Moldova to have switched to biomass heating. In 2005, thanks to a project funded by the World Bank, a biomass power plant using straw bales was installed at the school. To this day, the institution continues to benefit from clean energy.
Meanwhile, the community has connected other public institutions to green energy. The kindergarten in the village has electricity produced by photovoltaic panels and hot water from solar collectors. Next winter, the city hall will replace its stoves with a biomass heating system, installed with the help of European funds through the Energy and Biomass Project.
The EU-funded and UNDP-implemented Energy and Biomass Project in Moldova is part of the EU4Energy Initiative and aims to contribute to the reliable, competitive and sustainable production of energy from biomass, which is the most viable and available source of renewable energy in the Republic of Moldova.
EU4Energy covers all EU support to improve energy supply, security and connectivity, as well as to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the Eastern Partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine). It does this by financing projects and programmes that help to reform energy markets and to reduce national energy dependence and consumption. Over the long term, this makes energy supply more reliable, transparent and affordable, thus reducing energy poverty and energy bills for both citizens and the private sector.
International NGO HWPL signed MOU for "Peace Culture City Project" with Tîrgu Mureş City in Romania
Appealed to Romanian youth and citizens to join in the activities calling for the establishment of international law for peace
On May 20th, Tîrgu Mureş City in Romania and the UN ECOSOC-affiliated NGO Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) signed an MOU for 'Peace Culture City Project' to develop a culture of peace through cultural exchanges and peace education.
“Tîrgu Mureş City is a multicultural and historic city. HWPL is working to raise awareness of the world in culture, civilization, and history through continuous and constructive peace education and cultural exchange. Through this MOU, we hope that Tîrgu Mureş City and HWPL will be able to make each other’s culture more beautiful through “A Culture of Peace - the City project,” said Mayor Dorin Florea.
Regarding this peace-building cooperation, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, "I am glad to be able to communicate with the progressive City of Tîrgu Mureş through the MOU.”
As for the role of individuals in working for peace, "Let us leave peace and better culture for future generations as a higher state of culture through exchange of culture of peace," he added.
Then, Chairman Lee of HWPL and its peace delegation participated in the youth event titled "Youth, Let's Voice out" in Bucharest Parliament House. The event was jointly hosted by HWPL, its affiliated organization, International Peace Youth Group(IPYG), and the Romanian youth peace group, Master Peace Ro.
"All mankind desires peace, nobody has wanted war. So, if we become one, we will be able to achieve peace. HWPL exists for youth. I hope all youth to join in peace activities of the IPYG and leave peace as a legacy for our future generations,” said Chairman Lee.
“We have all shared to you our experience during a period of huge political, economic, culture, and scientific, technological transformation. We hope that this working experience will contribute to your future in the next period of big transformation ahead of you,” said Hon. Emil Constantinescu, the former president of Romania.
Mr. Dragomir G. Marian, President of MasterPeace Ro said, "More than 1,000 youth have signed the DPCW and expressed their support. Today, I am happy to see the culture of peace promoted by the Peace Letter project." And he expressed his hopes for the youth in Romania to continuously promote the activities of culture of peace with HWPL, such as peace education and peace walk.
The DPCW with 10 articles and 38 clauses includes provisions to avoid war-related actions and achieve peace, including respect on international law, ethnic/religious harmony, and spreading a culture of peace. In order to advocate peace and conflict resolution, HWPL has engaged in peace education and “the Legislate Peace Campaign” to raise awareness of peace to students and citizens around the world.
In this event attended by 200 young Romanian youths, HWPL introduced the DPCW proposed as a solution to the dispute, and the participants wrote the 'Peace Letter' urging the president to support the DPCW.
Handmade culture in Georgia: how traditional crafts are contributing to the economy
Georgian folk craftsmen are transforming traditional crafts into a source of economic income with the support of an EU-financed project.
Heritage crafts as a source of income
Culture is a source of inclusive growth and job creation and the global trade in creative products has continued to expand in recent years, despite economic uncertainty. Cultural heritage is a universal value, an important expression of cultural diversity – that is why preserving it and passing it on to future generations is so important.
According to Nino Samvelidze, Programme Manager for Youth, Culture and Digital Society at the EU Delegation to Georgia, cultural diversity is one of the main values of the EU, and this is why it aims to support the preservation and development of cultural traditions of different countries.
Having realised this, the EU has announced 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage. In this article, we showcase the stories of Georgian craftsmen participating in the EU-supported project “Folk Crafts Perspectives in Georgia”. Thanks to the project’s support, the craftsmen develop and grow their enterprises, pass on their expertise to others, so that heritage crafts can become a source of income in Georgia.
“It is important that work in heritage crafts, which is rather widespread in our country, becomes a source of income and employment, and this is one of the objectives of the project,” explains Nino.
The Georgian Arts and Culture Centre selected 21 art studios to provide with funding. The total budget was €617,128, with €489,168 coming from the EU. The Head of the Centre, Maka Dvalishvili believes that successful beneficiaries had to have an interest in and potential for development. One of the requirements to receive funding was that the beneficiary must teach their skill to at least five students.
“Our main goal is to preserve traditional Georgian crafts and to adapt them to modern market requirements, i.e. by transforming the craft into a business. Overall, this gives economic benefit,” explains Maka.
Maka, an art historian, says the culture of craftsmanship is widespread across Georgia. She says the main characteristic of folk craftsmanship is that the products must be handmade and not manufactured in a factory. Some parts may be factory-supplied, but they have to be finished by hand.
“Folk craftsmanship started when mankind created stone tools, carved patterns on stone and developed aesthetic vision,” explains Maka.
The Georgian Arts and Culture Centrehas been working towards the development of heritage crafts since its establishment in 1995. Maka says that, since that period, craftsmen have received support to develop quality and design, and to study the market.
In 2012, in cooperation with the EU in the framework of the EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme, the Georgian Arts and Culture Centre implemented another project - Strengthening Creative Industries in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia: Heritage Crafts - Common Platform for Development.
Apart from workshops and seminars, the programme also conducted a study of 500 experts in heritage crafts. The results of the study highlighted the current situation of the heritage crafts market, and a strategy was developed based on the results.
Lali Sadaghashvili: Felt craft
About 20 km northwest of Tbilisi in the historic town of Mtskheta, near the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a variety of stalls can be found selling a vast array of products. Among them is Lali Sadaghashvili’s stall, where she sells woollen toys and other handcrafted products.
On display at Lali’s stall you can find woollen toys, felt scarf, hand knitted shoes, wool jewellery and various other accessories – all handmade by her and her family. Lali sells her handcrafted products to the constant stream of tourists who walk past the stalls each day.
In the evening, when the flow of tourists declines, Lali returns home. If she is not too tired, she continues working in the studio set up on the ground floor of her house. This is where Lali’s enterprise, Nerbi, is based. If Lali is unable to work, her three children and spouse work to provide her with new items for the stall.
In Lali’s studio, there is one large table with a tap nearby to supply the water required for felt production. There are shelves installed on the wall in the room, with all the necessary materials and fabric, as well as a sewing machine and a wool felting iron.
Lali and her husband, Rasula Kevkhishvili, set up the enterprise in 2014, after they received EU funding from the Folk Crafts Perspective in Georgia project. They received 8000 GEL in funding, which they used to completely renovate the room and to purchase the table, chairs and necessary equipment. Lali, who has been working with wool for 16 years, says the project funding helped her to fulfil her lifelong aspiration.
“It is not an exaggeration, I fulfilled my dream. I always wanted to have a studio I would enter and forget everything, where I would have a table and I could work,” says Lali Sadaghashvili.
Lali used to work in the railway industry as a telecommunications specialist. She started to use her craftsmanship skills when she was made redundant. Today, handicrafts provide her main source of income.
“I remember at first when I earned 14 GEL, then 44 GEL, and it went on gradually. Initially, I was focused on toys, but now I see that hand knitted shoes also sell well,” says Lali.
At first, Lali’s spouse, Rasula, did not consider felt craft as a serious business, but over the course of time, he changed his mind. Now, he also works in the enterprise alongside his job in the railway industry.
“My wife used to talk about what she could make from wool but I was not really interested. I thought it was just a hobby and I was too busy with my work. Finally, she persuaded me to get involved and it turned into a family business,” says Rasula.
Felt is one of the oldest methods of creating and processing fabric. It is a traditional Georgian folk craft which attracts huge interest from tourists to the country. For this reason, Nerbi also provides workshops for tourists. Wet felting was one of the most recent masterclasses held for a group of tourists. The studio that was set up through EU support enables Lali to demonstrate the process of her work to tourists.
Lali also gives classes in Mtskheta gymnasium on how to make various items from wool. Through the EU project, she is responsible for teaching five students. She says that in four years she has already taught 16 students.
The support received through the EU project has empowered Lali, and she now has a monthly income of 1500 GEL. She hopes to open a shop in the historic part of Mtskheta and hire a shop assistant in the future.
Otar Sharabidze: Pottery
Otar Sharabidze is one of the expert folk craftsmen who received funding from the EU. The 67-year-old ceramicist currently lives about 60km southwest of Tbilisi, in Tetritsqaro.
Otar studied ceramics 40 years ago at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts. After graduating, he worked in different factories within the former Soviet Union and created production sketches. He has been working independently since the 1990s. In 1996, Otar went to Istanbul where he taught at one of the universities. In 2014, he returned to Georgia where he settled in Tetritsqaro. He bought a house which was built in the nineteenth century in the historic part of the city, and now he plans to host pottery classes for tourists there.
Otar told us that he bought a house with a yard especially to facilitate his work. He plans to set up a studio and accommodation in the house so that he can rent out two rooms to ceramicists and other interested people and work together with them.
Otar’s yard measures 1 500 m2 and provides the ideal place for his studio, which is 30m2. Water supply, electric and natural gas pottery kilns, a pottery wheel and other necessary equipment will be installed in the studio.
Otar brought an electric kiln by bus from Turkey and purchased the pottery wheel and gas kiln through EU funding. He says that having both gas and electric kilns will help him diversify his work.
The ceramicist says that with a gas oven he can make products using the Raku technique, which involves removing the piece from the hot kiln, putting it into leaves or wood dust, and covering it. This process creates a glaze on the pottery.
Otar says that his pottery is not only decorative; it also has a practical function. He says that each piece he creates is unique and is never repeated.
“I produce only one copy, I always try to create original work. This is typical of folk craft; new items are made all the time. Pottery is one of the oldest forms of art, and it is developing constantly. It is interesting to look at old ceramics but you also want to introduce something new,” Otar insists.
Otar says he will complete the renovation of the house in a month, and then will start work teaching pottery and hosting holidaymakers in Tetritsqaro.
Art Studio Snoveli, Kazbegi
Art Studio Snoveli was established by father and son Bidzina Snoveli (73 years old) and Mindia Ghudushauri (43 years old), in the village of Sno in the mountainous region of Kazbegi. Together they make wooden armchairs, tables, beds, and carve the furniture by hand.
Mindia was born in Tbilisi, but his father was in born Sno. Bidzina, a qualified architect, left Sno after graduating from university, and studied woodwork in Makhachkala. “My father wanted to pass on his expertise to others. He has a very skilled technique; he only works by hand,” says Mindia. Bidzina says that he had talented students, but as his sales are not yet stable he cannot employ them.
The father and son set up Art Studio Snoveli in 2015 and bought the initial necessary materials through funding from the Children’s and Youth Support Fund. Then, through support from the project Folk Crafts Perspectives in Georgia, they purchased various woodwork tools and printed booklets in three languages: Georgian, English and Russian.
“The booklet is like a business card for our studio, you can show it to people wherever you go,” says Mindia.
Mindia wants to set up an exhibition space in Sno where they could receive guests and display the items produced in the studio. The furniture made by Snoveli contains carvings representing peacocks, griffins, turtledoves, bulls, the Borjgali symbol, various geometric shapes from different regions of Georgia, and figures from Georgian mythology.
Fourth grade student Saba Sabauri (8 years old) attends Sno School, located next to the Snoveli studio. He tells us that after classes he comes to the studio and learns to draw. After drawing, he will study woodwork.
“I mainly draw mountains and churches. Mountains are beautiful. My sister studied drawing; she would hang her drawings once she had finished them. I wanted to draw beautiful pictures as well, so I started to learn. I would also like to study wood burning,” says Saba.
Keti Akiashvili (also aged 8) is another of Mindia’s students. Keti also attends the drawing classes and looks forward to starting to work on wood instead of a paper. “I learned how to draw villages and animals; how to create lines and shadows,” says Keti.
According to an EU-supported study in 2014, 1500 people were employed in the heritage crafts industry in Georgia. This accounts for 0.07% of the economically active population. 84% of the respondents worked on their own, while 16% hired employees.
Their main challenge now is to adapt heritage crafts to modern market requirements to enable them to benefit financially from the crafts.
Author: Misha Meparishvili