Peace Conferences Led by the Peace-builders from Various Fields

Published in World
Thursday, 20 September 2018 21:26

Youth, women, religion, and media gathered to discuss their roles to bring world peace and peaceful unification of Korea in our times

From 17th to 19th in September, about 2,000 of representatives from various sectors such as political leaders, faith leaders, women and youth organizations, educators, and media had visited South Korea to attend 2018 HWPL World Peace Summit.

In an effort to find solutions to achieve sustainable peace, the participants discussed their roles and actionable plans in relation to the enactment of the international law for peace, the development of peace education, the promotion of a culture of peace as well as religious harmony.

On the last day of the 3-days summit, the host organization, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) held sectorial conferences for members of youth and women organizations, religious leaders, and media.

The Role of the Youth and Women in Realizing Peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the World

Organized by International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), an affiliated group of HWPL, the youth session titled ‘The Role of the Youth in Spreading a Culture of Peace for the Realization of World Peace’ had an agenda of the support and the participation of youth for the ‘Peace letter campaign’.

Peace letter campaign is one of the peace projects of IPYG to urge the government to support the implementation of the international law for peace based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).

Mr. Herculano Amaral, Coordinator of International Rotary Club of Dili Lafaek in Timor-Leste, introduced the result of the peace letter campaign. “Last year, IPYG members of Timor-Leste Branch met the former president and introduced about HWPL and IPYG’s activities. And this year, our team convey the documents of the DPCW and a peace letter to the cabinet of the president. The movement is intended to get support from the president of our country and also those who involved in the decision making.”

In particular, this year’s conference also aimed to call for the support for the peaceful reunification on the Korean Peninsula. According to the General Director of IPYG, Mr. Young Min Chung, IPYG has made progress within Korea. The Declaration of Unification of Korea, declared by Chairman of HWPL in 2010, stated the need for the two leaders of Korea to listen to the voices of the Korean citizens. To achieve this, thousands of youths in Korea have written peace letters to President Moon to voice their support for the unification. At the same time, hundreds of political leaders from around the world wrote letters to urge the leader of North Korea to talk to HWPL for the peace of the Korean peninsula. 

In the same vein, “2018 Worldwide Women’s Peace Conference” was held by International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) affiliated with HWPL to share the progress of its peace activity such as women’s peace education and plant peace campaign and to discuss the role of women leaders to bring peace in the world as well as to the last divided nation, Korea.

On the topic of the conference, Former First Lady of Croatia, Dr. Tatjana Josipović said, “The only legitimate and reasonable politics is to search for the permanent peace, without any violence. Women in the creative fields of activities can contribute to the implementation of peace influencing other people to advocate the DPCW to become a binding legal instrument. I think the provisions of the DPCW should be not only a moral obligation but to be binding rules for all world leaders. Our voice must be heard from political institutions, art scene, sports fields, classrooms, and media to warn humanity that we must do everything to stop wars and violence once forever.”

4th International Religious Leaders’ Conference: Spreading the Culture of Seeking a Trustworthy Scripture to Realize the Era of Peace

World religious leaders from 20 different denominations gathered together to promote the culture of peace among religions and seek for the dedication of faith leaders to realize peace. For this, the members of ‘Solidarity of Religions’ Peace Committee’ were appointed as a role of spreading the culture of seeking a trustworthy scripture.

The Most Rev. Wattegama Dhammawasa Nayaka Thero, President of Sri Subodharama International Buddhist Center in Sri Lanka, said, “Even though my place is peaceful right now, we cannot be completely free from conflicts deeply. Religious extremists do not practice their own religion and some hold strongly to their own religious views, hence conflicts and misunderstandings occur due to this discrepancy. Therefore, I could agree the goal of HWPL that we should find out the most trustworthy scripture that can overcome the differences of ideologies among religions to achieve world peace.” stressing the need for the religious harmony based on a trustworthy scripture.

Speaking about the need of the comparative studies of the scripture, Chairman of HWPL said, “Why do people need the scripture? It is because the scripture leads the righteous way for people. Thoughts or wisdom of one’s own can’t be defined as a scripture. At this time, the comparative studies of scripture are the most urgent since it is the definite way for the religions to become one.”

2nd Conference for Global Peace Media Network: International Peace Media Community, “Peace Initiative”

Journalists and representatives of media outlets from about 30 countries took part in the conference for global peace media network where the peace media platform ‘Peace Initiative (PI)’ launched. 

‘Peace Initiative’ is designed by the ideas of the journalists around the world in order to spread the news of peace and promote peace journalism with protecting the freedom of the press. To forge the cooperative partnership for ‘PI’, participated representatives of media outlets and HWPL signed an MOU.

Ahead of the addresses from the journalist, Former President of Tunisia and Bishop of Poona diocese delivered the messages on the significance of the role of media to promote peace in the mind of people and the society.

As a special speaker, H.E. Dr. Moncef Marzouki, Former President of Tunisia, emphasized the mission of the media. “As a human rights activist, I know how much I owe to the independent press that has always unveiled the violations of the dictatorship in Tunisia and the Arab world and thus contributed largely to the Arab Spring. Today there is a new mission. In the face of the surge of hatred, rumors and false information that infect social networks, only honest and serious journalists are the guarantors of the truth, which is the essential condition for peace in hearts and minds. I am sure you will live up to the immense task ahead and wish you good luck in this vital mission.”

Mr. Avtandil Otinashvili, Editor in Chief of Newsday in Georgia, said “We journalists should let the whole society know about the peace-building efforts of various sectors of the society. By raising awareness of peace through news reporting, we can stop those innocent people, especially youth from losing their lives in the futility of war. I believe it is our noble duty and responsibility as a journalist.”

“In this context, I am glad that HWPL and journalists from different countries considered the need to create a ‘Global Peace Media Network’ in order not only to inform the population about the existence of conflicts but also to outline ways to resolve them. We are confident that the content called ‘peaceinitiative.net’ will become the platform that will prepare and disseminate information on the subject of peace, which, in turn, contributes to establishing peace on our planet.” he added.

The conference concluded that the participants signed “Joint Statement on Media Cooperation for Press Freedom and Global Peace” which contained the mutual assistance and cooperation to foster global peace through sharing peace-related news, to report to help protect human rights as well as democracy, and to take joint action onto inhumane atrocities.

The host of this summit, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL participated in each session and delivered his message to the attendees, the peace-builders. “We founded HWPL for the security and peace in the world. However, HWPL cannot achieve world peace and the cessation of war by itself. Power of an individual is merely that of one person. However, if these individuals gather, we can foster great strength. If we abide by the DPCW of 10 articles 38 clauses, we can achieve peace. For this very reason, everyone should acknowledge and promote the DPCW. Let every one of you become one and achieve peace. We are one!”

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  • Religions united to pray for peace and care for one another in the pandemic crisis

    While national measures limiting social activities bring out changes of daily routine due to the pandemic, efforts to understand spiritually about life facing diseases and related social changes are underway across religion.

    On December 14, 560 representatives from 31 religions in 80 countries including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and Sikhism joined in an online gathering named “HWPL End-of-year Religious Leaders’ Gathering: United Hopes & Prayers for a Brighter 2021” to express words of consolation to humanity and reaffirm inter-religious commitment to and dialogue for peace.

    11 religious leaders representing different religions prayed for wisdom and solution to the multifarious life patterns affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. The video messages from religious leaders displayed their support for the role of religion in countering anti-peace movements such as discrimination, hatred and violence that can be exacerbated during the pandemic.

    During the prayer, Rev. Acharya Prem Shankaranand Tirth, Hindu High Priest of Shree Geeta Ashram of Delhi, said, “For our colleagues, families of peace, let us continue endeavor of world peace. During this pandemic, we must realize the value of one another in that we all coexist with the nature and other creations. We in the human society must act as one and should exist in peace, harmony and love.”

    “I remember sitting at my desk and finding out about the first infection in my own country. I prayed, asking a lot of questions. Many of my peers turned back to scripture in these times to seek answers about the Creator God, His plan, His will and what He wants us to focus on due to these events,” said Ms. Nandi Bester, manager of International Youth Peace Group in South Africa.

    “Today we may be able to solve the problem of COVID-19, but another disease will come. When winter is coming, we can't stop it but can cover ourselves and protect ourselves. That's what we can do when there is challenging issue of bad health and adversities coming in life. We should maintain patience and learn the art of tolerance and tolerate the difficulty and suffering that is coming upon us,” said Rev. Hare Krsna Das, Priest of ISKCON, Rishikesh, India.

    “Regarding the question about how human society should understand why suffering such as COVID-19 occurs, we found that all religions are searching for an answer. In the process, those participating in this event, transcending time difference, pray for the safety of all regardless of their faiths. This is the clear difference from the time before the pandemic when news of conflict was filled with intolerance against groups from different backgrounds. In this respect, it has proved the possibility that humanity in a crisis can be united and one in peace beyond religion,” said a HWPL official.

    The organizer HWPL is an NGO affiliated with the UN ECOSOC and had led national plasma donation from over 3,700 people in South Korea who recovered from COVID-19 to develop a cure throughout this year.

    [Attachment1] Key Attendance List

    No.

    Country

    Religion

    Name

    Organization

    Title

    1

    India

    Sikhism

    Mr. Bhupinder Singh

    Guru Teg Bahadar Jalandhar

    Head Priest

    2

    Ukraine

    Judaism

    Alexander Duhovnyi

    All-Ukrainian Council of Religious Associations

    Chairman

    3

    India

    Jainism

    Pradyumna Shah Singh

    Religious Studies, Punjabi University

    Professor

    4

    India

    Buddhism

    Dhammapiya

    International Buddhist Confederation (IBC)

    Secretary General

    5

    India

    ISKCON

    Hare Krsna Das

    ISKCON Rishikesh

    Priest

    6

    Czech Republic

    Islam

    Hassen Tlili

    Alfirdaus Praha

    Imam

    7

    Romania

    The Orthodox Church

    Constantin Cârlan Ungureanu

    Biserica “Sfântul Ştefan”

    Parish Priest

    8

    Cambodia

    Buddhism

    Oeun Sam Art

    Supreme Patriarch's Cabinet

    Personal Assistant to The Great Supreme Patriarch

    9

    Sweden

    Ahmadiyya

    Agha Yahya Khan

    Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Gothenburg Mosque

    Chief Imam

    10

    United States of America

    Hinduism

    Bikram Paul

    The Hindu Temple of Metropolitan Washington

    Chairman

    11

    United States of America

    Protestantism

    Eldon Jones

    Good field church

    Pastor

     

    Press-release of HWPL

  • An Online Prayer Meeting for Religious People Around the World to End COVID-19

    Amid the corona crisis, which causes about 500,000 confirmed cases and 8,000 deaths a day worldwide, a Korean-based religious organization called Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (hereinafter referred to as Shincheonji Church) hosted an online prayer meeting, “3rd Global Prayer Service of Religious People” on November 15th.

    Broadcast live on the official YouTube channel of Shincheonji Church, the prayer meeting was organized to pray for not only the patients and their families in sufferings but also the government, medical staff, and volunteers fighting to overcome COVID-19. Along with 200,000 domestic and foreign members of Shincheonji Church, about 56,000 people around the world wishing to defeat this pandemic joined the prayer meeting at the same time.

    Religious leaders from all over the world added their aspirations for the end of COVID-19 in the online prayer meeting. Their words carried the weight and sincerity as they have continued to work with Chairman Man Hee Lee, a representative of an international peace NGO called HWPL

    Chairman Lee, as a war veteran, has practiced peace activities based on the love for humanity toward many victims of war and the words of Jesus, “glory in heaven and peace on earth,” as a believer. He suggested an online prayer meeting because “as the world is suffering from COVID-19, religious people around the world need to pray together to end this disaster."

    “Too many people are suffering from COVID-19. In particular, many were infected within our church last February. Both the church members and citizens suffered a lot. We must actively step forward and pray to God for the extinction of COVID-19 in the globe and for the nation and the people,” he said.

    352 religious leaders from Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, and Hinduism, representing 73 countries participated in the prayer meeting with one heart transcending religions and denominations. They shared the need of overcoming the crisis by taking the lead in resolving a disaster as religious leaders.

    Dr. Anak Agung Diatmika, Secretary for International Relationship of PHDI Jakarta, said, “Genuinely from the inner of our heart consider as WE ARE ONE. We should continue our prayer till the end of the COVID-19 pandemic from the earth and continue our synergy among world religious leaders to keep the world peace, harmony, justice, and prosperity. I am so happy I can join this that truly brings world peace and harmony.”

    Following this prayer meeting, about 4,000 recovered patients from COVID-19 who are also Shincheonji Church members will donate blood plasma to develop convalescent plasma treatments. Shincheonji Church has already conducted two large-scale plasma donation of 1,700 church members last July and September, and among them, 312 recovered patients donated twice.

    Regarding the large-scale blood plasma donation, Rt. Hon. Hrant Bagratyan, Former Prime Minister of Armenia, sent his congratulatory message, “the action of those who decided to donate plasma at the request of the government deserves praise. If a vaccine is developed through plasma donation, it would be helpful worldwide."

    A Shincheonji Church official said, “We have been conducting online service since February 18th, and praying at each worship service for the end of COVID-19, the safety of the quarantine authorities and medical staff, and the recovery of the patients. We will do everything we can with a responsible attitude until the end of the COVID-19 crisis.”

    Press-release of HWPL

     

  • HWPL Hosts Peace Education Webinar by Connecting South Asian Countries during the COVID-19 Crisis

    The Department of Peace Education in Western Busan branch, HWPL held the peace education webinar (web-based seminar) with about 30 people including education classes in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries in South Asia on September 19 (local time).

    In spite of the global panic in the news about COVID-19, participants had a time to raise awareness of the importance of peace education through a video conferencing solution by sharing practical examples of peace education conducted in schools in South Asia, and live Q&A.

    With the congratulatory remarks by Dr. Har Prasad Kain, chairperson Indian branch of HWPL (former commissioner of Indian Tax Commission) Mr. Mahbubur Rahman Mollah, principal of Bangladesh Shamsul Hoque Khan school and college, gave a speech on the necessity of peace education. Afterwards, Mr. Imran Maqsood, the founder of Faisalabad School for Peace in Pakistan, introduced cases of peace education, and Ms. Firoza Moradi, a teacher in Afghanistan Mukhtar private school, presented the role of peace education in countries including Afghanistan.

    Mr. Imran Maqsood who signed MOU with HWPL for peace education addressed, “School aims to break down the religious and social barriers of all religious people in Pakistan, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhs, through diversity and harmony, the first subject of peace education, by creating a community where children from different religions gather together to learn, play and grow together.”

    “To improve critical thinking and communication skills, students should have a concept of peace in their minds and find how to solve problems peacefully. Although classes have not been conducted since COVID-19, students have actively suggested that they want to take peace education classes even through online sessions,” Ms. Firoza Moradi, who has taught HWPL peace education since January last year, said.

    In particular, HWPL's examples of peace education which have been actively implemented in each country drew attention from the participants in the webinar. 214 schools from 36 countries in Africa participated at the HWPL Peace Education’ sessions hosted by Ethiopia's Kotebe Metropolitan University. Since then the peace education has been regularly conducted. In addition, HWPL signed an MOA with Kenya National Commission for UNESCO to prepare for the annual Peace Educator workshop. In Philippines, Commission on Higher Education and HWPL have formed an MOA, which currently performs monthly peace education more than 50 schools. Especially, the HWPL Peace Education Camp between Israel and Palestine was the historical antecedents attended by 150 faculty and students crossing border despite the disputed territory.

    Most of the attendees participated in the webinar emphasized, "Let's overcome the COVID-19 crisis together by continually sharing news of peace education by country!"

    Press-Release of the HWPL

  • TELEPHONE CONVERSATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF TURKMENISTAN WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

    On August 28, 2020, a telephone conversation was held between the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in.

    After warmly greeting each other, the leaders of two friendly countries expressed satisfaction for the opportunity to exchange views on priority issues of interstate cooperation.

    In the framework of constructive conversation, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed sincere gratitude to the Leader of the Republic of Korea for the attention paid to strengthening of the Turkmen-Korean dialogue. Also words of gratitude were expressed for overall support of the neutral foreign policy pursued by Turkmenistan, including the important initiatives of the country aimed at strengthening peace, overall security and international cooperation for sustainable development.

    Noting the actively developing partnership in recent years, Turkmen Leader emphasized significance of joint projects in the fields of energy, transport, ecology, healthcare and cultural-humanitarian cooperation. The sides also highly appreciated productive work of the Central Asia - Republic of Korea Cooperation Forum.

    In addition, underlining the important role of the bilateral Intergovernmental Committees and Business Councils, the Presidents expressed confidence in that the successive session of Turkmen-Korean Business Council held recently will contribute to further deepening of interstate trade-economic and investment cooperation.   

    Moreover, the parties underlined the importance of traditional cultural-humanitarian ties.  The significance of cooperation in the field of medicine and healthcare was stressed taking into consideration the present extremely serious challenge in front of the whole humankind.

    In the end of the conversation, the Presidents Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Moon Jae-in expressed confidence in that interstate dialogue will further successfully strengthen for the benefit of both countries and peoples.

     

  • Joint Letter Sent to the UN Secretary-General to Stop Human Rights Violations and Religious Oppression in South Korea

    On August 10th, 155 youth groups with one million members from 62 countries around the world sent a joint letter to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the UN affiliates, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

    The joint letter contained a request for recommendations to stop discrimination against Shincheonji Church, a new Christian denomination headquartered in South Korea, and a UN ECOSOC-affiliated organization named Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).

    The representative of this letter, the director and founder of FREE WATCH AFGHANISTAN, Mobeenullah Aimaq, said that he agreed with the UN's concern for the persecution of minorities and vulnerable groups as well as human rights violations that continue to occur in the pretext of fighting the coronavirus. To solve this problem, he proposed a joint letter to young people around the world to appeal to the international community.

    He strongly urged that the Korean Government should knock off the prosecution of Shincheonji Church and HWPL in South Korea. "Prosecuting Shincheonji Church and HWPL should be immediately stopped so that the international reputation of the government, known as a proponent of peace in the globe, will be saved," he added.

    In the letter, they reported the several acts of unfair discrimination and oppression of the Korean government and the media against these organizations by citing the concerns of UN Secretary-General regarding "disproportionate effects on certain communities, the rise of hate speech, and the targeting of vulnerable groups".

    According to the report, there have been over 5,500 instances of human rights abuses of members of the Shincheonji Church during this period of the ongoing pandemic. Among the cases include two female members’ death in suspicious circumstances. Many of these victims are promising young people who are now facing increased discrimination in workplaces and schools, violence at home, and even forced deprogramming.

    The letter highlights that the members of Shincheonji Church are also victims who were unfortunately infected with the virus despite following the government's guidelines related to the pandemic.

    Furthermore, the unprecedented custody investigation against 89-years-old Chairman Man Hee Lee of Shincheonji Church and HWPL was recently determined. The charters of these two groups have been revoked by the government and they have been subject to rigorous tax investigations. Those in leadership positions within the organizations also have been taken into custody for questioning.

    In the Korea Times column titled “Can unpopular sect expect justice?”, Michael Breen, CEO of Insight Communications, referred the current investigation into Shincheonji Church as a “witch-hunt” by saying that Shincheonji is a safe target for politicians and others who comment in public since it is unpopular.

    In the joint letter, they urged that cases of human rights, social and religious repression, such as the ones occurring in South Korea, must be put to an end in order to build "more effective and inclusive solutions for the emergency of today and the recovery for tomorrow."

     

    Press Release of the Department of Public Relations

    Heavenly Culture, World Peace, and the Restoration of Light

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