HWPL Civilian Peace Agreement Creates an Atmosphere of Peace in Mindanao
“Land of Changes” – After the Civilian Peace Agreement in Mindanao
On 24 January 2014, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) achieved peace to show as proof of their sincerity in their peace work to strive for sustainable peace through peace education and peace culture activities even after the peace agreement. This article will cover the process of HWPL’s civilian peace agreement and its aftermath.
A culture of peace is being fostered in Mindanao, Philippines, a land that has been group-led peace agreement that was signed on 24 January 2014 is being implemented and is raising awareness for peace among the residents. This agreement largely contributed to creating an atmosphere of peace for a peace agreement between the government of the Philippines and the Moro people.
HWPL and Peace in Mindanao
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL, Chairman Lee Man-hee) has held various events and activities in the Philippines since June 2013, including bringing relief for the slums, holding conversations with religious leaders for interfaith harmony, and establishing a youth network for peace. Amid these efforts, Chairman Lee Man-hee was invited to Mindanao by H.E. Antonio J. Ledesma, Archbishop of Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.
At the time, Mindanao was a battleground of bullets. It was not an easy decision for Chairman Lee Man-hee, an 84-year-old man, to take his life. However, Chairman Lee thought, “I cannot deny this request when I was asked to come for peace as a peace activist,” and transcended national borders, ethnicities, and religions to travel to this region.
January 2014 in Mindanao, General Santos, Philippines. Over 1,000 people, including believers from both religions, students from of the International Peace Youth Group, participated. After the peace walk, Chairman Lee spoke about the necessity of peace to Catholic and Muslim leaders, youth groups, and university professors at a hotel in General Santos.
“God’s will is peace, not war.” He then asked the attendees, “Do you want peace or do you want war,” and had them raise their hand if they wanted peace. When all the attendees raised their hand, Chairman Lee called the Catholic and Islamic representatives to the stage while saying, “Then sign the peace agreement.”
H.E. Fernado Robles Capalla, D.D, Archbishop Emeritus of Archdiocese of Davao, and Esmael G. Mangudadatu, Governor of Maguindanao, signed an agreement for the creation of peace and the cessation of war as the representatives of Catholicism and Islam, respectively, during the spontaneous peace agreement signing ceremony.
The Mindanao peace agreement that was mediated by HWPL proposed a “civilian- centered awareness improvement and action”- based approach to peace. In line with this approach, HWPL began peace activities across the Philippines, including Mindanao, to raise public peace awareness on the universal peace principles of mutual understanding, respect, and harmony. HWPL is also carrying out peace initiatives centered around civil society, including education, religion, youth, and women, in order to eliminate the factors that are sources of conflict and also to strengthen the core values for peaceful development.
Press-release of the HWPL
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
International NGOs Urge International community to Enact International Law for Peace to End Wars in Ukraine
Organizations from all over the world gathered at the “International Conference on the Restoration of Peace in Ukraine” hosted by international peace NGO, HWPL and Business Woman Magazine
As Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues for more than 50 days, the international community is seeking and proposing ways to end the war from various angles.
At 11am (GMT+0) On April 21, 2022, Ukraine branch of Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL) and Business Woman Magazine co-hosted <International Conference on the Restoration of Peace in Ukraine> online in attendance with around 500 participants in 15 countries. The conference was held to share the results of humanitarian aid and call for collaborative efforts by the international community to restore peace in Ukraine.
HWPL is a Korea-based international peace NGO associated with the UN ECOSOC and the UN DGC. Since 2013, HWPL has carried out various peace activities for global peace and cessation of war. As a representative example, HWPL announced the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) in 2016 to enact international law for peace and received 'DPCW support signatures' from 176 countries worldwide.
The Business Woman Magazine, the co-host of the event, was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Ukraine, with 30 overseas branches in 30 countries. The magazine introduces business cases of women entrepreneurs worldwide and is certified as the only Ukrainian international magazine by the European Parliament and the European Commission.
At the conference, leaders from all walks of life in Ukraine in a state of war, professors, and journalists cooperating with HWPL, made presentations accusing the inhumane realities of the current war. It included Maryna Popatenko, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine who gave a speech on the topic of “The current situation in Ukraine and requests for international community support,” and Hanna Krysiuk, founder of the international magazine "Business Woman", Professor Rommel Santos Diaz, and journalist Igor Shevyrov.
HWPL introduced the ongoing refugee assistance projects of its partner organizations, International assistance headquarters for Ukrainians, NGO “Poruch”, Charitable Foundation “SWAN”, Women's Union of Ukraine, and encouraged attendees to raise funds for humanitarian aid.
Prof. Rommel Santos Diaz, President of the Dominican Federalist Foundation and Professor of international law at the Universidad INCE said, "HWPL has discovered the document that best complements the charter of the United Nations. Also with the charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), and the OAS’s Statute of International Court is the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW)" and he announced the value of DPCW as "A transcendental document that, at this time, would exert a very positive influence as a foundation for the search for solutions in Ukraine."
“I would like to emphasize that there are now about 8 million young people left in Ukraine, of whom 2 million have become internally displaced, many are in hostilities, many have lost their homes, many have lost their jobs, businesses and forced to suspend their studies. They all need special attention and support.,” said Maryna Popatenko who is Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine.
“Right after the outbreak of the war, HWPL condemned Russia’s invasion, which resulted in countless civilian casualties, and urged it to uphold the principles of international law through an official statement,” said Maria Zakharchenko, coordinator of HWPL’s Ukraine branch. She added, “Through this event, HWPL shared humanitarian support and campaign activities to restore peace in Ukraine and will continue to carry out peace activities with the spirit of DPCW. We expect more attention and aid from the international community to support the Ukrainian people.
HWPL emphasized the need for international support for Ukrainian citizens as the war became protracted. HWPL has created an introduction page for fundraising information for partner organizations, which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ngo.HWPL.cis/.
Meanwhile, HWPL Ukraine branch sent groceries such as macaroni to help the students of HWPL Peace Education suffering from food shortages from April 1st. -The goods were provided by the raising funds from HWPL members in other countries. As a result, about 300 people -including faculty and staff- of the schools located in Kherson and Donetsk Provinces received the relief supplies.
The Peace Education Workshop Trained 50 Educators from Five Countries, Including Ethiopia and Yemen
From February 25, 54 educators from Iraq, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Yemen, and Georgia participate at the peace education training, twice a week online until April 9. Prolonged pandemic could not stop the peace educators from sharing significant moments together at the joint conference online.
Tamar Corzaze, a teacher at Georgia's Chervantes Aiges School, who completed HWPL peace education teacher's training last year, emphasized the role of educators in promoting students with the value of peace and humanity through peace-building activities, "We all have our own roles in making peace. You don't have to have a special ability or position."
Ethiopia Omort, who attended the training first time this year, emphasized that "the peace education platform is changing the culture of war into a culture of peace, and the corruption should also be changed to a culture of peace. It should be applied to each country."
Despite the growing education divide, HWPL, an international peace organization, held 59 peace teachers' training sessions in 26 countries in 2021, training a total of 392 peace teachers and signing MOUs for each educational institution and online peace education webinar.
HWPL staff who attended the education training said, "HWPL believes education should be a stepping stone for citizens to realize the value of peace. This year, teachers will systematically organize the curriculum and provide education to convey what they learned and felt through the training to students."
Six weeks of training will teach participants the role of peace educators and equip them with tools to tackle the problems such as war, starvation, and the economic and social disparity. Trainees who successfully complete the curriculums will be appointed as "HWPL Peace Educators" and carry out the peace education to students at their respective schools, universities, and institutions.
Department of Public Relations HWPL