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
“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