“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
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light Peace Forum: “Humanity on the Crossroads of Conflict and Peace, Which Way Should We Choose?”
Amid rising concerns of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula from the recent nuclear tests and satellite launch by North Korea, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) hosted a peace forum on February 19 at the Grand Ballroom in Coex Hall, Seoul. The theme of the forum was “Humanity on the Crossroads of Conflict and Peace, Which Way Should We Choose?”
Attended by over 1,800 renowned figures from all sectors of the society – political and religious leaders, NGO representatives, and journalists- across 13 countries, the HWPL peace forum served as a platform to gather the hearts of leaders and civilians to join in HWPL’s work of peace and deliver the message for promoting peace in the hopes of bringing peace on the Korean peninsula and beyond. The participants pledged to take actions and collaborate on peace promoting activities.
Mr. Keun Park, a former Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations and Monk Mujin of Hwang-Ryeun Buddhist temple delivered congratulatory speeches.
“Heavenly culture is what is provided to humanity without cost just as the light, rain, and air. Today, this remarkable forum with the purpose of achieving world peace through heavenly culture offers a historical moment to awaken the urgency of the unification of the only divided nation in the world,” said Mr. Keun Park.
Soon-Hwee Jang, Doctorate in Politics and Director of the Korean Institute of Cultural Security, Young-Sook Kang, Vice President of the National Unification Advisory Council, and Ki-Chul Lee, Doctorate in Theology at International Christian Mission Council spoke on the topic of “Humanity on the crossroads of conflict and peace, which way should we choose?”
“Political leaders of major countries proclaim peace and peaceful resolution at any chance, however, in reality, we find ironies at the lack of any instrument or tool being implemented to support their proclamation. In this world of despair, it is the hope for humanity that one person makes a tireless effort to create peace by reviving the spirit and culture of peace. Through the Mindanao Peace Agreement and the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace activities, HWPL Chairman Lee has brought hope that peace can be realized,” said Mr. Jang.
In his keynote speech, HWPL Chairman Man Hee Lee said, “In the crossroads of conflict and peace, in order to cease conflicts, a law is needed. A law for humanity, the one that disposes of all means that initiate war and armed conflicts must be proposed to be implemented. HWPL is currently undertaking an international law initiative which signifies the big leap towards transforming armed weapons into daily instruments and resolving religious conflicts.”
IWPG Chairwoman Nam Hee Kim added, “Women leaders and students throughout the world are uniting their efforts to urge for this international law to become effectively implemented. We have come to a point of time when youth can freely pursue their dreams and their passion and efforts for peace can be guaranteed and recognized.”
At the HWPL Forum, a total of 18 HWPL Publicity Ambassadors were appointed including Peter Kim, the head of the International Medical Volunteer Organization (UN registered). In addition, 20 HWPL Publicity Ambassadors and 7 IWPG Publicity Ambassadors from mainland China were appointed.
At the closing ceremony of the event, about 1,000 leading figures signed the World Peace Agreement to urge for the implementation of the International Law on the Cessation of War and Achievement of World Peace. Each of them pledged on behalf of his/her people and nation, to do their best in their endeavor for the Cessation of War and Achievement of World Peace.
At the lobby of Grand Ballroom, Cheon-ji News’ special photo exhibition on “War and Peace” was held. Participants were able to get a glimpse of life during the Korean War and the current Civil war in Syria. This exhibit let the viewers experience the atrocities committed during war-time captured by cameras and learned about HWPL’s footsteps of peace in current conflicted areas of the world.
HWPL, through the HWPL International Law Peace Committee, consisting of prestigious international law professionals, will publicly present the Declaration on the Cessation of War and Achievement of World Peace in March 2016. There is much attention directed at the Declaration since it will include articles on the most controversial global issues as well as solution.