Religious Leaders’ Peace Network from 130 Countries Examine the Nature of Religion through Comparative Studies on ScripturesThursday, 02 May 2019 17:53
The Era of Religion Never Fades Away
Scientific innovation and technological progress led many countries to hold unproven prospect that social changes from economic development and industrial advancement will bring out the end of religion.
Far from this “faith”, the issue of religion rises to the surface again, creating new phenomena. While traditional roles of Christianity has diminished in the United States and Europe, the void is filled by increasing presence of new religion through the migration of people with different religious orientations. Also, the governance and social integration have been carried out with the influence of religion in Asian and African countries. Since the 9/11, the rise of extremism and terrorism or such acts of violence in the name of religion persisted. These events have brought the issue of religion to surface both positively and negatively. In order to cope with the latest trend of religion, the international society and religion have created platforms and dialogue in search of new roles religion plays in realization of peace, justice and stability.
Interfaith dialogue begins the restoration of fundamentals of religion
In these contemporary days, religion is considered as a main factor affecting the conflicts in the world. Scholars say that violent acts of extremism have the basis on the misinterpretation of religious scripture as means to mobilize the public and incite angers in the mass number of people.
Imam Anas Hajjar, Head Imam of Finland Islam Community, pays a closer attention to religious scripture and points out that “Because many people interpret the scripture with their own thoughts and ideologies without correctly knowing what is the will of God inside the scripture, and if laymen continue to interpret without true knowledge and study, the problems caused by extremists will continue to occur.”.
There’s a rising voice calling for religious leaders to take a strong stand in restoring the true value of religion to lead humanity into a just and peaceful path, rather than leaning toward any forms of extremisms through misinterpretation.
“Terrorism, sectarian violence and religious conflicts have deprived us of basic human rights, resulting in people under pains that go beyond description. The love and tolerance of love have disappeared in the communities. Selfishness, lack of acceptance of the other and the absence of a culture of tolerance and human values have made the communication even more difficult. However, religion does call for peace among peoples. The seed of peace is possible with this desire and with this longing to change the world,” said Mr. Tharwat Gaid Salama Gaballa, Chairman of Horus foundation for Development and training in Egypt.
The role of leaders in reflecting on religion through scripture to discourage religion as means of violent conflicts
“The common objectives that all religious scriptures pursue are the realization of peace and justice, conflict resolution, human dignity, and valuing diversity. Thus, along with the diverse backgrounds and various factors that cause conflicts, we approach towards the root cause of this hospitality among beliefs, which we define as the misunderstandings that arise from the misinterpretation of these scriptures,” Mr. Gaballa added.
Regarding the role of religious leaders, Imam Anas Hajjar, Head Imam of Finland Islam Community emphasized, “Although political extremism and the hate-speech have been in the rise in Europe, NGOs have a critical role in resisting and opposing this type of breakdown in respect of the laws of religious freedom, peace and harmony in the country. The best way to combat all types of extremism is knowledge and this part of the job is given to scholars and religious leaders.”
“In order to find the truth all the humanity wants religious leaders need to put away the thoughts that only my religion is the best and do the comparative work based on Scriptures without dividing themselves and saying ‘your religion’, ‘my religion’,” said Swami Veetamohananda, Swami (religious leader in Hinduism) of Ramakrishna Veda center.
A Platform for Comparative Studies on Religious Scripture – World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office
From April 1st to 2nd, an international conference named “The Role of Cultural Diplomacy in Approaching the Protracted Conflicts” was held in Romania as the presidency of the European Union by a Romanian think tank Institute of Advanced Studies on Levant Culture and Civilization (ISACCL) in cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Romania, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), University of Bucharest, and Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics.
In the conference the role of NGOs and civil societies in developing peace was included to discuss transforming religion from means of violent conflicts to source of peace.
“The culture of earth cannot disguise the one of heaven with a man’s yardstick of judgment. Religion is to learn the world of spirit and teachings of God. This is the heavenly culture that guides us to the world of peace. Through the WARP offices religious leaders have brought religious scriptures to examine trustworthy, physical evidence of religion. In search of the true teachings written in trustworthy scripture, religions should be one under the true teachings. When we continue to do this comparative studies, there will be no more wars triggered by religion,” said Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL.
A platform for religious leaders as a new attempt to establish a network of peace to enhance understanding of religions through scriptures has been carried out 220 locations from 130 countries. Named “World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office”, this platform since 2014 is designed by HWPL, an international NGO under the UN ECOSOC, to find the nature of religious values for peace building through scriptures. HWPL has its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea and seeks the role of religion in conflict resolution and prevention through the network of global religious leaders.
Oliver Kang, pastor and international missionary of the Evangelical Worldwide Mission Church, said, “Therefore, if we want peace between religions, if we want no more wars, then religions need to turn away from the path of corruption. That is why we are comparing the religious scriptures through the WARP Office meetings. Discussions based on comparing the scriptures is the optimal solution to resolve the problem of corruption.”
“The WARP office is the significant link and the great network for the worldwide religious institutions. It has come to show the cooperation and solidarity of all religious leaders and send the message of tolerance, peace and unity to all people around the world,” said Mr. Gaballa regarding the function of the WARP office.
According to HWPL, this religious network of peace further is further developed to appeal to young generations to build confidence of religion through communication and understanding. “Various religious teaching program for youth such as religious youth peace camp gives lesson for participants to learn about the general history of world religions, find the root cause of and plausible resolutions to religious conflicts and disputes, examine the religious community’s roles for peace, and experience cultural exchanges,” said Dr. Ahmed Jasem Hmood Al-Maliky, Sheikh of Office of the Religious Reference Sheikh Mohammad Al Yaqoobi in Iraq.
“Starting by taking out the prejudice that I am right and you are wrong, let us communicate and interact with each other with these questions in mind: ‘Is what I know always right? Is the other religion always wrong? Or is there something in that religion that mine doesn't have?’ Let us find the best truth and achieve the ultimate value of peace,” he added.
Early in April, about 700 people from various sectors in the society such as educators, leaders of politics and religions, women and youth groups, global peace activists, and journalists gathered in Pentagon Events in Bucharest to discuss the practical approaches for realizing peace through peace education.
With the title of ‘The role of teachers for peace education’, 2019 Peace Education Conference was an event that presented the progress of the peace curriculum customized for European background and the direction of developing a culture of peace backed by international law for peace.
Planting the value of peace to the students, Peace Education
“This is a very complex subject. But just like all journey starts with a first step, raising the awareness of peace should be done for the most basic level. Through this education, children understood that they have the power to do good acts on their level. They can actually change their lives and the lives of their family in the future. I try to make them see the importance of the value of respect, helping others, and tolerance that create better students as righteous adults,” said Mr. Dumitru Marius-Gabriel, a teacher of 1 Mai Technical High-school of Ploiesti, who has operated the peace education.
“Working with HWPL for this project brought me much joy and fulfillment because I could blend my normal lessons with the message of peace. I realized how important it is for us, teachers, to become a role model of our students. I’d like to add this peace education exists to create a peaceful world for future generation to cease all wars. Furthermore, this education should spread not only to our students but to all the students everywhere. They are the future of our peace,” he added.
One of the distinguishing aspects of this education was the collaboration between a local organization and an international NGO to proceed with the curriculum. The teachers belong to Master Peace, a local Romanian youth group, have carried out the peace education. And the curriculum and materials for peace education were provided by an international peace NGO called HWPL.
According to the official of HWPL, the peace education is designed with the aim of to leave peace as a legacy to the future generations by raising the awareness of the importance of realizing peace and fostering a culture of peace. It recently provides the books, which contains the worldwide peace activities and peace agreements that HWPL has carried out, to the schools and libraries to encourage every citizen to participate in peace work.
As a part of peace initiatives, more than 200 educational institutions in 21 countries including Romania, Republic of South Africa, India, Israel, Kosovo, the Philippines are designated as HWPL Peace Academies to train the educators and students with the value of peace beyond boundaries, races, and religions.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said “As you can see the name of our organization, “Heavenly Culture” refers to the highest culture from heaven above worldly cultures that can realize peace by harmonizing all the people in the world. Even if you are born in a family or in a country with great wealth, you may feel infernal when there’s no peace in your family or your country. The first start is important, so the peace education should start from the family, and then to the schools and society. Everything you see, hear, feel, and learn should be engaged with peace education. We can call it practical peace education. And it starts with the mindset that we can achieve peace. HWPL aims to create a world like this. That’s the reason why we designed the peace materials and textbooks under several times of advice so that we send the materials to every educational institute to help encourage peace education.”
Since last year, Romanian schools and organizations including Comuna Sotrile College, 1 Mai Technical High-school of Ploiesti, and Master Peace have signed MOUs for further participation-based peace education and activities that customized for European culture using the peace materials provided by HWPL
Spreading a culture of peace with peace education, yet needs a legally binding international framework for peace
“What HWPL is proposing is the new way of seeing topics such as anti-bullying, non-violent communication, and collaborative activities that are very important currently in the Romanian educational system. The HWPL peace curriculum emphasizes the value of tolerance, care, social equality, peace, justice, cooperation, solidarity, and human right that can create a culture of peace. It helps us define peace and its value that would lead the students to the leaders of peace. I’d also like to stress that the students should be peace messengers and work for realizing peace with this systematic peace education.” Maglan Isabe, a student of Mihai Viteazu National College, expressed her impression of the HWPL peace education.
Mr. Dragomir Marian, President of Master Peace, said “My belief, that made me work with HWPL with its peace education curriculum, is that education in personality, skill, value, and attitude is important for social, economic, and political development in any country. This role is well articulated in the “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” No. 4 containing a quality education for all to promote lifelong learning. This is also shared by the article 10, “Spreading a culture of peace”, in the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) which mentions that education is important to promote respect and mutual understanding among different religions, ideologies, and ethnic groups.”
The DPCW consisting of 10 articles and 38 clauses addresses principles of conflict resolution and international cooperation for peacebuilding such as respect on the international law, peaceful dispute settlement, and spreading a culture of peace. Currently, it is in the process of submitting this declaration as a resolution to the UN in order to develop it into a legally binding document, while citizens around the world are supporting it by participating “Peace Letter Campaign”.
“Articles 1 to 5 of the DPCW deal with preventing conflicts, articles 6 and 7 are about resolving conflicts, and articles 8 to 10 present the measures for the sustainable peaceful global society. This declaration is different from existing clauses of international law because it offers a comprehensive solution and compassing principles for conflict resolution according to the international order,” said Mr. Young Min Chung, Director of the IPYG.
“The future is counting on us to complete the world of peace. Let’s take what we’ve learned from the peace education and put it into our lives as peace citizens. World peace can be achieved with the DPCW that will lay the foundation of international law toward world peace. I invite you all to join the “Peace Letter Campaign”.” He urged for the participation for establishing a legally binding international framework for peace based on the DPCW.
The conference held in April 2nd was hosted by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international NGO under UN ECOSOC, organized by Master Peace, a youth group of Romania, and sponsored by International Peace Youth Group (IPYG).
On the 30th anniversary of the collapse of dictatorship in Eastern Europe and Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), a comprehensive approach to peace building with a network and cooperation from governments and civil society groups will be discussed with 200 participants from different sectors in Bucharest, Romania.
With the title of "The Role of Cultural Diplomacy in Approaching the Protracted Conflicts - Culture of Peace through Understanding the Other", this conference is held from April 1 to 2, hosted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Romania, co-organized by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization (ISACCL), and cooperated by Centre for Baltic-Black Sea Studies (Centre for BBS).
Participants include former and incumbent national leaders like former President Emil Constantinescu of Romania, religious leaders, educators, women leaders, journalists and NGO leaders from European and Asian countries.
According to the organizing group, this conference focuses on cultural diplomacy to "generate mutual trust and establish avenues for better communication through creating, transmitting and promoting representations of identity" with the recent history of Romania and Eastern Europe that presented multi-ethnic, inter-cultural communication as positive experiences.
The conference is a very result of continuous international exchange between Eastern Europe and South Korea at the civil society level. Last year, former heads of state and HWPL based on South Korea discussed mutual development of peace building efforts at the “High-Level Meeting of Former Political Leaders in Europe to spread the Culture of Peace and call for Support for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula” held in May at the House of Parliament in Bucharest.
"The great humanity conversation must now be encouraged so that the larger and larger groups of people could develop free flocks of ideas and knowledge worldwide. This vision can be developed only if representatives are able to act as plurality of voices, questions and desires of billions of people participating it,” said Hon. Emil Constantinescu in his speech at the High-Level Meeting of Former Political Leaders in Europe last year.
HWPL is a South Korea-based NGO registered in UN ECOSOC and executes global peace building campaigns with initiatives of international law for peace, inter-faith dialogue and peace education. It drafted the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) to promote intergovernmental cooperation for securing principles of peace and citizen participation to develop a culture of peace. Currently, the declaration has gained official support from Central American Parliament, Pan-African Parliament and 1 million citizens from 174 countries.
Letters from Citizens to National Leaders: Endorsing Accountability for Global Peace Building at the UN General AssemblyWednesday, 20 March 2019 10:17
On March 14th, about 30,000 people from all sectors of the society including government officials, religious leaders, heads of NGOs, media persons, and citizen gathered in Seoul, South Korea, to redouble efforts for the establishment of international law for peace.
Hitting the 3rd anniversary this year, the annual commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) was hosted by an international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), to share the progress of activities undertaken to introduce the DPCW to the UN as a resolution.
The DPCW drafted by international law experts includes principles of peacebuilding such as the prohibition of the use of force, development of friendly relations, and peaceful dispute settlement. And it emphasizes international cooperation based on interfaith dialogue and civic participation to create and spread a culture of peace.
Mr. Pravin Harjivandas Parekh, President of Confederation of Indian Bar, said “The strength of HWPL is to awaken and tie the civil with the idea of peace. The DPCW connects considerably with civil societies contributors since peace cannot be continued just through the voices of elites and institutional processes. It suggests civic societies function as the peace-building actors which aim for the implementation of the citizens’ advocacy encouraging a culture of peace.”
Regarding a culture of peace, Ms. Anna Cervenakova, member of Human Rights Research Center, explained that it means a certain system of values where on the first place is a respect for human life, ending the war, armed conflicts or violence and taking action in promoting peace, human rights, fundamental freedoms, sustainable development, and environmental needs for present and future generations.
According to the progress report announced at the event, the DPCW has been supported by Seychelles, eSwatini, and Comoros at the governmental level. At the international level, the inter-governmental organizations such as PARLACEN (Central American Parliament), PAP (Pan-African Parliament), and Centre for BBS (International Centre for Black Sea-Baltic Studies and Consensus Practices) have cooperated with HWPL for the enactment of the DPCW through signing MOU.
Along with the official support from governments and international organizations, this year’s anniversary highlighted the “Peace Letters” to the heads of states and UN ambassadors in 193 countries. Written by global citizens, the “Peace Letter Campaign” as a part of advocacy plan for the international movement for peacebuilding by civic participation has been carried out worldwide to collect support from women, youth, and citizens for the establishment of a legally-binding framework for international law for peace.
“Since 2018, IPYG has collected over 200,000 peace letters and sent them to the 7 heads of states: South Africa, Indonesia, New Zealand, Namibia, Malaysia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Korea. Starting from today, we have great expectations for its future. The first goal is to submit the DPCW to the UN General Assembly in the form of a draft resolution and have it adopted. The second is to create a new peninsula to achieve peaceful unification. Let us become all heroes of peace together,” said Mr. Young Min Chung of general director of IPYG.
After the first session, peace lectures on “Civil Society’s Role for Peaceful Unification, Exchange, and Cooperation of the Korean Peninsula” followed at the second session. This peace lecture was aimed to call for the collaborative efforts of civil society for peacebuilding among the two Koreas based on the principals of the DPCW.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, “Korea has undergone much sorrow from the division, which still threatens our daily lives. When I was 20 years old, I had no choice but to join the tragic war. We need to listen to what the soldiers said. They blamed their countries. Do the countries compensate for the loss of life? There should be no longer victims of war in our globe. Should we stand still and do nothing in this reality?”
“The unification of Germany was triggered by citizens, not the force or politics. Some might say that the military confrontation serves as a major challenge to peace and unification. Use of force must be dissuaded to achieve peace, which is also designated in the DPCW. It has principles to secure peace in our times. When we advocate peace to our national leaders, they can be peace advocates; But if they do not listen to their people, they will be offenders against peace,” he added.
The host organization, HWPL, is a peace NGO in Special Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC and associated with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the UN DGC. For the purpose of ceasing all wars and creating a peaceful world as a legacy for future generations, HWPL has been carrying out 3 main peace initiatives - International law for peace, Inter-faith dialogue meeting, and Peace education.
On February 18th, an international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) under the UN ECOSOC held a conference called 'Religious World Without Discrimination, Religious Leaders Becoming one’ in the International Convention Center, Cockle bay room in Sydney, Australia. In attendance with about 370 audiences, 30 members of 7 denomination religious leaders of Christian, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Caodaism participated.
After the opening video of urging for the eradication of religious discrimination, 4 speakers delivered messages on the cases of religious discrimination and action plans of religious leaders for promoting religious harmony.
Nelson Pervaz, a pastor of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, read a letter that will be sent to United Nations Human Rights Council, "I am a Pastor working in Australia and Pakistan. Pakistan is a dominantly Muslim country where religious tension and discrimination exists. I understand how we must all work to bring about true harmony between people of different faiths and cultures. The act of the Christian Council of Korea (CCK) about Ms. Gu Ji-In who were killed in the aftermath of coercive conversion in Korea should never be ignored and what they do should stop."
Coercive conversion in South Korea has raised the issue of human rights violation as the number of victims especially women who are threatened by pastors and families to give up their religious faith has reached 1,000. After the death case of Ms. Gu from kidnapping, confinement and physical violence, there have been rallies to establish legal protection for freedom of religion and women rights.
Participants in the event urged the dissolution of religious organizations who engage in politics and persecute other religions or denominations by forcefully converting individuals. They signed Statement Denouncing Coercive Conversion Programs and Religious Discrimination and proclaimed to support the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
Regarding the role of religious leaders for establishing a world peace, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, "I came to Australia for telling that 10 articles and 38 clauses of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) are necessary to make a world peace and leave a legacy of peace for future generations. This is more important than anything else, and we have to become a peace messenger."
HWPL proposes peace initiatives such as the establishment of international law for peace, an interfaith dialogue meeting for religious harmony, peace education and so on. In particular, the interfaith dialogue meeting called World Alliance of Religions Peace (WARP) Office is currently in operation in 219 places in 129 countries. The DPCW addresses principles of conflict resolution and international cooperation for peacebuilding such as respect on the international law, peaceful dispute settlement, and spreading a culture of peace.
On 18th of February, International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) held “2019 Youth Peace Conference” under the theme of “Youth Make Tomorrow: Unity & Harmony” at the International Convention Centre, Cockle bay room in Sydney, Australia. This event, attended by 45 leaders of politics, education, and youth organizations as well as 350 audiences, was aimed to promote the collaboration of civic groups for the establishment of international law for peace.
The conference began with the congratulatory message from Cr. Stephan Barbour, the Deputy Mayor of North Sydney Council. "I was so surprised that young people are building a foundation for peace in support of the DPCW. I am also very excited to see the scene where the peace letters, which contain the voices of young people for peace, are delivered to the representatives of each country. This is evidence that young people are changing the world," he said.
The “Peace Letter Campaign”, one of the IPYG’s initiatives that create the world without war, urges the heads of each state to enact legally binding international law for peace based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW). The DPCW consisting of 10 articles and 38 clauses includes provisions to avoid war-related actions and achieve peace and addresses respect on the international law, peaceful dispute settlement, and spreading a culture of peace.
Youth group leaders delivered the peace letters to 30 national leaders including Governor General of Tuvalu. In the speech, H.E. Iakoba Taeia Italeli, Governor General of Tuvalu, replied to the youth by saying "I have received your hearts through the letters, and will make the best of my effort to realize the world you dream to come true. I will do my best to encourage the rest of the world to support the DPCW so that we may bring a better future for the youth."
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, an international peace NGO under the UN ECOSOC, said, “I met leaders of politics, religion, and social group from all over the world, but no one wanted war. If war does not happen, peace will be achieved. With the principles guaranteeing peace and avoiding conflicts and wars, the DPCW will contribute to cessation of war, ultimately leading to the world of peace. It will be achieved when every individual of our global society advocates for it. Let us all become one and make peace.”
Mr. Young Min Chung, the General Director of IPYG, emphasized the role of youth in creating peace in this world for the responsibility of future lies in their hands. Also, he encouraged the participants to join the “Peace Letter Campaign” that will convey their longing for peace to the heads of state as well as their neighboring nations.
On February 19, the '2019 Pacific Leaders’ Summit for Peace, Sydney’ was held at the New South Wales Parliament House in Australia under the auspices of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international NGO under the UN ECOSOC.
With the participation of Governor-General of Tuvalu and high-ranking officers of South Pacific including Australia who emphasized the need for international mechanism for sustainable peace, this summit on the theme of ‘Center of Spreading Peace beyond Ethnicity and Borders hosted by Legislate Peace Campaign’ was held for South Pacific leaders to call for the introduction of Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) at the UN General Assembly.
The DPCW was proclaimed by HWPL International Law Peace Committee, composed of international law experts such as ILA, to not only avoid violence and ensure friendly relations among states but also guarantee ethnic identity and develop a culture of peace through civic participation. With the intergovernmental support, HWPL is calling for countries to support the DPCW as a resolution at the upcoming UN General Assembly in 2019.
Hon. Gibbs Salika, Chief of Justice of Papua New Guinea, said, "After a careful understanding of the DPCW, I truly do feel and understand that all our individual effort is needed to build up strong peaceful nations, which I would like for all Pacific Leaders here today to take into consideration as a part of a global family. For us in the Pacific, we must be the champions of peace not only in our region but throughout the world."
"In this age, we must achieve this peace today. So, in order to achieve world peace, there must be one law being able to keep and also the standard has to be established. So, we have created the DPCW to achieve peace. The DPCW to end the war and make peace must become the only eternal legacy to the future generation, and I hope that we achieve the era of peace together so that it becomes forever light in history," said Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL.
Through this conference, 6 Chairpersons of the National Assembly, 3 ministers and the chief justices, the former and current heads of state, Governor-General of Tuvalu, former President Marshall Islands signed “HWPL - Pacific Islands Comprehensive Agreement on Advocacy for the DPCW.” This agreement contains active cooperation for the development of DPCW with the spirit of peace by 12 high-level government leaders from eight countries in the South Pacific.
“This strategic approach by HWPL, gaining support from governments and civil society groups, is significant in achieving peace. HWPL has established a partnership through an MOU with Pan-African Parliament from 55 member states of the African Union for the support of the DPCW. This flow of network for peace led to this summit where government officials, leaders of NGOs and citizens from the Pacific countries advocate the UN and global community for international law for peace,” said Mr. Ian Seo, General Director of Department of Public Relations, HWPL.
Raffles University of Johor Bahru hosted a celebratory event for International Human Solidarity Day on December 29th and 30th at Capital City Mall in Malaysia. The event was co-hosted by international NGOs called Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) to raise awareness of solidarity for peace-building. Also, the Capital City joined the event in partnership.
The event included various booths, presentations and exhibitions. The Peace Letter project, one of the most-crowded booths during the event, encouraged the participants to write hand-writing letters in support of the establishment of international law for peace.
According to the volunteer of the IPYG running the booth, the letters written by the youth all over the world have been delivered to the head of each state. He added that the contents of the letters include the voice of youth urging for the legally binding document that prevents any war-like activities based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
Several schools in Malaysia including Dato Osman Awang, Mohd Khalid are known to implement peace education in their curriculum. With the aim of fostering a culture of peace through peace education, HWPL carried out a survey during the event. The participants partook in the survey that collected the demands of the citizens for implementing peace education throughout the country.
Denise, Education Consultant in Raffles University Iskandar who headed the event, said ‘I hope that this event can be an example for our students like how to organize events in future, and also to bring our students and society to a next level to more concern the world's news. And we believe this will also help our students to be more responsible to the society. ’ in regards to the expected outcome of the event.
Co-hosts IPYG and HWPL also stated ‘ First I want to thanks for all the help in this events and being our partner until the end of the event. And I do hope that we can work together next time.’.
During the 2018 HWPL World Peace Summit: 4th Anniversary of the WARP Summit around 100 religious leaders from 37 countries who have been participating in the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Offices up to now met on September 19th and held the HWPL Intercontinental WARP Office Meeting. The first 2 Intercontinental WARP Office Meetings were held online, but in honor of the 4th annual commemorative summit major participants from the WARP Office meetings gathered in Korea in a single location and took time to compare their scriptures.
The 1st Intercontinental WARP Office was held under the theme of ‘What is the method to eliminate evil in the scripture?’ and the 2nd Intercontinental WARP Office focused on the ‘Beginning and Origin of All Things’, so representatives of different religions compared their scriptures in these areas. The 3rd Intercontinental WARP Office focused on the founder of religion, which is one of the core topics among religions and faith communities, and a passionate discussion ensued. Also, the live online broadcasting that was streamed in 4 languages attracted the attention of many people.
Around 100 guests from Korea and abroad participated in the meeting and a panel of representatives from Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism discussed the main topic as well as responded to questions from the audience members. The focal point of this discussion was regarding “God”; however, the discussion was not limited to the god of a particular religion but rather expanded to encompass the transcendental existence of any being that is in control over all creation. In relation to the subject of “God” a number of questions were explored, such as ‘Who is he?’, ‘What is the law, cause and origin of nature?’, ‘If God exists, what type of existence does he have and what is his purpose?’, and ‘Why is there no direct communication with God?’.
This discussion first started with an O, X question being given to the panelists regarding ‘Is there a record of the existence of God in your scriptures?”. In response, the representatives of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism answered with O and the Buddhist representative answered with X. The panelists who answered O were then given time to share about the Creator and how all of creation was first created according to their respective religions. The Buddhist panelist who had answered with X explained that in Buddhist scriptures “the origins are not explained about in terms of a Creator, but rather about human life.”
Second, the question was asked regarding ‘Is the place where God is dwelling recorded in your scriptures?’, to which all panel representatives answered O aside from the Buddhist representative who answered X as with the first question. The Christian panelist explained that at the time of Moses God dwelt in the tabernacle and at the time of Solomon he resided in the temple. Also, the scriptures record that when Jesus came 2,000 years ago he himself was God’s temple and that we are also the temple. The Islam representative stated that, “It is said that there is a throne, but there is no telling where that throne is, but the angels are supporting it. Also, it is recorded in the scriptures that God is closer to you than your jugular vein.”
Third, time was given for audience members to ask questions to the panelists. It was stated that, “in Hinduism God is understood and personified as material things that we can see, and I think there is a problem in limiting God to human thought in such a way,” so the Hindu panelist was asked about his thoughts regarding this issue. The Hindu panelist answered, “God is named by each person individually.”
The final portion of the event consisted of a concert put on by the children’s choir where they sang “Heal the world, We are the world”, showing the heart that transcends religions, races and cultures. All participants promised that moving forward they would all participate in and further develop the WARP Offices in their own respective continents and countries.
These days there are many religions all around the world and disagreements and conflicts between such religions are continuing. Amid such circumstances, many religious leaders are regretful over this harsh reality and are thus putting in passionate effort into uniting and becoming one for the realization of world peace through active discussion. So far WARP Office meetings have been held online and offline in around 200 locations all over the world during the past 4 years. In the future as well, these WARP Office meetings will become the groundbreaking tool for citizens around the world to seek the truth and spread the true value of life, which is a culture of peace.
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!”