Warsaw, Poland/ Kaunas, Lithuania – Young leaders’ interfaith peace camps took place following one after another in Poland and Lithuania from June 23rd to July 2nd under the subject of the role of religion and youth for resolving conflicts in the world.
With total 104 participants from Catholic, Protestant, Islam, Sikhism, and ISKCON attending, HWPL Religious Youth Peace Camps were held by religious leaders in each city in collaboration with Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international NGO working to realize peace and cessation of war.
Ms. Deborah Oh, one of the coordinators of the event said, “I believe achieving peace is everyone’s agenda and, therefore, everyone is desired to work for the cause of world peace in any possible way. A research group in the US once announced more than eight people out of ten in the world are religious. What if the 80% of world population who has faith takes the lead of working for peace?”
The youth of various faiths took part in lectures with lively Q&A sessions and discussions with religious leaders of the region as well as outdoor activities such as a three-legged race and campaigns on the roads. They also participated as an audience in an interfaith dialog for peace conducted based on the scriptures of each faith.
During the discussion, participants discussed on how religion can work for the cessation of war along with the society.
Jonas Klimavičius, a Catholic student from Kaunas Maironis Univesity Gimnasium said, “Religion [can be] then true religion when it teaches us how to love God. If we want to love God, we have to love all his creatures. So if we love one each other, we are creating peace. [To do so], talking with different religious people is very important.”
Also, the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office meeting was held on the second day of the camp in Kaunas at Kaunas Mosque.
The head of Islamic Community of Lithuania, Mufti Romas Jakubauskas remarked, “In every meeting, we are finding more common things than problems. Religious leaders are leaders of their community [and] they have to put more efforts to achieve this goal [peace]. They have to teach their communities, of course, they, themselves have to meet with other religious leaders to find solutions for the biggest problem which is conflicts and wars in the world.”
• Warsaw, Poland, June 23rd to June 24thPolish youth joined a series of outdoor activity where they could experience the importance of alliance of religions. An intensive version of the three-legged race was played. Pairs of competitors ran with their near legs tied together. In the camp, 6 people in 5 legs became a group and did the race step by step without making anyone fall behind or stumble.
Mr. Amandeep Sigh, a Sikh student from Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Poland recalled the moment by saying, “People from different religions are bound together as one. We are one. At first, it hurt my ankle when we had no rules. But after we set up some rules by communicating with each other and started walking again, we could walk safely and fast together.”HWPL Religious Youth Peace Camp has also been held in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Nigeria and is aiming to inspire youth and their religious communities to find solutions together for conflicts caused or excused by religions and to learn their roles to resolve them.
12 civil organizations and college students from diverse ethnic groups in Johor called out for youth empowerment to lead a harmonious society.
JOHOR BAHRU, 19 May– Celebrating a global youth networking event for peace-building, ‘Youth Leaders, Driving the Future Force!’ was held in Cosmopoint College of Johor Bahru city. Participated were about 90 youth leaders from 12 national and international organizations as well as college and secondary school students from diverse ethnic and religious groups in Johor.
As mutual understanding between diverse ethnic groups has been one of the major concerns both in a global and national level, the Johor division of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community of Malaysia (JPW: Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita) hosted this event in collaboration with various international NGOs and local organizations from diverse ethnicities.
As a part of the 4th annual commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), and Johor Peace Committee (JPC) which works actively in the region as HWPL Peace Advocacy Committee co-hosted this event with the local community including Cosmopoint College Johor Bahru and AIESEC Johor Bahru.
Ms. Amy Kim, an International Press Department manager of HWPL North Seoul branch said, “It is inspiring to see how we youth can empower each other through an event like this, to realize that mutual understanding and interactive communication are much needed for future leaders. Through this value and ability, we youth can realize peace and harmony in the society.”
Ms. Amirah Dayana Azlan, the vice chairperson of GEMA Johor said “It was satisfying to address the sensitive issue of differences in races and religions particularly in Malaysia, because it has always been an issue that is used to disrupt harmony here in our country. It was great to voice out how we feel and which attitude we should adopt in terms of diversity to the younger generation. May it be an eye opener to me and to every Malaysian.”
After taking part in interactive speech sessions and games, participants decorated the map of Malaysia with post-it cards on which they wrote their wishes for peace. During the VIP congratulatory speech, Mr. Muhammad bin Haziq Zakaria, a founder of Inspire Mind Academy who was the former member of the Youth Parliament of Malaysia emphasized that this kind of opportunity is necessary for the future leaders, youths because their mindset and perspective would be made continuously based on their experiences.
To found a peace-based education project, HWPL is developing a ‘Global Peace Leadership Program,’ a long-term mentoring program in Malaysia where students can have mentoring from professionals of various fields, on peace-building leadership in various occupations. The program is being developed in cooperation with student council associations to be applied from primary school to college.
Meanwhile, the 4th anniversary of the Declaration of World Peace is to be commemorated continuously in 44 countries in the following week. The Declaration is calling on ‘all youth to unite in an effort to stop wars and pursue the restoration of peace.’
Moroccan Youth Organization Volunteered to Promote the Value of Peace and Develop Global Communication Skills of Competitors.
AIT MELLOUL, 29 April – A global English spelling competition was held in the cultural complex of Aït Melloul by Moroccan Association of Youth's Access Alumni (MAYA), a committed youth group benefited from the English Access Microscholarship Program by the United States Department of State.
28 student competitors from Agadir, Inezgane and Aït Melloul competed with each other to find correct spelling of around 200 English words such as coexistence, philanthropy as well as extremism, genocide, which are distinctively dedicated to the theme of ‘peace and war.’
Mr. Omar Bourass, the president of Association of Parents and Teachers of Saada High School, addressed “Aït Melloul is a small town and known for its multi-cultural ethnicities such as Amazigh and Sahara people. All these elements make it so far from adopting a foreign culture or language. We don’t see these kinds of contest here in Aït Melloul or in Agadir, despite the fact that we’ve got the brilliant students in the region when it comes to English. I’ll always support MAYA in the making of such events that also support peace” Saada High School and Campus University Aït Melloul supported this event.
Not only contributing to the development of global communication competency of the local students, MAYA provided student competitors and audiences with the opportunity to reflect upon the value of peace in collaboration with its international partner, International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), an international youth organization with whom it shares the same vision of youth engagement in peacebuilding.
Mr. Adnane Abderrahmane, the vice president of MAYA said, “As a young leader in MAYA association, I always proposed the idea of organizing a peace-related event, and the chance finally showed up with the IPYG. The whole vocabulary list related to war and peace was specifically made to encourage youths and teens to engage peacebuilding and also so that they could start reading and analyzing the ways and methods of bringing world peace.”
Before starting the 1st round of the competition, the congratulatory video from the IPYG was presented and it addressed that the global community should not leave words such as ‘refugee,’ ‘genocide,’ and ‘massacre’ to the future generation, but rather brighten the word ‘peace’ and ‘harmony,’ by working to stop wars and conflicts which are severely violating human rights.
Farah Galil, the third prize winner of the competition said, “When it was time for the IPYG video exhibition, I was already on the stage with the other competitors stressing out. [But] as the video started, I was overwhelmed with a story of a loving and caring mother raising her son for good, only until war came and took it away. The introduction video really got my attention and made me motivated and curious about how can we as a youth to support peace more.”
The prizes were awarded to Mouna Wamra and Imane Majidi of Lbakkali high school, and Farah Galil of Saada high school in order. The next competition will be held on March next year.
MAYA aims to continuously introduce the global youth movement for peace. IPYG with partnered youth associations around the world are spreading a culture of peace through peace movements such as walks, seminars, youth camps and public art projects.
New York, 1 January 2017 - "On my first day as Secretary-General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavily on my heart.
How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?
Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute. Even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted.
No one wins these wars; everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations. Whole regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.
On this New Year’s Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution:
Let us resolve to put peace first.
Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences.
From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives, to dialogue and respect across political divides… From ceasefires on the battlefield, to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions…
Peace must be our goal and our guide.
All that we strive for as a human family – dignity and hope, progress and prosperity – depends on peace.
But peace depends on us.
I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day.
Let us make 2017 a year for peace.
Dear heads of various organizations around the world:
Greetings, I am Man Hee Lee, the peace advocate of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL). First of all, I wish to express my sincere gratitude and commend your dedicated efforts. The work we are doing now is the mission that we, who were born into this generation, must fulfill.
On 18 September 2014, at the WARP Summit, political leaders, religious leaders, and heads of various organizations from across the globe pledged to carry out the work entrusted to them in the sight of God and all people of the world. Heaven and earth, which were called as witnesses of that day, are watching us. It was indeed a great achievement that we made.
Prior to the 2nd Annual Commemoration of September 18th WARP Summit this year, all of us, heads of organizations, should send emails to political and religious leaders around the world to urge for the completion of the work they promised—the work of ensuring peace and cessation of war through international law and of achieving the unity of religion. (Their email addresses can be obtained from the International Department of HWPL Headquarters.) By doing so, let us accomplish our purpose.
This work we are doing now is being witnessed by heaven and earth, seen and heard by spirits of those who longed to see a world of peace in their lifetime. And it will go down in history forever. Thank you.
His Holiness and Beatitude, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II express his Condolences to the President of France.
“"Your Excellency, accept my heartfelt condolences for the tragedy that took place in Nice, which has dozens of people left dead and many others left injured. It is unfortunate that today the world has become vulnerable, and when a country faces the threat of all.
Pray for peace, and extend our condolences to the victims and families of the dead pass ", - reads the letter.
300,000 people gathered simultaneously in hundreds of cities including Seoul, New York City, Sydney, and Shanghai for the 3rd Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace: Legislate Peace Campaign hosted by HWPL on 25 May 2016 in their respective time zones.
This year’s commemoration at the World Peace Gate in Seoul Olympic Park highlighted the global peace advocacy movement, Legislate Peace Campaign, recently launched to bring all wars to an end by establishing an enforceable law compatible with the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
The DPCW is unique in that it includes provisions aimed at resolving conflicts, reducing war potential, repurposing weapons to benefit humanity and inviting all citizens to participate in the active promotion of a lasting culture of peace.
The Legislate Peace Campaign calls on global citizens to unite as one to voice their demand for peace by adding their signatures. According to HWPL, as of May 25th, the collected signatures have exceeded 500,000 from 154 countries in less than two months and many heads of state have written official letters of support for the DPCW. The number of signatures is expected to reach 2,000,000 by the end of this year.
“Today, marking the 3rd anniversary, at this very moment, our family of peace must be having their eyes and ears in this place…What we are ought to leave to our future generations is the common good of mankind, peace. There is no greater legacy than peace and it is not achieved by one person. Therefore, we all must become messengers of peace,” said Chairman Lee of HWPL in his commemorative address.
Since the proclamation of the Declaration of World Peace on 25 May 2013, HWPL has proposed its international law initiative. It is to draft a legally binding instrument which ultimately promotes a culture of peace and ceases all wars through the DPCW so that all states would adopt it as national law. A Korean youth leader said at an interview, “The organization has already made great progress in achieving its peace initiatives. It’s exciting to see what the next work will be.”
The event in Seoul was live streamed through the HWPL homepage and real-time photos and videos have been posted on the Legislate Peace Campaign Facebook page.
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Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a UN DPI registered NGO, is an internationally recognized peace organization. It has pioneered various peace activities including the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office, as well as held peace education seminars, peace walks, and peace forums with the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG).
3rd Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace is an annually and internationally celebrated event to commemorate the proclamation of the Declaration of World Peace presented by Chairman of HWPL on 25 May 2013. The Declaration calls everyone to work to further the cause of world peace, making it a reality in their direct environments.
Legislate Peace Campaign is an advocacy movement in support of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) being developed into an enforceable law. The campaign calls on world leaders and governments to make and enforce a law based on the principles of the DPCW.
As part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, the General Assembly today began a two-day debate to draw lessons from the experiences of the past seven decades in the area of peace and security and take stock of present challenges.
"Today our world continues to be re-shaped by globalization, urbanization, migration, demographic shifts and other seismic trends. New threats have emerged, from climate change to cyber-crime and pandemics.
"In many respects, the world is shifting beneath our feet. Yet the Charter remains a firm foundation for shared progress.”
"He highlighted a number of threads that run through the activities of the Organization, from human rights and peacekeeping to humanitarian assistance and sustainable development.
"These include a greater emphasis on prevention, mediation, and the peaceful resolution of disputes and grievances, as well as strengthening peacebuilding in order to sustain peace and keep post-conflict societies from repeating cycles of disaster.
"He also highlighted addressing the roots of conflict, including through heightened attention on violations of human rights – often the warning signs of worse to come, as well as providing adequate and predictable resources.
"Let us take inspiration from the good news of the past week,” Mr. Ban said, highlighting in particular the adoption of the new global sustainable development agenda; tangible support for UN peace operations; momentum on climate change; high-level commitments to gender equality; and encouraging steps to address the refugee crisis.
"Alongside despair in many corners, there remains great hope in the power of working together. That is the founding spirit of the United Nations – and in this 70th anniversary year, in the face of grave and global challenges, it is the spirit we must summon today.”
General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft noted that over the past 70 years, the UN’s approach, capacity and responsibilities in the area of peace and security have undergone major changes.
“Yet today, with unsolved conflicts in many parts of the world and with millions of women and children greatly affected, it is clear that the UN has much more to learn and much more to do, to fulfil its mandate.”
Preventing conflict from breaking out in the first place is “the epitome of success” in this field – and by far the best investment in maintaining peace and security, he said.
Also, since the UN was founded and the Charter adopted, the nature of security challenges, conflicts and threats have continued to change, he said, noting that the UN has responded and continues to adapt to these ever-changing challenges.
In this regard, he pointed to the report of the high-level independent panel on peace operations, which the General Assembly will take up on 12 October, as well as the ongoing 10-year review of the peacebuilding architecture, which will enable the UN to “face head on” the uncertainties of building and sustaining peace and the ever-present risk of lapse or relapse into conflict.
Mr. Lykketoft added that, in the same vein, the global study on Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security allows for taking stock and devising ways to better address this key aspect of international peace and security.
“A UN that is truly fit for purpose is in our common interest,” he stated. “It is our responsibility to ensure that the UN can respond in a timely, well-calibrated and effective manner.
“This requires a concrete, sustainable, and more effective budgetary framework for special political missions. And this also includes the longstanding issue of Security Council reform, which will continue to receive attention during this session.”