252 youth organizations with 1.7 million members from 65 countries joined in joint statement advocating peaceful solutions to the human rights crisis in Myanmar. Through this “Joint Statement of World’s Civil Society and Youth on Myanmar’s Human Rights Crisis,” youth organizations take into account international cooperation to increase the collective voice for seeking solutions through talks among the stakeholders of the country.
In the statement, it said, “We urge the head of state of each country and the international community to actively pursue peaceful measures to safeguard the lives of Myanmar’s citizens.” It added, “We urge people and media worldwide to raise their voices in support of finding peaceful resolutions to the current crisis.”
The statement highlighted that global youth’s “commitment to work toward ceasing conflicts, countering violence and establishing sustainable peace through the 2018’s UN Youth Declaration.” Mr. Mainza M Hiyamwa, Chairperson of Chosen Generation Youth Club Solwezi (CGYC) of Zambia, said, “The UN and international society are being the main pillars of peace and security, human rights, and development. It's more vital that we gain access and disseminate information on the range of issues affecting the people of Myanmar. By so doing it would carry more impact and help in the restoration of peace, human rights promotion, and development of the country.”
Mr. Alemayehu Menta, President of Gato Development Association said that the peace of youth should be protected. Also, Mr. Shirwan, Chairman of Peace Generations Iraqi Network told, "I really appreciate that I can do something for world peace."
Facing the current deadlock of counteractions against the humanitarian crisis from the deaths and injuries continually occurring in Myanmar, this global movement by youth organizations has been led by the International Peace Youth Group, an affiliated organization of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light registered in the UN ECOSOC.
This joint statement was sent to the UN Secretary General, international organizations, governments and civil society organizations.
Press-release of the HWPL
Collaboration for Peace Development:
Building a Peace Community through the DPCW
In today’s era with the need for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula and international cooperation for world peace, a summit under the theme of “Collaboration for Peace Development” will be held in South Korea from the 17th to the 19th of September to discuss the role each sector of society plays in the achievement of peace.
Around 1,000 experts in various fields from around the world with a passionate heart for peace will be gathered in South Korea and participate in the 4th Annual Commemoration of the September 18th World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit hosted by HWPL.
During the 3 days of the 4th Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit 12 formal meetings and 3 informal meetings, for a total of 15 conferences, along with a press conference will be held. The main agenda of these meetings will be the introduction of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) to the United Nations (UN) as a binding resolution and the promotion of international cooperation among individuals from all levels and sectors of society for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula through the DPCW. In addition, plans will be discussed and established regarding how to draw support from current heads of state for the introduction of the DPCW as a UN resolution.
In order to achieve these objectives, political leaders, religious leaders, legal experts, education professionals, heads of international organizations, leaders of youth and women’s organizations and civil society actors from over 100 countries around the world will attend the meetings and discuss peace projects based on the DPCW as well as concrete methods to implement them.
HWPL’s Answer for the Realization of Peace: Law for Peace, Alliance of Religions, Peace Education
Political leaders, including former and current heads of state, ministers, national assembly speakers and Supreme Court justices, together with HWPL are currently making practical efforts towards the enactment of an international law for peace through the introduction of the DPCW to the UN. At this year’s international law session, high-ranking officials and the HWPL international law advisory committee will create concrete measures to advance the process of the realization of the implementation of an international law for peace.
Last year the world’s top religious leaders held a meeting to discuss the elimination of pain and suffering caused by religious conflict and the creation of peace between religions. There will be 13 members in attendance for the Alliance of Religions for Peace Meeting and plans are made to come together and find a trustworthy scripture that will lead to the alliance of religions. In addition, around 200 religious leaders from both Korea and abroad will share their experiences of participating in the WARP Office meetings and the effectiveness of their current strategies and efforts, as well as make a pledge to unite their religions together under the truth.
HWPL’s peace education is already receiving more attention and support as one of the essential pillars of achieving peace. In light of this, leaders in the ministries of education and other education professionals from many countries around the world will gather at the Peace Education conference to share about the best practices and methods of implementing peace education into current curriculums. Also, they will make plans to take steps to further develop the establishment of HWPL peace education within schools based on the 12 HWPL textbooks that have recently been completed.
Spreading the News of Peace: Media, Youth, Women
There are some individuals who are always at the forefront in spreading the news of HWPL around the world so that more people can participate in the peace projects and other activities of HWPL. They are the world’s journalists. They are currently working to strengthen cooperation among all journalists of the world so that the news of peace can be spread even more effectively in terms of both superior quality and quantity. During the World Peace Press Network Conference, journalists from each country will cooperate and join the Peace Initiative in order to seek a solution for peace that will be able to overcome the conflicts and turmoil in their respective countries.
Youth and Women’s organizations have become one with the International Youth Peace Group (IPYG) and the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) in order to advocate for the DPCW to become a legally binding international instrument through the Legislate Peace Campaign. During this year’s meeting the youth and women will share the results and successes of the peace activities held throughout the previous year as well as discuss ways to further develop and sustain these activities in a more effective manner.
As peace based on the principles of the DPCW is being witnessed in various cities around the world, more and more people are joining in the peace projects of HWPL. In particular, two countries in Africa, Swaziland and Seychelles, have made a national declaration of their support for the DPCW and now advocate for its introduction as a resolution at the UN. The number of countries supporting the DPCW is expected to expand significantly following the 4th Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit.
The ultimate goal of HWPL and the WARP Summit is to establish sustainable peace in the world and leave it as a legacy for future generations. The 4th Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit is a meaningful time when people from all around the world, regardless of nationality, status and religion, can come together and form a peace network guided by the core principles of the DPCW in order to further develop action plans for peace and establish peace in their respective locations.
Georgian folk craftsmen are transforming traditional crafts into a source of economic income with the support of an EU-financed project.
Heritage crafts as a source of income
Culture is a source of inclusive growth and job creation and the global trade in creative products has continued to expand in recent years, despite economic uncertainty. Cultural heritage is a universal value, an important expression of cultural diversity – that is why preserving it and passing it on to future generations is so important.
According to Nino Samvelidze, Programme Manager for Youth, Culture and Digital Society at the EU Delegation to Georgia, cultural diversity is one of the main values of the EU, and this is why it aims to support the preservation and development of cultural traditions of different countries.
Having realised this, the EU has announced 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage. In this article, we showcase the stories of Georgian craftsmen participating in the EU-supported project “Folk Crafts Perspectives in Georgia”. Thanks to the project’s support, the craftsmen develop and grow their enterprises, pass on their expertise to others, so that heritage crafts can become a source of income in Georgia.
“It is important that work in heritage crafts, which is rather widespread in our country, becomes a source of income and employment, and this is one of the objectives of the project,” explains Nino.
The Georgian Arts and Culture Centre selected 21 art studios to provide with funding. The total budget was €617,128, with €489,168 coming from the EU. The Head of the Centre, Maka Dvalishvili believes that successful beneficiaries had to have an interest in and potential for development. One of the requirements to receive funding was that the beneficiary must teach their skill to at least five students.
“Our main goal is to preserve traditional Georgian crafts and to adapt them to modern market requirements, i.e. by transforming the craft into a business. Overall, this gives economic benefit,” explains Maka.
Maka, an art historian, says the culture of craftsmanship is widespread across Georgia. She says the main characteristic of folk craftsmanship is that the products must be handmade and not manufactured in a factory. Some parts may be factory-supplied, but they have to be finished by hand.
“Folk craftsmanship started when mankind created stone tools, carved patterns on stone and developed aesthetic vision,” explains Maka.
The Georgian Arts and Culture Centrehas been working towards the development of heritage crafts since its establishment in 1995. Maka says that, since that period, craftsmen have received support to develop quality and design, and to study the market.
In 2012, in cooperation with the EU in the framework of the EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme, the Georgian Arts and Culture Centre implemented another project - Strengthening Creative Industries in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia: Heritage Crafts - Common Platform for Development.
Apart from workshops and seminars, the programme also conducted a study of 500 experts in heritage crafts. The results of the study highlighted the current situation of the heritage crafts market, and a strategy was developed based on the results.
Lali Sadaghashvili: Felt craft
About 20 km northwest of Tbilisi in the historic town of Mtskheta, near the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a variety of stalls can be found selling a vast array of products. Among them is Lali Sadaghashvili’s stall, where she sells woollen toys and other handcrafted products.
On display at Lali’s stall you can find woollen toys, felt scarf, hand knitted shoes, wool jewellery and various other accessories – all handmade by her and her family. Lali sells her handcrafted products to the constant stream of tourists who walk past the stalls each day.
In the evening, when the flow of tourists declines, Lali returns home. If she is not too tired, she continues working in the studio set up on the ground floor of her house. This is where Lali’s enterprise, Nerbi, is based. If Lali is unable to work, her three children and spouse work to provide her with new items for the stall.
In Lali’s studio, there is one large table with a tap nearby to supply the water required for felt production. There are shelves installed on the wall in the room, with all the necessary materials and fabric, as well as a sewing machine and a wool felting iron.
Lali and her husband, Rasula Kevkhishvili, set up the enterprise in 2014, after they received EU funding from the Folk Crafts Perspective in Georgia project. They received 8000 GEL in funding, which they used to completely renovate the room and to purchase the table, chairs and necessary equipment. Lali, who has been working with wool for 16 years, says the project funding helped her to fulfil her lifelong aspiration.
“It is not an exaggeration, I fulfilled my dream. I always wanted to have a studio I would enter and forget everything, where I would have a table and I could work,” says Lali Sadaghashvili.
Lali used to work in the railway industry as a telecommunications specialist. She started to use her craftsmanship skills when she was made redundant. Today, handicrafts provide her main source of income.
“I remember at first when I earned 14 GEL, then 44 GEL, and it went on gradually. Initially, I was focused on toys, but now I see that hand knitted shoes also sell well,” says Lali.
At first, Lali’s spouse, Rasula, did not consider felt craft as a serious business, but over the course of time, he changed his mind. Now, he also works in the enterprise alongside his job in the railway industry.
“My wife used to talk about what she could make from wool but I was not really interested. I thought it was just a hobby and I was too busy with my work. Finally, she persuaded me to get involved and it turned into a family business,” says Rasula.
Felt is one of the oldest methods of creating and processing fabric. It is a traditional Georgian folk craft which attracts huge interest from tourists to the country. For this reason, Nerbi also provides workshops for tourists. Wet felting was one of the most recent masterclasses held for a group of tourists. The studio that was set up through EU support enables Lali to demonstrate the process of her work to tourists.
Lali also gives classes in Mtskheta gymnasium on how to make various items from wool. Through the EU project, she is responsible for teaching five students. She says that in four years she has already taught 16 students.
The support received through the EU project has empowered Lali, and she now has a monthly income of 1500 GEL. She hopes to open a shop in the historic part of Mtskheta and hire a shop assistant in the future.
Otar Sharabidze: Pottery
Otar Sharabidze is one of the expert folk craftsmen who received funding from the EU. The 67-year-old ceramicist currently lives about 60km southwest of Tbilisi, in Tetritsqaro.
Otar studied ceramics 40 years ago at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts. After graduating, he worked in different factories within the former Soviet Union and created production sketches. He has been working independently since the 1990s. In 1996, Otar went to Istanbul where he taught at one of the universities. In 2014, he returned to Georgia where he settled in Tetritsqaro. He bought a house which was built in the nineteenth century in the historic part of the city, and now he plans to host pottery classes for tourists there.
Otar told us that he bought a house with a yard especially to facilitate his work. He plans to set up a studio and accommodation in the house so that he can rent out two rooms to ceramicists and other interested people and work together with them.
Otar’s yard measures 1 500 m2 and provides the ideal place for his studio, which is 30m2. Water supply, electric and natural gas pottery kilns, a pottery wheel and other necessary equipment will be installed in the studio.
Otar brought an electric kiln by bus from Turkey and purchased the pottery wheel and gas kiln through EU funding. He says that having both gas and electric kilns will help him diversify his work.
The ceramicist says that with a gas oven he can make products using the Raku technique, which involves removing the piece from the hot kiln, putting it into leaves or wood dust, and covering it. This process creates a glaze on the pottery.
Otar says that his pottery is not only decorative; it also has a practical function. He says that each piece he creates is unique and is never repeated.
“I produce only one copy, I always try to create original work. This is typical of folk craft; new items are made all the time. Pottery is one of the oldest forms of art, and it is developing constantly. It is interesting to look at old ceramics but you also want to introduce something new,” Otar insists.
Otar says he will complete the renovation of the house in a month, and then will start work teaching pottery and hosting holidaymakers in Tetritsqaro.
Art Studio Snoveli, Kazbegi
Art Studio Snoveli was established by father and son Bidzina Snoveli (73 years old) and Mindia Ghudushauri (43 years old), in the village of Sno in the mountainous region of Kazbegi. Together they make wooden armchairs, tables, beds, and carve the furniture by hand.
Mindia was born in Tbilisi, but his father was in born Sno. Bidzina, a qualified architect, left Sno after graduating from university, and studied woodwork in Makhachkala. “My father wanted to pass on his expertise to others. He has a very skilled technique; he only works by hand,” says Mindia. Bidzina says that he had talented students, but as his sales are not yet stable he cannot employ them.
The father and son set up Art Studio Snoveli in 2015 and bought the initial necessary materials through funding from the Children’s and Youth Support Fund. Then, through support from the project Folk Crafts Perspectives in Georgia, they purchased various woodwork tools and printed booklets in three languages: Georgian, English and Russian.
“The booklet is like a business card for our studio, you can show it to people wherever you go,” says Mindia.
Mindia wants to set up an exhibition space in Sno where they could receive guests and display the items produced in the studio. The furniture made by Snoveli contains carvings representing peacocks, griffins, turtledoves, bulls, the Borjgali symbol, various geometric shapes from different regions of Georgia, and figures from Georgian mythology.
Fourth grade student Saba Sabauri (8 years old) attends Sno School, located next to the Snoveli studio. He tells us that after classes he comes to the studio and learns to draw. After drawing, he will study woodwork.
“I mainly draw mountains and churches. Mountains are beautiful. My sister studied drawing; she would hang her drawings once she had finished them. I wanted to draw beautiful pictures as well, so I started to learn. I would also like to study wood burning,” says Saba.
Keti Akiashvili (also aged 8) is another of Mindia’s students. Keti also attends the drawing classes and looks forward to starting to work on wood instead of a paper. “I learned how to draw villages and animals; how to create lines and shadows,” says Keti.
According to an EU-supported study in 2014, 1500 people were employed in the heritage crafts industry in Georgia. This accounts for 0.07% of the economically active population. 84% of the respondents worked on their own, while 16% hired employees.
Their main challenge now is to adapt heritage crafts to modern market requirements to enable them to benefit financially from the crafts.
Author: Misha Meparishvili
- Tunisian youth activists volunteered to spread a culture of peace in their community.
TUNIS, 7 October – A youth empowerment workshop titled “Peace in Children’s Eyes” was held by local youth group members along with an international youth NGO. Thirteen to Sixteen-year-old students were invited to join the discussion on how they can contribute to peacebuilding.
The local host, Peace Excellency Academy members were motivated to take this event in place after participating in the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) Youth Empowerment Workshop held in Seoul on the sideline of the 3rd Annual Commemoration of the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit.
50 youth group representatives, including members of Peace Excellency Academy, had a discussion on practical ways to implement this global youth empowerment workshop for peace in their respective regions. Participants were from 13 countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, France, Germany, and the United States.
Mr. Yassino Bdiri, one of the Tunisian participants and the organizer of the Peace in Children’s Eyes workshop said, “IPYG workshop gave us hope that peace is possible when I saw the motivation of IPYG members.” After hosting the local workshop, he added, “The children were sensitized to the importance of peace. This makes me more believe in peace. We are planning to do other workshops in many regions with youth. We must be one heart and one voice.”
The curriculum of IPYG Youth Empowerment Workshop consists of 10 different topics under the theme of ‘fundamental rights,’ ‘diversity,’ and ‘co-existence’; all of which help young leaders to reflect upon the qualities of sustainable peace leadership.
Ms. Kate Shin, the coordinator of the empowerment workshop in IPYG Northern Seoul branch said, “We witnessed how the youth’s voices have been changing the society we live in. When it comes to resolving conflicts, we believe it is achievable if youth can gather and spread a culture of peace in each region. So, we are glad to organize this event together with Tunisian youth. We will continue it upon the strong belief that youth can empower each other to be future peace leaders with a sense of ownership.”
IPYG Empowerment Workshops for Peacebuilding are going to be held as well in Poland, Lithuania and Morocco in upcoming months.
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.’
The Acting Chairman of Government of the A/R of Abkhazia, Vakhtang Kolbaia met with the project participant youth IDPs. Head of the government positively assessed the work and noted that such projects contribute to increase public awareness of young people and their involvement in the process, which contributes to confidence building and reconciliation. The meeting was attended by Minister of Confidence- Building and Reconciliation Issues of the A/R of Abkhazia, David Gvadzabia, Chairman of the Department of Justice of the A/R of Abkhazia, Igor Kopaliani, Deputy of the Minister of Confidence- Building and Reconciliation Issues of the A/R of Abkhazia, Bela Kopaliani, Director of, Children and Youth National Center ", Giga Gabelaia and Bela Saria.
The project was carried out within the cooperation between Ministry of Confidence- Building and Reconciliation Issues of the A/R of Abkhazia and,, Children and Youth National Center " that aims to engage adults living in Zugdidi and close area during a week non-formal educational activities, raise public awareness among the youth, raising teamwork skills, volunteerism and encourage active citizenship, developing creative and analytical thinking, raise environmental awareness. Week was held in Zugdidi and Tbilisi. Parallel the program was organized cultural tours.
The summery project meeting was held at, Children and Youth National Center "of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.