Pastors incite family breakdown
A New York Times advertisement space on November 28th showed a wolf in sheep’s clothing holding money and chain in his hands while a woman is bound and persecuted. Titled “Ban Coercive Conversion”, the non-profit ad is to try to raise awareness of a South Korean woman kidnapped by her own family and came to die when she was forced to dissuade herself from abandoning her religious faith.
Ms. Gu Ji In, the victim from this conversion program, was taken by their parents twice to two different places – Catholic monastery and resort pension for months. Though the religious background of the family is a Presbyterian church, major denomination in Korean Christianity, the Catholic space with the approval from the Catholic members was used for anti-human rights crime. This type of forceful conversion exceeds 1,000 victims with deaths and war-like mental traumas.
To restore justice, a public rally with 120,000 participants in Seoul back in January requested a legal punishment on this criminal activity by Christian pastors who make the “Coercive Conversion Program” to encourage parents to kidnap their children and forcefully threaten them to convert.
Without being exposed to direct involvement into the physical violence, the pastors avoid the criminal law and financially benefit from the parents. Since today, the Korean government has not released an official statement.
Korea's Mainstream Christianity Becomes hotbed of crime
The social and political influence of Christianity in South Korea has made the civil rights ignored. The Christian Council of Korea (CCK) was established in 1989 as a unified organization of Christian churches with the majority of the Presbyterian denomination. With millions of church members, the CCK exerted its influence in presidential elections and leveling heresy for firm control over social and economic power. For the last 10 years, Korean media frequently have reported the corruption of the CCK.
The CCK’s controversies have raised concerns over not only social division in the country but global conflict. During the Japanese colonial period, the Presbyterian church encouraged Korean youth to participate in the war waged by Japan in Asia and the Pacific. In 1938, the church collected money to purchase weapons and claimed it was “the order of God for Christians in Korea.”
Under the sponsorship from the military dictatorship in the 1970s, this tradition transformed into an anti-peace slogan. Recently, the president of the CCK officially said that the citizens who held candle lights in Seoul Square for the resignation of the former President Park Geun Hye are “flea” (insect) and held prayer service “for the fall of communist (President) Moon Jae In in the name of Jesus.”
Another prayer service by the CCK left remarks against the international norm, which encourages war behavior that threatens global order. A former official from the Park government said, “For the stability of South Korea, we need nuclear armament.”
Responsibility and role of religion questioned
Pastor Noel Malik, Director of Pakistan Minorities Alliance in Italy, emphasized, “Denominations who exercise those actions are not Christian. They are extremist and anti-Christian. I want to ask them. In which chapter and which verse are you following to do such bad action? If the Bible does not say, why are you doing that?"
H.E. Samuel Sam-Sumana, Former Vice President of Government of Sierra Leone, said, “Governments should be encouraged and supported to develop clearly defined policies and laws against forceful conversion and those policies and laws should be fully enforced.”
“Importantly too, there should be collaborative efforts established and undertaken by countries in the same region to track and deal with such violations of rights,” he added.
"There have been 137 cases of coercive conversion after the death of Ms. Gu since January this year. This shows how Christian pastors are cheapening the lives of people," said Ms. Jihye Choi, co-president of Human Rights Association for Victims of Coercive Conversion Programs (HAC) in South Korea.
"In order to root out this kind of anti-human right conversion, international interest is of tremendous importance," she highlighted.
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!”
A Festival of “Heavenly Culture on Earth, Onward to a World of Lasting Peace” Held in South Korea
On September 18th, leaders of the two Koreas have met in Pyongyang, North Korea, for the third meeting for inter-Korean reconciliation. With the international attention focused on the movements of the two leaders, families from around the world expecting the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula, further world peace attended a peace festival held in South Korea.
The peace festival with the theme of “Heavenly Culture on Earth, Onward to a World of Lasting Peace” was held at Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in South Korea, a spot of 2014 Asian Games. On the occasion of the 4th Anniversary of the WARP Summit, this outdoor event invited world political leaders, religious leaders, social representatives from women and youth groups, educators, media along with citizens from across the country.
Started with the trumpet sound of a marching band that signaled the era of peace has come, the daylong festival continued with the various cultural performances such as Korean folk music tradition called ‘Nongak’, 12 different peace parade, and Korean traditional dance performance.
According to the host organization, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), the peace parade contained the message about the peaceful world that the global village dreams of achieved through religious harmony, peace education, and international law for peace.
In the parade, the performances of young people who wish to spread a culture of peace through peace education followed by the performance of urging 'OK' sign to establish international law for peace based on the DPCW.
In particular, a parade featuring the desire for peaceful reunification of two Koreas with 70 years of division attracted spectators from around the world. Collecting international supports for a unified one Korean state by peaceful means is one of the HWPL’s peace initiatives.
Following the live broadcasting of the on-the-spot participants from 97 cities in 39 countries including Germany, India, Australia, South Africa, France, El Salvador, and the USA, dignitaries of international society delivered the congratulatory messages to the audiences.
In his address, H.E. Donald Ramotar, Former President of Guyana, stressed on the collaborative efforts for the world peace as well as the reunification of Korean Peninsula. “I am particularly happy that one of the emphases of your work is to get the ordinary women and men involved in the work and struggle for world peace. Many times, we have seen that it is through our collective voices and representation of progressive leaders that changes can be made and resources can be diverted to raise the quality of life and standards of living of humankind.”
“It is most gratifying to see Korean people united in sports and families are once more able to meet and greet each other. I wish to extend my support to all of you working for this unification of this great land. I am happy to be here at this time and hope to return to see the border which now separates the two Koreas, will be turned into a line of the unity of your people and century.”
H.E. Viktor Yushchenko, Former President of Ukraine, said, “Together with you, we feel the pain of your people unfairly divided by the two great empires and pray for the unification of your country. I believe that peace is approaching every day due to the indefinite activities of Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL and his organization, as well as the genuine desire of millions of people. I sincerely thank you for the fact that your organization is carrying the peace initiatives with the concrete action plans. The DPCW is a perfect and balanced document that can be the basis of solidarity for peacekeeping in all countries of the world. I think all the leaders of the countries should support the DPCW.”
At the end of the festival, the whole stadium was filled with the lights and the chants of 100,000 attendees, shouting “We are one!” wishing for a harmonious world of peace.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, the host of this festival, delivered his thanks message to the attendees, saying “I have noticed that no one in this world wanted war, but everyone wanted peace. Hence, I am certain that peace will be achieved. Journalists, former and incumbent presidents, chief justices, university chancellors, ministers of education, presidents of parliaments, and mayors of different cities and nations have expressed their endorsement of the 10 articles and 38 clauses of the DPCW, and they are signing MOUs with HWPL. I would also like to express my gratitude to politicians, religious leaders, and heads of organizations for supporting the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula and the DPCW, and working together with HWPL shouting, “We Are One!”.
2018 HWPL World Peace Summit Gathered Global Leaders to Build Strategy for Global Peace and Stability in the Korean Peninsula
On September 18th, an UN-affiliated NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), organized high-level meetings at the 2018 HWPL World Peace Summit ahead of its outdoor peace festival.
Former and current heads of state, government officials, chief justices, speakers of the national assembly, religious leaders, and first ladies gathered by each sector to discuss the concrete peace-building methods by reaffirming the responsibilities as leaders of the society.
HWPL Peace Advisory Council Conference for the Realization of Peace
At this meeting, the members of the HWPL Peace Advisory Council discussed the strategies for the implementation of international law for peace and the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula based on the links between government and civil society.
HWPL Peace Advisory Council comprises 183 dignitaries of former and current heads of state, cabinet ministers, experts in international law, and religious leaders from 75 countries including Hon. Emil Constantinescu, Former President of Romania; Rt. Hon. Hrant Bagratyan, Former Prime Minister of Armenia; Hon. Dr. Adel Omar Sherif, Deputy Chief Justice of Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt; H.E. Amb. Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, Former President of The UN Human Rights Council; the Most Rev. Patricio Enrique Viveros Robles, Archbishop of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Chile.
The agendas suggested during the meeting were as followed: To assume the DPCW to UN Resolution with the support of National Solidarity Statement; to promote a culture of peace within the religious harmony; to collect the support for peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula; to expand the chance of interaction among various sectors.
Hon. Given Lubinda, Minister of Justice in Zambia, highlighted the significant role of the HWPL Peace Advisory in building peace, saying “The Advisory Council must provide a platform through which youths and women can bring their numbers together to demand of their leaders transparent and representative leadership devoid of the vices of corruption and self-aggrandizement. The numerical advantage of the youths and the power of persuasion of the women must be harnessed to demand that all governments in the world and eventually the united nations adopt the declaration of peace and the cessation of war.”
“My view is that the next step is for HWPL and its affiliate organizations to forge collaborate linkages with schools, faith-based organizations and other youth and women groups and associations. We should make it our agenda to inculcate the sense of peaceful coexistence among all members of the human race. This should be at national level, at regional level and at global level,” he added.
High-Level Religious Leaders’ Conference for Alliance of Religions
“There is no reason to fight if all religions are in harmony. To achieve religious harmony, believers must compare and verify the texts in their religious scriptures, searching for the truth. Then, we all need to become one under the truth. Believers have the responsibilities of leading people to a true path.” said Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL.
Religious leaders who were invited to this event have been participating at the interfaith dialogue meetings, named WARP Office, in agreement with searching for a trustworthy scripture to overcome the differences in religious ideologies as well as to achieve world peace through the religious alliance.
This meeting presented the outcomes of the comparative study of scriptures and motivated the religious leaders to participate in this peace initiative. The attendees talked about the significance of the role to bring religious harmony and suggested to publish a booklet that contains the results and the progress of the comparative study of scriptures.
H.E. Elias Chacour, Archbishop Emeritus of Melkite Catholic Church, stated the importance of searching for a trustworthy scripture, “I think everyone has to feel the need for others to share their scripture so that it can be enlightened with what the other say. That means we need to feel the need for each other. Unless religious leaders cooperate to spread WARP Office and help increase the culture of religious peace & searching for a trustworthy scripture, there is no way to cooperate together. So, all religious leaders who love peace should participate in WARP Office and build cooperation with leaders of different faiths.”
At the occasion, HWPL Alliance of Religions’ Peace Committee consisted of high-level religious leaders was also inaugurated. Further discussion was made to advance its activities and spread the culture of seeking a trustworthy scripture to the public.
2018 World’s Former and Current First Ladies' Peace Forum
To discuss the role of women leaders for the realization of peace, former and current first ladies including Dr. Irina Shushkevich, Former First Lady of Belarus, Ms. Shanta Regmi, Former First Lady of Nepal, and Ms. Koling Lanto Italeli, Current First Lady of Tuvalu took part in the discussion on their further activities to contribute for peacebuilding.
The participants presented their ideas on joint efforts to advance the peace initiatives in association with International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) and to strengthen the women leaders’ network with the women leaders of neighboring countries.
During the session, Chairwoman Hyun Sook Yoon of IWPG delivered the message of the meaning of woman empowerment for peacebuilding and the outlook on the future peace initiatives. “For centuries, there have been countless first ladies in the history. Some remained as great figures in our memory, but some remained nothing after the name. First ladies, gathered here today, gathered for peace in the country of their own as well as in all nations around the world. Your names will be remembered to the people forever as messengers of peace when the peaceful world is completed.”
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.
Instructors and students from Cervantes Gymnasium Aia-Gess, Georgia visited the Republic of Korea between the 14th and 23rd of February to systematically learn about HWPL peace education through a peace camp and experience Korean culture.
The peace camp taught them how the core values of promoting peace from HWPL peace education can be applied in their daily lives. One of the programs implanted in them the heart to cooperate, love, and express gratitude, through which they realized that each one of them should become a messenger to bring peace, which is not far from them.
Students from Georgia actively interacted and exchanged culture of Korea. Through the peace education, they have become able to accept differences among people as well as recognize each other as global citizens who ought to live in harmony which were the key elements to end conflicts and disputes.
The students also took time to truly discover the values of peace by listening to the explanation of HWPL’s Peace Education. Also, during the time of learning about “mutual cooperation” they were divided into teams and had the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports that required cooperation. In particular, they were able to directly experience the importance of unity through a traditional Korean cultural activity that is similar to tug-of-war. One student in the class emphasized the importance of cooperation by stating, “Today’s activity taught us how to love one another, have respect for each other and become one.”
Another field trip took place in the Yongsan War Memorial of Korea. While Georgian students indirectly experienced the brutality of war through the history of the Korean War, Korean students could also share mutual empathy for the tragedy of war with Georgian students after learning about the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.
“I imagined one of our students, the smallest boy who is fourteen-years-old. When I imagined him in the war, it was so hurtful for me,” said Mairam Lomauridze, who wanted to share with her peers the true meaning of peace and the heart for peace she felt at the camp after she went back to Georgia.
Food also brought them together. The Georgian and Korean students cooked and shared both the Georgian traditional dessert, Churchkhela, and the Korean traditional food, Bibimbap. They also expressed their grateful heart for their parents and teachers by making carnations at the session.
On the last day of the camp, a ‘Mini WARP’ was organized, modeled after the WARP Summit which takes place every September with the leaders of each sector of society hosted by HWPL. Performances choreographed to express the sincere heart for a peaceful world without war deeply touched the Georgian students. They took solidarity in working together in the hope of bringing about world peace when they go back home.
Rusudan Bolkvadze, Director of Cervantes Gymnasium Aia-Gess and instructors including Darejan Lordqipanidze and Tamar Lolishvili were designated as peace education instructors who could actively implement HWPL peace education. Tamar Lolishvili, English teacher of Cervantes Gymnasium Aia-Gess, who has closely communicated with HWPL, highlighted the importance of peace education, “We must teach our students to take care of the world. They can’t do anything without knowledge. I am against wars...against fights. The best tool in this case is education.”
The instructors also promised to teach their students to become peace messengers through special lectures in Georgia. Students promised to take the responsibility of spreading and teaching the core values of HWPL peace education, such as understanding, respect and cooperation, to other student organizations.
After they returned, instructors and students continued teaching the core values of peace based on HWPL peace education curriculums.
Appealed to Romanian youth and citizens to join in the activities calling for the establishment of international law for peace
On May 20th, Tîrgu Mureş City in Romania and the UN ECOSOC-affiliated NGO Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) signed an MOU for 'Peace Culture City Project' to develop a culture of peace through cultural exchanges and peace education.
“Tîrgu Mureş City is a multicultural and historic city. HWPL is working to raise awareness of the world in culture, civilization, and history through continuous and constructive peace education and cultural exchange. Through this MOU, we hope that Tîrgu Mureş City and HWPL will be able to make each other’s culture more beautiful through “A Culture of Peace - the City project,” said Mayor Dorin Florea.
Regarding this peace-building cooperation, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, "I am glad to be able to communicate with the progressive City of Tîrgu Mureş through the MOU.”
As for the role of individuals in working for peace, "Let us leave peace and better culture for future generations as a higher state of culture through exchange of culture of peace," he added.
Then, Chairman Lee of HWPL and its peace delegation participated in the youth event titled "Youth, Let's Voice out" in Bucharest Parliament House. The event was jointly hosted by HWPL, its affiliated organization, International Peace Youth Group(IPYG), and the Romanian youth peace group, Master Peace Ro.
"All mankind desires peace, nobody has wanted war. So, if we become one, we will be able to achieve peace. HWPL exists for youth. I hope all youth to join in peace activities of the IPYG and leave peace as a legacy for our future generations,” said Chairman Lee.
“We have all shared to you our experience during a period of huge political, economic, culture, and scientific, technological transformation. We hope that this working experience will contribute to your future in the next period of big transformation ahead of you,” said Hon. Emil Constantinescu, the former president of Romania.
Mr. Dragomir G. Marian, President of MasterPeace Ro said, "More than 1,000 youth have signed the DPCW and expressed their support. Today, I am happy to see the culture of peace promoted by the Peace Letter project." And he expressed his hopes for the youth in Romania to continuously promote the activities of culture of peace with HWPL, such as peace education and peace walk.
The DPCW with 10 articles and 38 clauses includes provisions to avoid war-related actions and achieve peace, including respect on international law, ethnic/religious harmony, and spreading a culture of peace. In order to advocate peace and conflict resolution, HWPL has engaged in peace education and “the Legislate Peace Campaign” to raise awareness of peace to students and citizens around the world.
In this event attended by 200 young Romanian youths, HWPL introduced the DPCW proposed as a solution to the dispute, and the participants wrote the 'Peace Letter' urging the president to support the DPCW.
Frankfurt am main, May 12 – European experts and South Korean peace activists have voiced their support for peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula at the 'Pan-European Peace Forum' held in Frankfurt.
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a Seoul-based peace NGO as in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), organized the event to advocate international cooperation for global peacebuilding and support for the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas.
Chairman Man Hee Lee, a Korean War veteran, appealed to attendants of the forum, “More than anything else, a peaceful world without war would be the greatest legacy to hand down to our children. If a single country achieves peace, it does not mean the world has become peaceful. Peace has to be realized in the entire world. If each person walks in the path towards peace, peace will be accomplished in the global community.”
Frankfurt city council member Dr. Manfred F. Welker delivered a speech on the need for civil society’s active participation. Recalling the small gatherings in Leipzig that sparked peaceful demonstrations for Germany's reunification, he said what will bring two Koreas together is "not just government cooperation but - as we have seen from Nikolaikirche [St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig] - it will be by the collaboration and efforts of the people.”
Prof. Dr. Hans Köchler from Austria, president of International Progress Organization, said the issues of denuclearization and reunification of Korea are mutually reinforcing. He pointed out the prospect of a reunified Korea will be "the best security guarantee to both the North and the South.”
He also maintained that nuclear disarmament should be carried out not only in Korea but also in the rest of the world, saying “there must be no policy of double standards concerning disarmament obligations of states.” Dr. Köchler is serving as a member of HWPL Peace Advisory Council, a group of policy makers and experts from civil society for advancing peace in the international community.
At the end of the event, Dr. Welker presented to HWPL delegation a Letter of Support for the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula and global peace. As in line with its advocacy campaign for global peacebuilding, HWPL is collecting the Letters of Support from state officials to civil leaders, which aim to being sent to the leaders of two Koreas.
Meanwhile, HWPL, to build sustainable peace, is implementing peace education programs in various educational institutions and collaborating with educational experts and teachers worldwide to develop peace education textbooks and curriculums.
Tbilisi, Georgia, March 30 – Georgian civil society leaders with its international partner, Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL) organized a seminar on the role of civil society in peace-building process, on the occasion of the 2nd Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) at David Aghmashenebeli University of Georgia.
The commemoration was initiated from Seoul, South Korea on March 14 with 1,000 participants from politics, religion, and civic groups at home and abroad. This international advocacy events were held in 166 cities of 71 countries including Georgia, Ukraine and Germany to raise awareness of local communities on how a peaceful environment can be facilitated by the principles of the DPCW.
During his speech in the Tbilisi seminar, Mr. Avtandil Otinashivili, editor-in-chief of "Newsday Georgia", who had attended the Seoul conference said, “The DPCW is of great importance for every country, including Georgia. We want to avoid wars and together we must do our best to leave our children a planet without war.”
In Tbilisi, religious leaders, youth representatives and media participated, and video materials including keynote speech of the chairman Mr. Man Hee Lee of HWPL and the footsteps of the DPCW and the world wide campaign to legislate peace were presented.
Chairman Lee, a Korean War veteran himself, appealed the need of peaceful means of conflict resolution and the responsibility of every individual in peace-building during his speech. “Law of today cannot compensate for the lives sacrificed from war. What we need is an instrument that protects human life, the very law that prevents war.” “Rather than waiting to take peace for granted, it is we who should put an end to war to protect humanity and our globe, and leave peace as a legacy for future generations.”
The participants also discussed the urgent necessity of carrying out peacekeeping process guided under the DPCW and the role of civil society in order to avoid any tragedy like the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.
Ms. Mariem Iremadze, the chairwoman of Association for Development, Education and Social Involvement said, “We[Georgians] have suffered from the negative effects of war in our country. We all need to promote peace in our society as much as we can.” She also pointed out, “Because the implementation of the DPCW is connected to the theme of collaborative governance, the government and the citizens should support each other for promoting peace and resolving conflicts in our country.”
For civil society’s part, she explained what youth can specifically do by saying, “Youth is our hope and future of the society. I think engaging and inspiring more youth groups to promote peace is the best effort that our organization can make and we will continue to involve in the activities with HWPL to the aim of promoting peace”
Ms. Kayla Jang, a former delegation of HWPL to Georgia also addressed the importance of civil society in building collaborative governance by referring the recent 43rd round of Geneva International Discussions (GID) on March 28, co-chaired by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU, and the UN that brings together the representatives Georgia, Russia, and Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as the US.
“Since the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the GID has been the one and only remained platform for the peace-talk. But what we heard, with a sense of disappointment, from the March 28 talk was only that, it still couldn’t finalize the draft joint statement on non-use of force among the relevant parties. In order to push it forward, we need a bottom-up approach for global peace. The civil also has to raise voice on their aspiration to the state of being without war and participate in the peace-building process with the authorities.” she said.
During the interview, Mr. A. Otinashivili also said, “Unfortunately, the round of the Geneva consultations ended in vain, but this does not mean that we should stop discussing topical issues. On the contrary, we must continue the peace process.” And he emphasized, “Civil society and the media are of great importance. Civil society must consolidate the people around one goal, to achieve peaceful resolution of conflicts. And the media should do everything so that people can hear this slogan.”
The DPCW with its 10 articles and 38 clauses is advocating a peaceful means to resolve wars and conflicts. It includes provisions such as avoiding war-related actions, respecting international law and ethnic/religious harmony, and promoting a culture of peace.
- The host organization, HWPL is affiliated with UN DPI and UN ECOSOC and announced the DPCW on March 14, 2016, to strengthen a solidarity of peace through a comprehensive cooperation of all sectors of society and to establish legally binding international law necessary for peacebuilding.
- Full Text of the DPCW, http://hwpl.kr/en/initiative/lawForPeace
- The latest Geneva International Discussions(GID), https://www.osce.org/chairmanship/376450