Peace events that commemorate citizen-led peacebuilding efforts for a decade are organized in 89 locations across 59 countries in May. On May 25, 5,000 participants gathered at the Peace Gate of Seoul Olympic Park in South Korea, and thousands of individuals from around the world, including South Africa, the United States, China, Japan, Australia, and Germany, are expected to join the events until the end of this month.
Officially named “HWPL’s 10th Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace and the Peace Walk”, the global events are held by international NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) affiliated with the United Nations Economic and Social Council with the joint auspices of public and private organizations in different countries.
Recalling HWPL’s peace activities for the past 10 years, Chairman Lee Man-hee said, “Since we pledged to work together for world peace 10 years ago, we have been calling for peace all over the world. We have advocated that peace should be taught at home and at school and that everyone should become messengers of peace. I went to the battlefield in Mindanao, Philippines to raise the voice of peace and we were promised not to begin war again.” He also emphasized, “Everyone should be one under the title of peace and work together to create a good world and make it a legacy for future generations. This is what we need to do in this era in which we live.”
In the event, the “Joint Statement of the 10th Anniversary of the Declaration of World Peace” was unveiled. The statement said that the Declaration developed into the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) to pursue a transition from the rule of power to the rule of law based on principles of democracy, justice, civil liberties and equality, religious freedom and responsibility. It further said that the decade of peacebuilding achieved millions of participants joining inter-religious dialogues, peace education, advocacy of peace to national leaders, network of youth in over 120 countries.
Through the joint statement, HWPL and participating organizations affirmed their commitment to institutionalising peace through international cooperation, aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, justice and strong institutions.” They pledged to engage in mediation efforts and raise awareness and provide education in conflict areas, empower youth and women, and promote best practices for the participation of civil society.
In South Africa, about 200 people gathered virtually on May 25 to celebrate the anniversary. Hon. Baxolile Nodada, a member of the national assembly of South Africa, emphasized the urgent need for peace education in schools to address the prevalent violence and create safe learning environments. “We have had many violent incidents in our South African schools. Some children have been stabbed to death in attacks on our teachers, and vice versa. It’s important that this peace education that we advocate for find space in our schools so that we don’t lose children at schools.”
Baxolile also added, “We’ve got children who grow up in gender-based violent families; we’ve got situations in our communities that cultivate and encourage a culture of violence. And if in the classroom we’ve got an opportunity to interact with children and teachers to cultivate a culture of peace, that’s where we need to go.”
HWPL announced its ambitious goal to garner the support of 10 million citizens through their signatures to advocate for the establishment of an international law for peace. Additionally, they have organized various overseas commemorative events aimed at fostering peace within local communities around the world. Membership registration, information about peace projects, and reading the full text of and supporting the DPCW are available on HWPL’s official website at www.hwpl.kr.