This year, to tackle the current threats to life and stability from wars and conflicts, HWPL’s 9th Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace was held online on May 25th, 2022. With participants as representatives from politics, religion, academia, media and civil society, the event with the theme of “Institutionalizing Peace: Realizing the Collective Will for Peace” presented the progress of international cooperation to realise sustainable peace ensured by legal instruments.
The host organization, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), proclaimed the Declaration of World Peace back in 2013. The declaration addresses the endorsement of national leaders, engagement of women and youth, cooperation among civil societies, and expansion of media coverage on peace. Afterward, it was developed into the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) as a process to establish international legal instruments for global peace.
Young Min Chung, the General Director of the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), an affiliate group of HWPL, said in his progress report, “730,000 citizens from 176 countries have signed in support of the DPCW for the past nine years which allows them to express their opinions more directly. Recently, the IPYG is running the Youth Empowerment Peace Workshop (YEPW), where they discuss the agendas such as education, human rights, and conflicts and conduct joint action as well as policy proposals.”
The 10 articles and 38 clauses of the DPCW include prevention and resolution of conflicts, gradual reduction of war potential and turning weapons into daily tools, respecting and resolving conflicts based on religion and ethnic identity, and spreading a culture of peace. The declaration is geared toward engaging nations, international organizations, NGOs, and individual citizens in taking action for a peaceful world.
As for the collaboration for peacebuilding, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL appealed to the participants to be united as “messengers of peace” to bring freedom and peace to future generations. “This time (Russia) invaded Ukraine and started the war. This is why HWPL and families of peace have long called for the establishment of international law to prevent war potential. So, we gathered experts in international law globally and made the declaration with 10 articles and 38 clauses.”
As a case of activities to resolve religious conflicts, Raeesa Sheikh, a member of the Ansari Qadiri Tariqa Youth Club in Durban, South Africa participated in the HWPL Religious Youth Peace Camp shared about the importance of youth engaging in religious dialogues. “When we put ourselves in another person’s shoes when we look at things from various perspectives, we can keep an open mind and understand differences, and not discriminate based on those differences but rather look at those similarities and then come together so that we can ultimately live as God wants us to love, as brother and sister, as a community, as a nation, as humanity.”
Educators’ participation in peace-related activities was also introduced at the event. Teaching methodology with the use of Metaverse was demonstrated as a virtual world platform where students can experience peace by reading materials and observing diverse peace activities that are carried out in many parts of the world.
One of the participant students said, “I learned the need for international law to achieve peace. We need a law that can achieve peace. People must abide by the law and if all people become citizens of peace, we would not even need the law.”
HWPL has been developing global cooperation for peace both at the international level and at the national level by garnering the support of international organizations for the DPCW and working hand in hand to reinforce international norms to realize peace. With civil organizations, HWPL has been carrying out activities for the public good to ensure that peace takes root.