Seoul: More than 1,800 people from 121 countries, including the United States, the Philippines, Ukraine, South Africa, Pakistan, Thailand, Romania, and India, attended the 9th Anniversary of the September 18th HWPL World Peace Summit held in South Korea, from September 18th to 21st.
During this event themed “Implementing a Multidimensional Strategies for Institutional Peace”, leaders and experts in the fields of international law, religion, education, youth, women, and media participated in about 30 sessions over four days. The participants engaged in discussions, tailored not only by fields but also by countries, on practical and viable strategies to establish a legally binding international law for peace.
“War can come to an end only when we all become messengers of peace, both at home and at school.” It is expected that the results discussed in each session will accelerate the development of peace initiatives,” Chairman Lee Man-hee of HWPL emphasized.
Institutionalization of Peace Being Realized in Mindanao, Philippines, a Land of 40 years of conflict
The Philippines was presented as an example of a country where the institutionalization of peace is most actively underway. On the 18th, Hon. Ahod B. Ebrahim, Al haj, Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) from the Philippines, declared the cessation of decades of conflict in Mindanao. He said, “The Bangsamoro is now a land of peace, prosperity, and justice where Muslims, Christians, Indigenous Peoples, and our Lumad brothers and sisters co-exist and live in harmony.”
As an international mediator between the conflicting parties, HWPL engaged in a civilian-level peace agreement in Mindanao on January 24, 2014, and led civil campaigns to raise awareness of peace. 18 peace monuments and 32 peace libraries have been established nationwide, and peace education across the country has been introduced to develop peace as a culture through the partnership with educational institutions including the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Institutionalization of Peace through Legal Bases
In 2016, the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) was proclaimed to advocate international law for peace with principles of conflict resolution and public participation. The DPCW has gained support from about 900,000 civil society organizations in 176 countries, international organizations including the Central American Parliament, and governments. HWPL announced in a progress report that it plans to introduce the DPCW to the United Nations.
During the DPCW conference at the 2023 peace summit, creating a basic guide for drafting amendments that can change domestic law into a law that includes the principle of peace was discussed. Participants including Mr. Ninsoh Theophile Touhou, a General Director of Reconciliation, at the Ministry of Reconciliation and National Cohesion of Côte d’Ivoire said that they would make efforts to promote the DPCW to each country and receive national support.
“The DPCW aims to significantly supplement the UN Charter, thus further building upon established principles of international law for global peace and cessation of war. With a system of institutionalized peace through the DPCW, the United Nations, its Charter, the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the many Departments can become better equipped to deal with unprecedented challenges and evolving forms of conflict that may arise with the passage of time, ultimately working toward a more hopeful future of harmonious coexistence in peace,” said Prof. Teodor Melescanu, Former Foreign Affairs Minister of Romania.
Inter-religious Communication for Peace
Since 2014, HWPL has been operating the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office around the world to promote understanding among religions, prevent conflicts caused by religion, and seek the role of religion for peace. These include religious leaders’ comparative study of scriptures, religious peace camps that promote respect and understanding among younger generations from religious backgrounds, and the HWPL Solidarity of Religions’ Peace Committee, which delivers messages of unity about peace to the world as world religious leaders.
The HWPL Religious Peace Academy (RPA) was introduced to deepen religious knowledge exchange and understanding beyond a basic level of comprehension of different religious scriptures. As part of this initiative, the RPA lecture series by religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism has appealed to 1,500 religious representatives worldwide since the beginning of this year. In this summit, the RPA special lecture was open to participants to enhance inter-religious dialogues.
Peace Education “Beyond School”
HWPL’s Peace Education is also actively in operation so that future generations can become citizens of peace who cultivate the spirit of peace and maintain a world of peace. HWPL supplies peace education curricula and textbooks to 93 countries around the world, has signed MOAs with education ministries and higher education in 12 countries, and signed MOUs with 385 educational institutions in 52 countries.
At the summit, it was presented that educational opportunities should be provided to people who are not students belonging to educational institutions. “Today’s children are our future leaders; they need to learn ‘respect for diversity and harmony’ and ‘coexistence and sustainability’. Peace education will prepare our children to solve global issues peacefully and grow into future citizens of peace and leaders of peace, who can turn the world into a world of peace,” said H.E. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Policy Approach to Spreading a Culture of Peace
On the 19th, a roundtable was held with 16 experts in the field of culture and arts, including ministers, UNESCO national committee members, and professors to discuss policy implementation cases and future plans to develop peace in a cultural area. In the event, an international consultative body of experts to design policies to promote a culture of peace was proposed. “Timor-Leste participates in this event with the aim of learning from other countries that have more relevant experiences and that can help us to be more effective and efficient in promoting and institutionalizing peace as a legacy for the future,” said Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Culture, Dr. José Honório da Costa Jerónimo.
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