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Youth Bridge the gap between religions: HWPL Religious Youth Peace Camp

APR 2017

Phnom Penh – Amidst the current conflicts threatening the future of humanity as a result of wars declared in the name of religion, an event in an effort of peace-building organized by Buddhist representatives in Cambodia and an international NGO for youth from different religious backgrounds was held to commit to building a network of cooperation by youth for peace.

HWPL Religious Youth Peace Camp was co-hosted by HWPL, IPYG and a group of Buddhist monks from April 1st to 4th in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. More than 40 international youth from Australia, Cambodia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and the United States discussed causes and resolutions of religious conflicts.

As a main organizer of the camp, Ven. Oeun Sam Art, Secretariat of Supreme Sangha Council / Head Office of Protocol and International Relations, explained the objective by saying, “In order to build peace, it is important to bring the peace message to all people all over the world for understanding. When people understand and accept different faiths, it will ultimately help build peace and happiness.” 

During the four days of HWPL Religious Youth Peace Camp, the youth participants engaged in lectures, group discussions, and presentations to understand different religions and cultures. Also, they participated in various activities, such as candle lighting, meditation, and peace walk.

 

Day 1: April 1, 2017, Wat Ounalom, Phnom Penh

On the first day, the camp program was held on the topic of “General History of World Religions” at Wat Ounalom, a Buddhist temple in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. Without understanding world religions, it would be difficult to discuss peace. This is why on the first day of the camp, beliefs, practices, and cultures of the world’s major religions were introduced to the participants so that they could better understand each other, who came from different national and religious backgrounds. A guest speaker, Ven. Penh Vibol (Lecturer at Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University and Panna Sastra University of Cambodia), spoke on the topic of “The Importance of Religious Gathering in Religious Peace” and delivered the message that now is the time to not just talk about peace but take action for peace in religion.

Day 2: April 1, 2017, Al-Serkal Mosque, Phnom Penh

On the second day, the camp program was held on the topic of “Causes of Religious Conflicts & Disputes” at Al-Serkal Mosque. It was quite exceptional for such a program to be held at Al-Serkal Mosque. Tarence Song, one of the organizers of the camp, remarked, “Opening this religious peace camp for youth was only possible because there was a profound partnership between Buddhism and Islam in Cambodia. Difficulties existed when religious practices must be respected and the mosque as a venue for the camp can be used at the same time. It was the result of a long, trust-based communication in the principle of co-existence and tremendous efforts by the Cambodian organizers.” 

The youths, who visited Al-Serkal Mosque to participate in the program, wore hijabs and had time to learn Islamic culture and experience a religion that is not their own. One participant confessed that she was unfamiliar and even frightened to wear the hijab at first, but from discussing and experiencing different religions and their cultures through the camp program, she felt all people are one global family hoping for peace and dialogue is most important in achieving peace.

Day 3-4: April 2, 2017, Picnic Campsite, Kompong Seila

The camp program of the third day took place at a picnic campsite located in Kompong Seila, which is about a three-hour drive from Phnom Penh. On the topic of “Resolution to Religious Conflicts & Disputes and the Religious Community’s Role for Peace,” the participants discussed the current situation of conflicts between religions and ways to resolve them. Although it is a tough challenge facing the international community, the participants approached it from a youth perspective that respects diversity and came up with some innovative and interesting ideas. Regarding the effort to settle religious conflicts, Ven. Ken Horn said, “Different interpretation of religious scripture can cause conflict. We don't know what the real teaching is. We got lost. We have moved so far from the original. People use their own reasons to interpret differently and claim that it is the words of God. The UN alone is not effective. We have to focus on the local level, especially young people need to take actions for peace."

On the third and fourth day of the camp, the youths took part in not only group discussions but also various peace activities such as the peace walk. The participants introduced their own cultures and histories, and got actively involved in learning folk songs of different countries. 

“To me, the most memorable part of the camp,” said Ven. Chhon Bun Thoeun, “was that I could spend the whole day with youths from different nations to cooperate and share experiences together. We all have different blood mothers, but I realized that we are one family building a house of peace together. Also, this camp helped me to seek the proper way of living in peace. I can stand with a stronger belief in this world with hearty people by mutually understanding each other.”

Ms. Va Srey Deth, a student of pannasastra university of Cambodia, sent a letter to the IPYG headquarter office to express her impressions of the camp. In the letter, she said, “It was my pleasure to have an opportunity to participate in this camp, spending three days with Korean people and Cambodian people as well as monks to raise awareness of religious issues. As a youth, I lost attention to religion which promotes peace and connects people under one roof of eliminating war. After joining the camp, I realized that religions have different philosophies and principles, but they work for the same purpose—peace. I would like to express my appreciation for your religious peace camp and HWPL. Your team (IPYG) has worked very hard. It was very effective for the youth and myself. I have figured out the role of religion in this society, and of myself in development and creating peace in mind. I hope I can join or organize this kind of amazing camp or event.”

The 1st HWPL Religious Youth Peace Camp in Cambodia showed the potential of the youth who transcend nationality, race, religion, and culture to bridge the world and peace. The Cambodian monks making sincere efforts to understand the cultures of youths who participated in the camp showed that world peace is the responsibility of not just leaders of one religious group but everyone, especially the youth who are the leaders of the future. Like this camp, the IPYG will continue to organize events in which youth around the world can discuss peace by overcoming misunderstanding and prejudice among religions, cultures, and ideologies and respecting diversity.

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The Wind of Peace in the Philippines: Peace Journalism Seminar

APR 2017

Messengers of Peace: Mission of Journalists

On March 3, 2017, a peace journalism seminar was held with the students of Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila.

The peace journalism seminar was recently conducted to introduce the issue of peace journalism to the students of Broadcast Communications in Polytechnic University, which raised awareness of the fact that the media focuses mainly on war instead of peace. The peace journalism seminar, attended by about 50 students, was a time to wake up to the importance of the role of the press and journalists in achieving peace.

Edna Bernabe who led this seminar talked about the importance of peace and the mission of journalists for peace. She also said that Mr. Man Hee Lee, the chairman of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), was a veteran of the Korean War and that’s why he has walked the path for peace through HWPL. After the lecture, students discussed the topics: war journalism, peace journalism, and the role of journalists.

Edna Bernabe, president of the Polytechnic University, said that students did not have a class in the field of peace journalism, but HWPL Peace Seminar gave them an opportunity to think about peace journalism and the mission of journalists.

Mark Angelo, one of the students, said that it was a time to broaden their horizons about journalism and to realize that the press had a mission to focus more on the possibility of peace and the efforts for peace rather than the outcome of war.

With this event, the Students' Union of Broadcast and Communications in Polytechnic University promised to have continuous cooperation with HWPL. Through subsequent activities, we hope that students of Broadcast and Communications in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines who dream of being a journalist will be messengers of peace and leaders who will lead peace in the future!

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Nepalese students’ shout for peace spreads to the world.

APR 2017

A Peace Rally: To commemorate the proclamation of the DPCW and to deliver the message of peace to society

This peace rally was planned to impress upon Nepalese students the need for peace, not only in Nepal but also around the world, in order to deliver the message of peace to society and have them support the DPCW, the law of peace, by commemorating the day the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) was proclaimed, the 14th of March 2016. The event began with the introduction of IPYG, HWPL and the DPCW. Afterward, select students gave speeches about the reason the DPCW is needed in Nepal and the world. Last but not least, all of the participants had time to put peace into action by shouting slogans altogether and holding a peace parade.

The peace rally concluded smoothly thanks to Dol Raj Pandey, the principal of Srijana Higher Secondary School, who knew the importance and value of peace and has been studying solutions by experiencing it continuously. He was actively involved in the Red Cross campaign to provide psychosocial support for victims of disasters and was educated in conflict management. While he wanted to bring positive change to individuals and society through peace establishment, Mr. Sri Ram Timilsin, chief executive officer of Innovative Orion, told him about HWPL and IPYG, who were actively working in the field of peace work, as well as the DPCW, just in time. Subsequently, the principal asked to hold the event at his school.

The event was co-hosted by Innovative Orion and Srijana Higher Secondary School and began at 3:14 pm, the same time the DPCW was proclaimed last year, lasting for about an hour and a half. About 350 students, principals and teachers actively participated in the peace activities in the auditorium of Srijana in Pokhara.

In this event the need for the convention of peace was emphasized so that peace can be protected and maintained not only in the whole world but also in Nepal, just as a country needs a law to be maintained, also provisions and contents of the DPCW, the convention of peace, was introduced and people had time to think about how to apply it in Nepal. After the event, many students and teachers learned about how the peace activities are being carried out around the world, leading students to want to know more about the international peace law. Until now, students were not fully aware of their rights but they now realized that although it is clearly stated in the Constitution, they are not implemented enough. They expressed a strong desire to participate in various peace movements as members of the global village.

It was the first time to host an event with IPYG and 'Innovative Orion'. Everything was so well prepared and every member of I.O who gave a hand in this event worked with the heart of volunteering. The CEO of 'Innovative Orion', Mr. Sri, said "Currently we are planning various activities with IPYG such as Peace Talk and Peace Club and so on”. He also showed strong aspirations for all the schools in Pokhara to participate with IPYG peace work in the near future. We are expecting to hear and see more fruitful activities with this new passionate youth NGO in Nepal!

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Indian students, “Starting with me, I will be an ambassador of peace.”

APR 2017

Indian Heights School participated actively in supporting the DPCW with signatures after IPYG's peace lecture.

Indian Heights School, HWPL Peace Academy held a peace lecture for its students on April 11, 2017. The event was the starting point of HWPL Peace education and an opportunity to understand the concept of peace and realize its necessity. The peace lecture started with a mime and songs that focus on peace. This was followed by the peace lecture about the seriousness of war, the meaning of peace and its necessity, the peace activities of HWPL and IPYG to achieve world peace and why these activies are needed.

About 140 students and 10 teachers attended this event and 17 students performed the opening ceremony. This opening ceremony consisted of an Indian traditional performance and made the event more joyful. Moreover, all of the participants in the event signed to legislate peace gathering their hearts to introduce the DPCW to the UN.

"I reflected upon the importance of peace in our lives and decided to have many activities cooperating with IPYG. I felt it is precious to fulfill my role as a peace education teacher and I can say with confidence that we can make a peaceful world if we try to go for peace with IPYG", says Ms. Anchal Sharma, a peace education teacher. Also, Lakshya and Hooda, students of Indian Heights School, touched the hearts of all attendants by sharing their impressions of the event saying, "I am fortunate to get to know IPYG which is a good organization working to spread peace throughout the world. I am going to deliver the peace message to my friends and society."

India displays superiority in art, culture, expressiveness, and self-directed learning. Also, India has the cultural traits that express one’s thoughts freely and in various ways. This event was a great platform to incorporate these features of India, and more useful programs are expected to develop in India through this event.

After this event held by Indian Heights School, they are preparing HWPL peace education for their school, and they also want to cooperate constantly by implementing peace education and having peace activities with HWPL and IPYG.

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1st Peace Carnival Opens in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

APR 2017

Festival of Harmony in a Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Cultural, and Multi-Faith Nation

On March 25, 2017, the 1st Peace Carnival was held at Taman Merdeka in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The carnival was organized by HWPL, Johor Bahru City Council, and the HWPL Advocacy Committee in Johor Bahru (Johor Peace Committee). One of the highlights of the event was a multi-ethnic performance, which created an atmosphere of harmony among different ethnicities. Prior to the event, the HWPL Advocacy Committee (Johor Peace Committee) was established in Johor Bahru. While the members had been holding peace events on a small scale, they organized a multi-ethnic peace carnival in order to introduce HWPL, IPYG, and their peace movement to more citizens.

The youth members’ cooperation with Cosmopoint College Johor Bahru showed their earnest hope for harmony. From the early stage of preparation, they had regular meetings and voluntarily prepared goody bags for the participants and a flash mob performance. Ms. LathaKanan Haridass, who is Centre Manager of Cosmopoint College Johor Bahru, said she could get involved more actively, seeing youths working together and advocating peace voluntarily. The Peace Carnival was attended by more than 650 students and citizens, and was especially graced by the presence of Crown Prince Idris Iskandar of Johor State and Tuan Haji A. Rahim bin Haji Nin, the mayor of Johor Bahru City. The event was concluded with a peace walk joined by all participants.

The Peace Carnival was a good example of cooperation between the city government, royal family, youths, and citizens to promote peace together. When all sectors of society work together as one, their voice will be heard by more people. Peace activities will continue so that people not only in Johor Bahru but the entire Malaysia will call for peace.

Johor Peace Committee and the IPYG will continue to cooperate with youth organizations and universities in peace initiatives and advocacy for the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).

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Working for 50 Years for Youth and a Better Future

APR 2017

Looking Back on the Last 50 Years in Morocco

At the end of last year, the IPYG cooperated with various organizations that perform volunteer activities and developed a project that would instill the value of volunteering among the youth. As they were preparing for this project, they learned about an organization called ACJ Morocco. At that time, the IPYG saw pictures of the members of ACJ painting a mural with children who live in the desert. The members of the IPYG were deeply moved by this volunteer activity which was done to create a better future for the children living in various parts of Morocco. From then onwards, the IPYG has been cooperating with ACJ.

The IPYG and ACJ Morocco have agreed to build youth camps in three places in July and August. Prior to this, Mr. Monsif gathered 200 students at a university and watched a video on how members of the IPYG are working to achieve peace in conflict areas. Through the video, many students were inspired by the work done by the IPYG.

The following is an interview with Mr. Hagouchi Abderrahim, the Head of International Relations of ACJ.


Q1. How did you first become concerned about the issues of the youth and peace?

- Our idea is to involve young people in building a strong nation, after French colonization which lasted from 1912 to 1956, in several fields; including economic, social and cultural development, through participatory democracy. On the basis of these findings, young Moroccans, mainly intellectuals, have undertaken to participate in volunteering activities in order to improve the ability of many of the citizens by sharing their know-how.

Q2. What kind of youth activities have you done with your organization or by yourself? Have there been any changes to the youth related activities which you undertake? If so, what is it?

- The main activities we do in the organization are volunteering activities in public places, such as gardening, development of schools, orphanages, youth centers, handicapped Hospitals etc.

We realize that these young people are oriented towards other interests because of the means of distraction which are within their reach (means of communication which is easily acquired).

To overcome this, awareness and training programs are scheduled to allow these young people to realize the danger that surrounds them.

Q3. What is the current situation in Morocco, and what do the youth think about this issue? What do you think the youth have to do in this situation?

- In Morocco, as in many countries, the youth can categories into; those who are independent and are not interested in their community, and others who are focus on academia to develop their knowledge or those undecided students. In my opinion, young people must participate more in building up a personality of equality, brotherhood and peace towards others.

Q4. What events or projects have impressed you or had the biggest impact on you in recent years?

- Our participation in a number of events at national and international level, including steps against wars in the Middle East, participation in international and Mediterranean social forums against racism and xenophobia, aid and training for Sub-Saharan immersion are among some of them.

Q5. How would you like to cooperate with IPYG?

- We wish to further develop our relationship with IPYG in the field of the exchange of experiences, volunteering and meetings for the benefit of young people.

Q6. Please share with us what you would like to say to the youth all over the world.

- Youth of the world, unite to fight against these arms dealers who kill the innocent only to enrich themselves to the detriment of you and the future of your children.


This year marks the 4th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of World Peace, which specifically defined the respective roles of the political and religious leaders, representatives of civil organizations, media and especially the youth in achieving peace. 

ACJ Morocco, which has performed volunteer activities to build a better tomorrow for the youth in Morocco, plans to cooperate with the IPYG to hold an event on the 25th of May commemorating the Declaration of World Peace. 

The IPYG hopes that the 25th of May will be a day where the youth around the world become one through various peace initiatives.

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Discussion on Peace and Volunteerism in Malaysia

APR 2017

The Voice of the Youth Can Change Society

Saturday, April 8 2017, Global Youth Peace Forum Johor 2017 commenced at the Sutera Mall Library in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The event was organized by Sithi Global Johor, partnered by the Malaysian Indian Youth Council (MIYC) and Malaysian New Community Development and Awareness Association (MYCOM) along with international collaborators, IPYG, YUVSATTA and GPYF. Sithi Globla Johor, the organizer of the event, is an organization working with the vision, ‘Creating Our Children’s Future’ to improve the quality of life of Indian Malaysians in Malaysian society. One of the partners of the forum and IPYG affiliates, MIYC’s Chairman, Pathama Seelan Subramaniam, invited IPYG to take part in Global Youth Peace Forum Johor 2017 as a partner. Two staff members of IPYG participated in the forum. The forum had two sessions of panel discussion; How Peace Can be Achieved Theoretically and Practically, and Volunteering for Peace. Participants from IPYG explained peace through the concept of heavenly culture with international legal instruments and harmony among religions as the means to establish peace, and they argued that a concrete measure to bring all stakeholders together is needed to make it a reality.

The forum also raised topics that challenged participants to think about why volunteerism is necessary, and why volunteers volunteer and for what. The discussion session also noted the importance of volunteering towards peace-building.

At the end of the session, IPYG introduced its mission and vision. As the forum closed, the IPYG delegation was awarded a prize for Best Speaker that went to the participant with active and exemplary participation. After the forum, Mr. Sivaramu Mariappan, the head of Sith Global Johor, said that he hoped youth participants would voluntarily lead on ways to channel their energy to change our society. Mr. Satish Krishnan, the head of MYCOM, talked about the significance of the forum saying that we need more events like Global Youth Peace Forum Johor 2017 because it is the youth that will lead the future and that their voice and their stories must be heard more.

The forum was a chance to hear from Malaysia’s youth, and it showed how important it is to let the voice of the youth be heard for building a better future. Even with the older generation’s presence, it is the youth that will eventually lead society, and the opinions of the youth must be reflected in society’s direction.

We look forward to seeing more and more places in Malaysia that channel the voice of the youth and bring them as one to build a Malaysia of true harmony and peace.

 

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New members of APRIL

APR 2017

Following are the messages from our new affiliates who have joined us this month: Youth peace Ministries, Help for Afghan Heroes(H4AH), Fontaine Isoko, Innovative Orion , WASH Sierra Leon

• Rwanda / Youth peace Ministries

It is valuable contribution to the  members of YPM to affiliate in order to strengthen peace in the world through helping IPYG's activities of peace in different manners of ways and also this partnership is going help in establishing unit and peace among Rwandan Youth everywhere.

Thank you God bless you

• Rwanda / Help for Afghan Heroes(H4AH)

Greeting from H4AH to YPYG Magazine readers: Living in all over the world without any violence and war. It is every individual responsibility to take part in paving the way of comfort and peace. It is irritant to hear the voice of victims, but it is more delighted to hear the voice of Pigeon which is flying and spreading out the freedom so that lets come together to generate peaceful environment for living safety in all over the World.

• Burundi / Fontaine Isoko

• Nepal / Innovative Orion 

Greetings to all valuable members of IPYG. The present world wants peace. A single person may contribute in building peace but for the sustainable peace we need to go together joining hand in hands. We hope that the self connection and understanding among people is a must for peace and it can  created only through communications: i.e peace rallies, peace talks and activities like drawing, painting, making peace speech, games, singing and dancing. The work of IPYG - bringing different organizations working for the same goals together is praiseworthy. We are very glad to be a partner of IPYG and hope for a better and peaceful global society with happiness and prosperity. The continuous support and inspiration from IPYG, it's members and Gyu Ri Lee cannot be expressed in a sentence and hope the same support and inspiration will continue in the days to come. Sending lot of mountain energy and positive vibes from the country of Himalayas. Be Happy.

LETS WORK HAND IN HAND TO HAVE PEACE IN THE LAND. 

• Sierra Leon / WASH Sierra Leon

I’ve been interested in the peace work of HWPL, especially the Peace Walk which was very impressive.

To achieve peace, everything must be collaborated together and it would not be possible alone. All of the mechanisms should be mobilized and we must cooperate together both nationally and internationally.

Our desire for peace must be spread to the whole world so that the voice of peace would be able to dominate the world.

It is a great pleasure to work with IPYG.

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