An Era of Conscience focus of attention in the UN NGO Conference searching for key to sustainable development
NGOs around the world congregated in Gyeongju, South Korea for the UN DPI NGO Annual Conference, first ever to be held in Asia. The three-day exchanges of thoughts and discussions concluded on June 1. Association of World Citizens (AWC), Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) and Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy brought the movement of An Era of Conscience to the conference, urging conscience is the key to world citizen education. An Era of Conscience caught the attentions from thousands of NGO representatives from around the world. Deputy Director of Uganda Education Services, Teopista Mayanja, commented at the closing ceremony “The world is indeed in need of conscience”.
2016 is the first year of UN Sustainable Development Goals. Since the Millennium Development Goals, the UN has come to understand that the poorest and most disadvantaged are still far lagging behind the standard. As such the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in last year hoping to eradicate extreme poverty, protect the planet and ensure sustaining prosperity for all. This year’s annual conference is the first time held in Asia. More than 2,000 NGO representatives from around the world attended the conference. NGO booths were set up to display the achievements and conduct exchanges.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, expressed in the opening remark that “Education is critical to foster world citizens in the face of challenges in the 21st century”. He urged NGOs to help the UN to push education for world citizens and told a story. “Sixty-six years ago, during the Korean War, a 6-year old boy was helped by a NGO. In 66 years, this boy became the Secretary General of the UN and standing here addressing the conference.” The audience was deeply touched. At the end of the remark, he emphasized that “Passion needs to be buided with mercy. Without mercy, passion will be led to the wrong direction.”
Volunteer of An Era of Conscience shared with Ban Ki-Moon in the AWC booth the Declaration of World Citizens and Declaration of An Era of Conscience and had a photo with the Secretary General. Volunteer Felicia Chou said “We deliver the important message of conscience to him, believing he will have the capability to influence more people”.
In the past years, Ban Ki-Moon had many correspondences with Dr. Hong Tao-Tze, vice chairman of AWC and Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men. Ban Ki-Moon has repeatedly expressed his appreciation for Dr. Hong’s continued supports and assistances for the UN. AWC has been participating in the NGO Annual Conference and proposing solutions for years. Dr. Hong delivered a speech in the Vision for a Universal Education Protocol saying “More consciences in the world citizens are awakened, the safer our living environment will become. The elevating of positive and goodness will lead to reduced possibility of random disasters and slow down the deterioration of our living spaces.”
Dr. Hong urges that “The thoughts and acts of selfishness are the triggers of conflicts between peoples and among nations. Conscience is the goodness of humanity and will be awakened and inspired by education. Conscience is able to stop the wrongs and spread the rights and to exercise the effects on societies, nations and even the world.” The audience found Dr. Hong’s statements inspirational. Panel moderator, Bircan Unver, founding director of the Light Millennium, awarded to Dr. Hong the Award of Peace Culture by World Citizens, in recognition of his contributions to education of peace and love.
A number of roundtable and panel discussions were held during the conference to deliver the message of conscience and culture as the core of world citizen education. AWC volunteers took opportunities to share with speakers and attendants An Era of Conscience. Volunteer Effie Chen was in the discussion of climate change. She raised the question “How do NGOs combine conscience into education?” and received widespread feedbacks.
Volunteer Chloe Chen was touched and pointed out that many had never thought of combining conscience with the filed work of NGO after decades of work.
Volunteers of An Era of Conscience also promoted the endorsement of Declaration of World Citizens and Declaration of An Era of Conscience. Deputy director of Uganda Education Service, Teopista Mayanja, was touched by the idea of conscience and commented “The so many conflicts and injustices in this world are the results of lacking conscience. Conscience is especially important for teachers as they are shouldering the responsibilities of educating the next generations.”
Afterwards in the closing ceremony, Teopista Mayanja further shared that “The three killers of peace are selfishness, greed and indifference. I realize that I need to make a link with An Era of Consciences so that more people will work together to push education of peace.”
Many volunteers were deeply touched by the comments of Teopista Mayanja. Some were in tears as this group has been working for so many years and it starts to bear fruits. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, most NGO representatives have received the message of An Era of Conscience. Many more are starting to voice out the importance of conscience. “This has made all the efforts worthwhile” said Brenda Chen. “When the conscience is awakened, we will proceed to work together to make the world better.”
It is expected that world citizens will be brave and full of energy to create new opportunities at this critical time. You are cordially invited to endorse the Declaration of An Era of Conscience and Declaration of World Citizens on the internet at http://www.worldcitizens.org.tw/awc2013/0528_2endorses/index.php.