International Day of Peace
FOWPAL Calls for Conscience-Centric Peace
(By Jennifer Chou/New York) September 21 is the International Day of Peace proclaimed by the United Nations. This year’s theme is: “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety, and Dignity for All.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Yet there is more to achieving peace than laying down weapons. True peace requires building bridges, combating discrimination and standing up for the human rights of all the world’s people.” On this special day, the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) hosted another function in the series of events titled “2017 World Leader Summit of Love and Peace, Call for Global Action: Awakening of Conscience for a Sustainable World” in New York. At the event, a deputy UN ambassador rang the Bell of World Peace and Love and made a wish for peace. Additionally, in the forms of giving speeches, singing songs, and reciting poems, NGO delegates advocated that love and peace are the very foundation for a sustainable world.
President of FOWPAL, Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, presented a thesis titled “Realizing Peace and Security, Human Rights, and Development upon the Foundation of Conscience.” In his thesis, Dr. Hong stated, “World peace has become an even more distant goal to reach in today’s geopolitical situations, and humanity and the Earth are like at opposite ends of a tilting scale that has an increasing possibility of falling apart. However, we will hold onto any chance for change as long as there is still hope. The common destiny of humanity will be improved only if we act now for change.” Conscience is at the core of the three founding pillars of the UN system: peace and security, human rights, and development. By gluing the three pillars together, we can find new ways to solve international conflicts, added Dr. Hong.
He also pointed out, “Everyone is endowed with conscience. Deep inside the different skin colors is a heart aspiring for love and peace. Our appearances, our customs, and our cultural heritages could vary dramatically. But at the core of the diversity is one heart that we share. This is what makes us a human being. Therefore, we should embrace one another as brothers and sisters to create an inclusive society. Whether in times of prosperity or insecurity, we should resist the temptation to regard others as ‘different people.’ We have a shared responsibility to create peace and prosperity so that we can share the resulting affluence together. If we do not take on the shared responsibility, we will suffer from the collapse of the social fabric together. No one will emerge as a winner in an exclusive society.”
Myanmar’s deputy UN ambassador, H.E. Ms. Hmway Hmway Khyne, rang the Bell of World Peace and Love and made a wish for permanent peace around the globe. The Head of Presbyterian Churches in New York City, Reverend Samuel Park rang the Bell and said, “I love FOWPAL. I know that the work that they are doing is critical for our time, everywhere in the world. . . . Dr. Hong got a message that everybody should listen to and then everybody should follow. Not only individuals, but all nations. We must work for world peace.”
David Kam from Canada said that once we learn to embrace one another, we create peace, and FOWPAL is truly working toward love and peace, not just saying so. Arda Aghazarian said, “It was a really good energy that I felt, and I was particularly moved by the calling of the Bell and the call of conscience because I think that this is where it starts from. . . . It is through going through our conscience that we start to believe that we are becoming honest and transparent and talking about the real things that matter to us as people rather than get really busy with all the heavy stuff. . . . The calling of the bell reminds us of the simplicity. It is a call of action . . . and it’s about time for us to be this change.”
Expressing her feelings about the event and the bell-ringing ceremony, Miranda Clendening said, “The work of FOWPAL is so amazing, and this year just the messages at the United Nations and everywhere is the same message that we are all one, and we are all coming from the heart and mind connected. And I just feel it’s so beautiful and I couldn’t stop crying during the ceremony. And the beautiful smiles of all the beautiful artists and poetry and words said were very, very powerful this year. . . . and the only way to cure conflict in the world is for it to come from all of us.” Derren Ohanian pointed out, “I noticed the energy and qi of the groups that were performing, just really coming from a place of heart-centeredness and opening up to the entire audience, so I just received all that love and felt completely full in my being and really believe in the mission that’s being stated here. And it’s not just through the words; you can actually just feel it. It’s tangible. And, you can see it on the expression on their faces. So, great job and really excited to come back and experience more.”
A FOWPAL volunteer and a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, Melissa Wu said that in 2014, FOWPAL initiated a movement called An Era of Conscience, and she is one of the volunteers for the movement. She has been to India to attend the International Conference of Chief Justices of the World to share her ideas with the chief justices attending the conference. “To me, sharing the message of the Movement of An Era of Conscience is like planting the seeds of conscience in every justice’s heart. When they return to their countries, the seeds of conscience also got spread over to every corner of the world, and the justices will safeguard their conscience in their daily activities,” said Melissa. She believes that this butterfly effect can affect not only the justices but also the people of their nations because the jobs of the justices are to protect the rights of their people.