The Movement of An Era of Conscience Resonates in the Baltic States
(By Ellena Ma/Tallinn, Estonia)The Tallinn Digital Summit was held in Estonia on Sept. 27-29, 2017; heads of state of the European Union, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May, gathered at Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, to discuss digital security and education. At the same time, the cultural goodwill delegation of the California-based Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) visited the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) to conduct cultural exchanges. The delegation arrived in Estonia on Sept. 28 and invited participants of the Summit to join the movement of An Era of Conscience to jointly promote love and peace.
Currently with participation from 197 nations and over 3,100 organizations, the movement was initiated by Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of FOWPAL, a self-funded peace organization with members from 95 countries that has visited 71 nations, promoting love and peace. In 2014, Mr. Andris Bērziņš, the then Latvian president, was the first president to join this movement, and he stated, “May there be peace throughout the world and in every heart!” He also encouraged FOWPAL, co-organizer of the movement, by saying, “May you continue to be successful in bearing the idea of peace in the whole world!”
The delegation visited the City Council of Riga, Latvia’s capital, and the Ministry of Culture of Latvia on Sept. 29 and was enthusiastically welcomed. The mayor of Riga, Mr. Nils Ušakovs especially asked Ms. Aija Kalnina, deputy director of the Culture Board of the Department of the Education, Culture and Sports, to welcome the delegation and present it with gifts on his behalf. Because Latvia had experienced war and is dedicated to passing on its culture to younger generations, Ms. Kalnina, noticing that there were many young members in the delegation, took the opportunity to ask Dr. Hong’s advice on how to promote culture and sports, and most importantly, how to pass cultural legacies to the next generation. After hearing Dr. Hong’s sharing, Ms. Kalniņa expressed that she learned a lot from the delegation and was impressed by what FOWPAL had achieved.
Mrs. Dace Melbārde, Minister for Culture of Latvia, especially sent the head of the strategic planning division of the ministry, Laura Turlaja, to welcome the delegation. The ministry was keen to learn from Dr. Hong about how to carry forward cultural legacies. The delegation generously shared its experiences in passing on the culture of love and peace and traversing the globe to spread love and peace. The delegation and Ms. Turlaja also talked about this year’s Summer Universiade. Latvia sent its largest sports delegation to the event--71 athletes from 15 universities--and won the bronze medal in men's basketball. They also mentioned that encouraging fairness and mutual growth through sports competitions is a way to promote world peace and that only when all people jointly promote peace, can real world peace become a reality.
The delegation also visited Lithuania, a predominantly Roman Catholic country, and basketball is its national sport. The delegation’s tour guide was Andrew, who is Lithuanian and a senior student at a university. Spending a few days with the delegation, Andrew was touched by what it did, and he said that he learned that happiness is truly important and life is about love and peace. If we are happy and if we have people that we love in our lives and are loved by them, we can truly live a happy life, said Andrew.
Lithuania had experienced the devastation of war. As a young Lithuanian, Andrew expressed his expectations and views on love and peace. He feels that peace is the most important thing between two countries, and war can not solve any problem. To him, peace in diplomacy is the most important. He is a Catholic, and the essence of the Catholic faith is peace. He also responded to the movement of An Era of Conscience by sharing his words of conscience. He said that the basis of life is love. He mentioned that if people love others with wisdom and if they have a chance to be loved, they can live a happy life. He wished people to find those they love and those who love them.