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A multitude of conflicts, including the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas conflict, resulted in the loss of over 33,000 civilian lives and the displacement of millions globally In the year 2023.

Addressing this grave reality, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international peace NGO, convened its 8th annual commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) on March 14th at its peace training institute in Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

The event, themed “Building the Minds of Peace: Promoting Institutional Peace via Intercultural Dialogue and Understanding,” underscored the urgency of fostering peace amid escalating global conflicts.

Since its inception on March 14, 2016, HWPL has consistently organized annual commemorative ceremonies to advocate for the institutionalization of peace. This year, the event drew approximately 12,500 distinguished experts from various fields, including politics, law, religion, education, media, as well as representatives from women and youth sectors, both in-person and online. Notably, around 10,000 HWPL members participated in an orderly fashion, filling the venue of the commemorative ceremony.

The DPCW, collaboratively drafted with legal specialists from 15 countries, consists of 10 articles and 38 clauses, delineating principles and mechanisms aimed at conflict prevention and resolution, fostering a peaceful global society, and defining roles for individuals, communities, and nations in achieving sustainable peace.

During the event, H.E. Vidura Wickramanayaka, Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, commended the commitment and dedication exhibited in peace initiatives, emphasizing their pivotal role in laying the groundwork for a more harmonious world. Ven. Beopsan, President of the Daegak Buddhism Jogye Order in South Korea, stressed the significance of religious leaders’ involvement in peacebuilding efforts, advocating for interreligious dialogue and understanding as fundamental to achieving lasting peace.

Chairman Man-hee Lee of HWPL highlighted the imperative for religious communities to unite, engage in comparative scripture study, and practice faith rooted in shared human values, transcending religious divides to foster a world of cooperation and mutual assistance.

The ceremony concluded with various performances depicting the journey towards peace, including a session explicating the contents of Article 10 and 38 clauses of the DPCW through artistic expression, envisioning a harmonious world flourishing with peace.

Across several West African nations, including Guinea, numerous individuals are set to participate in HWPL media personnel training, aimed at safeguarding press freedom and promoting peace perception. Karim Goundi, a TANEKA TV communicator at the HWPL West Africa Press Forum, underscored the organization’s commitment to peacebuilding in collaboration with the media, emphasizing ongoing efforts to train reporters and enhance reporting expertise.

In New Delhi, the HWPL Peace Education network has expanded its reach to nurture the next generation with peace-centric values. Activities focusing on institutionalized peace and conflict resolution have been prioritized, with Dr. D.K Sinha, Principal of Jagran Public School, emphasizing the critical role of peace education in addressing conflicts arising from religious, ethnic, and identity differences. The collaboration between HWPL and Bhartiya Sarva Dharma Sansad, a religious alliance foundation, through the online religious peace academy, has facilitated greater understanding and harmony among diverse religious communities.

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