Governmental and religious leaders, youth organizations, and women groups gathered on Wednesday to attend the world’s largest peace summit held in the Republic of South Korea, where a sustainable solution to peace will be presented, as well as methods and programs for the cessation of war. The 2014 World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit is being held in Seoul, the Republic of Korea from September 17-18. VOC Drivetime producer Zahrah Isaacs is part of the global media delegation and is the only South African radio broadcaster at the event.
A grand opening took place at the world class Jamsil Sports Complex Stadium on Wednesday, which saw the participation of South Africa’s former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe. The crowd was also surprised with a message of hope and peace by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are seated at the stadium to see this event. All the flags from all over the world have lined the stadium. It’s a colourful, electric atmosphere…words cannot adequately describe the beauty of this event,” Isaacs reported.
“The ceremony was rich in Korean culture and showcased the youth representative of the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), of which two are South African. The ceremony focused on world peace and even showed the Palestinian and Israeli flags, waving side by side. Chairman Man-Hee Lee addressed the crowd before playing a moving clip showing the true costs of war, which is the irreplaceable lives that are lost.”
Approximately 200,000 people are scheduled to attend the talks at the Building Convention Center. Among them are 1,500 leaders including international heads of states and leading representatives of world religions such as Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, as well as organizations working in collaboration with the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) and the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG). Over 100 national broadcasting companies from around the world will also cover the events of the WARP summit.
A question was posed to Mr. Lee in a press conference held before the first day: “The Middle East is a region rife with religious wars and conflicts. Is it possible to achieve peace here as in Mindanao, Philippines?”
Mr. Lee responded: “Just because peace is achieved in the Middle East does not mean world peace is achieved. Rather than considering an issue that is confined to only one region, we need to resolve the fundamental problem that has its roots worldwide. Therefore, heads of state around the world must come to an agreement to establish an international law that bans war so that all wars come to an end permanently.”
Mr. Lee is a global peace advocate and the Chairman of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) as well as IPYG and IWPG.
Also, Ms. Nam Hee Kim said, “Until now, women have been perceived as weak. But through Mr. Lee, I gained confidence that women can also play a central role in achieving world peace. This is because the power to protect the children who are forced out to battlefields is in the mothers. If all women in the world unite as one, I am certain that world peace will definitely be achieved.“
Ms. Kim is a global female leader and representative of IWPG.
Following the press conference on September 16 at the Cosmos Hall of Walker Hill Hotel, an HWPL affiliated organization called IPYG hosted a conference for more than 500 leaders of youth groups from 127 nations including nations that are experiencing conflicts such as the Balkan Peninsula, Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, and Israel. They discussed programs that can help build mutual understanding and trust.
Afterwards, a preliminary meeting of the WARP Advisory Council was held, where former and current presidents, prime ministers, premiers, chairmen of the national assemblies, and chief justices of the supreme courts from various nations gathered to share their experience in leadership and future peace initiatives.
Former and current heads of state, important figures from all walks of life and religious leaders with authority will attend this summit where they will devise a specific plan to put an end to wars around the world. They will also present a real solution to religious conflicts. The number of people attending the summit as well as the scale of this event is expected to be unprecedented.
Tune into VOC Drivetime at 17.50pm for Zahrah’s live report from Seoul. VOC