By Mark Anthony
On January 24th, over 2,400 attendees from 70 countries including the Philippines, Australia, Germany, South Africa and South Korea joined the global online peace conference to discuss the role of peace education. Despite the constricting lockdown in most major cities around the world, the global work of peace continues on.
January 24 – Peace Day
The conference was organized by a Korean-based international peace NGO, “Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light” (HWPL) in celebration of the 7th Anniversary of the January 24 HWPL Peace Day. The January 24 HWPL Peace Day was declared by the Province of Maguindanao in the Philippines. It has been commemorated annually ever since the Mindanao Peace Agreement was made by the local government and civil society leaders on January 24th, 2014.
The Peace Day was named after HWPL since the agreement was suggested by Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, a Korean war veteran, after solving the 50 years of civil conflict with approximately 120,000 victims. With the theme, “The Role of Peace Education in Building a Peaceful World”, the celebration of this year aimed to raise awareness of peace education around the world to establish a global platform for peace educators to implement peace education in each education system of their countries.
A Commemorative Message of Harmony
HWPL Chairman Man Hee Lee delivered his commemorative message, followed by the congratulatory messages from social, educational, religious, and political figures including The President of Court of Appeal of Cairo, The Former President of the UN Human Rights Council,The Former Adviser of the Ministry of Education of Guatemala, and Archbishop Emeritus of Davao Archdiocese of the Philippines.
“Today, Mindanao is no longer a place of conflict; rather, it has become a model of peace to which the world looks. Once, the people of this region used to point guns at each other — now they share food while sitting at the same table, despite their differences in religion and ideologies. Students who were once being trained to kill are now learning the precious value of life and peace through HWPL Peace Education,” he said.
Peace Education in the Philippines
Dr. Ronald Adamat, Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines (CHED) has made an effort to implement HWPL Peace Education into the relevant higher education curricula. He also addressed the value of HWPL Peace Day and the progress of peace education in the Philippines.
He said, “Youth will fight for peace but are not yet given enough skills, understanding, or opportunity to talk about peace. I wholeheartedly support HWPL Peace Education. It raises awareness for our youth to become peacemakers — the much-needed values of the youth.
They are the future leaders, and they must change for the positive transformation of the world to take effect. Our children need to be educated on how peacebuilding can work effectively.
Through education, the building of a truly peaceful world can one day become a reality.”
A miracle of Peace Beginning with Education
Ms Firoza Muradi, an educator from Afghanistan said, “The Mindanao Peace Agreement in 2014 became a great model for countries like Afghanistan who experience wars and conflicts. I hope that the miracle of peace in Mindanao will also happen in Afghanistan, and it will begin through peace education. Through HWPL Peace Education, students seek answers to achieve peace in various ways, including harmony with nature, the value of cooperation, and how to protect their rights. I believe all of my students who are receiving peace education will grow up to be a peace messenger.”
HWPL Peace Education consists of 12 lessons to train educators and students alike by raising awareness of the importance of fostering a culture of peace. Since 2016, over 200 education institutions in 34 countries including India, Israel, and the Philippines became HWPL Peace Academies, and Ministries of Education in 9 countries signed MOAs for the implementation of peace education.
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