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United for peace: Global citizens rally in 50 countries amidst turmoil

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As conflicts rage around the globe, a beacon of hope shines through united citizen action.

In May 2024, people from every continent joined forces for the 11th Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace and Peace Walk, organized by the UN-affiliated NGO Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).

The event, themed “Communication for Global Citizenship of Reconciliation and Tolerance,” aimed to foster a worldwide culture of peace.

The flagship event launched on May 25th at the Peace Gate of Seoul Olympic Park, sponsored by South Korea’s Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

Across approximately 50 countries, the Peace Walks were accompanied by a variety of peace-building activities. Each nation’s unique character was reflected in landmark walks, complemented by peace performances, video screenings, photo exhibitions, poster drawings, sports activities, bazaars, and volunteer opportunities. Tree planting ceremonies and “free hugs” initiatives further underscored the event’s commitment to unity and environmental well-being.

This annual commemoration marks the 2013 proclamation of the Declaration of World Peace at the Peace Gate in Seoul Olympic Park, where 30,000 global youth gathered to advocate for peace. The declaration calls on individuals from all walks of life to work together towards global peace.

At last year’s 10th annual commemoration, HWPL Chairman Lee Man-hee reflected on a decade of peace efforts.

“Since we pledged to work together for world peace 10 years ago, we have been advocating for peace education at home and in schools. Everyone should become messengers of peace,” he urged. “We must unite under the banner of peace and collaborate to create a better world for future generations. This is our mission in these times.”

In light of recent conflicts, HWPL issued a poignant statement on the Israel-Iran conflict, highlighting the devastating impact on civilians.

“Organizations worldwide, allied with HWPL in peace solidarity, urge Iran and Israel to cease aggression immediately and engage in dialogue to foster peace,” the statement read.

The 11th Annual Peace Walk and its associated activities highlight a global movement committed to reconciliation, tolerance, and the cultivation of a lasting peace, even in the face of widespread turmoil.

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