Religious Leaders of Georgia Showed Strength of Unity for World Peace.
Tbilisi, Georgia- On the 18th of March, ‘HWPL World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Office Meeting’ was held for the cessation of wars and world peace at GIPA Frontline Georgia in Tbilisi, capital city of Georgia. At the event hosted by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL, chairman Man Hee Lee), an international peace organization whose headquarter is located in the Republic of Korea, prominent religious leaders of Islam, Baptist Church, Judaism, Armenian Orthodox Church and representatives from Public Defender’s Office gathered together to converse about the differences of each religion.
HWPL, an NGO registered under the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aims to bring wars to an end and to create a world of peace. Under HWPL, there are International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG, chairwoman Nam Hee Kim) and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG, director Du Hyun Kim).
Under the theme of ‘Define true peace in your religion’, the peace dialogue was held for the religious leaders who have aspiration for peace to discuss practical solutions to achieving peace together. The participants including Aliev(Shia Islam), Zurab Tsetskhladze(Sunni Islam), Malkhaz Songulashvili(Baptist), Priest Narek Kushyan (Armenian Orthdodox) and Beka Mindiashvili (Public Defender's Office) made a step forward to world peace.
Deborah Oh (HWPL delegation), the modulator began the meeting saying “75-80% of the wars which has occurred in human history were due to religion. Although there have been conflicts because of misunderstandings among various religions, we can make a difference through conversation. Let’s open our hearts together and find out a true meaning of peace. I hope this will be a time for all of you to learn from one another."
Starting off with watching the video of peace movement of Mr. Man Hee Lee, chairman of HWPL and Ms. Nam Hee Kim to introduce the purpose of the event, they had time to define a true peace from religious perspectives. Zurab Tsetskhaldze (Sunni Islam leader, Georgia) said “we need to be a part of the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Office’. Violence is prohibited in Islam. We should endeavor for world peace not just on the document but in reality."
Malkhaz Songulashvili, archbishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia mentioned “Peace is important for Georgia, a neighboring country of Syria and Iraq. I hope this peace movement will accelerate making a practical foot step towards understanding different religions rather than just remaining as another project. That is the reason I am participating in this gathering." After discussion, playing OX quiz on similarities and differences among religions added fun along with learning about each religion. The event was concluded with a peace agreement ceremony to pledge to bring all wars to an end and to become united regardless of religious boundaries for peace in Georgia and the whole world.
What made the religious leaders decide to gather for this meeting was because of the success of the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit hosted by HWPL which took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea last September. Mr. Man Hee Lee, the chairman of HWPL proposed to establish the Alliance of Religions’ Peace Office to be a neutral platform for leaders all around the world to deepen their understandings through discussion and transcend different ideologies to become one as a whole.
On the next day, a meeting was held between HWPL’s Delegation and 19 representatives of various organizations including Georgian youth ICCN, City Hall Youth Department, Innovation Center at the Georgia University. These representatives also discussed about ways they could cooperate with IPYG, a youth division of HWPL to achieve world peace through setting up a Peace Office in the times to come. The fruitful nature of these meetings for peace shows promise and great growth in the near future.