The Words of the Hyun Jin Moon
Early morning, December 14, 134 dignitaries and leaders of peace-building efforts from 28 different nations boarded a plane to Mindanao -- a region that has been the center of national attention recently.
Globally, Mindanao may be seen as a hot spot of armed conflict and considered “dangerous”, but it is also the home of innovative peace-building models. These models have attracted leaders of global peace efforts.
The international delegation joined local champions of in the Mindanao peace-building efforts for the Global Peace Festival (GPF) Mindanao 2009 held in the Mindanao Civic Center of Tubud, Lanao del Norte.
Dr. Estrella Abid-Babano served the Department of Education director of the region during the launching of MinPI and serves as the chairwoman of this multi-faceted approach to peace. Provincial Governor of Lanao del Norte of Mindanao and champion of peace passionately explains the local peacemaking efforts.
The colors and music of the various tribal dances filled the stadium and 2,300 children danced for unity and peace. The celebrations were joined by renowned Philippine RandB artists Jay-R and Chris Lawrence and the thousands lifted their voices, shouting “Peace” and “One Family under God!”
Dr. Markendy Rai, Chief of Global Parliamentarians for UN Habitat headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya who was part of the delegation, smiled in awe at what he saw that day. “As Gandhi noted, we must be the change and the peace we seek to bring. One family under God can be a most timely message in advancing peace in global hot spots,” stated.
During the stay in Mindanao, the Global Peace Convention delegation conducted a fact-finding tour to a ‘Peace Village.’ These ‘Peace Villages’ are part of the Department of Education’s initiative in collaboration with the Mindanao Peace Initiative (MinPI), a project of GPF. They provide a safe place for Muslim-Christian-Indigenous children to experience living together as fellow Filipinos, as they take part in peace education.
MinPI was launched at the Global Peace Festival (GPF) 2008, just months after peacemaking talks broke down and violence ensued in the region. When international agencies pulled out because of the danger, the GPF held its first local Global Peace Festival Mindanao and marked the turn-around in the region. A multi-faceted approach to peace emerged under MinPI, which involved 17 areas including the government, academia, sports and the youth.
MinPI was highlighted at the first Global Peace Convention and was a major factor for the Philippines being selected as the host nation.
From December 10-13, 2009, five hundred leaders of the Global Peace Festival movement from twenty-eight nations convened to forge innovation solutions to the world’s most pressing issues under its theme of “Peace-building 2010: Interfaith, Family, Service.”
One of the GPF partners, Mark Farr, Senior Director for Faith Initiatives at the Points of Light Institute, founded by former US President George H.W. Bush, stated, “The convention brought together a ground breaking coalition of NGOs, non-profits and faith-based groups to begin the process of making peace together for a new century.”
Since its launching in 2007, over 30 Global Peace Festivals have been held throughout the world reaching over a million global citizens. Centered on the vision of One Family Under God, GPF has a platform of three pillars essential to peace-building - promoting interfaith cooperation, strengthening family and building a culture of service. The convention brought together international leaders of these GPF efforts for the first time to exchange best practices and to plan for 2010.
Along with the Convention’s support for the multi-sectoral Mindanao Peace Initiative, another highlight was the launching of an international service corps to address conflicts and promote the culture of service. Service-oriented partnerships with the Global Peace Service Alliance were announced with the IBM Corporate Service Corps, United Nations Habitat, Sports for Peace, and an innovative digital library project sponsored by Service For Peace and many other organizations.
The Usher’s New Look Foundation founded by Grammy award-winning artist Raymond Usher, announced a partnership to scale up its Powered by Service campaign from the United States to the international level. The foundation will be providing seed grants and new media support to innovative youth service projects.
Shawn Wilson, President of Usher’s New Look Foundation attends the Global Peace Convention and presents on the panel “Serving Together For Peace: Empowering Partnerships and Youth in an International Service Corps.”
The closing plenary was filled with excitement as regions announced plans for Global Peace Festival 2010. A plan to convene a regional interfaith and service-oriented GPF was announced by partners of the Southeast Asian region. Dr. Zaleha Ismail, a Muslim interfaith leader and former Minister of National Unity and Social Development for Malaysia, noted: “We are very happy immediately after the closing that representatives of three nations [Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines] set in motion plans for an October 2010 Asian Global Peace Festival examining [interfaith] solutions in hot spots such as South Thailand and Mindanao.”
“We can see that the Global Peace Festivals are collectively achieving a “tipping point for peace” in these nations and is rapidly amassing a global force for good. Each of you is helping to shape that worldwide force for peace and goodness through your participation in this historic convention,” stated founder of the Global Peace Festival Foundation, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon. “Our deliberations here in the Convention, and more importantly, our collective determination and actions for peace which will surely follow, may well determine the future course of peace for our entire world community.”