Ahead of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York that features a gathering of world leaders, renowned peace activist, Mr. Man Hee Lee has been speaking on strategies to achieve global peace and understanding among diverse religious and political persuasions.
Mr. Lee was in New York to preview the World Peace Summit scheduled to take place in Seoul, South Korea under the auspices of Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL).
In an exclusive interview with CMPImedia, Mr. Lee reiterated his call for world leaders to enact a treaty that would outlaw wars in the world. In his view, peace building should be the primary goal of the United Nations.
Asked how he intended to push for such an international law banning wars without the support of the United States, Mr. Lee expressed frustration at his inability to meet with President Obama after repeated attempts. He was however optimistic that United States and other major powers in the west would see the wisdom in eradicating wars and embracing peaceful coexistence of humanity.
Mr. Lee who brokered a truce between Christians and Muslims in Mindanao region of the Philippines argued that the best strategy to stop wars in the world was through the engagement of youths and women. Youths, he said, remained the active population often deployed by leaders to engage in wars and yet no youth is ever compensated for their involvement. “Youths lose their lives in wars; women allow their children to become child soldiers and yet the older generation who are in leadership positions protect their families and themselves against the ravages of war”.
The 84-year old peace activist and veteran of the Korean War flanked by leaders of different religious faiths including Sikh, Hindu, Islam, and Christianity noted that inter-religious dialogue was necessary to begin to heal the wounds of mistrust and bigotry.
As the Chairman of HWPL (one of the largest international NGO’s working to advance peace initiatives through culture, arts, religion and policy) he has traveled to over 72 countries in the last two years at the invitation of world presidents, high religious officials, and youth organizations to share his message of peace.
The World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Summit which will be held from 17 to 18 September 2014, in Seoul, the Republic of Korea is being attended by delegates from around the world including Center for Media & Peace Initiatives, a New York based organization focused on conflict-resolving media practice around the world.
At a one-day symposium in New York attended by peace activists including Arvind Vora, a practicing Sikh, Sheikh Musa Drammeh of Muslim Community Reports, and Rashad Alkhader, a researcher in peace and human rights, Dr. Uchenna Ekwo of Center for Media & Peace Initiatives, and Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL, participants emphasized the importance of peace and nonviolence in world torn apart by sectarian and racial differences.
In his remarks at the event, Dr. Ekwo spoke of the role of journalists in peace building emphasizing that the choice of journalists in how they report issues and events could make a difference between violence and peace.