By Sable Manson, Guest Writer —
[dropcaps]H[/dropcaps]aving spent most of my childhood growing up in Carson, California, I was happy for the opportunity to return years later for Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL)’s Alliance of Religions: Peace Summit of the Americas. Held on December 6th at the Carson Community Center, HWPL gathered hundreds of people from various faiths and backgrounds to champion peace in our world. Led by HWPL Chairman Man H. Lee and its partner organizations International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), headed by Chairwoman Kim Nam Hee, and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), the event served to unite peoples and cultures to pave a way toward a peaceful future for our world. The Alliance of Religion Peace Summit is a part of Chairman Lee’s 16th world tour to speak with religious and political leaders about the need for an international law regarding world peace and cessation of war.
As the day began, the community center was abuzz with participants eagerly checking in and finding their seats with the help of the event’s many volunteers. Bright banners and posters displayed messages of peace and highlighted the unity of all faiths. As we all congregated in the main hall, opening remarks were heard from the summit’s keynote speakers including Cristina Eugenia Reyes Hidalgo, Senator of the National Assembly of Ecuador; Fernando Meza, Congressman of Chile; and Congressman Alan Lowenthal of the 47th district of California. Each speaker discussed how the struggle for peace impacted his or her constituents stressing their commitment to Chairman Lee’s vision for worldwide peace.
One of the major highlights of the summit was an inspiring video showcasing the WARP (World Alliance of Religions Peace) Summit held in South Korea this past September. The 3-day international conference brought together thousands of people from all over the world to discuss the challenges and solutions for world peace, including the role of women and youth in peace efforts. The WARP summit’s opening ceremony alone brought together religious leaders from all over the world and 80,000 international attendees including current and former prime ministers, presidents, and chief justices. Noted as one of the first international peace gatherings of this size and scope, the WARP summit was acknowledged as an important watershed moment for HWPL and its growing worldwide peace movement.
After the WARP Summit video the audience finally heard from HWPL’s Chairman Man H. Lee. With the aid of multiple translators for the multilingual audience, Chairman Lee enthusiastically explained his and HWPL’s vision for world peace. Chairman Lee, an 84 year old Korean War veteran, promised to do everything he could to achieve world peace but also stressed that harmony among our varied nations required people of all faiths to reject division and come together. Chairwoman Kim Nam Hee, head of International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), also spoke echoing HWPL’s mission of peace declaring that all women play a vital role in realizing global peace.
To demonstrate support of Chairman Lee’s vision for peace Carson Mayor Jim Dear and Carson Mayor Pro-Tempore Elito Santarina made Chairman Man H. Lee and Chairwoman Nam Hee Kim honorary citizens of Carson, California. Dear and Santarina also declared that May 25th in Carson, California will annually be celebrated as Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) Day. May 25th was chosen as HWPL Day to commemorate HWPL’s first Declaration of Peace.
Chairman Lee and Chairwoman Kim then invited summit participants to show our united commitment to peace by signing an Agreement of Solidarity with HWPL. By signing the peace agreement with HWPL participants, it expressed the desire to take the message of peace to the world and bring the light of hope to all people without partiality.
The event closed with a finale performance of youth and religious leaders singing hand-in-hand “We are the World.” People reached across the aisle to join together in one voice, expressing a desire to see worldwide peace in our lifetime a reality. Attendees left inspired and were encouraged to consider what role they might play in achieving genuine peace in our world.