A traditional dance to mark the UN's International Day of Peace at Jeju Stone Park. Photo courtesy GIP
Jeju came together on Sunday, Sept 20, to observe the United Nations International Day of Peace at Jeju Stone Park, an idyllic park in Jeju's Jungsangan mid-mountain region.
Hosted by the Korean Organizing Committee for UN International Day of Peace and supervised by Global Inner Peace (GIP), this year’s theme was “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All”.
The International Day of Peace was established by the General Assembly in 1982 and is observed annually on Sept 21 to strengthen peace among all nations and peoples.
Fusion music was performed by students from Jeju Jungang Girls High School. Photo courtesy GIP
As attendees gathered in the 500 Generals Gallery at the park, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called, in a video message, on all warring parties to “lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire.”
He also urged the world to realize the potential of youth and, as future peace builders, students from local high schools and universities volunteered throughout the day.
Writing messages of peace on flower pots. Photo courtesy GIP
As well as fusion music by Branksome Hall Asia’s ‘East meets West,’ and a song for peace by Canadian singer-songwriter Emanuel Serra, there was a welcome address by Global Inner Peace founder Koh Eun Kyoung.
In the courtyard outside, booths encouraged visitors to engage with peace-related issues such as free trade and sexual slavery. People were also invited to plant a “Flowerpot of Peace”, design peace bags and write letters to Syrian refugees.
Stone Park tours were scheduled throughout the afternoon and these introduced walkers to the stone culture and history of Jeju while touring the picturesque grounds.
After the event, Koh said that weeks of preparation had gone into the event and she was impressed with the passion shown by local students.
Volunteers were on hand to help attendees. Photo courtesy GIP
“I didn’t realize how interested Jeju youths are in global issues like poverty and refugees. I think that they really wanted to be involved before, but they just didn’t have the chance.”
South African Melodé Rozenkrantz praised the organizers and volunteers for their dedication in making the event a success.
“The high school students who led the tour did an excellent job. It made this visit to the Stone Park far more enriching than my previous visits. I will definitely keep an eye out for future events organized by Global Inner Peace!”
Participants were able to join guided walks through the Stone Park. Photo courtesy Global Inner Peace
The final event was then led by Jeju Hannol Junior, a traditional dress club of Jeju high school students. Everyone formed a circle, clasped hands and joined in the traditional Korean "Ganggangsullae" dance around a recycled cardboard “Pagoda of Peace.”
There were many activities to get involved with at the Stone Park. Photo courtesy GIP
People from as far afield as Egypt, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Singapore, China, Mongolia, the UK and the US danced together in the spirit of peace and friendship.
Zhang Jiao, from China, said that she not only gained a deeper understanding of Jeju culture through the event but also made some lasting memories.
“Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I could feel ... sincerity from everyone’s hearts. People of many nationalities came together in harmony like a big family; I really loved the feeling of peace there.”
At this tranquil park, high up on the slopes of Mt. Hallasan, there was no war, no violence, no conflict — only peace.
Visitors engage with the peace activities in the outer booths. Photo courtesy GIP
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