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International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

April 2019
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Fifty Thousand Stand Up for Peace in Tokyo


Fifty thousand people crammed into Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium for the latest in a series of spectacular successes for the Global Peace Festival. One of the largest interfaith gatherings ever held in Japan highlighted months of community service and outreach aimed at encouraging Japan, already a strong player in aid and environmental issues, to become a global force for peace.

On a cool afternoon that threatened rain, an excited crowd was kept happy by a wide variety of entertainers, including several Japanese TV personalities, Mongolian singing sensation Nominjin, who had performed at the Global Peace Festival in Ulaanbaatar in September, and the Kawagoe Fuji Children’s Drum Groups.

In his welcoming remarks, Professor Hiroo Suzuki, Chair of the GPF Japan Executive Committee, thanked the more than 100 local NGO and community service partners, presenting awards to five of them for exemplary work in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Notable among the many community service projects held nationwide in the weeks before the Global Peace Festival was a bottle-cap-recycling drive started by schoolchildren in the Tokyo area. Spurred on by a goal of collecting 400 caps each, children arriving at the stadium turned in more than a million caps, enough to provide vaccinations for thousands of needy children throughout Asia.

Suzuki also welcomed the large delegation from the International Leadership Conference, which included former heads of state, as well as congressional and religious leaders from 55 countries. Religious leaders joined in the popular “merging of the waters” ceremony for the unity and harmony of the world’s major faiths.

Among the keynote speakers at the Festival, Jose de Venecia, Jr., long-term Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives, suggested that the “Golden Rule” – basically, do unto others as you would like them to do unto you – is a common ethic in all religious traditions and thus could be the basis for a new peace ethic to be promoted in the United Nations and in governments around the world.

“No nation is doing more for global peace than Japan, whose foreign policy is focused on helping reduce poverty in the world,” said de Venecia, “but no democracy, or any other governmental system, can succeed without a moral basis, without moral moorings, without a spiritual dimension, without a global ethic, without moral values.”

The Global Peace Festival Chair, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, also praised Japan for its strong record of Official Development Aid and called for ordinary Japanese citizens to become more involved in voluntary peacemaking and service efforts both in Japan and on the world stage.

“I’d like to see Japan’s community and volunteer partners joining with those of other countries to establish a Global Peace Corps,” he said. “Imagine if young people from enemy nations worked side by side in service. Any initial misunderstandings and hatred would fade away as they sweat, cry, and laugh together with a common purpose and cause.”

The Global Peace Festival moves on this week from Tokyo to London, followed by the Solomon Islands, Brazil, and the Philippines. By the end of the year, organizers estimate that over a million people will have joined the festival worldwide.