HWPL: Spreading a culture of Peace

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The IS Times News Desk

Sydney 10 June,2019: HWPL Australia held the first one-of-a-kind Peace Festival at Centenary Square, in Parramatta, on 25 May, 2019 to commemorate the 6th annual Declaration of World Peace proclaimed by HWPL, Seoul, South Korea in 2013.

 The afternoon started with a ‘Welcome to Country’ by uncle Bruce Gale of Parramatta Council and a traditional dance from Aunty Peta Strachan and the Jannawi Dance Clan, acknowledging the Darug people, the traditional owners of the land, where the festival was being held.

The week of 25th May marks the 6th annual commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace proclaimed by HWPL in Seoul, South Korea and around the world. On 25th of May, 2013, thousands of men, women and youth gathered and HWPL Chairman, Man Hee Lee, recognised and acknowledged the necessity of peace in the world and the integral role each group could play in making it a reality. On March 14, 2016, an international law framework of 10 articles and 38 clauses, the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) was created to lay out practical steps towards making the dream of world peace a reality.

Since then, each year on this day, innumerable people around the world participate in peace walks and world peace initiatives to commemorate the proclamation of peace day by supporting the DPCW. This year, on the 25th of May, the HWPL Australia Peace Festival, ‘Spreading a culture of Peace’, was held to re-iterate and celebrate the Article 10 of the DPCW.

The peace festival brought together diverse communities across Sydney and Australia, many of who have experienced conflict, war and terror in their homeland, showcase and celebrate their rich cultural heritage through music and dance and key speakers, guests, community heads of ethnic organisations, NGOs, media and fine art & performing art groups, supporting and perpetuating the cause of world peace.

 The festival saw three main segments, with speakers such as Waskam Emelda Davis from the Australian South Sea Islanders Port Jackson, who shared the importance of creating peace at home, not only externally as Australia currently maintains, but internally too, followed by Deputy Mayor Councilor Stephen Barbour, North Sydney Council, sharing his experiences of growing up amongst two co-existing cultures, namely Papua New Guinea and Australia. Dr. Chandrika Subramaniyan the 2019 Cumberland City Citizen of the Year and a proud Sri Lankan shared one of her poems entailing her love for her homeland and her plea to put an end to the senseless killing of innocent people and terror attacks, emphasizing the necessity of spreading a culture of peace.

 Following their inspiring words, the stage was opened for the youth of Australia starting with the sixteen year old singing sensation, Ruhi Luvaki, finalist Voice Kids Australia. Singing the hit single ‘One Love’ and others, he proclaimed the message of peace using his unique vocals and great stage presence. His performance, together with the dances from the Austolian Dance Academy, Saura Indonesia Dance, UNSW Hindu Society, Nusantara Sydney Dance, powerfully demonstrated that peace is the desire and hope for the youth of today’s society who will be the custodians of Australia and the world in the future; something that Deng Adut the 2017 NSW Australian of the year, recognized and emphasized in his speech.

 Taking a moment to acknowledge all the youth for participating in the festival, Deng who was a child soldier in South Sudan for over five years, urged those present and thus the society, to invest in maintaining peace and harmony amongst diverse communities that co-exist in Australia and to set an example for the rest of world on the way forward. His words were aptly followed by the introduction to the ‘Youth Ethnic Sports (Y.E.S) for Peace’ initiative by Daniel Dube from International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), which will be implemented in Sydney this year. Echoing Adut’s words, the Y.E.S for peace program will encourage young adults from different communities to participate in team sports like soccer, basketball and more, to inculcate the spirit of sportsmanship, and harmony within different communities by allowing them to have a platform to engage, bond and get to know each other’s culture and experiences.

 Many performances followed throughout the festival, such as the traditional Chinese fan dance by  the Multicultural Communities Council of NSW, the fiery flamenco performance  by  the students of the Pepa Molina Flamenco Dance studio, Indian folk & Bollywood fusion dance performance by Nartan Institute of Performing Arts supported by Sreeni Pillamarri, President of United Indian Associations Inc. (UIA) and Babu Varghese Vice President UIA, and the singing performance by Sami Najafi and Salim Saifi that had everyone on their feet dancing and cheering altogether. This togetherness, friendship and bonding, is something that Councilor Sameer Pandey of Parramatta Council, who was also representing the Lord Mayor Andrew Wilson, expressed and emphasized in his  ‘Welcome to the multi-cultural city of Parramatta’ speech.

 Imran Maqsood, Founder of the Faisalabad School for Peace shared an account of the pivotal role HWPL and the Faisalabad School for Peace has played in creating and implementing peace education program in schools; a key vehicle for achieving the aim of the 10th article of the DPCW, spreading a culture of peace. The crowd was also addressed by powerful speeches by Ashak Nashwani AM, Founder of the Ismailli community in Sydney, Dr. Yadu Singh, Chairman, Federation of Indian Associations NSW, Abbas Raza Alvi, Founder & President, Indian Crescent Society of Australia, whose values align deeply with Article 10 of the DPCW, eventually moving the crowd to proclaim their desire for peace. Next was a poetry recital by General Secretary, Pakistan Australia Association, Shafaq Jaffery accompanied by a dance performance by Pehchan 786, and words of peace by our sponsor for multicultural performances for the day, Tahera Jehanbeen, Director, T & R Accountants, whose support was instrumental to the success of this celebration. These precious moments of the peace festival were extensively captured by our community-media partners, Ashok Kumar, Editor, The Indian Sub-Continent Times, Harmohan Walia, Associate Editor, Desi Australia and President, Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), , Mamdouh Sukkarieh, The World Observer and Indian Link Radio. Adding to our list of guests and supporters included Padam Deep Singh, Acting President of Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Harini Elamurugan, President of the UNSW Hindu Society, Nalika Padmasena, Vice President of Sri Lankan Association of NSW, Maryam Zahid, Director, Afghan Women on the Move, Lydia Im, Branch Manager, International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) Australia, John Hwang, Executive Director HWPL Australia, and more. Weaving together the diverse and heart-touching stories shared by our community members with the DPCW Article 10, were our MCs for the day, Pearl Gomez, Raymond Su, Andrew Young and Saroni Roy from the HWPL Sydney team.

 The festival offered a platform for diverse communities residing in Sydney to interact, socialize and celebrate with lots of ‘We are One’ group photos with our HWPL Peace Mascot Kangaroos, henna art & face painting sessions. The peace festival concluded with our esteemed guests signing off their support for spreading a culture of peace and harmony on the HWPL Peace Tree painted on canvas with their thumb impression, a symbol of solidarity and inclusivity to be treasured forever.

Australian Dance Academy 
Cr Stephen Barborur
Dr. Yadu Singh President of FIAN
Abbas Raza Alvi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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