December 11, 2009
Hyun Jin Moon’s Global Peace Festival makes history as one of Japan’s largest interfaith gatherings
In what may have been one of Japan’s largest-ever interfaith gatherings, 50,000 people packed Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium for a Global Peace Festival (GPF) that was the culmination of months of community service and outreach aimed at encouraging the country – already a strong player in aid and environmental issues – to become a global force for peace.
GPF international president Hyun Jin Moon praised Japan for its strong record of providing development aid, and called for Japanese citizens to become more involved in voluntary peacemaking and service efforts in Japan and around the world.
“I’d like to see Japan’s community and volunteer partners joining with those of other countries to establish a global peace corps,” said Moon. “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.”
Participating in the festival were more than 100 local non-governmental and community service partners, five of which were presented awards for exemplary work in support of United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
The nationwide community service projects that preceded the festival included a bottle-cap-recycling drive started by schoolchildren in Tokyo. Spurred on by a goal of collecting 400 caps each, children at the festival turned in more than a million caps, enough to provide vaccinations for thousands of needy children throughout Asia.
Welcomed by Professor Hiroo Suzuki, Chair of the GPF Japan Executive Committee, festival participants heard speeches by Japanese TV personalities and were entertained by the Mongolian singing sensation Nominjin and the Kawagoe Fuji Children’s Drum Groups.
In attendance was a large delegation from the International Leadership Conference, which included former heads of state, as well as congressional representatives from 55 countries who also joined religious leaders for a “merging of the waters” ceremony that symbolizes unity of the world’s major faiths.
“No nation is doing more for global peace than Japan, whose foreign policy is focused on helping reduce poverty in the world,” said keynote speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr., a long-time Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives. “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.”
Japan’s Global Peace Festival was one of 20 events held in 2008 that attracted more than 1 million people committed to the vision of peace and “one family under God.”