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Northeast Asia Peace Initiative

Think Tank 2022 Forum, Asia Pacific: IAACP Session

Asia Pacific—The International Association of Arts and Culture for Peace (IAACP) hosted the sixth session of the virtual Think Tank 2022 Forum for UPF’s Asia Pacific region on February 2, 2022, on the theme “Perspectives from Leaders in Arts and Culture.”

A total of 2,619 people registered for the event. Over 170 participants watched it live on Zoom, while it was viewed thousands of times on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms.

Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul, vice chairman of UPF-Asia Pacific, delivered the keynote address in which stressed the urgency of peace on the Korean Peninsula. He also explained how UPF’s activities such as Think Tank 2022 and the World Summit 2022 are geared towards addressing this issue. Dr. Thaveetermsakul also spoke about the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea who served as “cultural ambassadors for peace to the world and to North Korea, to open and move the hearts of all people to harmony, beauty, joy and peace among all people, to build the bridge of peace.”

Then, four distinguished speakers shared insights on the role of the arts, culture and sports in promoting reconciliation.

Dr. Bunhok Lim, deputy director-general of the Asia Cultural Council in Cambodia, explained that culture is crucial for sustainable development. He also noted that art can be “strategic, particularly during negotiations and mediation processes when verbal communication reaches its limits.”  Dr. Lim further discussed the “proposed idea of Samdech Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia, to include Taekwondo from both ITF (North) and WTF (South) as one of the disciplines in the Southeast Asian Games, which will be hosted by Cambodia in 2023.”

Dr. Parmod Kumar, professor of English literature at the School of Humanities of the Indira Gandhi National Open University in India, talked about the ways in which artists typically represent the voices of marginalized groups in society. He also highlighted the importance of art and cultural activities in reconciliation. Dr. Kumar closed his speech by reciting UPF founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s poem “Crown of Glory,” which he described as “powerful.”

Mrs. Sabina Karki, a notable singer from Nepal, commended UPF founders Rev. Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for their efforts towards peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. She noted that entertainment has a role to play in creating and carrying the message of peace. Mrs. Karki expounded by saying that “the power of culture and arts is beyond nationality” and that to understand culture and arts, we need to develop relationships among peoples and societies.

Mr. Santosh Neupane, director of UPF-Central Pacific, highlighted case studies from Nepal, Fiji and South Korea of culture and sports promoting peace. He discussed the concept of miteri in Nepal, which underlines “living together harmoniously and mindfully.” He also explained that the presentation of a tabua, a polished tooth of a sperm whale, outside the indigenous Fijian community “resembles the assertion of cultural identity being envisioned based on mutual respect.” Mr. Neupane also pointed out that North and South Koreans marching together under one flag during past Olympic ceremonies is proof that sports can “bring people from divided communities together, even if only for a brief moment in time.”

The session concluded with a performance from the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea.

Mr. Hajime Saito, director of IAACP-Asia Pacific, served as the moderator.


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