Celebrating International Day of Peace
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze urges people to follow their conscience and do good deeds to build a peaceful and sustainable future
This year marks the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While UNGA 77 was in session, the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL), an international peace organization, held special ceremonies of ringing the Bell of World Peace and Love at Times Square in New York on September 21, the International Day of Peace. To convey their sincerest blessings for the world, Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of FOWPAL, rang the bell nine times to pray for a peaceful and sustainable world while Paul Sladkus, founder and president of the Good News Corporation, rang the bell and made a wish for peace.
Twenty-one years ago, when the terrorists attacked on September 11, Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze was leading the FOWPAL delegation to attend the 54th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference in New York. Following the tragic incident, Dr. Hong led FOWPAL members to conduct ceremonies of ringing the Bell of World Peace and Love on three consecutive days to spread kind wishes and blessings to everyone.
With natural and man-made disasters frequently occurring around the world, holding the bell ringing ceremonies in New York on September 21, 2022 was very meaningful. Dr. Hong rang the bell nine times and made three wishes: First wish for all people to follow their conscience and do good deeds. Second wish for all living creatures to live in safety and peace. Third wish for global peace and sustainability.
The peaceful sound of the bell warmed the hearts of the people at Times Square. Paul Sladkus, founder and president of the Good News Corporation, rang the bell and wished “that at 12:01 peace continues throughout Mother Earth for All.” FOWPAL youth members sang an inspiring and hopeful song "A Prayer for Peace," composed by Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, conveying their blessings for all.
In celebration of the International Day of Peace, FOWPAL also hosted a virtual event, inviting peace activists to share their experiences in promoting peace. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, designating September 21 as the International Day of Peace. In the resolution, the General Assembly “declares that the International Day of Peace shall henceforth be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the Day.”
The theme of the 2022 International Day of Peace is: "End Racism, Build Peace." In his message on the International Day of Peace, UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized, "Peace is a noble and necessary pursuit, and the only practical pathway to a better, fairer world for all people.” He called on the world to join the United Nations in its efforts to build a world free of racism and discrimination, where suspicion and hatred are overcome with compassion and empathy, and where we can be truly proud of ourselves.
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of FOWPAL, delivered a speech in the virtual event, emphasizing, “Decisions guided by conscience are loving, selfless, and altruistic, which derive from innate conscience.” “When there is injustice, peace cannot be achieved, and the driving force behind respecting diversity and creating a multi-win situation that benefits oneself and others also comes from conscience. A more peaceful future will be achievable when we eliminate all kinds of injustices in our lives, including racism, wealth inequality, and tax injustice.”
The online observance revisited the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. In the wake of the tragic incident, Dr. Hong and his delegation held ceremonies of ringing the "Bell of World Peace and Love" in New York on September 11-13. The Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) invited FOWPAL to conduct a bell ringing ceremony at its studio, which was broadcast for four hours, sending blessings to all corners of the United States, praying that the souls of those departed would rest in peace and the living would be comforted.
In addition, the highlights of the celebration, including the bell ringing ceremonies, at Times Square earlier were shared during the virtual commemoration to allow the sound of the bell to reach every corner of the Earth.
Dr. Judy Kuriansky, who is a professor at Columbia University and represents NGOs at the United Nations, sang a peaceful song at Times Square to honor the occasion. When interviewed by FOWPAL about her thoughts on the Peace Day, she said, "Because there is too much conflict in the world, we need peace in our hearts, between each other, and then it expands out to the world.” She expressed her appreciation for FOWPAL’s participation there: “So bless you, everyone, for this beautiful commemoration. And the song that we heard from the little children singing about peace and love. It was exquisite, really exquisite.”
Another interviewee at Times Square, Jonathan Granoff, who is the president of the Institute for Global Security, shared his thoughts about peace and the peace bell: “World peace begins within the heart of every one of us. And anytime people focus on the power of love, rather than the love of power, change can take place. So I join you in honoring the sacred gift of peace, which is the living presence of the Divine, in every single heart. And every time we remember that power of love, we're ringing the Peace Bell in our own hearts. And if we ring enough of those hearts, there'll be peace in the world.”
At the location of the former World Trade Center complex, there is a memorial called the 9/11 Memorial. The names of the victims are etched in bronze around the sides of two large pools where water cascades into reflection pools. The pools, according to Cammy Chen, a FOWPAL member and landscape designer, represent the never-ending remembrance of the victims and serve as a constant reminder to people all across the world of the value of maintaining peace and doing their part to prevent further tragedies from happening.