FOWPAL has promoted love and peace in 83 nations after its trip of cultural exchanges to the Nordics
(Reported by Susan Wang-Selfridge, New York)
From late May to early June 2018, Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL), led FOWPAL delegates to conduct cultural exchanges in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, and Norway, bringing people of different nations closer together. They met government officials of the Nordics and interacted with people from 36 nations. After this journey, FOWPAL has visited 83 nations, spreading the seeds of love and peace.
On May 28, Dr. Hong and the FOWPAL delegates arrived in Denmark to promote world peace. Dr. Hong met with the representatives of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II, His Excellency Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen at their offices. On behalf of Queen Margrethe II, Prime Minister Rasmussen, and Mayor Jensen respectively, the representatives received cultural gifts from Dr. Hong, such as FOWPAL’s stamp collection featuring its peace endeavors
Copenhagen is a very vibrant city, with green urban spaces, eco-friendly transportation, and inspirational architecture. The country is known internationally as one of the most livable and best-governed countries in the world. Dr. Hong praised Denmark for being a well-developed country with many improvements that serve as an inspiration to the world. He also shared that Denmark demonstrates what a good culture can bring: a fine culture leads to a quality education; a quality education is essential to sound economic development; sound economic development is central to a good living environment; and consequently a world of love and peace can become a reality.
On May 29th, Dr. Hong led the FOWPAL delegation to visit Finland, spreading love and peace. They met with the representatives of Finland’s Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen and Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori. On behalf of the prime minister and the mayor, the representatives received cultural gifts, such as FOWPAL’s scarf and stamp collection.
Finland is known to have one of the best education systems in the world although its students spend fewer hours in school than other OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) schools. Dr. Hong congratulated Finland for its success in education, which has become a good example for other nations to follow. A representative of the City of Helsinki, Mr. Victor Andersson said that culture and arts can improve the quality of life, so the people of Helsinki are encouraged to be creative in many ways to make the city more livable.
A representative of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Mr. Hannu Vainonen, upon hearing Dr. Hong’s views on the culture of love and peace, said, “Love and peace and harmony, it is not depending on individuals; it is all of us, globally. That is love and peace.” Ms. Helena Lalu-Toivio, PR coordinator of international relations from the Ministry of Education and Culture, encouraged everyone by saying, "It's not only the heads of state that can make the difference. Every one of us can, with small steps."
After their visit to Finland, Dr. Hong and the FOWPAL delegation arrived in Sweden on May 30th to continue their journey of love and peace. Dr. Hong met with the representatives of Mayor of Stockholm Karin Wanngård and Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. On behalf of the mayor and the prime minister, the representatives received cultural gifts from Dr. Hong, such as FOWPAL’s stamp collection.
Dr. Hong, who has frequently exchanged ideas of love and peace with world leaders through correspondence, personally delivered an invitation for the prime minister of Sweden to the 2018 World Leader Summit of Love and Peace to be held in Vienna this October. The theme will be “Transforming Our World: Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.” Dr. Hong wishes to gather world leaders to speak on topics of “People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships” as they have great influence on the wellbeing of the people of the world. The full exercise of conscience of leaders is the key to peace and security in the world.
On June 1st, the FOWPAL delegation promoted love and peace in Iceland. Dr. Hong met with representatives of His Excellency President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B. Eggertsson in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. Dr. Hong shared with them FOWPAL’s experiences of promoting love and peace. On behalf of President Jóhannesson, Ms. Ragna Þórhallsdóttir, received Dr. Hong’s invitation to the 2018 World Leader Summit of Love and Peace, to be held in Vienna.
A beautiful country with abundant natural resources, Iceland has been named one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Mr. Hilmar Hildar Magnúsarson, representative of Mayor Eggertsson, mentioned that tourism has increased by 12% in Iceland and that Iceland has become a more diverse nation because it has welcomed many immigrants. Dr. Hong pointed out that love and peace is very important, and he complimented Iceland for being a peaceful nation, which has attracted many tourists, creating good economy for the Icelandic people.
The FOWPAL delegation also visited Hallgrimskirkja church, Reykjavík's main landmark, and sang “Love and Peace Song” in front of the church, spreading the message of love and peace to visitors from all over the world. FOWPAL delegates visited Langjökull, located at 64°45′N 19°59′W and the second-largest glacier in Iceland; feeling at the top of the world, the delegates sang “Happiness Is Everywhere,” spreading cheerful energy.
On June 4th, the FOWPAL delegates arrived in Norway, the last country they visited in the Nordics and the 83rd nation they visited across the Earth. They not only shared love and peace with the people of Norway, but also visited the Det Kongelige Hoff, the Norwegian Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the Governing Mayor. The FOWPAL delegation enjoyed meeting with the Assistant Director General Erna Ansnes at the Oslo City Hall.
The delegation found its cultural exchange of love and peace in the city of Oslo especially meaningful as the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in the Oslo City Hall every year on December 10th. Ms. Ansnes shared that the city of Oslo devotes a lot of effort to the culture of peace and that the people are just as much into the peace efforts as the government. Dr. Hong praised Norway for its peace endeavors, which serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world. Dr. Hong shared that peace needs love, and love needs to be balanced, so without love there’s no peace. For the greater good of humanity, FOWPAL holds ceremonies of ringing the Bell of World Peace and Love to consolidate the energy of love and peace from world leaders and influential figures. So far, seven Nobel Peace Prize laureates have rung the bell; Dr. Hong extended an invitation to the prime minister of Norway to ring the bell.
During the 16-day journey, the tour guide Mr. Bo-Yan Chen was very impressed with the FOWPAL delegates’ positivity. He said that he had never seen any group of people like FOWPAL, who would cheerfully sing and dance when their tour bus had a flat tire and would spread smiles and good energy to others when their train got delayed. FOWPAL has visited 83 nations, and on each of its trip, it always injected happy, loving, and peaceful energy into the people it encountered and the places it visited. FOWPAL’s journey doesn’t end in the Nordics; it will continue to spread its message to inspire more people to practice love and peace!