International Day of Peace
Ending Violence and Promoting Peace with Love and Conscience
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Vice President of the Association of World Citizens,
NGO in Consultative Status with ECOSOC and Associated with the UN DPI
President of the Federation of World Peace and Love
September 21, 2022
Distinguished guests, dear friends from all over the world, ladies and gentlemen,
The desire for peace was one of the main reasons for the founding of the United Nations in 1945. September 21 was designated as the "International Day of Peace" to recognize and advance the ideals of peace among all nations and peoples. In 2011, to reaffirm the mission and aspirations for peace, the UN General Assembly decided to strengthen the original resolution and declare this day as a day of non-violence and ceasefire.
In 2014, in response to the peace initiative of the United Nations, the Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy, the ECOSOC-accredited NGO Association of World Citizens, and the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) jointly launched the movement of "An Era of Conscience," which includes a series of related activities and the global endorsement campaign of the "Declaration for the Movement of An Era of Conscience." The movement aims to awaken the kind hearts of all people and promote a culture of conscience, love, and peace. It has been widely recognized by heads of state and government as well as representatives of various nations and organizations to the United Nations, and it has also received support from people in 200 countries. Additionally, it was a driving force behind the initiative that led to the UN’s adoption of the International Day of Conscience.
Today, the pandemic, floods, fires, earthquakes, droughts, wars, and other natural and man-made disasters have brought unprecedented challenges. Humans are faced with endless problems and need to address specific needs or solutions for each problem that arises. We all want the world to be peaceful, but given that a small issue in a part of the world can have tremendous impacts on the entire planet, peace seems to be out of reach, and the world has become extremely tumultuous and unpredictable.
Peace is not just about ending wars and laying down weapons, it is about progress. It requires a society in which everyone feels safe, respected, free from pain, sorrow and fear. True peace refers to a harmonious relationship between communities, between humans and other species, and between all living things and Mother Earth. How can we attain peace? How can the original trinity of Heaven, Earth, and humankind be brought into harmony? Is there a panacea?
The panacea is in our hearts, and that is our conscience. Conscience does not distinguish between the rich and the poor; it is a gift from Heaven to all humankind. As long as we can restore our kind hearts, it will lead us onto a bright path, guiding us to move forward in the right direction in the chaotic world. Conscience is a shortcut that allows us to conform to nature. There is a classic maxim in the ancient Chinese book The Tao Te Ching: "People follow the Earth, the Earth follows Heaven, Heaven follows the Way, and the Way follows nature.” Conscience is innate and natural. When we act in accordance with our conscience, we will understand the laws of nature and Heaven. When we follow the laws of nature, we can return to the perfect state where peace and harmony are achieved among Heaven, Earth, and humans.
Decisions guided by conscience are loving, selfless, and altruistic, which derive from innate conscience. Since the decisions made by heads of state and government officials will have a huge impact on people's lives, conscience-driven governance puts the liberties and human rights of citizens first and makes decisions based on people’s needs and well-being. Conscience is the key to a prosperous nation where people live in peace and security.
The theme of the International Day of Peace 2022 is: "End Racism, Build Peace." Racism is prejudice, discrimination or hostility towards one or more persons by an individual, community or institution based on their membership in a racial or ethnic group. Racism is a form of injustice. 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.
To commemorate the "International Day of Peace," FOWPAL, in cooperation with DHCEF and others, will once again hold a bell-ringing ceremony during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, inviting heads of state and government, UN ambassadors, UN representatives and leaders from all walks of life to ring the "Bell of World Peace and Love." Bell ringers are also invited to make wishes for peace and share their ideas about peace, love, and conscience. We hope that the sound of the Bell will spread the messages of peace, love, and conscience to every corner of the world, awakening everyone's inner conscience and sense of fairness and justice. Everyone has conscience, and everyone hopes for peace. When everyone acts with conscience, it is possible to realize the wish for world peace.
May the light of conscience illuminate the world.
May the wish for peace come true soon.