On September 28, 2019 Global Peace Forum on Korea (2019 GPFK), initially proposed by a nonprofit, educational organization, <Institute for 21st Century International Relations> (21cir), was held throughout the day at Italian Academy of Columbia University in New York City where 2018 GPFK was also held last year at the same time period (September 29-30).
Like last year, we organized 2019 GPFK Organizing Committee (2019 GPFKOC) in mid June. The 2019 GPFKOC was run by 5 people who also joined the leadership of 2018 GPFK last year.
The 5 Co-chairs represent their following respective organizations: 1) International Peace Bureau (IPB), 2) NCCCUSA (National Council of Churches of Christ in USA), 3) Pax Christi International UN Representative, 4) UMC, Global Ministries, Racial Justice and Human Rights UN Representative, 5) the above-mentioned 21cir.
Since June, the 2019 GPFKOC under its wing ran 3 working subcommittees: 1) Program Subcommittee; 2) Secretariat; 3) Organizing or Outreach subcommittee.
The 2019 GPFKOC as the official host body had organized a daylong global-scale academic conference where we invited about 120 people to join both all day long dialogue and an evening dinner program.
The participants are mostly international scholars, experts, peace activists, government officials (UN Ambassadors), elected parliamentary members, religious leaders, students, etc. from about 15 nations.
However, the majority participants came from US and both Koreas (DPRK and ROK).
The GPFK’s permanent theme from last year’s founding conference, 2018 GPFK, is “Peace and Prosperity for Korea and the World.” However, the GPFKOC came up with a new theme for the 2019 GPFK which was “Making Connections: Global Challenges, Korea, and Peace Coexistence.”
After Opening Ceremony from 9 AM, all together 3 Sessions were carried out throughout the day from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM. This year we had 5 keynote speakers all together and about 20 panel presentations. At the Opening Ceremony, the first 3 keynote speeches were delivered by scholars from US and both Koreas (DPRK and ROK). The other 2 keynote speeches were made during afternoon hours from Session II and III panel discussions.
The 3 Sessions (The First Session in the morning right after Opening Ceremony and the other 2 Sessions in the afternoon hours until 5:30 PM) had their own sub-themes under the overall theme of 2019 GPFK, i.e., “Making Connections: Global Challenges, Korea, and Peace Coexistence”, as follows:
Session I: The Crisis of the Unipolar World Order
Session II: Korea at the Epicenter
Session III: Towards to Peaceful Coexistence in a Multipolar World.
For the sake of our viewers, we’d like to post a minimized 2019 GPFK Program as in the following:
After all day long discussions and dialogues, together with a time for questions and answers at the end of daytime forum, we had an hour break till 6:30 PM dinner program which lasted for about 3 hours until 9:30 PM late at night.
Like last year, 2019 GPFK also had enthusiastic supports from a couple of very special and honored dignitaries who did help us this year as well. They are former President Jimmy Carter and sitting UN Undersecretary General Rosemary A. DiCarlo from Dept. of Political and Peace-building Affairs (DPPA). Both sent wholeheartedly genuine messages for the success of 2nd GPFK event.
This year we had a very special religious leader from US Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark Diocese, also sent his warm support message. Another special highlight of the 2019 GPFK was the presence of 3 Honorable UN Ambassadors from both Koreas (DPRK and ROK) who for the first time joined a NGO-sponsored academic event which took place on US soil.
Again for the sake of our readers, at the end of this short introductory remarks, we’d like to publish some of the photos taken throughout the day which we hope may help/assist the readers to understand and/or have some ideas about what’d happened at the 2019 GPFK.
In short, it was a full day of not only lots of dialoguing, learning, challenging, exchanging but also of sharing, dreaming, and envisioning for a better and new ‘peaceful and prosperous Korea and the world.’
However, at dinner time, the participants, seemingly everybody, also celebrated, honored, and appreciated each other in a genuinely respectful way with warm friendship, food and wine while they seemed to have enjoyed both western and eastern music and dance.
Many participants seemed to have left the celebratory dinner party NOT with pessimistic senses of failure, despair, or dark vision for the future BUT rather with optimistic senses of overwhelming energies, wholehearted feelings of joy, being fully empowered and even a very much hopeful new vision for “Peace and Prosperity for Korea and the World” in near future.
For your information, in the following weeks, we’d like to continually post some of our speakers’ speeches and papers on our media.
On behalf of 2019 GPFK Organizing Committee
Prof. Kiyul Chung, PhD
Founder/Executive Director, Institute for 21st Century Int’l Relations
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This article was originally published on The 21st Century.