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Together for peace—the UN summit in Bangkok
Author:Wang Zhuo  Date:2019-03-22  Clicks:

It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Sometimes we regard peace promotion as unreachable, but in fact, we have incredible things to offer to everybody. —Kya Kim, the initiator of the Peace Mask Project.

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The emcee

What is Peace? Peace happens when people from all around the world come together to resolve their differences. Peace is the cessation of war and violence. Peace encompasses love, understanding, tolerance and harmony across people of all races. 

From November 27th to December 1st, WHU student delegation went to Bangkok, Thailand to attend the UN Peace Summit, where they were given lectures about peace. The speakers include a US marine, an Afghanistan Survivor of the Taliban Rule, an artist who is the director of Peace Mask Project in Japan. Also, the students faced up to a peace-building challenge together and had a Parallel Session. They gained not only peace-building theories but also practical experience of peace negotiation. “Listening to the words of wisdom from passionate speakers can bolster our desire to advance peace across the world in a variety of ways,” said by one of the students.

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WHU delegation

Ponheary Ly, one of the speakers, shared her story. She has survived a genocide. Her family came apart during the Khmer Rouge regime. When her father was killed, along with 13 other family members, her family was left with nothing. To study at school was her desire, however, she couldn’t. Therefore, she learned to read and write by self-study, and when she grew up, she wanted to revitalize her motherland.

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Delegate raising a question to Ponheary

When asked about the way to revive her country, education was Ponheary’s answer. She became a teacher in 1983, struggling to get by on her government salary. With her meagre earnings, she worked with other teachers to open libraries, and she offered free instruction to children whose family couldn’t afford the school tuition. She also established her own foundation to help thousands of children in rural areas in Cambodia go to school.

Ponheary’s story is one of a survivor who has lived through the most horrific circumstances in life and yet moved on. Her words resound and tell us that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

What also impressed the audience was Kya Kim’ s idea to promote peace through art. Kya Kim is an artist, who is also the director of the Peace Mask Program. The program is mainly about making a mud mask on participants’ faces, during which the participants should close their eyes and do meditation. At the end of the process, their nostrils will also be covered with mud.

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The Peace Mask made by Kya Kim

With participants lying silently in the dark, even stop breathing, the whole process seems like a temporary human death. When taken off the mask, the participants seemed to have gained a second chance of life, so they will cherish life and reflect deeply on peace and war.

When the activity was held in Japan, not only did the program touched the heart of war veterans and gave them a chance to confess their behavior in the past, it also taught young children the meaning of peace and life. 

At the end of the session, the delegates from all over the world were divided into different groups to practice peace negotiation over the topic on the distribution of resources on an island.

Peace negotiation

After the closing ceremony, WHUers explored Bangkok. They were quite impressed by the delicious food, market culture and friendly people there.

Posters in the market

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Postcards

There are many vintage stores selling handmade leather wallets

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Seafood in Bangkok was cheap and delicious

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Farewell

The Peace Summit encourages every participant to embrace differences in the world and change their perspective of perceiving peace issues. It can make them have a broader horizon and help them understand the world more comprehensively.

Photo by Wang Zhuo

Edited by Wang Wei, Hu Sijia


 

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