Dear Partner in Peacebuilding:
Looking back on the top news stories of 2018, we are reminded of the dire struggles faced by millions all over the world in the past 12 short months. Lives were lost as a result of war, terrorism, crime, natural disasters, and famine. Domestic and global politics became more divisive and polarizing than they have been in decades.
Disappointingly, but not surprisingly given the barrage of distressing news, Oxford Dictionary selected ‘toxic’ as the word of the year, a word that reflects “the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year.”
At the Global Peace Foundation, we have a different assessment of our current circumstances.
It is certainly true that in 2018 many in our human family experienced tragedy and misfortune. Yet always in such circumstances we also find hope and encouragement in the compassion, leadership, and determination exhibited by so many in spite of the challenges. For our GPF team, those were evident in the many important peacebuilding initiatives underway in 2018 in places like:
- South Korea, through nationwide activities to promote peaceful unification of the two Koreas;
- Nigeria, through the One Family Under God Campaign which mitigates ethnic violence;
- Indonesia, through Peace Festivals that promote religious and cultural unity;
- The United States, through the Cross-Community Engagement project that mitigates violent crime;
- And over 20 other countries around the world.
I can personally attest that what we experience in these countries is the power of a simple vision of our common humanity, given substance as diverse people engage across the many divides that separate us. When we are committed in common cause to solve problems together, we can make significant progress toward sustainable peace and prosperity for all.
In 2018 we experienced unprecedented growth and achieved important milestones in our work, making progress that we could not imagine just a year ago. And we couldn’t have made these advances without our partners and supporters like you. Thank you for engaging with us in efforts to make peacebuilding actionable. When we join together for the greater good, and tap the power of the human spirit, we can overcome even the most daunting circumstances.
In 2019, we will continue to focus our efforts wholeheartedly on the advancement of peace on the Korean peninsula. We believe peaceful reunification that will benefit all Koreans is within reach, and we invite you to join us at the upcoming Global Peace Convention on February 26 – March 1 in Seoul to participate with us at this pivotal juncture. This event coincides with the historic March 1 centenary of the Korean Independence Movement and will include a special commemoration and peace concert. We hope to see you there.
May 2019 bring many advances in our collective efforts to serve the greater good. Best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful and prosperous new year.
James P. Flynn
Global Peace Foundation