Aspiring young leaders from Philippines, Malaysia, Mongolia, Panama and the United States participated in joint program organized by the Global Peace Youth Exchange and the Global Peace Leadership Exchange, convening in Seoul, South Korea from October 6-10, 2015 on the theme “Building a Global Family of Peace Builders.”
The Global Peace Youth Exchange is a program that emphasizes universal principles and values that transcend national, cultural and religious differences, while highlighting innovative approaches to peacebuilding and development. Global Peace Leadership Exchange connects government, business, media and civil society leaders from Korea with leaders in other countries in a dynamic program that includes community development projects and cultural exchange.
The joint program coincided with the convening of international forums and public events on Korean reunification that provided insights into the complexities of this issue and the diverse leadership approaches to resolving the 70-year division.
GPYE participants were observers at the Global Forum on the Role of Korea in Sustainable Development at the Korean Council on Foreign Relations, and the Asia Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance Global Forum, which focused on the role of Republic of Korea in global humanitarian service and development, strengthening youth engagement and volunteerism to enhance development and peace, and scaling up successful programs and models involving youth and multilateral partners.
The participants also attended the One Dream One Korea Concert at the World Cup Stadium in Seoul, which engaged more than 30 K-pop stars in the performance of a new Unification Song. Renowned composer Kim Hyung-suk led a team of producers to create the song as an anthem for the dream of Korean reunification. The Unification Song is meant to engage the minds and hearts of young people and raise awareness of Korean reunification around the world.
Gabriella Ellis, a university student from Panama said the program was “a great platform for current and aspiring young leaders to be engaged with the efforts of Global Peace Foundation around the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” She added that the program provided and an opportunity “to collaborate with other young leaders from other countries in the area of youth empowerment and education.”
Philippines Vice Governor Jo Kristine Revilof Masbate Province affirmed her interest to continuously learn from the international community to support the development of the province. She particularly cited South Korea’s development model of Saemaul Undong, saying that collectively a community can do and achieve many things.
The Global Peace Youth Adventure Program at Bukhansan National Park, which was a highlight of the program, aimed to develop the leadership skills and potential of young leaders through experiential learning while discovering the wonders of nature.
Enkhjargal Chimed-Ocjir, a Global Peace Youth Volunteer from Mongolia, reflected, “even if the adventure program was challenging, I realized that for us to reach our goals we need to sacrifice and strive harder to succeed; and having a team with a common understanding and motivation and will make every journey worthwhile.”
Global Peace Foundation Regional Representative for Asia Pacific Jinsoo Kim encouraged the youth to protect not only the environment but the future citizens and situations in which they will live. “The work we need to do should not just start or end here; it should be a life-long passion and commitment to teach and nurture the next leaders to stand after us,” he said. He encouraged the participants to set an example of “courage, confidence, skills, knowledge and wisdom for them to stand on, improve and develop for themselves and their peers.”