Korea Peace Building and Reunification

Eric Olsen
June 14, 2013

Nowhere is the need for a radically new concept of world peace more evident than on the Korean peninsula, where a people of a single ethnic, linguistic and cultural background remains divided by Cold War ideologies.

The Global Peace Foundation has advanced many initiatives to bridge political and social divisions between the two Koreas, including partnerships with over 400 different civic organizations. GPF’s Korea United, a nationwide campaign for reunification, significantly avoids framing the division as a political or ideological confrontation but instead proposes a new approach based on the spiritual principles and values expressed in Korea’s own historic philosophy of “Hong Ik In Gan,” or living for the benefit of mankind.

Recognizing the impasse in efforts to achieve a stable and secure peace on the Korean peninsula, the Global Peace Foundation convened Global Peace Leadership Conference in Seoul, “The Vision for the Reunification of the Korean Peninsula and Building a World of Peace,” in November 2011 The convention drew scholars, parliamentarians, and leaders from business, nongovernmental organizations and the religious community from more than 25 countries and urged a concerted, collaborative grass-roots effort, in conjunction with state and global support, to advance the process of reunification of North and South Korea.

In March 2012, the Global Peace Foundation hosted key leaders of the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Unification and National Assembly, as well as faith leaders engaged in humanitarian assistance to North Korean people, at a forum, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC .

The forum, “Multi-Faith Engagement and Track Two Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula,” presented the work of Korean Buddhist and Christian relief projects in North Korea and underscored the capacity of nongovernmental efforts to build trust and advance reconciliation through people-to people engagement. The forum was sponsored by the Global Peace Festival Foundation, Institute for Religion and Public Policy, and Buddhist Broadcasting System Korea.

The November 29- December 2 Global Peace Convention session, “Strategies for Peace Building on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia,” drew upon experts from Korea, Japan and the United States who emphasized that peace on the Korean peninsula is directly linked to stability and cooperation in Northeast Asia.

A new framework for peace rooted in Korean heritage as well as shared spiritual aspirations, principles and values can form the common ground for cohesion within society and the guiding vision for a united Korea that can be a model for transcending the forces of division and conflict worldwide.

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