World peace: HWPL organises religious youth peace camp in Cambodia

OVER 40 international youths from five countries, Australia, Cambodia, South Korea, Sri Lanka and the United States of America (USA) discussed causes and resolutions of religious conflicts at a religious peace camp organised by the Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), international NGO under the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN DPI).

In the contemporary conflicts threatening the future of humanity as a result of wars across the continents in the name of religion, such an event in an effort of peace building organized by Buddhist representatives in Cambodia and an international NGO for youth from different religious backgrounds x-rayed hope to commit to building a network of cooperation by youth for peace.

As a main organizer of the camp, Secretary of Supreme Sangha Council / Head Office of Protocol and International Relation, Ven. Oeun Sam Art, disclosed that the objective of the event was “In order to build peace, it is important to bring the peace message to all people all over the world for understanding. When people understand and accept different faiths, it will ultimately help build peace and happiness.”

The peace camp is internationally organized owing to his dedication to vision in education. As president of Life Library Foundation, his social activism focuses on enhancing young people’s access to education.

By visiting Wat Ounalom and Al-Serkal Mosque as the two representative places of Buddhism and Islam in Phnom Penh, participants had an opportunity to exchange ideas on sources of faiths in each religion.

One of the organizers of the camp, Tarence Song, in his remark said “Opening this religious peace camp for youth was only possible because there was a profound partnership between Buddhism and Islam in Cambodia. Difficulties existed when religious practices must be respected and the mosque as a venue for the camp can be used at the same time. It was the result of a long, trust-based communication in the principle of co-existence and tremendous efforts by the Cambodian organizers.”

The term ‘religion’ and ‘peace’ attracted more participants in the middle of the camp. An Rosman from Student Development Institute, Phnom Penh, came to participate in the camp while he visited the mosque for prayer and found the special event. In the camp, he pointed out the importance of the role of leaders in inter-religious communication.

His words, “Both religious and secular leaders have to prepare a forum like this so people can join in and learn from each other.”

A lecturer of Pannasastra University of Cambodia, Ven. Penh Vibol, emphasised the necessity of an institution for inter-faith dialogues by religious leaders in Cambodia. He said “We have the same goal – peace. We should have a forum. Only the matter is how to bring people together to share the common purpose. I am highly supportive about the idea.”

According to the principle of peace designated by the Charter of the United Nations and international instruments, the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) drafted by HWPL addresses international co-operation for peace building through settling of disputes by international legal foundation, safeguarding ethnic/religious identity, and spreading a culture of peace.

In the area of religion, HWPL offers a new approach to inter-religious communication. World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) offices in 120 countries are the venue for studying scriptures from different religions to discuss the spiritual values necessary for humanity to build a peaceful world.

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