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Global Eminence

NO.446 11.05.2018

Kyung Hee University and the 'UN International Day of Peace'

“International Day of Peace has been proclaimed in order to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples. It invites all member states, organs and organizations of the UN system, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, peoples and individuals to commemorate in an appropriate manner, especially through all means of education, and to cooperate with the UN in the observance of that Day.”

Excerpt from the 36th UN General Assembly (Nov. 30, 1981) Resolution 36/67


On November 30, 1981, at the UN headquarters in New York, the 157-member states voted unanimously at the 36th UN General Assembly to ‘designate every third Tuesday of September, starting from 1982, as the International Day of Peace (from 2001, it was fixed to September 21), and to designate 1986 as the International Year of Peace.’ The words excerpted above appeared in that resolution.


Each year on September 21, all UN member states, UN organs and organization, NGOs and universities commemorate the ideal of ‘peace’ on the occasion of the ‘International Day of Peace (IDP).’ Kyung Hee celebrates this day by hosting the ‘Peace BAR Festival (PBF),’ a festival dedicated to scholarship and peace in the global village.

Founder of Kyung Hee proposes the designation of ‘International Day/Year of Peace’ at the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP)

The designation of the International Day of Peace, Kyung Hee and ‘PBF’ are closely interrelated. All of them owe their founding to the 1981 ‘Costa Rica Declaration,’ which was driven by Dr. Miwon Young Seek Choue, founder of Kyung Hee University System.


In July 1981, in San Jose, the capitol of Costa Rica, the 6th IAUP Congress convened. Dr. Young Seek Choue, who was then chair of IAUP, proposed ‘to urge the UN to proclaim an International Day of Peace and an International Year of Peace.’ Without resolving the tension in the bipolar ideological system, Dr. Choue felt that peace would be forever doomed for humankind. Cold War had reached a peak point during this time when the world feared the risk of a Third World War.


The IAUP took up Dr. Choue’s proposal and adopted the Costa Rica Declaration. However, because Korea was not a member state of the UN at the time, it lacked the authority to submit a proposal. Hence, Dr. Choue made the submission through the Costa Rican President, Rodrigo Carazo. In November of that year, at the 36th UN General Assembly, this proposal was approved.



The ‘International Day/Year of Peace’ served to create a momentum for ending the Cold War. In particular, to celebrate 1986, the International Year of Peace (designated along with the International Day of Peace), the leaders of both the U.S. and the Soviet Union communicated peace in their New Year’s messages to their people (see New Year’s Messages of President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev, January 1, 1986). In addition, arms reduction meetings were organized, contributing to a general mood of d?tente. Since then, more efforts, such as nuclear weapons reduction talks and means to address regional conflict, were made to ease the tension created by the Cold War system.


On September 7, 2001, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Day of Peace, the 55th UN General Assembly fixed the date to September 21 of each year. It was also clearly pointed out that “the enactment of the International Day of Peace had strengthened the ideals of world peace and relaxed international tension and conflict.” In effect, the UN General Assembly memorialized the role that the designation of the Day played in changing the course of human history. It had all begun with the proposal initiated by Kyung Hee in 1981.


Mr. Gorbachov, former President of the USSR, visited Kyung Hee University in 1994. During his visit, he praised Kyung Hee’s leadership role in the peace movement and said, “Without the International Day/Year of Peace, we may not be able to enjoy the peaceful world that we have today.”

Since 1982, International Peace Conference hosted each year to commemorate ‘International Day/Year of Peace’

Since 1982, Kyung Hee has annually hosted an international academic peace conference in order to commemorate the ‘International Day/Year of Peace.’ From 2004, this conference combined with PBF. The acronym ‘BAR’ in the Peace BAR Festival refers to a “spiritually Beautiful, materially Affluent, and humanly Rewarding” global community. Hence, PBF is a peace festival that aims to identify a path to future civilization, where global dignity (Global Eminence) and humankind’s peace can be realized.



For a three-day event, from September 18 (Tuesday) to September 20 (Thursday), PBF 2018 will be hosted under the theme of ‘The Korean Peninsula in the Age of Transformative Civilization: Value and Philosophy.’ This year’s event will be attended by international organizations that have given critical thought to the future of humankind and the Earth, as well as urged civic movement; they include climate change experts from Korea and overseas, UN research authorities and practitioners, as well as the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (CoNGO) and World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS). Along with these organizations, Kyung Hee will approach the thawing of icy tension on the Korean peninsula, resulting from the April Panmunjom Declaration, as a ‘transformative civilization.’ Furthermore, the conference will identify the values and philosophy that will help to realize a sustainable global communal society.


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