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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

World Peace Forum Revisited (1) Peace Walk, VSA9, and Asia Conference

The World Peace Forum held here in Vancouver from June 23 to 28 thisyear (2006) a place for learningand sharing for those 8,000 participants from Vancouver and around theworld who are determined to help this world become a more peace andsustainable place. The first photo (right) is the Opening Ceremony at the Orpheum Theatre on June 23rd. I had the privilege of organizing and participating in many events of the Forum as a member of VSA9, or Vancouver Save Article 9, an organization that started in May 2005 for preserving and promoting the Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which renounces war and prohibits maintenance of armed forces.

The big Peace Walk was held on the following day, Saturday June 24th with more than 10,000 people in Downtown Vancouver. The March started at Waterfront and Seaforth Peace Park at the south end of Burrard Bridge where I joined the crowd, and gathered at Sunset Beach at the end. The whole Forum period was blessed with sunny weather (it does not happen so frequently in Vancouver) and the day of the Walk was at its peak, with 30+ C degrees with no crowds. VSA9 set up a table to collect signatures for the petition campaign to ask the Japanese government to keep the Article 9 whose mission for the survival of this world is gaining more and more international recognition.

The Asia Regional Conference was held at UBC or University of British Columbia on Sunday June 25th. I attended one of the workshops 'Reconciliation in Northeast Asia' facilitated by three scholars, Akifumi Fujita, Katsuhiko Nakano and Kyoko Okuno from Transcend Japan, the Japanese chapter of Transcend, 'a peace and development network for conflict transformation by peaceful means,' founded by Johan Galtung. A Galtung's scenario called 'Ho'oponopono - Pax Pacifica' was presented by the facilitators, with participation by volunteers from the audience. This workshop turned out to be particularly meaningful to me in two ways. One was that this was where the new project BAYT or Bringing Asian Youth Together was born, and the other was that this was the first time I came across the notion of Ho'oponopono, a traditional Hawaiian approach of problem solving, which really interested me and led me to attend a workshop in Maui (though in the end the workshop was different from the traditional Ho'oponopono approach.)

To be continued to the next posting...


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