Visiting an Ancient Republic, San Marino: FOWPAL Promotes a Culture of Conscience
Culture and education serve as the cornerstones of a nation's economic growth and play a crucial role in ensuring a stable and prosperous life. Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, the president of the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL), led the FOWPAL delegation to San Marino, marking the 103rd country that FOWPAL has visited, from November 10 to 13. The purpose was to engage in cultural exchanges and promote the ideas of conscience, love, and peace. On the 13th, the delegation visited the Ministry of Education and Culture, where they were welcomed by Lazzaro Rossini, special assistant to the Minister, and Monica Cavalli, an official at the Education Department, on behalf of Minister of Education Andrea Belluzzi.
San Marino, an enclaved microstate within central Italy, is one of the oldest republics in the world. Its coat of arms showcases a shield adorned with three towers on three peaks, accompanied by a wreath. Above, there is a crown, while below, a scroll bears the inscription Libertas (Liberty), embodying its deep commitment to freedom. San Marino has maintained a status of neutrality since ancient times, fostering a culture of peace, good citizenship, and a thriving economy.
The FOWPAL delegation shared with Lazzaro Rossini and Monica Cavalli that over the past two decades, Dr. Hong has led FOWPAL delegates to more than 100 countries across six continents. FOWPAL has been actively spreading the ideas of love and peace through conducting cultural exchanges, solemn bell-ringing ceremonies, and World Leader Summits of Love and Peace. It was instrumental in the United Nations’ adoption of the International Day of Conscience in 2019 through the joint efforts of various Permanent Missions to the UN.
Lazzaro Rossini and Monica Cavalli inquired about the selection of San Marino as the 103rd country for FOWPAL's global tour. The FOWPAL delegation explained that San Marino, with its rich cultural heritage, stands as one of the oldest, most beautiful, and unique countries in the world. It shares a common value of freedom and peace with FOWPAL, an organization dedicated to promoting the realization of freedom and equality for all. Both of them expressed optimism that the world would gain increased awareness of San Marino and its culture centered around peace.
Monica Cavalli specifically inquired about the methods employed by the delegation for conducting cultural exchanges worldwide, the nature of cultural exchange programs, and whether children are actively involved in these initiatives.
Dr. Hong emphasized the significance of fostering a bond among people through cultural exchanges. He guided the international volunteers of FOWPAL in utilizing martial arts, dance, music, and singing that harmoniously blend Eastern and Western cultures. Traditional operas and other multicultural performances were also employed to connect global citizens, transcending nationality, race, or religious beliefs. The aim is to unite individuals in caring for the Earth and working towards the realization of world peace.
Janis Chen, a delegate from FOWPAL, conveyed that Dr. Hong is dedicated to nurturing the new generation of young individuals with a broad international outlook and a courageous, positive mindset. Volunteers of all ages, including elementary and high school students, are actively involved, with some members initiating their volunteer work at a young age and growing up within the organization. For instance, Janis Chen herself began promoting love and peace with Dr. Hong at around 10 years old. She highlighted that Dr. Hong has been championing love and peace for nearly 60 years, leaving Lazzaro Rossini and Monica Cavalli in awe.
Monica Cavalli expressed the significance of children engaging in dialogue, getting acquainted, sharing, and understanding one another. She expressed anticipation for enhancing interaction among children in San Marino and the global community, fostering participation in cultural exchanges. Simultaneously, the goal is to increase global awareness of San Marino.
The delegation conveyed that FOWPAL has consistently invited individuals from diverse backgrounds to share their thoughts and experiences on love, peace, and conscience through the ICDAY (International Conscience Day) online platform over the years. The Maltese Minister of Education and Sports has also contributed his ideas on the ICDAY platform. Lazzaro Rossini and Monica Cavalli expressed their anticipation for future collaborations, aspiring for opportunities where children can engage in sharing love and peace through similar exchange programs.
Dr. Hong and the FOWPAL delegation were invited to attend the World Protection Forum Annual Summit 2023 in San Marino on the 11th. In his speech at the conference, Dr. Hong pointed out the key to national economic growth and harmony and stability: "A good culture fosters a quality education, which, in turn, drives a strong economy. A healthy economy leads to a high quality life, which contributes to peace and prosperity." He encouraged nations to foster a culture of conscience and integrate valuable elements from diverse cultures and education systems to enhance positive national economic growth, harmony, and deepen environmental awareness and initiatives.
Dr. Hong presented Minister of Education Andrea Belluzzi with gifts, including a Compass Clock of Conscience, a conscience scarf, a book titled "The History of International Day of Conscience," and a booklet featuring the Ancient Bell of World Peace and Love. Lazzaro Rossini accepted these gifts on behalf of the Minister.
The Compass Clock of Conscience, symbolic of time, goal, and direction, represents conscience as a compass within one's heart. It serves as a reminder of right and wrong, guiding individuals toward the correct path. The ancient bell, representing the existence of heaven and earth from the beginning of time, symbolizes the natural order. This bell conveys love and peace, unifying the aspirations of those who ring it and radiating positive energy to stabilize hearts and inspire hope.
At the World Protection Forum Annual Summit 2023, Fabio Righi, San Marino's Minister of Economy, rang the Bell of World Peace and Love, offering blessings for San Marino and the world. He expressed a wish for people to collaboratively strive for positive change: “Che le personepossanoriscoprire il desiderio di un impegnoattivo e responsabile verso la politica e la cosapubblica per poteressereprotagonisti del cambiamento di cui il mondo ha necessità.” (May people rediscover their desire to participate actively and responsibly in political and public affairs, and thus become protagonists of the change the world needs.)
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, along with the FOWPAL delegation, has been traveling worldwide with the Bell of World Peace and Love, inviting influential leaders to ring the bell and inspire more individuals to contribute positively to the world. To date, 530 influential leaders from 139 nations, including 60 heads of state and government, as well as nine Nobel Peace Prize winners, have rung the bell and made wishes for peace.