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[WHRCF2022] Pyeongchang Peace Fourm 2022 Review (Day 1)

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조회 78 Views 작성일 22-03-11 10:09

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Pyeongchang Peace Fourm 2022 Review (Day 1) 



Written by: Sohee Kim, Yeong Bae



One can very easily be swayed away by the thoughts that we are currently living through the most peaceful and safe period in human history, however, wars degrading human rights and the violence following them are still occurring all over the world. The most recent example being Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and at this point in time, no one can tell how many will bleed to end the aggression.


At a time like this, when we need to think about peace more deeply than ever, Pyeongchang Peace Forum 2022 was held at the Alpensia Convention Center in Pyeongchang over the period of three days, from 22 to 24 February, under the slogan ‘’Peace, Here and Now!’’. Due to the fact that the goal of the World Human Rights Cities Forum, an event for human rights exchanges focused on protecting and institutionalizing citizens’ human rights in daily life, is ultimately no different that "peace", us being the World Human Rights Cities Forum Secretariat, took the time to visit the Pyeongchang Peace Forum to observe, experience, and learn.

Despite hoping to feel the warm atmosphere of the Forum’s Opening Ceremony with other attendees in person, unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 regulations, only a limited number of audiences could be accommodated at the venue, which led to us viewing the Opening Ceremony online only. We could not help but feel sad at the fact that we could not see the Opening Ceremony in person at the venue, considering the fact that we did our best to arrive to the venue travelling through the snow all the way from Gwangju and transferring at the Seoul Station. Nevertheless, we had to satisfy ourselves with grasping the atmosphere of the location through taking a glimpse of the Grand Ballroom during the preparation of the event on the previous day, and taking photos at the photo zone.


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Many esteemed invitees participated in the Opening Ceremony. Marking the beginning of the Pyeongchang Peace Forum was the congratulatory video message from the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, delivered in a similar manner to his congratulatory remarks during the World Human Rights Cities Forum the previous year.


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“We are living in a time of escalating geopolitical tensions and divisions. Inclusive and participatory dialogue for peace is imperative. I welcome your efforts at this Forum to foster cooperation in a wide range of areas, including sustainable development, sports and public diplomacy.”

What gave particular depth to the UN Secretary-General’s congratulatory speech was reflecting again on the realization that the concept of human rights and peace are not separate entities, and that, once more, the time has come when citizens around the world should consider sustainable development and strengthening cooperation in various fields.



What could be noted during this year’s Pyeongchang Peace Forum was a fair amount of focus on the role and participation of youth and MZ generation. We attended the first of several such sessions - the 2022 Youth Peace Challenge Award Ceremony. The Pyeongchang Youth Peace Challenge 2022 is a program aimed at young people aged 15 to 27 that fosters their sensitivity about peace together with their leadership skills through sharing related experiences, visions, and ideas, based on what the youth themselves boldly face in their daily lives. Having already previously completed essay writing and group debate parts of the program, what remained on the day was the award ceremony. Although it was unfortunate that young people from all around the world could not come together at once place in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the award ceremony held within the Metaverse international ‘’DMZ Peace Zone’’, introduced an innovative meeting technology, giving some food for thought for the World Human Rights Cities Forum Secretariat, as well, since hybrid meetings seem to be here to stay for a while.


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Several side events on-site also made the Forum contents richer and more colorful. Listening to numerous meaningful debates on peace is not something that will always leave one with the most cheerful thoughts, so it was a great asset having the opportunity to change switch to another atmosphere from time to time through calligraphy or Meta DMZ Peace Zone experiences.

In particular, an ‘Open Studio’ with transparent walls set up outdoors against the backdrop of a snow-covered slope, seemed to naturally melt into the scenery of Pyeongchang and was a must-see installation artwork. However, the sad truth was that not many people actually discovered nor used this beautifully decorated space. Which is more, even though it was used for the “photo taking event’’, we could not help by think that such beautiful outdoors studio’s charms would have shone more had it been used just a bit more practically, for example, by opening it as a conference or meeting space for participants who wanted a different experience, or actually using it as a venue for conducting small-scale sessions.

 

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One of the various side events we participated in allowed us to share our wishes and hopes for the successful opening of the Pyeongchang Peace Forum and global peace by leaving the message "No one left behind," referring to the one of the principles of the UNSDG universal values, on the message wall.

Finally, one could not have missed out on the performance of the speakers and panelists during the first day of the Pyeongchang Peace Forum, nevertheless, we would like to wrap up the review of the Pyeongchang Peace Forum Day 1, with a “thank you” and special appreciation for the hard work of those operating the event, who tirelessly made sure to keep up with all the necessary preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 and run the event smoothly.



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Peace, Here and Now!