Dear Partner in Peacebuilding,
The year 2019 was a significant year for our peacebuilding work. As I reflect on the impact our key programs have made this past year in building cohesion in diverse communities, promoting education innovation, and empowering women and youth, I am reminded of the profound importance of understanding our common humanity and tapping power of the human spirit.
Since 2009, the Global Peace Foundation has continuously expanded and now is active in more than 20 countries. With unique focus on values that bind us together as a human family in a diverse world, GPF has engaged a wide spectrum of stakeholders and partners including civil society organizations, governmental entities, business and philanthropic organizations, educational institutions, local community and volunteer associations and generous donors.
Here are just a few highlights from 2019:
- The 2019 Global Peace Convention held in Seoul, South Korea commemorated the centennial of the Korean Independence Movement and explored the vision and principles that motivated it, while also calling for a renewal of its ideals in a new movement for a unified Korea that can be a model nation for the world.
- In 2019 GPF and partners made significant progress in promoting the One Korea Global Campaign in support of peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. Activities included scholarly forums and roundtables in the US, ROK, Japan, Mongolia, etc. service projects and person-to-person engagement organized by Global Peace Women, and much more.
- As part of the "Peace Begins in the Home (PBIH)” international movement, our women's division launched the “Family Stories Series” campaign. The initiative invited families to take action for peace in their homes and communities. Over 80 heartwarming stories from 12 countries brought to life the theme: “My Family’s Favorite Memories.” Other PBIH initiatives addressed a range of issues from drug abuse prevention to financial literacy, and impacted families and communities around the world, from Nigeria to Uruguay, Nepal to Korea.
- GPF chapters are also actively engaged with the Action for Korea United (AKU) alliance, the leading civil society movement promoting a unified Korea of high ideals. In 2019 AKU convened its watershed event on August 15 – the AKU Festival in Seoul; this inspirational gathering of 15,000 AKU activists has become a catalyst for the burgeoning grassroots expansion of the AKU movement in Korea and throughout the Korean diaspora.
- Community-driven peacebuilding initiatives in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region are utilizing GPF’s values-based approach to address critical conflict issues. Engaging faith leaders and traditional rulers, as well as community, women and youth leaders as peace-builders, the project focuses on the common ground of shared values and includes practical applications to change attitudes, as well as concrete action plans to change behaviors.
- With funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Global Peace Foundation and its stakeholder network prevented violent extremism in New Jersey by raising awareness about the behavioral indicators of mobilization towards violence. An evaluation by Rutgers University showed that our training for law enforcement and community members delivered excellent learning outcomes and built trust between diverse community stakeholders. It also achieved systems change and mitigated threats of terrorism, homegrown violent extremism, and other types of other targeted violence. The project was selected by the National Counterterrorism Center as a “best practice” in community violence prevention,
- GPF’s PeaceHub Campaign is an important application of our values-based approach to peacebuilding that is being implemented in communities in the US and elsewhere. The program is uniquely designed to empower communities with strategies and skills needed to become safer, more inclusive and connected.
- GPF’s Character and Creativity Initiative, Smart Workforce Readiness, and LeapHub Science and Entrepreneurship Incubators seek to close the gap between the classroom and the workplace. Developed in partnership with national Ministries of Education in Kenya, Uganda, the Philippines, and Paraguay and with leading IT corporate sponsorship, these initiatives are equipping graduates with essential character competencies and real-world skills.
- Many other projects—such as All-Lights Village initiatives to support community development, entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency in rural regions; tree planting to counter desertification in Mongolia; and an information technology ‘boot camp’ in Kenya—are being implemented by GPF volunteers and partners to address both immediate needs in communities and the enduring dream of all people for a world of peace and prosperity.
Your support and engagement, as well as the partnerships we form in all corners of the world, are vital to addressing the challenges and opportunities waiting for us in 2020. Together, we can build a future that is peaceful and prosperous for all as one global family.
Thank you for joining with us in 2019 and may 2020 bring many advances in our collective efforts to serve the greater good. Best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful and prosperous new year.
James P. Flynn International President,
Global Peace Foundation