Eleven environment ministers and environmental activists rang a peace bell to pray for the sustainable development of all humanity
Former UNEP Director Honored for Ringing the Bell of World Peace and Love
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 05, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Stockholm+50, convened by the United Nations General Assembly, took place in Stockholm, Sweden on June 2-3, 2022, under the theme of “a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, which was the first global meeting prioritizing environmental concerns.
The Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL), Association of World Citizens (AWC), and Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy (Tai Ji Men) co-organized a number of bell ringing ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden, as well as a hybrid event in association with Stockholm+50, on June1-3. A total of 11 influential leaders rang the Bell of World Peace and Love, including officials from the United Nations Environment Programme and environment ministers. The bell ringers and forum participants shared conscience-based solutions to foster environmentally responsible global citizens and accelerate ecosystem restoration. Through the ancient bell ringing ceremonies, the organizers aim to awaken people’s conscience and inspire bell ringers to make and carry out their wishes for global peace and sustainability.
In light of the difficulties and crises the world faces, Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of FOWPAL, delivered welcome remarks, emphasizing, “When everyone follows the guidance of their conscience, the problems we encounter today can be resolved. As long as we stop acting in our own self-interest and instead consider the well-being of the entire Earth and all of humanity, we will be able to achieve a healthy, sustainable, and affluent planet. In the face of the daunting challenges, we must take immediate action. When we treat the disadvantaged and suffering people in the world as our brothers and sisters, we can expand the capacity of people’s hearts and broaden their horizons, making it possible to realize a peaceful and beautiful world where everyone follows their conscience and every individual and family is happy.”
Prof. Rene Wadlow, president of the Association of World Citizens, stated, “World Citizens stress conscience as a guide for creative action to develop a world society of shared values. Conscience provides an ethical basis for the whole structure of human rights. We strive to make the world a more humane dwelling place for ourselves and for future generations. We move toward a peaceful, just and ecologically-responsible future.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered his remarks at the opening of Stockholm+50, emphasizing, “The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement show the way. But we must act on these commitments.” He also noted, “We must place true value on the environment and go beyond Gross Domestic Product as a measure of human progress and well-being. Let us not forget that when we destroy a forest, we are creating GDP. When we overfish, we are creating GDP. GDP is not a way to measure richness in the present situation in the world. Throughout history, humanity has shown that we are capable of great things. But only when we work together. If we want to survive and thrive, let us protect and nurture our planet, that is our only home,” he added.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson welcomed all participants at Stockholm+50 and emphasized, “Climate action is one of my government’s priorities in the years ahead. We will speed up this process.” She also pointed out, “Sweden’s message is plain and clear: Going green is not only possible, it is the path to create growth, jobs and prosperity for all.” She concluded by saying, “Let our work be guided by the words spoken at the 1972 Conference by the then Prime Minister, Olof Palme, ‘There is no individual future, neither for human beings, nor for nations. Our future is common. We must share it together. We must shape it together.’”
More than 50 volunteers from FOWPAL, AWC, and Tai Ji Men flew to Stockholm from all over the world, bringing with them the Bell of World Peace and Love, hoping that the bell ringers’ wishes for peace would be spread through the sound of the bell, praying for the blessings of all life on Earth and ecosystem restoration.
A total of 11 visionary leaders rang the Bell, including, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation of Ghana; Dr. Maminata Traore/Coulibaly, Minister of Environment, Energy, Water and Sanitation of Burkina Faso; Harald Fries, Director and Deputy Head of Department of International Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden and Ambassador of Sweden to the Philippines (2010-2016); Amb. Nancy Karigithu, Principal Secretary and Special Envoy for Maritime and Blue Economy of Kenya; Eve Bazaiba Masudi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment of Democratic Republic of Congo; Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management of Belize; Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson of Global Environment Facility and former Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica; Philda Kereng, Minister of Environment and Tourism of Botswana; Dr. Aldo Manos, former Director of UNEP; Donald Kaniaru, Director in the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation at UNEP; and Qaiser Nawab, Director of Business Development for the Middle East.
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of FOWPAL, presented to each of the bell ringers a Compass Clock of Conscience and An Anthology of Conscience by Dr. Hong. The Clock represents time, direction and goal, guides people toward the right path of life, and reminds them to seize every moment to apply conscience and do good deeds. The anthology is a collection of the excerpts on conscience from Dr. Hong’s speeches presented on various occasions around the globe, which serves as a wellspring of wisdom for the recipients in the promotion of a culture of conscience.
Amb. Nancy Karigithu, Principal Secretary and Special Envoy for Maritime and Blue Economy of Kenya, rang the Bell and stated, “When you talk of the conscience, the compass, it touches my heart. And I feel somebody new, somebody different.” She expressed her desire to encourage Dr. Hong and the organizations led by him to continue spreading positivity because it is the way of the world and the future. “When I was ringing the bell, I was thinking of my little five-year-old granddaughter and the kind of world I am living now and hope that it will be much better than we have now, and suddenly I feel uplifted.”
Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, rang the Bell on June 1 and wished for “absolute peace amongst all people of the world.” He stated that it is not by accident that he became the 400th ringer of the Bell: “I believe that it’s by divine providence that I’ve come here. Throughout my life, even though I am not perfect, these three words have always rung true in my life: conscience, morality, and ethics. I am so grateful. And I’m so happy that I have participated in such a spiritually uplifting [event].” Spirituality is all-encompassing and binds us all together, stated Minister Afriyie, adding, “It’s good to discover that there are people of conscience in this world. I’m so happy today. Thank you so much!”
Dr. Aldo Manos, 89, is a former Director of UNEP and has been dedicated to environmental protection. He attended the June 3 forum, rang the Bell, and stated, “I know that peace is our most important objective, but we also know that it’s the most difficult one, so this requires all our commitment, all our energy, and all our faith, and I am very humbled and honored to be invited here today in front of this very important symbol. The bell in all religions in the world is rung as a message to the world and to “somebody else” so that what we hope will be realized, and with the help of everybody, it will be realized.” He emphasized, “Conscience is the essence of environmental protection.” As a veteran of the world’s first Earth Summit 50 years ago, he is now invited back to Stockholm+50 and encourages young people to go beyond their dreams and return to Stockholm in 2072.
To date, 410 visionary leaders from 124 nations, including 43 heads of state and government, have rung the Bell and exerted their positive influences to contribute to global peace and sustainability! For instance, three bell ringers, President Fradique de Menezes of Sao Tome and Principe (2001-2011), President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal (2000-2012), and President Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic (1996-2000 and 2004-2012), rang the bell and made wishes for peace during their tenure and later mediated between neighboring countries to defuse potential wars, fulfilling their promises to help stabilize and sustain the Earth.
FOWPAL, AWC, and Tai Ji Men further fostered sustainability by inviting the participants to endorse various declarations of peace and conscience. Through the signing of the declarations, people show their commitment to environmental protection. Since 1999, the three organizations have visited 101 nations to promote the endorsement of various international declarations. To date, the Declarations for Human Rights of World Citizens and Peace have been endorsed by over 3.73 million people in 176 nations, and a CD with 2 million signatures was submitted to the UN in 2004; the Declaration for the Movement of An Era of Conscience and Declaration of International Day of Conscience have been endorsed by people in 195 nations. With the promotion of a culture of conscience, love, and peace, they hope that more conscientious volunteers will support the endorsement campaign and continue to promote the values expressed in the Declarations to help the world move towards a better future.
Youth volunteers from the three organizations presented uplifting songs and dance, including “We Can Change the World,” “The Angel in Your Heart,” and “Happiness Is Everywhere,” to encourage people to follow their conscience, regardless of race, age, work, or other factors, and take positive action to make the world a better, happier place.
Everyone is cordially invited to watch the forum online, which was filled with conscience-based positivity, and everyone is encouraged to invite their family and friends to watch the forum to inspire more world citizens to adopt conscience-driven actions and solutions to accelerate ecosystem restoration and sustain the Earth.
About the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL): Established in 2000 in the United States by Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, FOWPAL is an international love and peace organization, with members from around the world. It is guided by the principle that changing the world for the better starts with one good thought. Over the past two decades, FOWPAL, along with the Association of World Citizens (AWC) and Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy (Tai Ji Men), has promoted conscience, love, and peace globally and attended Earth Summits to promote SDGs. It had worked with various Permanent Missions to the United Nations through conferences, bell ringing ceremonies, and declaration signing, making the UN’s adoption of the International Day of Conscience in July 2019 possible. They have held over 55 webinars in the past two years, fostering conscience-based sustainability.
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