We are all called to be peacebuilders - whatever our faith tradition, class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, and nationality, among others. As peacebuilders, we know that we cannot have genuine and enduring peace if there is no justice in all dimensions of our lives - be it social, political, economic, and religio-cultural. These are all intertwined. Moreover, our lives are inevitably interconnected with the Earth and Earth rights. There is no community apart from Earth community, which is the context of our peacebuilding efforts. Yet, peacebuilders must also do self-criticism and examine our complicity in bringing unpeace and injustice to our communities though our prejudices, language, behaviors, and lifestyles. Faith must be translated to actions towards the realization of peace. "The Peacebuilders" is deemed an action-oriented name, and also one that keeps us challenged.
For decades tensions in Northeast Asia surrounding history, territory, militaries, and nuclear weapons have peaked and dipped, due to the work of political actors both inside the region and beyond, who seek only their own nation’s gain. The “hot spot” of our region—the Korean Peninsula—is the only region of the world still divided by the otherwise longgone Cold War Era. However, the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang enabled a new wave of exchange, and we are now observing dramatic potential for change in the relationship between the two Koreas and other stakeholders.
Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) will hold its 8th annual Summer Peacebuilding Training in Jeju Island, South Korea, from August 8-21, 2018. NARPI trainings have been held yearly since 2011, in rotating locations around Northeast Asia.
As people who work on peacebuilding in the region, we feel it is hopeful and timely that this year’s NARPI training will take place in Korea, on Jeju Island. We hope to contribute to the growth of this new wave of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region—a wave that is still quite weak, but that we aim to strengthen through our gathering.