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ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
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EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA
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LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
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Republic of Korea
The Korean National Commission for UNESCO, in cooperation with many representative civil organizations, organized for 14 September the "Inaugural Ceremony of the One Million Signatures Movement for the Manifesto 2000 for the Culture of Peace and Non-violence. The ceremony held a press conference with the media to encourage the Korean people to join the movement and to gain public awareness.
The Commission's Secretary-General Dr Kwon Tai-Joon and the mayor of Seoul, Dr Koh, participated in the ceremony which included a recitation of the Manifesto 2000 by Peace Messengers and a signing session. Korean television stations such as MBC, SBS and KBS, as well as the written press, covered the event.
Over 50 organizations have joined with the Commission in the ceremony, including the Green Consumer's Network, the National YWCA, the National Coalition of NGOs for Inter-Korea Agricultural Development Cooperation, the NGO Weekly "The Citizen Times", the People's Coalition for Media Reform, the Korean Sharing Movement, Research Institute of the Differently Abled Rights, Good Friends, the Foundation for Preventing Youth Violence, Women Making Peace, the Korea Council of Citizen's Movements, Korea Youth Corporation, National Council of Youth Organizations, National Council of YMCAs, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, Young Korean Academy and Reporters Sans Frontieres.
The Government of Sri Lanka, including the President H.E. Mrs Chandrikra B. Kumaratunga has agreed to name Trincomalee as a "City of Peace" on 14 September 1999. A public meeting and sport event by school children will be held on this occasion with community, political and religious leaders. A plaque will be opened and later a Palace of Culture will be constructed by the Government. This announcement obtained widespread press coverage including in the Daily News on the Internet. It included a lengthy statement by the Secretary-General of the Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO Dr Premadeasa Udagama calling upon all Sri Lankans to take the pledge of the Manifesto 2000.
Trincomallee is located in the strife-stricken Northeast of Sri Lanka, where the largest mix of ethnicity is located, comprising Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim populations. Its designation as a "City of Peace" is seen as a very important step taken by the Government towards peace building, and all political parties have been invited to participate and take part in the event where there was a signing of the Manifesto 2000. The proceedings, chaired by the Governor of the North-East Province, were broadcast live over radio and will be covered by television and the written press.
Events took place throughout the country as well on 14 September. The Education and Higher Education Ministry advised all schools to mark this day as an "International Peace Day." and to use the Manifesto 2000 for school ceremonies. Talks have been given by school principals on the subject "culture of peace" at school assemblies. UNESCO Associated Schools popularized the Manifesto 2000, which has been translated into Sinhala and Tamil and distributed by the National Commission.
Following the launch, many further events and publicity are being planned, including distribution of the television and radio spots and printed publicity pages for newspapers, various seminars, talk shows, cultural shows and sporting events involving schools and communities.
A letter to the UNESCO Director-General from Presidential Advisor Dr. Tarn de Mel conveyed a personal thank you from the President for the contribution of UNESCO to the culture of peace and indicated that this is a key policy of the Government of Sri Lanka. The letter expressed pleasure at the fact that the Year 2000 has been named as the International Year for the Culture of Peace with UNESCO as the focal point.
The launch of the IYCP was marked by a big national round table on National Peacekeeping and Culture of Peace
The IYCP was launched on 14 September at a ceremony at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok organized by the UNESCO regional office and the UN-ESCAP. Senior officials and members of the Thai Government, heads and officials of UN agencies, diplomatic missions, NGOs involved in the promotion of peace, prominent Thai scholars and intellectuals and members of the press and media attended. The function was opened by Andrianus Mooy, Executive Secretary of UN-ESCAP and speakers included General Prem Tinsulanond, Former Prime Minister of Thailand, the Deputy Minister of Education, the Director of the UNESCO regional office and the winner of the UNESCO 1994 Peace Education Prize, the Venerable Phra Prayudh Payutto.
The launch of the IYCP began with a ceremony involving hundreds of primary school children from a school that has just joined the network of ASP. This event was attended by Ms Troung My Hoa, Vice Chairwoman of the Viet Nam National Assembly and by many other high level officials. The message of the director general was read on national TV and in front of thousands of Vietnamese from all walks of life by the UNESCO Representative in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese, French and English local press (written and audiovisual) covered the launch extensively. Moreover Vietnam TV has prepared a video contribution to be included in the international television programme being organized by RAI Italy.