Master Lu Jun Hong  was invited to attend the UN High Level Forum on The Culture of Peace at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 9th Sep 2015. This was convened by President of the United Nations General Assembly. Master Lu was one of the panelists during the panel discussion 2 titled ‘Role of the media in the promotion of the culture of peace’.

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On 13 September 1999, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, by consensus and without reservation, its landmark, pioneering and norm-setting resolution 53/243 on the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. Among other things, it provided the driving force for the implementation of the UN-declared International Decade for Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). Asserting and re-affirming the commitment of the totality of the Member States for building the culture of peace, the UNGA has adopted every year since 1997 resolutions on the subject.

The General Assembly, through its annual substantive resolutions, has highlighted the priority it attaches to the full and effective implementation of these visionary decisions which are universally applicable and is sought after by the vast majority of all peoples in every nation.

Recognizing the need for continual support to the further strengthening of the global movement to promote the Culture of Peace, as envisaged by the United Nations, particularly in the current global context, the day-long, General Assembly High Level Forum is intended to coincide with the anniversary date of the adoption of 53/243. Substantively, the Forum is to be an open public opportunity for the UN Member States, UN system entities, civil society including NGOs, media, private sector, and all others interested, to have an exchange of ideas and suggestions on the ways to build and promote the Culture of Peace and to highlight emerging trends that impact on the implementation process.

The Forum is convened by the UNGA President and he/she takes the lead in the preparations of the event which focuses on the implementation of the Programme of Action. It is organized through broad partnership and inclusive collaboration among Member States, international organizations and civil society.

Following the wide-ranging success of the UN General Assembly’s High Level Forum on The Culture of Peace held on 14 September 2012, the Assembly, under the guidance of its President John Ashe and co-sponsored by 105 Member States led by Bangladesh, adopted by consensus the resolution 68/125 on “Follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace”.

In its operative para13, it said “Requests the President of the General Assembly to consider convening a high-level forum, as appropriate and within existing resources, devoted to the implementation of the Programme of Action on the occasion of the anniversary of its adoption, on or around 13 September.”

In the preambular part, the resolution also expressed its positive view of the Forum by “welcoming the successful holding on 6 September 2013 of the General Assembly High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace, convened by the President of the Assembly, and the high-level participation, wide-ranging partnership and inclusive collaboration among Member States, international organizations and civil society, as evidenced at the Forum.” UNGA Resolution A/69/139 reiterated this on 15 December 2014.

Earlier in 2012 a resolution (A/Res/67/106) which, inter alia, also requested the President to consider convening the High Level Forum, was adopted by the Assembly at its 67th session with the cosponsoring of 84 Member States also under Bangladesh’s leadership.

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Arun Gandhi, born in 1934 in Durban, South Africa and the fifth grandson of the apostle for non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi, is a peace activist, author, environmental activist, journalist, public speaker, agent of change, proponent of non-violence. At a young age, his Grandfather taught him to understand non-violence through understanding violence in daily one-to-one sessions. He learned from Mahatma that justice does not mean revenge, it means transforming the opponent through love and compassion. He carries and has been sharing the wisdom and teachings of his late grandfather around the world for over 30 years. Mr. Gandhi has received seven honorary doctorates, is a board member of the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Hospital in South Africa and is Founder and President of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute.

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He has devoted many years as an inspirational champion for sustainable peace and development ardently advancing the cause of the global movement for the culture of peace. His determined leadership led to the UN General Assembly’s adoption in 1999 of the landmark Declaration and Programme of Action on Culture of Peace and to the Security Council’s adoption of its groundbreaking UNSCR 1325 on women’s contributions to peace and security. He was Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UN for the world’s most vulnerable nations from 2002 to 2007. Recipient of the Honorary Doctorates from the Saint Peter’s University, USA and the Soka University of Japan; UNESCO Gandhi Gold Medal for Culture of Peace and University of Massachusetts Bostan Chancellor’s Medal for Global Leadership for Peace.

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Ambassador Marjon Kamara, Liberia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations since 8 October 2009, has over 25 years of experience working within the United Nations, in the areas of humanitarian affairs with emphasis on policy, strategy and programme development as well as hands-on management of field operations working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. Ambassador Kamara’s work within the Government of Liberia dates back to 1974, when she was employed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs serving as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1977-1980).

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Professor Emil Constantinescu, born in 1939, served as the third President of Romania, from 1996 to 2000. After the Romanian revolution in 1989, he became one of the founding members of the Civic Alliance and got involved in a sustained effort for the democratization of the country, for human rights protection, for civil society’s independent role. He was the acting chairman of the Romanian Anti-Totalitarian Forum which was transformed into a political and electoral alliance: the Romanian Democratic Convention (CDR). Under his leadership asserting the role of the democratic opposition, CDR won the local and parliamentary elections of 1996, and, by direct vote, Professor Constantinescu was elected President of Romania for a term of four years. He remains heavily involved in politics through working for many NGOs, both in Romania and internationally. He is actively engaged in his endeavours for consolidating the role of NGOs as president of the Association for Civic Education. He is the founding president of the Institute for Regional Cooperation and Conflict Prevention and was the president of the international commission of monitoring in the parliamentary elections in Senegal (2001).

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Ambassador Maria Emma Mejia, Permanent Representative of Columbia to the UN, is a journalist and diplomat with broad experience in international affairs. She has devoted much of her career to the issues of peace and relations among the Latin American countries. She served as the Presidential Advisor to Medellin from 1990 to 1993. She went to the zones most stigmatized by the influence of the Medellin cartel to offer various opportunities for youth recovery with a social reintegration project that earned her national recognition. In 1993 she was appointed Ambassador of Columbia in Spain, the first woman to hold this position. In 1995 she was appointed Minister of Education and next year as the Foreign Minister. In 2011, she was appointed by the Heads of State of the Union of South American Nations, UNASUR, as its Secretary General, based in Quito, Ecuador.

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Ms. Amina Mohammed, born in 1961 in Nigeria, was appointed in July 2012 by the UN Secretary-General as Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning. She has more than 230 years of experience as a development practitioner in the public and private sectors, as well as civil society. Prior to her UN role, she served as Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the MDGs, serving three Presidents over a period of six years. Ms. Mohammed has served on numerous international advisory panels and boards. She is a recipient of the Nigerian ‘National Honours Award of the Order of the Federal Republic’ and was inducted in the Nigerian Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

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He has been the Director General of UNESCO from 1987 until 1999, Advisor to the President of the Spanish Government (1977-78), Minister of Education and Science (1981-1982) and Deputy in the European Parliament (1978). He is the founding President of the Fundación Cultura de Paz for implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Culture of Peace. He is the President of the World Forum of Civil Society Networks(UBUNTU Forum), former President of the Board of Directors of Inter Press Service, and since 2010 Chairman of the International Commission against the Death Penalty.

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Barbara Adams is Chair of the Board of Global Policy Forum. She was trained as an economist in the UK, worked as Executive Director of the Manitoba Council for International Affairs in Canada and has undertaken development programming in Uruguay. She served as Associate Director of the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service(NGLS) and head of its UN headquarters office through the period of the UN global conferences of the 1990s. From 2003-2008 she worked for the United Nations Development  Fund for Women (UNIFEM). She has been a member of the President of UN General Assembly CSO taskforce for MDG 2010 Summit. Ms Adams has authored books on the UN and multilateral issues, including Accounting for Africa at the United Nations: A Guide for Non-Governmental Organizations; and Climate Justice in a Changing World.

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Elisabeth Shuman serves as NGO Representative at the United Nations for the Association for Childhood Education International, a global community of educators promoting the optimal education, development, and well-being of children worldwide. She currently serves on the Board of the NGO/DPI Executive Committee and is  Vice-Chair of the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN).

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Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen is the Bangladesh Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York since 2009. His country has been the lead sponsor of the General Assembly resolutions on the Culture of Peace since 1997. Dr. Momen was Vice-President of the UN General Assembly in 2012, and its Chair of the Second Committee on economic and financial issues in 2011-12. He was also Vice-President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council for the 2011-2012 sessions. In 2010 he was the President of the UNICEF Executive Board. He was the Chairman of the Economics and Business Administration Department at Framingham State University in USA Professor Momen has a PhD in economics, an MBA in business administration, an MPA in public administration, and a LLB in LAW.

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Ms. Cristina Gallach, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information since December 2014, has a wealth of experience in communications, information, public diplomacy, international affairs and security policy, combined with transformational leadership and hands-on management expertise. She is also an experienced newspaper, radio and television journalist. Ms. Gallach had served as Head of the Public Relations Unit in the Council of the European Union, Brussels since 2010. She was Spokesperson of the Spanish Government for the European Union rotating Presidency (2010); Spokesperson and Chief Media Advisor of the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security policy (1999-2009). Ms. Gallach holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, New York.

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Micheal Nagler is one of the most well-known scholars and advocates of Gandhi and non-violence worldwide. He is Professor emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at University of California, Berkeley, where he founded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program; Founder and President of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and author of The Nonviolence Handbook, Our Spiritual Crisis, and The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award. Both have been translated into Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Croatian, and other languages. Dr. Nagler has spoken and written about non-violence, meditation, and world peace for more than thirty years. He received the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values outside India in 2007. He is currently working on a major documentary film on nonviolence and the “new story” of human nature.

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Sharon Bhagwan Rolls is a Fiji Islander and the Executive Director of FemLINKPACIFIC, a feminist community media organization established in 2000 as a women’s media NGO to advocate for women as decision makers in the long-term transformation of Fiji and the region. She is a Board member of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict as well as the Global Fund for Women. She is a member of the UN Women Global Civil Society Advisory Group and has a wealth of experience in media and women, peace and security policy issues. She coordinated civil society input into the development of the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2012-2015). Passionate about media content development and distribution, her work now enables and empowers community media production in print, digital story-telling, online/social media and television. She used her broadcast skills to launch Fiji and the Pacific’s first women-led community radio network in May 2004 and assisted in launch of the first women-led community radio station in Tonga in 2011.

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Master Jun Hong Lu is President and Director of 2OR Australia Oriental Radio. He also serves as President of the Australia Oriental Media Buddhist Charity Association, the Australian Chinese of Chinese Organizations. He also promotes conflict prevention and resolution through the cooperative efforts of diplomats, religious leaders, academic and media professionals to institute environmental, social and business ethics. Master Lu’s Buddhist practices reach over 10 million people with the message of promoting the culture of peace. He has been invited to speak at academic, diplomatic, media and business forums in various parts of the world.

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Paco de Onis is the Executive Director at Skylight. He grew up in several Latin American countries and is multi-lingual. Most recently, de Onis produced Skylight Pictures’ film Disruption, about women’s economic empowerment in Columbia, Peru and Brazil. He served as the producer on Skylight’s film The Reckoning:The Battle for the International Criminal Court.

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Hanna Khoury, a Palestinian violinist and Music Director of the community ensemble, Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble, is a recipient of the 2010 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, which in awarded each year to 12 Philadelphia artists who are of exemplary talent. He is trained in the classical traditions of Arab and Western music. While music director of the Arabesque Music Ensemble, Khoury led nationwide tours performing classical Arab music in major venues and universities, Khoury graduated magna cum-laude with departmental honours from UCLA with Bachelors in Economics and Music Performance, and obtained his Master’s Degree in Music from Temple University.

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Udi Bar-David, an Israeli cellist is widely considered one of the most versatile cellists in the world today. Equally at home as a classical cellist and an innovative improviser of music of all genres, he has performed on international stages with bith classical and ethnic musicians. An acclaimed soloist, Mr. Bar-David performed with leading orchestras in Israel and recorded at the Jerusalem Music Center, founded by Pablo Casals. In partnership with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2007-08, Intercultural Journeys led by him presented multi-media concerts, including Arab/Jewish cross-cultural presentations. His unique genre of cross-cultural music has been heard all over the world.

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