top of page
  • renateamesb

“Co-creating Spaces for Peace & Reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. Part II


MC: Marcia de Abreu, WFWP EU Secretary General,

At the end of the first session, Marcia de

Abreu, WFWP President in Spain, was the MC for the entertainment program. She introduced the first piece which was provided by a music group of fifteen North Korean students called the ‘Pyongyang Mundharmonika Ensemble’ playing the mouth organ. They had studied music and culture in Austria and performed both traditional

and Austrian songs. It was very powerful moment to see the students from this nation clouded in mystery with so much desire to perform well, like any other young musician of their age.

This was followed by a documentary video about the visit of the Little Angels, a South Korean Children’s Folk Ballet to North Korea in 1998 . It featured some of their performances and showed the deeply emotional reactions of the North Korean audience, young and old. Friendships were forged between young girls from both nations in that short visit that seemed to leave all in tears as they hugged each other at the train stations just before departure.

The ‘Little Angels’, was established by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr.

Hak Ja Han Moon in 1962 to convey the peace-loving spirit of the Korean

people and Korean culture and arts to the world. They have performed all around the world including a exclusive performances for U.S. President Eisenhower and UK’s Margaret Thatcher.


SESSION 2: Project, Partnerships and Implementation

Mrs. Carolyn Handschin-Moser, President NGO Committee on the Status of Women, UN Geneva.

Ms Handschin noted that one of the greatest impediments to peace and security is the depersonalization of the enemy. Seeing the faces of the young talented North Korean entertainers helps us to replace stereotypes.

She explained that this session on “Projects, Partnerships and Implementation” revolves around a project proposal of WFWPI for the creation of a special meeting place, or peace zone for the women of North and South Korea to work together toward peace and shared prosperity. To be located at the border that currently divides them, the DMZ, this is intended to be a ground

breaking for a larger plan to develop the entire area for peaceful use.

The UN Special Rapporteur on DPRK, Mr Tomas Ojea has been a vocal supporter of the project through a series of Human Rights Council events organized on the theme with WFWPI and partners. As good ideas bring people together, this project reached the visionary urban designer Dr. Anna Grichting from Geneva, who will be our keynote speaker who has been investing her great expertise to develop a project around the idea, calling it the “women’s peace garden”.


Dr. Anna Grichting, Founder of Border Meetings, Switzerland, Harvard Profesor, University of Geneva

‘Women’s Peace Garden Project at the DMZ’.

Based on her vast experiences as designer of border zones in conflicted areas around the world, Dr. Grichting explained almost poetically that co-creation enables reconnection, inclusiveness, trust building and togetherness. She is very eager to be working with the WFWPI project proposal. It is not only important for women to be involved in peace processes, but all stakeholders in society need to play a role; only then will lasting peace be achieved.

She is a strong promoter of Women, peace and nature: Dr. Grichting met Wangari Matthai

the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Kenya. For the first time, the Peace Prize has been awarded in the context of “Women- Peace and Environment”: referring to the Green Belt Movement started in Kenya.

Another topic dear to her heart is to help people find the balance between forgetting and forgiving and thus create a “landscape” of memories that honour all victims.

Recalling Robert Schumann’s words when he described ‘borders as the scars of history’, Dr. Grichting envisions the transformation of these scars of history into beautiful scars. She mentioned such examples as the ‘Wall Park’ in Berlin, the ‘Green Belt’ along the former Iron Curtain and the planned ‘Garden of Forgiveness’ in Beirut (Lebanon) which has not yet been completed. A similar project is being planned for Cyprus, and it is her desire to have it implemented soon.

Such Peace Parks can be a tool to create space for rapprochement and reconciliation in every divided society and she is already designing plans about how this Peace Garden could look. The idea creating an area at the DMZ where women from North Korea and South could meet, build friendships and do peacebuilding together had been originally promoted to her by Carolyn Handschin /WFWP and they plan to collaborate in making the vision become a reality. ***************************************************************************************

Respondents to the Peace Park Project:

Chiara Francesca Caraffa, Communications expert, journalist.

Ms Caraffa collaborates with Eurocomunicazione, a European think tank under the patronage of the Italian representations of the European Commission and Parliament.

Ms. Caraffa emphasised the necessity for investment at various levels in order to achieve this truly inclusive and concrete goal of the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas. Without doubt, effective communication is pivotal in bringing people’s minds and hearts together, particularly people’s hearts.

A communication style that simplifies language makes the most important contents accessible to a greater number of people worldwide. It is also necessary to speak to institutional audiences to request action to contribute to changing the lives of a greater number of people. This Communication has to be fair, non-offensive, nondiscriminatory, clear and above all, verifiable and trustworthy.

Ms. Caraffa also mentioned scars and boundaries, which can be viewed as milestones for change. She expressed her hope for the DMZ to become such an example. She expressed her support for WFWP and indicated her willingness, together with ‘Eurocommunicatione’, to disseminate adequate information on the subject and contribute to this cause

Finally, she mentioned the value of online digital platforms and live broadcasts as the only routes for information to travel unfiltered and the need for communication professionals to receive greater training in these areas.

Prof. Kyung Do Suh, Former member, Advisory Committee for Democratic Peace and

, South Korea, 'International Cooperation Plan for DMZ World Peace Park”,

Prof. Kyung Do Suh delivered a presentation on ‘Turning the DMZ into a Peace Zone’

Prof. Suh highlighted the role of NGOs in dealing with issues concerning human rights, poverty-eradication and environmental protection as one of utmost importance in preparation for the reunification of North and South Korea.

Since NGOs represent the international community, they can obtain humanitarian aid, raise awareness and bring about a change in perception of the international community. They also contribute to economic development and thus can counter humanitarian crises.

NGOs are much more interested in finding solutions than confrontation. They have the potential to assist opposing parties in finding common ground for the sake of peace and progress in socio- economic development. Prof. Suh pointed out the importance of cultural heritage, envisioning the DMZ as a place of music, culture and the arts. He hopes the DMZ will become an international peace park as a model for peace not only for the two Koreas, but for the world and that it will be promoted as a UNESCO heritage.

Regarding the success of international NGO activities, Dr Suh believes the most important factor is the ability to make fair and humane policy decisions based on the universal values of humankind.

In conclusion, Prof. Suh stated that reunification needs a specific and realistic roadmap with substantial steps.


Dr. Beatrice Bischof, TV Journalist, Board Member Foreign Affairs Association, Germany

Dr. Bischof described her experience with Moroccan women who produce goods that are very specific to their country and culture. She mentioned how they engage young entrepreneurs to help with the marketing; thus, income can be generated locally. Dr. Bischof believes there is a strong connection between a stable economy and peace.

Regarding North Korean women who also need to generate an income for their families, she

pondered on the idea of a possible product specific to both Koreas in order to initiate a similar project. The idea of harvesting and selling Ginseng as a local product emerged. This could be a project of cooperation between South and North Korean women that could be developed in the “Korean Women’s Peace Garden”.

Isabella Krapf, Vice-chair, Korean Cultural Center, Vienna,.

Ms. Krapf is an Austrian harmonicist and harmonica teacher. She started to teach in North Korea, beginning with 120 students. She later brought 15 students from North Korea to Vienna to learn harmonica and perform in concerts in Europe.

While working in North Korea during four visits, Ms. Krapf learned that there are many songs about Unification. The desire in people’s heart to unite again N- and S-Korea seemed to be strong!

A strong basis for reunification is the common culture. North and South Korea have a common history and that can pave a way to understand each other despite long years of separation. When Ms. Krapf always looked for the opportunities to help people understand the Korean Culture.

Having saved over 4500 photos from her visits, she held exhibitions and tried to improve the perceptions about

North Korea. She explained that one of the greatest sites in in North Korea it's the “Women of reunification”,

huge arch with a North and South Korean woman who reunite! So the North Koreans already know that peace and reunification is starting with the women's movement and this is very important I think for us to work with.


Mr. Heiner Handschin, Director of UPF Office for UN -Geneva

Mr. Handschin expressed great support for the idea of a park for reconciliation or rapprochement, which would serve as a space where communication can begin anew after a division of more than 70 years. He also emphasised the benefits of establishing a fifth UN Office at the DMZ, an idea which has been discussed on various occasions. It would be a huge step to convert this area from a point of zero communication into a centre of international interest and diplomacy. There are four major UN offices are located in the US (NY) and Europe (Geneva, Vienna) and Africa (Addis Ababa), but Asia, which is home to 60 % of the world’s population, lacks such a centre of diplomatic

negotiation and global peace solutions.

Referring to the situation in Germany in the months leading up to the collapse of the Iron Curtain, Mr. Handschin cited Claus J. Duisburg who said that at the beginning of the year in 1989 no one considered it possible that the iron curtain and the Berlin wall would fall, but in October the same year it did! People were taken completely by surprise. ‘When there is an idea for which the time has come it will happen and no one can prevent it!’

Finally, Mr. Handschin encouraged a peace process where women have a say. Bringing in women's leadership and exercising the power of reconciliatory efforts through women is crucial to achieving lasting peace. As husband, father and grandfather, he shared his observation of women’s abilities to come together and creating peace and harmony amongst each other, although not always easy. Thus, he thought it would be important for women as peacemakers to substantially contribute to this visionary plan for an international UN city.

Renate Amesbauer + Mary Hinterleitner

16 Ansichten0 Kommentare

Aktuelle Beiträge

Alle ansehen


Beitrag: Blog2 Post
bottom of page