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NO.365 01.15.2018

“How Did the Words ‘Peace’ and ‘Culture’ Become Synonymous?"

North Korea’s continued nuclear tests and missile provocations have heightened the crisis on the Korean peninsula, and the international community is also increasingly concerned. After the announcement of the U.S. President Donald Trump to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is reaching its peak. The world is desperate for peace.

On December 12, 2017, a special lecture by Professor Heonik Kwon of the University of Cambridge was held on the subject of "Peace and Culture―How Peace and Culture Became Synonymous in the Cold War." In a lecture held in Main Conference Room of University Administration Building, Professor Kwon showed a comparison of peace planning based on education and cultural movements with several other peace theories of the 20th century.

Scanning the history of peace in the mid and late 20th century, Comparing peace theories and Emphasizing peace as culture
Professor Heonik Kwon of Trinity College, Cambridge University, UK, is a world-renowned anthropologist drawing attention through his empirical field studies and creative theoretical studies, such as anthropological approaches to the Cold War history and illumination on the Cold War history in global perspective.

Professor Kwon began his lecture with following words: "I want to say that there is a history of peace within the crises of war and that there exists a history of peace movement within the lineage of war." Professor Kwon divided the history of the latter half of the 20th century into three parts. There was peace as equality, peace as independence, and peace as a balance of power followed, but that does not necessarily mean peace as equality in the previous period had completely disappeared.


"The peace of difference and harmony of difference are still meaningful"
Professor Kwon talked about peace as culture and said, “It is nigh impossible to change the mind of a state engaged in a war. The only thing that can change a state is influencing the minds of the citizens who constitute the state,” emphasizing that “new citizens should emerge and demand their governments to stop engaging in the war so that the war can be eliminated.”

So how can we educate citizens of the world? Professor Kwon said that anthropologist Margaret Mead was a person who viewed cultural peace as a "different kind of peace." He said, “She regarded being different as a means to peace rather than a factor of war."

Key members of the project for culture of peace, including Margaret Mead, created UNESCO's early media platform, UNESCO Courier. They saw UNESCO Courier as an educational movement, and wondered how this would be implemented in the post-war education in the United States and elsewhere with the grand theme of respect for difference, harmony of difference, and peace of difference.

"Neither side should win or lose"
It was the Korean War that destroyed their experiment overnight. Professor Kwon said, “As the Korean War intensified and militarized the Cold War system, more and more people thought that there would be no harmony of differences in this bipolar system, which discontinued peace as cultural movement.”

Nonetheless, there has been ongoing discussions on this idea in UNESCO. Professor Kwon said, "There are places where the 60-year-old polarization is still under way like the Korean Peninsula, and many states big and small absorbed in self-aggrandizement that think only of themselves and ignore the universal consensus of the international community. Therefore, the pursuit of peace of difference and peace of culture is still meaningful, along with the ideal it represents, and the fight to keep it alive will continue.”

Professor Kwon concluded, "Neither side of the two in the fight should won or lose. In this fight, peace of culture should win over another peace theory.”

Kyung Hee is inviting world-famous leading figures in academic communities and intellectual history to create a venue of 'reflection and creation' that seeks the future of human society. Kyung Hee University, which spearheaded the institution of the UN International Day of Peace and holds the Peace BAR Festival every year, will continue its pursuit of a peaceful future.


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