Kyung Hee University System's Peace BAR Festival to kick off Friday

Kyung Hee University System's Peace BAR Festival to kick off Friday

Participants discuss global crises during the Peace BAR Festival held at Kyung Hee University in Seoul last Sept. 23. This year’s event will begin Friday. Courtesy of Kyung Hee University System

By Jun Ji-hye

The Kyung Hee University System will host the Peace BAR Festival 2021 to mark the 40th U.N. International Day of Peace that falls on Sept. 21.

The event will kick off Friday under the theme of “No Time to Lose, A Quest for Immediate Action for Planetary Crisis.”

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the U.N. General Assembly after Dr. Choue Young-seek, founder of the Kyung Hee University System, proposed it through the International Association of University Presidents and the government of Costa Rica in that year.

Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the day as a period of non-violence and ceasefire, with the day being observed around the world on Sept. 21 each year.

The 2021 theme for the day, set by the U.N., is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.”

The Kyung Hee University System has been holding international academic conferences since 1982 to mark the day, with the Peace BAR Festival having taken place since 2004 ― “BAR” stands for “spiritually beautiful, materially affluent and humanly rewarding,” according to the university.

This year’s festival will consist of five conferences to be held until December, bringing together scholars from around the world, including representatives of the Club of Budapest and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and professors from Stanford and Harvard universities.

They will discuss measures to overcome various crises facing the world, such as climate change, exhaustion of natural resources, the COVID-19 pandemic, social polarization and inequality.

On the opening day, Kyung Hee University System Chancellor Choue In-won will deliver a commemorative address, followed by a keynote speech by Ervin Laszlo, founder and president of the Club of Budapest.

Laszlo will also be present at the first conference on that day to discuss a paradigm shift necessary to overcome crisis and prepare for the future.

The second conference will take place Oct. 15 with the participation of Paul R. Ehrlich, professor emeritus of biology at Stanford University, while the third will be held Oct. 29 with Avi Loeb, an astronomy professor from Harvard University.

The fourth conference, which will discuss the climate crisis, will take place Nov. 26, with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who will talk about what should be done to overcome a variety of problems caused by global warming.

The last will be held in December, during which time the Kyung Hee University System will call for changes in politics and stress the importance of the role of politicians in avoiding climate disaster and protecting the Earth.

All conferences will be held online due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, and will be streamed through the YouTube channel of the Kyung Hee University Global Academy for Future Civilization.

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