HWPL International Religious Peace Academy (IRPA) Special Lectures
At the 9th Anniversary of the September 18th HWPL World Peace Summit, which took place from September 18 to 21, 2023, the International Religious Peace Academy (IRPA) featured special lectures from representatives of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism over three days. Following the earlier IRPA event held online in July, these special lectures were conducted offline with Q&A sessions, which allowed the audience to actively interact with the speakers. Notably, Chairman Lee Man Hee, Chairman of HWPL and the President of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, took the stage to speak to the audience as a lecturer for the IRPA special lecture on Christianity.
On the first day, special lectures on Sikhism and Islam were conducted. Dr. Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh Khalsa, Ambassador of the Sikh Religion of the Western Hemisphere delivered his lecture on the philosophy of Sikhism. In his lecture, he explained,“Today, we live in a world that is involved in countless wars and unrest due to a lack of compassion.” He also emphasized that misinterpretations of religion have led to terror and communal disharmony in society. He conveyed that the Sikh faith teaches us to be compassionate to others.
The Islamic speaker, Sheikh Haji Ibrahim Tufa, President of Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, deliberated on the significance of security in Islam and its role in promoting peace.
In the lecture on Hinduism held on the second day of the peace summit, Swami Vedanand Saraswati, the spiritual leader of Arya Samaj in South Africa, said, “The ultimate goal Hindus strive for is the highest good and the welfare of all; to promote the physical, spiritual, and social development of all beings.” He highlighted that no one should be content with their own welfare alone but should consider the welfare and well-being of all.
On the last day of the summit, special lectures on Buddhism and Christianity were held. Venerable Phra Sithawatchamethi, Vice-Abbot of Royal Monastery Wat Pa Lelai, underlined Buddha’s teachings on the equality of all individuals. People are to be judged and determined by their own actions and speeches, not by birth, nor by color, nor by race. He stated, “We are one as the same human beings without distinction of race and color.”
Chairman Lee Man Hee, the speaker at the special lecture on Christianity, explained the prophecies and their fulfillments as written in the Book of Revelation, and emphasized the need for unity by stating, “We must all become one. To achieve this, the World Alliance of Religions Peace Offices were established, and all religious individuals are encouraged to come forward with their scriptures to discuss and compare the scriptures. To see which is trustworthy, and which has valuable content.”
Finally, Swami Vedanand Saraswati Singh, the speaker for the special lecture on Hinduism, also expressed satisfaction in dispelling misconceptions about Hinduism during his lecture and the subsequent Q&A session. He observed that attending lectures from different religions helped him realize the various expressions of truth that ultimately convey the same message. Through this experience, there was heightened confidence that different religions can be understood, respected, and unified.