Asia West Pacific

Empowerment Workshop in Jeju: Peace is Present Here

By Jungjoo Gang Park

Group Photo of all participants. Photo by Jungjoo

Cultures of Peace-Korea Network now holds regular workshops throughout the year. On April 21-23, 2021, seventeen participants including four facilitators gathered to join an Empowerment Workshop in Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island.

After I joined the International Peace Training in Pati, Indonesia, I often dreamed of bringing the atmosphere and elements of Peace Place to our village. In Pati I experienced hospitality, local food, local cultures, a child-friendly environment, and local people’s support. Those things helped deepen our learning about peace and justice. 

The participants play the game, ‘Birds, Nests and Thunder’. Photo by Jungjoo

Then finally I was able to carry them out in our own context and setting here in Gangjeong Village. More than half of participants from the mainland did not know about the situation in Gangjeong Village. Jeju Island is a different culture from mainland Korea. This is an island culture based on the tradition of strong women divers. Our most sacred shoreline of Guroembi Rock was paved over with thousands of tons of concrete to build a massive naval base in direct violation of the peaceful Jeju Island culture, the UNESCO-recognized biosphere, and the will of the people. 

We invited them to join the human chain event to say “NO” to the military base and war. And they also tasted a bit of beautiful nature in Jeju during their stay. This time I realized the quality of our relationships with both the whole community and with the natural world around determines how peaceful and supportive our place to learn can be for us.

I feel very grateful for my friends who welcomed some participants to stay in their homes with such hospitality. During the workshop, we kept hearing from participants, “This is peace, peace is present here.”  Our next training is scheduled on August 20-22, 2021, on trauma resiliency. The third one will be on November 19-21 about liberation and discernment. I look forward to what we will learn from continuing opportunities and sharing with you all.

The participants join the human chain event which is a daily nonviolent peace action in Gangjeong Village. Photo by Ddalgi

Reflections from Participants

The beautiful nature of Jeju Island is such a gift for me.

It is a joy to be able to join the human chain event.

I feel alive in this moment of my life.

Peace is truly intrinsic in the power of life.

I gained understanding of myself and others.

I feel liberated from many unresolved emotions.             

I learned to trust friends in the course of our cooperation.

I expressed truly myself.

I reflected my past in a safe place.

I met companions to work with for creating cultures of peace!

Lunch at the front yard of the venue in the sunshine. Photo by Jungjoo