Taisoo Kim Watson, Queensland Regional Meeting
This is a shortened version of the talk I delivered at the UNESCO Peace Conference in Paris, on 2-9 October 2017
I was one of many thousands children who went through very cold winters with very little food in Korea during the war. I am a lucky one who has survived. War is not kind to children and all other living things.
I started my first year primary school, not in a school building, but sitting on ground in a tent with very little protection from rain, wind and snow, as the school buildings were occupied by army.
We were so happy receiving beautiful text books provided by UNESCO. We all thought Mr UNESCO was a kind person and loved Korean children. I still remember our teacher said we must look after them, as next year students would need them to study. My mother covered the books with newspapers to keep them clean.
We are responsible to nurture our children by providing clean water, food and safe place, also education for their knowledge to understand other people, hope they will improve the world.
I am very proud of being a member of the Toowoomba community where over 100 languages spoken, many different kinds of delicious foods available and we are free to practice our faiths according to our choice.
A few years ago, six primary schools students created art works under the title We can all be friends. There were many delightful works and I was glad to be able to show one of them to the conference.
We judges had a wonderful time going through the works, and we presented the awards to the schools and students. We have learned so much through their eyes of what friendship means, and some suggestions for peace and harmony were very creative.
Recently we invited 50 school students and teachers to participate in a Harmony Tour visiting places of Worship, starting with Pure Land Learning College in Toowoomba, a Synagogue, a Sikh Temple and a Bosnian Islamic mosque in Brisbane. Learning how to appreciate and respect different faiths from young age is a beginning for world peace.
We are hoping to start a program for parents and children to experience the practices of different faiths and to share the joy of new discovery. This can be done by inviting friends and parents to their churches or mosques or other worshiping places. This is a natural way for children to learn, accept and respect different faiths. They will become the citizens of the world in every sense.
I took my grandson who was about 7 years old, to a celebration of Ramadan. It was held at the Catholic Church hall. He and a few children about same age had a great time playing together. He said it was the best party. And he said a girl with a head scarf ran faster than the boys.
We hope to provide more occasions for children and parents get together and to share food and start to build new friendships.
Children are our hope for world peace.
Young people are the future citizens of the World.