Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, an international peace advocate, has founded global models to empower youth and create peace leaders in both established and emerging nations. He is perhaps best known for his work with the Global Peace Foundation (GPF), which implements strategies to promote global development, peace, and security. At the core of the GPF is the vision that all of humanity belongs to one family under God. The love for family can be extended to every corner of the world and can deliver positive change for every nation.
In many underdeveloped regions, youth can make up nearly 70 percent of the national population. When identifying opportunities for positive change, Dr. Moon looks to the young as the most powerful source of hope and peaceful leadership. In doing so, he founded the Global Peace Youth Corps (GPYC).
The GPYC is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to educating youth. It gives them the tools and knowledge that future leaders need to become role models for moral and innovative change. The organization has created strategies to positively impact societies by creating a youth movement. It welcomes young people of all faiths, cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities, and unifies them through their shared values and moral principles.
International Young Leaders Assembly
Dr. Moon believes that change is in the hands of those who are motivated by working for a greater cause. A “greater good” approach will improve a leader as a role model, as well as enhance societal, national, community, and even global concerns.
He explains that global communities need innovative, passionate, and bold leadership in order to find solutions for the most complicated issues. The International Young Leaders Assembly (IYLA), hosted by the GPYC in partnership with several organizations, welcomes young leaders from all corners of the world and supports them with the resources they need to become strong and moral leaders in their home nations.
Naomi, an attendee of the 2013 summer IYLA in USA, explained that her life was changed after the event. “By the end of IYLA, I was constantly thinking of different ways I could use my education degree to help underprivileged children and bring education to the most remote corners of the Earth. This was the depth of inspiration IYLA brought to me in just nine short days.” She asserted that, after the event, she gained an entirely new perspective. Naomi hopes to recount a new story at next year’s event: a story of how she was the catalyst for change, which began one year before.
Speakers like Melinda Sanchez offer personal experience and expert accounts of how youth can make a dramatic impact on their world. During the IYLA, Sanchez, who hails from Camden, New Jersey, was born and raised in a region of violence and inadequate security. She offered justification for a paradigm shift between U.S.-China relations because of her unique background.
Sanchez explained that her youth was full of struggle, in an area devastated by conflict. It taught her the unrivaled importance of community and accountability, when striving for peaceful change. To Sanchez, communities can only improve through personal relationships. She suggested that youths and adults build up their communities and place focus on creating personal connections. These connections build friendships and alliances between the most unexpected people—or nations.
As a young girl, Sanchez was raised to believe that the United States and China were in competition with one another. In light of her views on community and relationships, she offered up a new alterative: that the two nations shift from competition to community.
She explains that worldwide community is as simple as extending the love and adoration of a family at home to families across the globe. Viewing the world as a larger family can make peace and harmony more realistic and more tangible.
Dr. Moon explains that the IYLA uses speakers like Sanchez to embolden young people and to give them reasons to become catalysts of change.
As a leadership development course, Global Connection is an international exchange program that allows young people to visit and interact with various regions around the world. Recently, GPYC-USA teamed up with Service for Peace (SFP). It gave young people the chance to work in communities and act as models for community-driven development.
In July of 2013, the GPYC and SFP partnered to bring a group of young leaders to the Dominican Republic. Alongside residents, the team repainted a school. This school had caused massive health concerns among residents. Its old, chipping paint was leading to many different respiratory conditions in students, keeping them from receiving adequate education and impacting their health. Despite the language barriers, the residents and the team created lasting relationships, and lasting change, in just nine days.
Similar programs are taking place around the globe in GPYC chapters worldwide. Youth from Korea have built multi-purpose halls and chicken coups for sister villages in Philippines, Nepal, and Kenya, where they expanded their hearts and minds in a hands-on classroom for leadership development. Young people from Asia have joined hands across the region in the Asian Youth Exchange 2013, to share ideas on how to be moral and innovative youth leaders who can impact their communities, nations, and world.
Extended Opportunities for the GPYC: Dr. Hyun Jin Moon Weighs In
The GPYC does more than hold conferences and give youth the opportunity to work abroad. They also create change through the Alllights Village Project, Campus Clubs, Forward March, and many other powerful projects that have helped to create innovative, young leaders, and lasting marks on the communities in which they work.
Alllights Village Project
At present, the Alllights Village Project has donated solar-powered lamps and a powerful source of hope to 1.9 billion residents in underdeveloped regions. These lamps encourage people to be accountable for their community, and offer hope for improved education, security, and harmony. The organization is currently creating and enhancing a model for improving community-driven development and sustainable change in rural regions around the globe.
East Africa Peace Service Corps
East Africa Peace Service Corps (EAPSC) is a movement of dedicated volunteers and peace builders, committed to increasing mutual understanding and cooperation across the communities of East Africa and beyond. The organization is focused on bringing people together, beyond their individual tribal identity. It teaches basic respect, as well as environmental preservation, to help community members make responsible lifestyle decisions, and to unite stakeholders in effective, peaceful responses to both environmental and social challenges.
GPYC members are known for starting college clubs that allow opportunities for innovative and moral leadership development. They create challenging programs for students and bring them face-to-face with their own personal, mental, emotional, and physical challenges to help them improve their leadership, innovation, and creativity.
This effort, unique to the USA chapter of the organization, works to help American war veterans find new hope, purpose, and meaning in their lives through selfless service to others. The GPYC devises service projects for those who have served. Veterans can work in their local regions, or participate in the All Lights Village Project, and assist rural communities around the world.
Dr. Hyun Jin Moon and GPF work diligently to create opportunities for youth to act as catalysts of positive social change. Through the Global Peace Youth Corps, young people around the world have the chance to see what they can do, rather than dream about what could be. They can put real ideas into action, as the organization empowers them with the tools, knowledge, and inspiration to make a difference in their world.