As the 95th anniversary peace movement project, YWCA of Korea launched their ‘2017 YWCA Women Peace Pilgrimage: From Halla to Baekdu.’  Starting with the highest mountain in South Korea, Mount Halla, YWCA Women Peace Pilgrims aim to climb up Mt. Jiri and Mt. Seorak of the south and Mt. Geumgang and Baekdu of the north until their 100th anniversary in 2022.

As the first chapter of the five year project, ‘Mt. Halla chapter’ had its opening from October 26th, 2017 in Jeju island, Korea. Total of 150 participants, which included the 95 ‘YWCA Women Peace Pilgrims’ symbolically commemorating the YWCA Korea’s 95th year anniversary of 2017, Yanbian Koreans from China, Korean-American diaspora from the U.S., and the North Korean defectors, climbed Mt. Halla together to call for the peaceful reunification of two Koreas.

“As I was born and raised in North Korea, I have always heard the expression ‘from Mt. Baekdu to Mt. Halla’ but not the other way around. I always thought that I’ll climb Mt. Baekdu of North Korea, but never thought that I’d be climbing Mt. Halla of South Korea first.  I pray that my journey for peace started in Mt. Halla today can continue until I reach Mt. Baekdu in North Korea.” North Korean Defector Participant- 

 “Yanbian Koreans in China has privilege of communicating with Chinese people in Chinese and also South and North Korean people in ‘Chosen’ language (old Korean language). Until we reach Mt. Geumgang in North Korea, we will continue are peace journey through the YWCA Women Peace Pilgrimage: From Halla to Baekdu. Yanbian Korean-Chinese Participant-

 

The program was divided into two courses 1) Peace Walking around Saryeoni Forest Trail and 2) Climbing the peak of Mt. Halla crater, Baekrokdam. At the each courses, the women peace pilgrims had their peace ceremony by reading the peace prayer, singing the song of peace and by declaring the peace declaration written by YWCA of Korea.

   

‘2017 YWCA Women Peace Pilgrimage: From Halla to Baekdu’ had its closure by the ‘Halla Peace Festival’ where participants shared their pilgrimage experiences with one another.

The 2017 Women Peace Declaration was declared by the 2017 women peace pilgrimage participants called the urgent action for 1) stopping all forms of warfare and military activities in Korean peninsula, 2) urging the four great powers surrounding the peninsula, that is, the United States, Russia (the former Soviet Union), China, and Japan to sign the peace treaty to build the Peace System on the Korean Peninsula, 3) urging the United States and North Korea to stop the war provocation and start the peace talk immediately.

 

Please direct your questions or comments to Grace Eun Young Kim(Program Coordinator of International Relations of YWCA of Korea) at lkgk33@gmail.com