Esteemed co-chairpersons of the Organizing Committee of the International Festival in Praise of the Great Persons of Mt. Paektu(OCIFPGPP), and its secretaries and members,
Dear senior officials of the organizations of friendship and solidarity with the Korean people around the world,
Dear comrades and friends,
First of all, please allow me to express my heartfelt thanks to all the participants present here in today’s meeting for your full supports to the convocation of the consultative meeting of the OCIFPGPP leading members and for exerting every possible effort to make it the most successful.
Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to wish a happy New Year to all the participants who have seen the new year in, full of new hopes and dreams, after seeing off last year by standing firm against the global health crisis, which is getting more serious and assuming a more protracted nature.
At the same time, I, on behalf of the Organizing Committee, would like to send the warmest New Year’s greetings to the Korean people, who ushered in the new year with the remarkable achievements in the last year’s struggle to stimulate a fresh development in the building of a thriving socialist nation by braving innumerable challenges resolutely.
Dear comrades and friends,
At this very moment to review the works of the Organizing Committee for the last three years since its formation, I, as its co-chair and one of joint conveners of the meeting, can not hold back but to recollect with deep emotions the historical process of having our organization inaugurated.
Our grand assembly, which started from the Gathering to Greet the Sun of the 21st Century in February, 2002, on Mt. Paektu, the sacred mountain of Korea, further sublimed into the international celebration, well-organized both in its structure and contents, when we had the 5th International Festival in Praise of the Great Persons of Mt Paektu in 2017.
The Festival not only brought us a mere joy and excitement but served as an opportunity for us to resonantly voice our respect and admiration for the great leaders who turned Korea into yet a small but powerful state standing aloft in the limelight of the world. It was also a meaningful gathering to wish Korea everlasting prosperity and development, and extend our sincere support and solidarity to the Korean people.
This led to the international demand for convening such a festival regularly every five years more vocal, and this unanimous desire finally gave a birth to the Organizing Committee of the International Festival in Praise of the Great Persons of Mt. Paektu, in Minsk, Belarus as an international organization with its mission to take full charge of organizing the future international festivals, and to praise the great leaders of the Korean people and give wider publicity to the reality of Korea on major occasions in-between festivals.
I vividly remember the moment when I sat together with the co-chairpersons and many other international friends present here to inaugurate the Organizing Committee in Minsk in April 2018. To me, it seems like the day before yesterday, but became almost four years since then. In these years, I am proud to conclude that we have always lived in a noble sense of duty, with many befitting activities planned and conducted on an international scale without halt, never regarding the unavoidable circumstances and challenges by global health crisis as an inevitable fate.
In fact, for me, with more than twenty years of working experience with Korea and promoting its reality to the rest of the world, there is the philosophical principle which became my creed – that is a great leader makes a great country.
The miracle that transformed Korea, a small country in the East infested with struggle of concession among the world powers, into a bulwark of justice and champion of peace, and an ideal society of the working masses; the great strength safeguarded the destiny of the country and the nation against the high handedness of the imperialists by holding higher the banner of independence and socialism even when the socialist flags were hoisted down in the East European countries at the termination of the cold war; the outstanding leadership that brought Korea up to the prestigious position of a pacemaker leading the world politics by redefining the geo-political location of Korea – these are eye-opening events possible only in Korea, a country that make a steady progress and development, blessed with continued leadership of the great leaders.
Whenever I think of Korea, it calls to mind the words of the former U.S. president Jimmy Carter eulogized President KIM IL SUNG as the great Sun god of the human destiny. Witnessing the reality of today that the history of the human sun continues throughout generations and it shines not only Korea but all over the world, I feel proud of my commitment to Korea, which was my greatest choice of my entire life.
With this in mind, I believe it is very natural for us, aspiring after justice and peace, to laud the great men, highly recognized and unhesitatingly praised by the world politicians with different political views and religions, and even by the heads of the enemy state – this is, indeed, our honorable mission and task.
The OCIFPGPP, proceeding from its noble mission, sought to put it on a regular basis to deliver the beautiful floral baskets to His Excellency KIM JONG UN, president of the State Affairs of the DPRK on different occasions including the Day of the Sun, the birthday of President KIM IL SUNG, and the Day of the Shining Star, the birthday of Leader KIM JONG IL for the last three years.
The Organizing Committee remained true to its principle of activities to hold various events on different occasions between the international festivals every 5 years, thus organized the international event grandly in Pyongyang in September 2018 to celebrate the 70th founding anniversary of the DPRK, while taking advantage of the internet to launch different programs. To take a few examples, the International E-seminar,”Great Man of the Century”, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the demise of President KIM IL SUNG in July, 2019, and the International E-seminar “Korea: Ever-victorious with Independence” in October 2020 on the occasion of the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea demonstrated how fervently the world’s progressives revere the great leaders of the Korean people. At the same time, the above events served as an opportunity for the Organizing Committee to build up its capacity and experience of organizing and coordinating the celebration activities of the world’s progressive peoples involving the different organizations of friendship and solidarity with the Korean people on the global scale.
Remaining highly appreciative to our international friends for attending all the programs initiated by the Organizing Committee in a proactive manner and making contributions to its success, with the excitement and joy felt on Mt. Paektu enshrined in hearts, my special thanks go to to the Korean comrades for supporting our programs with due interest and delivering all the possible cooperation.
Dear comrades and friends,
If it wasn’t this pandemic prevailing the world, this year, 2022, would be the year in which we had to organize the 6th International Festival in Praise of the Great Persons of Mt. Paektu and celebrated together with the Korean people, both in Pyongyang and on Mt. Paektu, the 110th anniversary of the birth of President KIM IL SUNG, the 80th anniversary of the birth of Leader KIM JONG IL and the 10th anniversary of having His Excellency KIM JONG UN in the highest position of the Party and the State of the DPRK.
It is a great pity that we can not hold the 6th International Festival against our will, but I, as a co-chair of the Organizing Committee, have seen many potentials still available to organize the international activities by optimizing various tools on-line, in this year of great significance for the Korean people and the world’s progressive peoples. Therefore, I decided to call for this meeting jointly with Mr. Damian Ogbonna, one of our esteemed co-chairs, which in turn was fully supported and endorsed by all the members of the Organizing Committee.
The reason we specially set January 7th as the date of this meeting is that we believed it would add even more significance to our overall action if we launch this year’s activity on the occasion of January 8th, a birth anniversary of His Excellency KIM JONG UN.
I trust this is our unanimous feeling but we were to see the true image of the most illustrious and popular leader of the modern times in His Excellency KIM JONG UN, who is wisely leading the comprehensive development of the socialist construction by making every possible efforts and selfless devotion for the good of the people, while holding fast to life-long motto of the preceding leaders without vacillation, even in this unprecedented global health crisis and consecutive natural disasters. Hence we should demonstrate our rock-firm will to remain faithful to our goal and mission by launching our first activity on the occasion of his birthday in this significant year.
I believe that this meeting will serve as a good opportunity to exchange the earnest and constructive opinions in drawing out this year’s action plan for the Organizing Committee in celebration of the meaningful high days, thanks to active involvement and support of the participants.
Hopefully, the leading members of the Organizing Committee and personages from different countries around the world present here would freely input their ideas and share experiences so as to make this meeting productive and conducive to their future efforts to discharge their noble duties, both undauntedly and relentlessly, by being conscious and mindful of their mission even in this prevailing circumstance with health crisis. In the meantime, it is my hope that you would make a tangible contribution to confirming this year’s action plan in the most realistic way.
Paying the highest tribute to President KIM IL SUNG, Leader KIM JONG IL and His Excellency KIM JONG UN, the great leaders of the Korean people, on behalf of all the participants of the meeting, I very much look forward to seeing our activities this year permeated with our strenuous efforts to praise the undying feats of the great leaders and support the just cause of the Korean people.
Last but not least, please allow me to conclude my report by saying that Every move of our own is a series of the struggle to overcome the challenges and difficulties, and it should be rather a marathon than a sprint.
Come what may, there is always a way out and the victory is definite when one has a firm conviction and faith in its own cause – this is a valuable truth that the whole history of humankind, especially the great leaders of the Korean people taught us in practice.
Peter Robert Woods
Co-chair of the Organizing Committee of the International Festival in Praise of the Great Persons of Mt. Paektu (OCIFPGPP),
Co-chair and Director of Executive Bureau of the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (APRCPRK),
Ambassador of United Cities and Local Governments (Asia-Pacific)