2023 GCS International Convention Takes Place in Colombo, Sri Lanka

The 2023 GCS International Convention was held successfully in Colombo, Sri Lanka on December 8, 2023.

The annual Colombo GCS convention, which was held at Galadari Hotel in downtown Colombo in a hybrid format, attracted about 120 persons, about 70 in-person attendees from 14 countries and about 50 online participants from 40 countries.

The Colombo event drew the largest contingent of host Sri Lanka and a 17-member Korean delegation, followed by India with a six-member contingent, and Malaysia with a four-member delegation. Bangladesh and Nepal sent two delegates each, while Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Kyrgyzstan, Brunei, the Maldives, Hong Kong and Jordan dispatched one delegate each.

Among VIPs of the event were GCS International and World Taekwondo (WT) President Dr. Chungwon Choue; GCS Sri Lanka President Kanchana Jayaratna; Sri Lanka Taekwondo Federation President Chaminda Punchihewa; Lee Hyeong-taek, president of THF Asia; Kang Dae-keun, a board member of GCS International and president of THF Asia; Australia’s Mr. Magableh Maher, president of GCS Australia and a WT Council member; Mr. Prakash Shumsher Rana, president of GCS Nepal and the Nepal Taekwondo Association; and Mr. Hazem Ahmad Naimat, former WT Council member and ex-mayor of Amman, Jordan.

Also in attendance were Namdev Shirgaonker, president of GCS India and president of Taekwondo India; Kim In-seon, president of GCS Dallas, USA and a WT Council member; Shaddad Al Amri, president of the Saudi Arabia Taekwondo Federation; Prof. Jung Kook-hyun, a WT Council member; Prof. Suh Joo-hwan, president of GCS Korea; Dr. Seok-jae Kang, secretary general of GCS International; Lee Won-jong, secretary general of GCS Korea.

A four-member delegation of the International Center for Korean Culture (ICKC), headed by Mr. Park Eui-kun, president of the Finance Committee of the ICKC, also participated in the annual GCS convention.

The 2023 GCS International Convention started at 2 p.m. and lasted about three hours and 20 minutes, which featured each GCS national chapter’s country report session, the adoption of the 2023 GCS Colombo Peace Initiative, the delivery of the ICKC Taekwondo Development Fund, the unveiling of the GCS Peace Plaque, and the #play_taekwondo challenge event.

Dr. Choue opened the convention by ringing the GCS Bell, followed by the GCS Charter recitation by Mr. Magableh Maher, president of GCS Australia and a WT Council member, and the taking of the GCS membership pledge by Mr. Sivaraja Gobinath and Ms. Kavindaya Siriwardana of Sri Lanka.

After the pledge, there was a four-minute GCS meditation session, followed by the introduction of VIPs in-person and online participants. Dr. Seok-jae Kang, secretary general of GCS International, made a progress report.

GCS Sri Lanka President Kanchana Jayaratna made a welcoming speech and GCS International President Dr. Choue delivered a congratulatory address.

“My special appreciation goes to Kanchana Jayaratna, president of GCS Sri Lanka, and his team on organizing this annual GCS event,” said Dr. Choue in his congratulatory message.

He said, “As you are well aware of, the U.N. International Day of Peace was first proposed by GCS International founder Dr. Young Seek Choue in 1981 and the U.N. General Assembly approved it that year.” “The GCS Movement has three major focuses: goodwill, cooperation and service-dedication. We strive to achieve the three by promoting a healthy society, a better living, preservation of the nature, restoration of human dignity and promotion of world peace.”

Dr. Choue said. “The GCS Movement aims to establish a human society of coexistence and co-prosperity where all human beings will enjoy lives which are spiritually beautiful, materially affluent and humanly rewarding.” “GCS founder Dr. Young Seek Choue named it “Oughtopia” as a society of “ought-to-be” and “ought-to-do” under the spirit of goodwill, cooperation and service. For that lofty goal, we have carried out various activities around the world under the GCS flag.”

“Peace is More Precious than Triumph is the book title of the late Dr. Young Seek Choue, which was published in 1982 and the GCS slogan sends a great message to mankind of today,” said Dr. Choue. “In March this year, GCS International and GCS Korea jointly organized a biography publication ceremony for the GCS founder in Seoul, Korea to reflect on his life and achievements as well as to shed a new light on his vision and thoughts on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth.”

“Amid growing uncertainties, the world is ridden by the Russia-Ukraine war, the Israel-Hamas conflict and the U.S.-China rivalry and etc. In these times of uncertainty, we, GCS members, have to strive to achieve a global common society,” he said.

“For global GCS members, next year will be a very meaningful as we will celebrate the 45th anniversary of founding. In this regard, I ask for your continued service and dedication to the promotion of the GCS Movement around the world,” Dr. Choue said.

After Dr. Choue’s speech, Mr. Namdev Shirgaonker, president of Taekwondo India, read the background of the U.N. International Day of Peace, followed by a showing of a four-minute video on the 42nd anniversary of the U.N. International Day of Peace.

After that, there was a 10-minute video presentation by Dr. Luc Reychler, emeritus professor of the University of Leuven, on the GCS Colombo Peace Initiative 2023. All the participants in the convention unanimously adopted the 2023 GCS Colombo Peace Initiative.

The 2023 GCS Colombo Peace Initiative reads as follows: GCS participants in the 2023 GCS International Convention in Colombo, Sri Lanka believe that at least four interlocking steps are necessary to build peace:

  1. The prevention of violent conflicts, ceasefire, and the focus on winning the peace. Ceasefire is very important because a frozen conflict is less destructive, less costly and less dangerous than a protracted war.
  2. The creation of space for dialogue, diplomacy and self-critique. This implies freedom of expression. Ceasefire and peace negotiations are blocked by groupthink, characterized by an unquestioned belief in superior morality, the stereotyping and demonization of the other, the pressure to conform and the exclusion and sanctioning of persons and organizations who promote a ceasefire and peace negotiations.
  3. Putting an end to dehumanization, psychological escalation, and the waste of precious time.
  4. Removing the root causes. This is the most important condition for building peace. Sustainable peace demands not only the absence of armed violence, but also structural, psychological and environmental violence.

After the adoption of the peace initiative, there was a 15-minute break time, followed by the GCS Activities report session by in-person and online participants.

The country report session began by showing of a WT video on the unveiling of a taekwondo statue at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland and the receiving of the Olympic Cup on November 15, 2023, and the showing of a video on GCS International activities. The order of in-person GCS activities presentations was host Sri Lanka, Korea, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Australia, Hong Kong, and Kyrgyzstan.

Then, GCS International President Dr Choue delivered a plaque of appreciation to GCS Sri Lanka President Kanchana Jayaratna for his efforts for organizing the Colombo GCS event. Dr. Choue also handed over certificates of appreciation and participation to exemplary GCS members and VIPs.

After the felicitation, Mr. Park Eui-kun of the ICKC, delivered a board with wordings of ICKC Taekwondo Development Fund for WT Cares Program to GCS International President Dr. Choue, who also serves as president of the ICKC. Dr. Choue then gave a certificate of appreciation to Mr. Park for the ICKC’s continued support for taekwondo and the GCS Movement.

Then there was a ceremony to unveil the GCS Peace Plaque, which will be installed at the headquarters of the Sri Lanka Taekwondo Federation.

The unveiling ceremony was followed by a #play_taekwondo challenge event, in which GCS International President Choue posed with all attendees of the convention by holding one of five boards with the wordings of “Peace is More Precious than Triumph,” “World Peace through Taekwondo,” “Peace in Mind, Taekwondo at Heart,” “Sept. 21 UN International Day of Peace,” and “42nd UN International Day of Peace.”

A traditional Sri Lankan dance performance drew a big applause from the participants.

All the participants then sang the GCS song and GCS International President Dr. Choue concluded the convention by ringing the GCS Bell. All participants posed for a group photo with the GCS slogan banner in front.




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