His presentation, “Interreligious Dialogue for Peace,” was one of several made by the peace keepers in attendance. The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The event was hosted by the Korean Organizing Committee for UN International Day of Peace (KOCUNIDP), which promotes peace campaigns in Korea.
“I presented because the political relationship between Japan and Korea is at its worst now, and nationalistic populism has dominated in Japan, South Korea, North Korea and China.” Terasawa said. “In order to overcome resentment of nationalist populism, it is important that universal religions, such as Buddhism and Christianity, work together.”
Terasawa, who is on sabbatical from Wartburg this fall, is in Seoul for three months as a visiting scholar researching and creating interreligious cooperation among Korean Buddhists, Christians, university professors and students with those in Japan and the U.S. He intends to publish a book about interreligious/transnational solidarity of religions as resistance to ultranationalist populism in East Asia and the Pacific Rim.
“Religion often divides us, but it can also unite us if we go beyond selfish denominational egotism,” he said. “That is why interreligious dialogue and cooperation is critically important, especially with our youth and our students in the Pacific Rim, including the U.S.”