Welcome to TPI
The town of Taiping (which means ‘everlasting peace’) was born out of desire for peace and harmony. It is also a town of splendid beauty, of natural habitat with a setting of a lake, rivers and hills. It is also full of cultural diversity and a fascinating urban heritage.
Taiping is located in the state of Perak in Malaysia. It is some 70 kilometres south of the beautiful and famous island of Penang.
The town has many Malaysian firsts, among them Malaysia’s first railway (from Taiping to Port Weld), the first modern prison, the first museum, the first hill resort (Maxwell’s Hill, now knows as Bukit Larut), the first Lake Garden. It has many delightful tourist sites. Taiping is also home to a Commonwealth War Cemetery, dedicated to many war victims. It is one of best kept cemeteries in the region.
The Peace Initiative
The citizens of Taiping, through the Taiping Tourist Association, have decided that Taiping should contribute to peace and harmony in the country and the world by launching The Taiping Peace Iniative.
The Initiative was conceived in the year 2000 which was the United Nations Year for a Culture of Peace. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi A. Annan has said:
“For there to be peace among nations, there must also be peace within them, among groups and individuals. The UN Charter says ‘Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace must be constructed.’ All of us, young and old, rich and poor, governments and civil society alike, must do our part. Let us now pool our efforts and make good on its great potential. The culture of peace can be ours.”
The Director General of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsuura has said:
“Peace can only be achieved through our behaviour, attitudes an everyday acts. The Culture of Peace is the universal culture that is shared by all peoples. It is essential to our common humanity. Together, let us cultivate peace. Let us each ask ourselves ‘What can we do for peace today?’”
What can we do?
The Taiping Peace Initiative will be a long-term, permanent activity at the local, national and global level. It has organised the following main activities:
- Workshop on ‘Promoting Peace and Harmony’ the first was held on Sunday 22nd April 2001, which is Earth Day and celebrated globally.
- Planting of ‘Peace Poles’. The message of ‘May peace prevail on earth’ and ‘everlasting peace’ will be spread throughout the country through ‘peace poles’ with suitable messages. (The first was planted in Taiping on 22nd April 2001).
- A web-site on ‘Everlasting Peace’ has been launched. It will act as a portal to link with other sites on peace issues.
- Every year begining on 2004 on the UN International Day of Peace, special ‘Taiping Peace Award’ will be given to an individual or organisation that has dedicated itself and has made an outstanding contribution to promoting peace and harmony locally, nationally or globally. The first award will be made on Tuesday 21st September 2004, the United Nations International Day of Peace.
- A ‘peace kit’, a useful publication on 99 things which an individual or group can do to make peace.
- A “Peace Heritage Centre” is being established. The venue is likely to be the former office of the Sanitary Board (a name of the Taiping Municipality in olden times). It will house a library – books and audio-visual material, art gallery and exhibitions on peace issues including an activity centre for peace activities. The building it is hope will be restored to its original glory.
- The Annual Peace Lecture. This was launched in 2002 with the Inaugural Lecture being delivered by Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Razali Ismail, the former President of the UN General Assembly. It was delivered on UN day (October 24th) at the UN office in Kuala Lumpur. The theme for the lecture was “Doing Peace Locally and Globally”.
- A Peace Park and Promenade has been established at the historic Lake Garden and that section of the road has been renamed Jalan Kedamaian (The Road To Peace). A Peace Pole has been planted with the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in the 4 main Malaysian languages. The Promenade has the same words in all the 6 United Nations official languages.
- The Initiative hosted the foundation of the Malaysian Interfaith Network (MIN) to foster understanding and cooperation among the various communities in the country ( see http://www.malaysianinterfaithnetwork.net )
- The Taiping Heritage research grants was launched by TPI. Students undertake research projects on the Heritage of Taiping
Ideas and volunteers for these and other agencies and sponsors will be most welcome.