Participants carry a Peace Road banner through the Parc du Lion in the French town of Wattrelos.
People from both France and Belgium can freely enjoy the large park because of the end of border controls in Europe’s Schengen area.
David and Sylvie Perry, the leaders in France of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), lead the participants on the Peace Road walk.
Hugo Veracx, Western Europe UPF chairman and FFWPU president, gives Peace Road fliers to people in the Parc du Lion.
Chantal Ng Onana, the FFWPU president for northern France, talks to a bicyclist about the Peace Road initiative.
Chantal Ng Onana of FFWPU engages passers-by in a conversation.
Plaine Augustine, a large field in the Parc du Lion that is dedicated to a young girl who died of cancer.
At the end of the march, participants build a mandala out of natural objects they’ve found in the park.
Young participants of the Peace Road event.
UPF Western Europe Chairman Hugo Veracx gives a talk about the Peace Road initiative.
David Perry, the national leader of FFWPU-France, gives a talk.
Participants listen to the speeches in front of a display of world flags.
Chantal Ng Onana of FFWPU addresses the participants.
The Peace Road participants at the end of the event
A Peace Road banner showing a world map of the proposed International Peace Highway
Wattrelos, France—A large park on the border between France and Belgium was the setting for a Peace Road event.
In Wattrelos, a municipality with about 40,000 inhabitants in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France, participants from both nations gathered on August 19, 2023, in the Parc du Lion (Park of the Lion), which borders Belgium on the north side.
As passport and border controls have been abolished in the Schengen area, people from both sides of the border can freely enjoy the park. A comparison was made with the Peace Park that has been proposed for the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.
Marching through the park, singing songs, giving speeches and distributing flyers, the participants caught the attention of passers-by. One young boy joined the singing, and a woman took a seat and listened to all the speeches. The origin and significance of the Peace Road project were well explained.
A mandala, which generally represents a spiritual journey, starting from outside to the inner core, through layers, was made with “treasures” found in the park.
At the conclusion of the event, there were sandwiches and drinks and time to socialize. It was a beautiful and sun-soaked event.
(Photographs by Jean-Paul Jager, UPF-France)