ASEZ, the University Student Volunteer Group of the World Mission Society Church of God (General Pastor Kim Joo-cheol), held the Global ASEZ Summit 2023 on July 6 at the New Jerusalem Pangyo Temple in Seongnam, Korea. ASEZ, which stands for “Save the Earth from A to Z,” is an international volunteer group consisting of university students of the Church of God which has more than 7,500 churches in 175 countries.


Under the theme of “Sustainable Society and Environment,” more than 1,500 university students from 500 universities in 40 countries gathered and put their heads together. Former Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Jong-gil, Professor of International Relations at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Jeong Seung-wook, Former Member of Seoul Metropolitan City Council Kim Gwang-su, and Professor at Sakhalin University Choi Chang-su attended the event, too.

The university students who had contributed to local communities through diverse volunteer activities while doing their academic work came from Seoul National University in the Rep. of Korea, Columbia University in the U.S., Free University of Berlin in Germany, University of Lima in Peru, University of Sydney in Australia, University of Cape Town in the Rep. of South Africa, etc. They had in-depth discussions on climate change mitigation and adaptation, crime prevention, and global citizenship initiatives, and they adopted the U500 [500 Universities] Joint Declaration for the happiness of humanity and the realization of a sustainable society.

Pastor Kim Joo-cheol from the Church of God welcomed all the participants, saying, “Today, we’ve come to this Summit for our future, beyond regional or national interests. Today’s Summit slogan is ‘Driving Force for Strong Unity.’ I hope that you will continue to play a pivotal role in bringing together various stakeholders, including government agencies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations.”


Influential figures from many countries sent congratulatory video messages to express their support. On July 4, Minister of Development and Social Inclusion of Peru Julio Javier Demartini Montes said, “As one global family, let us make efforts to protect our planet Earth.”


New York State Senator Neil D. Breslin said, “ASEZ has done much, tackling social and environmental issues. They have raised awareness on our need to dedicate ourselves to the environment.” Ambassador of the Philippines to Korea Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega said, “I hope that this Summit will bring the ASEZ members closer together as you join hands to build a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable world.”


President of the National Congress of Peru José Daniel Williams Zapata said in a video lecture, “It is important not to cause more harm to the earth’s climate system. I’m sure that you will be the leaders who save the earth and form the environment that is needed to protect the next generation.”

University student representatives from six continents had a panel discussion on environmental, social, and economic impact of illegal mining, importance of biodiversity and blue carbon, necessity of emergency relief efforts and education on disaster preparedness, importance of crime prevention education for youth, and the awareness of global citizenship and partnership. Mathew Watson from the State University of New York as the representative of North America, said, “Mitigating climate change is only half of the solution to a sustainable society. Efforts to adapt to climate change are also needed to make a sustainable society where everyone is happy.”

After the discussion by continent, the U500 Joint Declaration was adopted and declared. More than 1,500 attendants pledged to restore ecosystems, realize carbon neutrality, reduce crime, respond to disasters with emergency relief teams, improve the quality of life of vulnerable groups, and strengthen global cooperation and partnership. People from all walks of life signed the Declaration and agreed to lead a sustainable future by carrying out the six agendas.


ASEZ had held conferences in each country before the Summit to draw up the above agendas, and will deliver the U500 Joint Declaration to the UN. At the High Level Political Forum [HLPF] which is going to be held from July 10 to July 19, ASEZ will exhibit the Joint Declaration at the ASEZ and ASEZ WAO [World Mission Society Church of God Young Adult Worker Volunteer Group] exhibition hall to share it with world leaders.

The university students who attended the Summit were the 77th Overseas Visiting Group of the Church of God. They came from the U.S., Germany, Mexico, the Philippines, etc. to attend the Worldwide University Student Leadership Conference 2023 hosted by the Church of God from July 5 to July 12, 2023. They will also attend Special Lectures on Leadership and Vision Presentations to gain knowledge as future leaders, and visit the metropolitan area and Chungcheong Province to experience Korea’s history and culture.