Come Join Us to Celebrate
“I N T E R N A T I O N A L
CR I M I N A L J U S T I C E D A Y”
Learn more about the importance of this event from:
Ronald Glossop, Chair,
St. Louis Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC)
Leila Nadya Sadat, Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law
Director, Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute,
Washington University School of Law
WHEN: 10:00 a.m.–Saturday morning, July 17, 2010
(Light refreshments will be served; no charge)
WHERE: Hanke Room, Ethical Society of St. Louis
9001 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights, MO 63117
In the afternoon of the same day help us distribute
the news about ICJD to the public in downtown St. Louis
before the 3:00 Cardinals-Dodgers baseball game.
Co-sponsors: The Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute of Washington University Law School, Amnesty International’s St. Louis chapter, the United Nations Association of Greater St. Louis, Citizens for Global Solutions of Greater St. Louis, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom of St. Louis, and the Ethical Action Committee of the Ethical Society of St. Louis.
For more info, contact Ron Glossop at 314/869-2303 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
REPORT ON STRATEGIES FOR ISRAELI/PALESTINIAN PEACE MEETING
(by Mary Jane Schutzius of WILPF on their May 6 meeting which CGS/STL co-sponsored)
“Criticizing Israel has long been the equivalent of touching a third rail in many Jewish families and friendships, relegating disagreements to a conversational demilitarized zone where only the innocent and foolhardy go.” (Stephen McGee, The New York Times, May 5, 2010)
Jane Mendelson used this quotation in her introductory remarks for the May 6 WILPF panel on “Strategies for Israeli/Palestinian Peace: What Can I Do” at the University City Library Auditorium. If not a “third rail” for the gathering that night, it was certainly a conversation stimulus.
Mazen Badra, a Palestinian living in the U.S. for the past eight years, led off by explaining the rationale for the Mind of Peace Experiment, which consists of five two-hour discussions between Jews and Palestinians on ways to solve problems and achieve peace in Israel and Palestine. Badra and Sapir Handelman organized two groups for discussions at UMSL in late 2008, early 2009, and since then, seven other groups have been organized, two or three in Israel, one in Canada, and the rest in the U.S. “If grassroots people can come together and arrive at solutions, certainly diplomats should be able to achieve a peaceful solution.”
Hala Abdelaziz, a Palestinian-born architect, explained the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign’s goal as pressuring Israel to conform to international law and UN resolutions and pressuring the U.S. to comply with the same. She said the purpose is not anti-Semitic, is not to destroy Israel, and targets Israeli, not Jewish products, in a non-violent method. Current boycott campaigns are aimed at Ahava, an Israeli cosmetic company based in a West Bank settlement; Caterpillar of Peoria, IL, selling weaponized bulldozers to Israel for building the Wall and for demolition of Palestinian homes; and Motorola, which provides mobile phones in Israel. At the University of California-Berkeley, a boycott of General Electric and United Technology is being planned.
Robert Fares, a Washington University mechanical engineering student and leader of The J Street U group there, began by telling of his experience in Lebanon in 2006 when Israel bombed the airport there, his discovery that many of his Washington U friends were Jews (his father is Lebanese, his mother from northern Virginia, U.S.), and his participation in the campus peace movement through the Union of Progressive Zionists, which morphed into J Street U. Within U.S. society, the latter organization works for peace, an end to violence, security for Israel, and a two-state solution, “We care about Israel and its future; we care about Palestine and its future; we care about Israeli and Palestinian people,” he said.
After the three panelists spoke, a long line formed of people with questions and comments, such as: Palestinians in the West Bank are enduring taxation without representation; Israelis are terrorized by the rockets launched from Gaza; the BDS campaign is directed against the government, not against civilians; the BDS campaign is not a fraction as aggressive as the blockade of Gaza; if agreement cannot be reached, what about binding arbitration; both sides need to negotiate, no one else can enforce a solution; a two-state solution is impossible as long as there are settlements in the West Bank; Israeli children in camps [like summer camps in the U.S.] sing for peace; and the final remark from a young Palestinian woman: “Israeli children sing for peace; Palestinian children sing for freedom.”
About 80 people attended, among whom were many new faces and many young people. As usual, Jane was a gracious moderator and Suzanne Reinhold a fair timekeeper, allowing the last four a minute’s worth of commentary before the session was adjourned for more refreshments and conversation, which spilled over into the parking lot after we vacated the library. If we can keep talking and listening, maybe we can arrive at a solution to all the world’s problems.
2010 National CGS Convention, May 19-22
By Ron Glossop
Dave Oughton and Ron Glossop of the St. Louis chapter of CGS attended the national CGS convention in Washington DC along with our three student essay contest winners, Courtney Anvender, Ben Stephan, and Mary Lee Ptacek, all from St. Louis University. The theme of the meeting was “The United Nations: Confronting Genocide.”
Wednesday evening there was an informal reception for most of the attendees while the Board of Trustees had a separate get-acquainted dinner meeting.
Thursday was lobby day. After a morning training session where we were informed about the funding which Congress needs to authorize to prevent genocide, about the new START treaty, about the Convention to Eliminate all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and about the UN Law of the Sea Treaty, we went to the office of Congressman Russ Carnahan, who talked with us as we walked with him to a meeting that he had to attend. This was an easy task because he supports all of our concerns. After lunch, Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts gave us a pep-talk on how important the work of CGS is. Then we went to the offices of Senators Claire McCaskill and Christopher Bond where we talked with their staff on the importance of ratifying the START nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, CEDAW, and the Law of the Sea Treaty.
Then I went to a meeting of the Boards of CGS and the CGS Education Fund. The basic message was about how well we have been doing with regard to everything but getting money. The staff of CGS is known and respected in Washington and also by the peace-and-justice foundations. A big challenge is to get public support in conservative areas like the South. That evening we heard Stephen Rapp, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, speak on how the U.S. government is focused on working multinationally on protecting human rights, including cooperating with the ICC.
Friday and Saturday was the simulation exercise on what the United Nations might do if the Binding Triad voting system were in effect in the General Assembly. That system of voting, first suggested by Richard Hudson of the Center for War/Peace Studies in 1976, allows the General Assembly to make binding world law if a measure is supported by 2/3 of the countries of the U.N. representing 2/3 of the world’s population and paying 2/3 of the U.N. budget. Some slight modifications of that proposal have been made. On the other hand, our mock Security Council used the rules now in effect. It was soon obvious that those rules, especially the veto power of the five permanent members, made it virtually impossible to get anthing done. We were given information about events requiring our action, but it quickly became evident that stopping action was easier than getting anything adopted. For example, during our mock exercise we received news that Israel had launched an attack on Iran, but the Security Council could not do much because of a threat of a U.S. veto to any resolution that in any way condemned Israel.
Another event was the Friday noon meeting of CGS’s World Federalist Institute (WFI) whose Steering Committee I chair. I was urged to write an article for our twice-a-year publication MINERVA to educate everyone on the crucial difference beween the war system we now have under the confederate U.N. and a peace system which we would have under a democratic world federation.
Friday evening we heard presentations by Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs at the State Department & Dr. Francis Deng of Sudan, U.N. Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atocities. Deng was a main person in the development of the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) principle that has now been affirmed by both the General Assembly and the Security Council. The R2P principle is that the sovereignty of national governments includes the obligation to protect the human rights of all persons living in that country and that it is the obligation of the international community to intervene if a national government fails to do that.
The meeting officially ended Saturday noon because so many people had to leave that it was no longer possible to maintain the mock U.N. meetings.
The general conclusion I draw from the convention is that the organization is running smoothly, that Don Kraus and Bob Enholm are providing very good leadership, that they have recruited some very good young people to staff the organization, that we were able to attract very influential people to participate in our convention, that the CGS Political Action Committee is having an impact on the make-up of Congress, and that the great need at present for CGS is money, money, and more money.
Reports by our Student essay contest winners on the
2010 Citizens for Global Solutions Annual Meeting
By Courtney Anvender, St. Louis University
The Citizens for Global Solutions Annual Meeting was an incredibly informative and enjoyable experience for me. Our first day in Washington was dedicated to lobbying on Capitol Hill regarding the issues of the START Treaty and the CEDAW Treaty for Women’s Rights. We were fortunate enough to meet directly with Representative Carnahan, one of the few legislators to receive a grade of A+ from the Citizens for Global Solutions Political Action Committee for his work supporting CGS goals on international issues. Aside from Representative Carnahan, we spoke with staffers from the offices of Senators McCaskill and Bond. While it was clear that Representative Carnahan was in full support of CGS and the START Treaty, it seemed as though our agenda was facing increasing opposition as the day went on, culminating in a somewhat tense conversation with the staffer from Senator Bond’s office. That being said, I feel as though I learned the most during this exchange because it was an accurate representation of the type of opposition that the START Treaty is facing from several Senators.
Following our whirlwind day on Capitol Hill, we began our Model United Nations the next morning. After learning about the Binding Triad model from Dr.
Oughton just the day before, it was fascinating to see how it was implemented in a simulation U.N. General Assembly. As the representative for Japan, the Binding Triad accorded me a favourable status; Japan is the second highest contributor to the UN and has the world’s tenth largest population. While the reformed UN showed us the benefits of a more democratic model, it also highlighted some of the difficulties. Smaller and sometimes more hostile countries were given a louder voice, and it became apparent that it was still very difficult to actually pass a binding resolution.
Overall, my experience at the Citizens for Global Solutions Annual Meeting was enriching and stimulating. Lobbying on Capitol Hill on behalf of CGS was not only an honor, but it was a great learning experience. As a participant in a reformed UN simulation, I gained a deeper understanding of the problems facing the United Nations as an international body. Finally, the prominent speakers that presented throughout the three days were especially informative and inspiring. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have attended the meeting in Washington, D.C.. I look forward to being a member of Citizens for Global Solutions both now and in the future.
Thank you to CGS of Greater St. Louis!
By Benjamin Stephan. St. Louis University
Citizens for Global Solutions’ annual meeting in Washington, D.C. was an incredibly insightful experience. Aside from offering a valuable networking opportunity in our nation’s most powerful city, it was also an inspiring learning setting. I had the chance to sit down and discuss critical issues with both representatives and staffers on Capitol Hill. Furthermore, I listened to influential figures speaking about some of the most crucial topics that we as a nation – and a world – face. Finally, it was my turn to play the role of important person as I actively participated in a Model United Nations conference.
For three days, I was surrounded by passionate people who believed in something enough to take action. These people were from cities across the country, united in core values, such as the prevention of genocide. They were knowledgeable, but they were also experienced. I lived vicariously through some of these individuals, all while dialoguing about current events and issues that mattered to me.
Perhaps the most insightful experience was the lobbying aspect of the annual meeting. I had the opportunity to accompany Dr. Ronald Glossop and Dr. David Oughton through the halls of the different Congress buildings on Capitol Hill. Furthermore, I was welcomed to voice my opinion with not only staffers to Representatives, but to Senators as well. It was then that I felt as if my voice as an American citizen was truly being heard.
To top off the meeting, all members were invited to partake in a Model United Nations conference. The UN is already an organization that fascinates me, so I enthusiastically played the role of Nigerian representative on the Security Council. The atmosphere was interesting, intellectual, and fun – a great way to end the meeting.
Thank you, Citizens for Global Solutions, for giving me this opportunity. I cannot emphasize enough how insightful this experience was for me. I look forward to sharing this experience and the skills I have acquired, for it was inspiring.
TWO VISITS TO SENATOR BOND’S LOCAL OFFICE
Yvonne Logan of WILPF and Ron Glossop of Citizens for Global Solutions met with Bond’s Community Liaison Peggy Barnhart on Tuesday, May 25 while Andy Heaslet of PEP and Ron met with Bond’s District Office Director and Policy Advisor Michael DuBois on Wednesday, May 26.
The main item discussed in both meetings was the need for the Senate to vote before the end of the year for ratification of the new START treaty with Russia. We emphasized that this treaty was a very small step in reducing the number of nuclear weapons but that its ratification is important to keep things moving toward the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons. Failure to ratify would mean missing an important opportunity. We noted that Senator Bond had voted to support START 1 in 1992, START 2 in 1996, and SORT in 2003, encouraging us to expect him to do the right thing now. His support is crucial because at least some Republicans will need to vote for ratification to get the 2/3 vote needed in the Senate.
A second topic was the ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We emphasized the fact that there was widespread expectation that this treaty would get the 2/3 vote needed for ratification if it could just be brought to a vote. We urged that Senator Bond do all he can to overcome the hold on the vote being exercised by the two Senators from Oklahoma.
A third topic was the need to advance several measures to prevent future genocides, measures such as adequately funding the U.S. State Department, U.S. AID programs, U.N. peacekeeping, and various international organizations. With regard to preventing genocide, we also focused on the need for the U.S. to be more cooperative with the International Criminal Court and eventually to support the creation of an individually recruited U.N. Emergency Peace Force.
On the first visit a fourth topic raised by Yvonne was the need for the Senate to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The U.S. is the only industrialized country that has not yet ratified it. This treaty is important not because of any difference it would make for women in the U.S. but because of the impact U.S. ratification would have on the lives of many women in other countries.
On the May 26 visit a fourth topic raised by Andy was the need for Senator Bond to join with other Senators in urging President Obama to sign the Landmines Treaty. Ron noted that the U.S. depends greatly on land mines in Korea but that it would still be possible to sign and ratify the treaty with the stipulation that it does not apply U.S. weapons in Korea.
Both representatives from Bond’s office listened attentively to our presentations leading us to hope that our visits could produce some positive results.
David C. Oughton, Fenton, MO
– June 24 Letter to the Editor,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
In the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union possessed more than 50,000 nuclear weapons. In recent years, the United States and the Russian Federation have begun the long process of reducing nuclear stockpiles.
President Barak Obama signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russian Federation in April. Once ratified, this treaty will reduce deployed strategic warheads and delivery systems by 30 percent over seven years. It includes a strict verification system.
This treaty is a critical first step in gaining international cooperation needed to prevent nuclear terrorism and address growing hostile nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea. Swift ratification will communicate to the world that the United States government is serious about its non-proliferation commitments.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and military leadership support ratifying this New START treaty. Senators from both parties are committed. I urge Senator Claire McCaskill, D-MO, and Senator Christopher Bond, R-MO, to vote for ratification. Mr. Bond voted for the past three arms-reductions treaties with Russia.
Reducing the size of nuclear arsenals significantly lessens the possibility of nuclear war, theft or nuclear accidents. Total disarmament of the weapons of mass destruction and eliminating the scourge of war will be possible when people of the world create a democratic system based on the principle of subsidiarity of enforceable world laws.GREET ONE OF THE WINNERS! Contestants in the essay contest were advised that the winning essays were to have two parts. In the first part the students were to tell us why they would be a good choice to attend our national convention with all expenses paid. The second part is to indicate at least one global problem that needs attention and discuss how they would deal with it. This is the first of the two winning essays. Ben Stephan’s essay will appear in this newsletter in the Fall, 2010 issue. See above where both winners report on their experience.
Making the United Nations Work for Us
Courtney Anvender, St. Louis University student essay contest winner
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”
This quote from Herman Melville embodies the spirit of community engagement that I have striven to uphold throughout my time as a student. As a student at a Jesuit university, I am called to a life of activism in my quest to be a “woman for others.” Because of this, I am not one to sit on the sidelines; I am a passionate and engaged member of my school community. This local activism has compelled me to become an activist on the global scale as well. I believe that the United Nations is the global community’s strongest body for positive change. If chosen to attend the simulation assembly, I would be able to strengthen my abilities as both a local and global activist and to also increase my understanding of the United Nations as force for positive change.
As a student of Political Science and International Studies, I have learned about the issues facing our global community. While some individuals tend to adopt a rather American-centric view of the world, my classes have led me to see the world in a more holistic sense. I am proud to be an American, but I also firmly believe that my patriotism cannot blind me to the injustices occurring outside of our boundaries. I see America’s role as a crucial one in addressing these issues under auspices such as the United Nations.
My education has also afforded me the opportunity to learn intermediate-level Arabic. The dedication necessary to learn Arabic is a testament to my commitment to learning. By studying Arabic, I have come to develop a deep appreciation of the Arab culture. My knowledge of Arabic culture has profoundly affected my perception of Middle Eastern relations and politics. I am dedicated to advocating for a greater understanding of the Arabic people, especially within the United States. This insight would be beneficial to integrate into discussions regarding relations with the Middle East during the United Nations simulation.
Last spring, I studied at Imperial College in London and was brought into contact with global political issues on a daily basis. Through my travels to Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Greece, I was able to increase my level of intercultural competency as I came to truly understand and appreciate other cultures. My time in Europe also led me to further develop a global perspective and an insatiable curiosity to learn more about foreign policy and international relations. These practical experiences would strengthen my insight and cross-cultural communication as a member of the United Nations assembly.
The leadership positions I have held on Student Government Association have helped me to enhance my communication, negotiation, and critical thinking skills. As both a Transfer and College of Arts and Sciences Senator, I have been able to actively participate in a legislative body. I have experienced the difficulties associated with passing legislation in a group with conflicting interests. I believe that the skills that I have developed as a Senator would significantly enhance my ability to serve as an effective member of the United Nations simulation.
Earlier this semester, I felt that my experiences and talents called me to become an even more active member of my school community. As such, I campaigned to be the President of the Student Government Association. The campaign itself was an arduous process, but I was able to win the election by a sizable majority. The campaign experience taught me how to pursue challenging projects and to work with others to make them a success. My willingness to assume such a substantial leadership role also shows my unwavering commitment to improving my school community. Furthermore, my leadership experience has taught me how to make difficult decisions and to be confident in my ability to do so. I believe that these successes would make me a very competent participant in an assembly where nations must confront complex issues and address them in a practical way together.
In regards to a problem facing our world community, I believe that the issue of international terrorist groups as non-state actors is an incredibly serious one. The attacks of September 11, in particular, shed light upon this phenomenon. As an instrument of revolution, terrorism is a lethal force that spans national boundaries. Because of this, the global community has been forced to address the actions of these groups outside of the traditional modes of interaction that occur between states.
The fact that these groups are not bound to a particular state has served to complicate the ways in which countries have conducted relations with them. As such, some nations tend to delegitimize the status of these groups. In terms of the United States, we are often too quick to write-off these groups and essentially “fight fire with fire” by retaliating to their actions with violence. According to a report issued by Amnesty International in 2004, “Violence by armed groups and increasing violations by governments have combined to produce the most sustained attack on human rights and international humanitarian law in 50 years, leading to a world of growing mistrust, fear and division.” Indeed, innocent people have felt the direct repercussions of the failure of many governments to properly recognize and address the voices of these non-state terrorist groups.
If we are to hope for a more peaceful future, the United States and the rest of the global community must be willing to change the way we handle these unique organizations. We must be willing to accord them legitimacy as actors in order to work for peaceful solutions. An important step in this process is to allow these groups to have a seat at the table. For example, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is accorded special status in the United Nations. Through this role, the PLO is able to feel that they have an avenue for change outside of violent action. Similarly, the United Nations is able to formulate a more pragmatic and appropriate policy regarding the PLO in the Middle East.
In addition to international organizations giving these groups a voice, it is also important for the global community to seek to establish a mindset of intercultural competency in these relations. All too often, powerful nations can be blinded by their own ambitions and, to some extent, self-righteousness. Rather than attempting to understand the motivations behind a particular non-state actor, we tend to focus on the actions they are carrying out and thus react on a superficial level. If nations are willing to understand these groups in terms of their cultural contexts, we can begin to recognize the “fibers” that connect us in the global community as we work towards peaceful solutions together.