ANNUAL MEETING TO BE MAY 15 AT ETHICAL SOCIETY
Sovaida Ma’ani Ewing of Washington DC will speak on “Building a World Federation: An Idea Whose Time Has Come” at our Sunday afternoon annual meeting. Sovaida is founder and director of The Center for Peace and Global Governance and author of BUILDING A WORLD FEDERATION published in 2015. More details and a reservation form for optional turkey dinner will be in our Spring issue.
THE VERY IMPORTANT “CREATING A WORKABLE WORLD” CONFERENCE
One of the most significant recent conferences on governing the global community took place October 9 and 10, 2015 at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis. The conference was sponsored by the Workable World Trust established by Professor Joseph Schartzberg to help implement the ideas put forth in his ground-breaking book TRANSFORMING THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM: DESIGNS FOR A WORKABLE WORLD (UN University Press, 2013).
Don’t fret if you weren’t there because you can see and hear all the wonderful lectures both at the conference website at http/www.workableworld.org/oct-2015-conf.html and also at https/www.youtube.com/channel/UCVqeVhji7HubrUsLw5swfzg. I urge you to view the important opening statement by Professor Schwartzberg at <https/www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BMl7hweMUA> which provides information about the Workable World Trust and Schwartzberg’s vision for this conference.
Other lectures were by (1) John Trent about the purpose of the conference, (2) W. Andy Knight on the historical context of this conference on the global governance system, (3) Robert Johansen on the need for a UN Emergency Peace Service, (4) Charlotte Ku on how the UN is overseeing a gradual change in the global system, (5) Andreas Bummel about how global democracy requires the development of a World Parliamentary Assembly, (6) William Pace of the World Federailst Movement on the role of civil society organizations in promoting international democracy, (7) Rabbi Michael Lerner on a political and psychological strategy to achieve a workable world, (8) Barbara Frey on the politics of the UN’s Human Rights Regimes, and (9) Hilary French on the work of the UN Environmental Program to meet the global environmental challenge. On Friday evening there was a sneak preview of the documentary film about the life of the well-publicized world citizen Garry Davis titled “The World Is My Country.”
Expectations are that the Workable World Trust will sponsor another conference on global governance in the not too distant future
REPORT FROM RONʼS OCTOBER 2015 TRIP TO WASHINGTON DC
This is my personal report from my October 11-14, 2015 trip to national CGS meetings in Washington which I made immediately after attending the October 9-10 “Creating a Workable World” conference in Minneapolis.
While in Washington I stayed at the hostel called the Wiliiam Penn House (WPH) maintained by the Friends. It is an inexpensive way of staying in a convenient place which is only about a half-mile east of the Capitol and a little less than a mile north of the Eastern Market metro station, which is less than 2 blocks from the buildings at 418 and 420 Seventh Street SE which are owned by the World Federalists. Several other World Federalists/CGS members also were staying there for these four days of meetings.
Sunday afternoon and evening (October 11) about 10 World Federalist Institute (WFI) members met in the conference room of the WPH. The World Federalist Institute is part of Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS). It was created in 2003 when the education-oriented World Federalist Association (WFA) was merged with the political-oriented Campaign for UN Reform (CUNR). WFI was supposed to be a think-tank for CGS, but it was also to make sure that the world federalist ideal would not be lost as a result of the merger and the greater focus of CGS on getting the U.S. Congress to support U.S. cooperation with the rest of the world. WFI has its own section of the CGS website <http://globalsolutions.org>, and the Chair of WFI is an ad hoc member of the board of the CGS Education Fund (CGS-EF).
I was Chair of WFI and its Steering Committee from 2003 until 2009. Then I could not continue because of the rule that no one could serve more than two 3-year terms on the CGS-EF board even as an ad hoc position. Lucy Webster was elected to be the new WFI Chair. Now she also cannot continue beyond 2016 because of the term limit ruleso a process is underway to elect a new WFI Chair.
WFI discussed what role it should now be playing in CGS as we seek to reverse what seems to have been a decline in the emphasis on the world federalist ideal. Some longtime WFA members believe that the 2003 merger was a great mistake and that CGS should just cease making any effort to try to influence current political issues, especially since they tend to cause unnecessary political tensions between Democratic world federalists and Republican world federalists.
On the other hand, others note that if CGS no longer had a Political Action Committee, that would be viewed by anti-internationalistic isolationists as a great victory. At present CGS has painstakingly been working its way toward a middle-of-the-road compromise: CGS needs to find a way to do both its educational work for world federalism and its political activity/Political Action Committee work to support sympathetic Congresspersons. WFI could now focus on five things: (1) Design, implement and conduct World Federation Education, (2) Be a policy and strategy group to propose and evaluate steps towards a World Federation, (3) Be a home for individuals who conduct research in topics related to world federation, (4) Be a home for CGS Chapter members who are interested in and/or advocates for World Federation, (5) Promote the idea of global/planetary citizenship. The discussion continues by conference phone calls. Big problems for WFI are how to get started and how to get money for WFI projects.
On Monday, October 12 the CGS national board met in the 2 buildings CGS owns, probably for the last time. They are now going to be converted to rental apartments for Washington DC interns, something which should bring in some money. New CGS Bylaws were adopted. Now it will be possible for individuals to join either the CGS educational branch, the CGS political action branch, or both branches rather than everyone being required to be a member in the political action branch. Our CGS/ STL memberships are only in the St. Louis chapter, and membership in the national CGS is a separate matter. A CGS Strategic Plan is being worked out on the relationship between the chapters and the national organization. Earl James, experienced WFA fund-raiser, was elected to be CGS Interim Director.
The original plan for the CGS 2015 annual meeting had to be changed because so few people signed up to attend. The fund-raising dinner on Monday evening was still held. CGS board members and a few other members came to hear two speakers talking about CONFRONTING THE CRISIS OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE (CCGG), the very encouraging new report of the Commission on Global Security, Justice, & Governance issued by the Hague Institute for Global Justice and the Stimson Center in Washington DC. The Commission is co- chaired by Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, and Ibrahim Gambari, former Nigerian Foreign Minister and UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs. The two banquet speakers were Richard Ponzio, Project Director of the CCGG report from the Hague Institute for Global Justice, and William Durch, Director of Research from the Stimson Center. Ponzio has worked at the UN and the US State Department and is well known by several World Federalists. This report aims to get the UN focused on some of the projects CGS has been promoting for decades such as a World Parliamentary Assembly, a UN Emergency Peace Service, and more support for the ICC and the R2P principle. The hope is to have the UN call for a World Conference on Global Institutions in 2020.
The official CGS annual meeting took place Tuesday, October 13, with a focus on plans for a Capital Campaign to pay off our mortgage for reconstructing the buildings. We also had an intensive discussion on CGS strategic planning.
On Wednesday, October 14, Rick Ponzio as well as Bill Pace of the World Federalist Movement met with us to discuss the next moves nationally and internationally to take advantage of the new prestigious CCGG report.
“The 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions”
David C. Oughton, Ph.D.
From October 15-19, I was fortunate to join twenty-five other St. Louisans who are members of Interfaith Partnership in participating in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah. This Parliament brought together about 10,000 people from 73 different countries representing thirty different major religions and over five hundred sub-traditions.
The first World Parliament of the Religions took place during the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. That was the first time in human history when representatives of the major religions sat together on the same stage as equals. Delegates there hoped that the world’s religions would make war not on each other but on the giant evils that afflict humanity. But two world wars and sixty other wars followed. So it was decided to hold international religious parliaments in recent years. I have also attended the Parliaments at Chicago in 1993, at Cape Town, South Africa in 1999, at Barcelona, Spain in 2004, and at Melbourne, Australia in 2009.
The modern Parliaments are religious conventions that are open to anyone who is committed to learning about other religions and dialoging with people from other religions. Each day of the Parliament involves meetings, presentations, and panels about different religions of the world or a particular global problem.
Attending religious services is also an option. I attended services led by representatives of Zoro-astrianism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Native American spirituality, and a service led by a Peruvian shaman. During each day of this Parliament, Tibet Buddhist monks created an intricate sand mandala and then dissolved these patterns of colored sand on the last day. They do this in order to learn patience and Buddha’s emphasis on impermanence. Every day a large group of Sikhs offered a meal of traditional Indian food to large groups of participants. Everyone who attended these langars was asked to follow the Sikh custom of removing one’s shoes and covering one’s head with a turban or a cloth.
During the five days of this Parliament there were 1,800 presentations. I attended many interesting programs led by some Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and several Christian denominations such as the Christian Science Church. I attended a program on how the Golden Rule is the common teaching of all of the major religions. I also attended programs where representatives of several different religions spoke about “violent texts” in various scriptures, how ISIS and other terrorist groups do not represent the true teachings of Islam, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, income inequality, and protection of the natural environment. Dr. Jane Goodall and others spoke about the loss of plant and animal species because of climate change. Many representatives such as the chief imam of Mecca spoke about how some people have been perverting religions through the use of hatred, violence, and war. There was a major plenary session on the religions of the indigenous peoples from the Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific region. There was also a plenary session on the role of women in the religions of the world.
Karen Armstrong, a British scholar who has written many books about the relations between the monotheistic religions, promoted her Charter for Compassion at this Parliament. She argued that one of the most urgent tasks of our generation is to build a global community in which people of all religions and nations can live together in peace. In our globalized world, everyone is becoming a neighbor. Promoting the ancient religious and ethical principles of compassion and reciprocity has become an urgent necessity. The Charter calls upon all to restore compassion to the center of morality and religion, to reject any interpretation of scripture that breeds hatred or violence, to teach accurate and respectful information about other religions, to appreciate cultural and religious diversity, and to cultivate empathy for the sufferings of others, even those regarded as enemies. There were several sessions on how to implement the Charter into everyday life. One session was led by several mayors who are promoting the teaching of compassion in their cities. Another session was led by several police chiefs concerning compassionate policing in their communities.
(Here in St. Louis a group of religious and civic leaders have been forming the Compassionate St. Louis Initiative.)
One of the sessions at this Parliament was about democratic world federation. It was led by Sovaida Ma’ani Ewing, a representative of the Baha’i Faith. Sovaida argued that war, climate change, mismanagement of natural resources, proliferation of nuclear weapons, and financial upheavals can best be solved by establishing collective decision-making institutions that can evolve into a democratic world federation of nation-states.
(Sovaida will speak at our annual meeting at the Ethical Society on May 15.)
Many modern philosophers and religious leaders have realized that there will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. Furthermore, there will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions. I am convinced that the Parliaments of the World’s Religions are important forums for promoting humatriotism, world citizenship, and a global ethic for the global community. The world’s religions have a responsibility of building a secure foundation for these values so that a democratic system of enforceable world laws can develop the means for outlawing war and solving our global problems.
(Dr. Oughton is an Associate Professor in the Theology Department at Saint Louis University where he teaches courses on the world’s religions.)
Idealism and Ideology: My Visit to the“Creating a Workable World” Conference
By Adam Levin
In October 2015, I won an essay contest put on by my fellow UNA Board Member Ron Glossop, in association with a group called the Workable World Trust. This trust is administered by Prof. Joseph Schwartzberg, author of Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World. The book, predicated on reforming the UN for a more equitable and democratic distribution of power in the world, helped begin the Workable World Trust. Generously, for winning the essay contest, I was given a free flight to, and lodgings in, Minneapolis, where the Trust was holding a conference. Allow me to share what I learned there.
For two days, about ten speakers were crammed into a tightly-packed schedule. Issues discussed frequently were international terrorism, the environmental crisis, and preventing gross human rights violations. However, the most important topic on the minds of the presenters was the need for global governance. This can mean anything from a federalist world government to more responsive regimes to solve international crises.
Andreas Bummel, for instance, fell on the more radical end of this spectrum. Head of the Berlin- based Committee for a Democratic UN, his speech called for a World Parliamentary Assembly, first as a consultative body, then as a world legislature. Charlotte Ku, meanwhile, spoke of legitimacy of international institutions. She called for strengthening and reform of current global bodies and norms, but asked the audience not to write off what currently exists. The international system, which prioritizes the rights and sovereignty of states, is “not going out of business anytime soon”. With this in mind, we should lobby our national governments to change the world-system for the better.
If the conference had a major flaw, it was its ideological nature. This is unsurprising; the proceedings were hosted by organizations like Citizens for Global Solutions (of which Ron Glossop is a key member and I am an admirer), an offshoot of the World Federalist Movement of the 1940s and 1950s. CGS and other sponsor organizations argue for a world government run on the federal model of the United States. President Truman, supportive of the movement, once quipped that it would be as easy for nations to get along in a world-republic as it is for states in our country to get along.
These are brave notions and ones that I at least partially support. However, assumptions were made that alienated some attendees. Some in the audience attended out of curiosity or a passion for international affairs. They did not necessarily support the World Federalist ideal. Furthermore, the anti-capitalist nature of many presenters angered a staunch member of the Democratic Party. At one point a verbal argument broke out between a member of Veterans for Peace and a political science professor who proposed a UN military force to stop outright genocide. The veteran did not believe an additional standing army would be beneficial to world security; the professor retorted with an assertion that only a UN force, free from nationalism, could end horrific violence like that in Yugoslavia and Darfur. These differences were not explosive, but they did underline the fact that the conference organizers very much assumed most attendees would share a similar worldview. This was not the case.
I should also discuss the film I saw with the conference. Entitled “The World is My Country,” it chronicled the adventures of Garry Davis, a peace activist who began his career as a Broadway actor. After serving as a pilot in World War II, Davis was appalled at the damage he and others had created via bombing runs. He became convinced the only solution to international conflict was global governance, in order to constrain states from waging nationalist wars. Davis renounced his US citizenship in Paris in 1948, proclaimed himself a world citizen, and began to wage a campaign for world government. His cause was adopted by Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre, among others. The end result of his crusade was the World Service Authority, which issues a world passport. While not recognized by many, the passport has extricated refugees and other displaced or stateless people from some truly horrific circumstances. This film was educational, inspiring, and fun. Davis, who died in 2013, was still active and sprightly into his 90s, displaying his Broadway charm. Aside from some cartoon segments that don’t always get the intended point across, and a truly horrendous “We Are The World”-esque song at the end, the movie was certainly worth a watch.
I learned much from the Workable World Conference in Minneapolis. I enjoyed interacting with other young people from across the USA and Canada. I heard intriguing proposals, witnessed lively debate and discussion, and saw a unique film. While much of what I heard and saw fell in line with my personal beliefs and passions, I think a wider range of issues and less assumptions of an ideological nature could have made the experience far better.
“Creating a Workable World” Conference Report
By Jules (Julie) Brown
Attendees rise together and begin to speak the words of Joseph Schwartzberg. A gentleman, bearded with graying hair and glasses, and seated in a brown, metal folding chair begins to play a stringed instrument. He is accompanied by a woman with reddish-brown hair who joins the musical interlude with her own singing. This is an affirmation of human oneness, and people have traveled far and wide to attend the “Creating a Workable World” Conference in order to consider and support a hopeful optimism for a better future.
The experience of attending such a conference is undoubtedly invaluable, not only for a student of political science or anthropology but also for any person interested in exploring new ideas and possibilities for achieving a more “workable world”. It is a conference demonstrative of humanistic potential and an effort to seek alternative solutions to the multitude of issues that affect the day-to-day lives of citizens around the globe to the broader challenges that influence the international system at large.
I attended the conference thanks to the generosity of Citizens for Global Solutions, and it was there that I was introduced to a number of scholars and peers with impactful ideas to challenge and change the way world politics currently operate. As a student of international relations and one that focuses on critical theory, the speakers addressed a number of problems that I have come to recognize through my own studies. In particular, the work of Robert C. Johansen piqued my interest with his presentation of a United Nations Emergency Peace Service. The concept spoke to the failure of the international community to live up to its promise of “never again” and continues to build upon the Responsibility to Protect doctrine and a recognition of the importance of the world as a global community that is invariably interconnected. As the iconic quote of Martin Luther King, Jr. goes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
This was the theme of “Creating a Workable World” – to address the injustices and inequities that continue to stifle the potential of a global governance toward a global community. However, it was not only an effort to bring to light and examine the problematics of the current system. It was also a concerted effort to explore a variety of solutions and ways in which students, scholars, and every citizen can affect change. While each solution presented is still not without flaws – as demonstrated by the question posited by one attendee, who asked what would prevent corruption of the system envisioned by Schwartzberg and other proponents of alternatives to the current global system. It was a meeting of minds to think through the possibilities rather than simply point out problems. The latter is an unfortunate problem endemic to some actors within this field.
Admittedly, I approached the conference and its premise hesitant and with skepticism. I am, more often than not, a cynic and pessimist when it comes to matters of cooperation and a more humanity-oriented approach toward global governance. Yet, the experience of attending the conference as one of the youth essay winners presented an opportunity to witness the hard work and effort of not only an entire auditorium of people speaking of themselves as citizens of the world and members of the human family; it was an opportunity to witness and learn from a movement toward a better future.
I came away from the conference with a better understanding of the possible solutions being presented to address the issues that are recognizably damaging and and potentially damning of the current system. I had the good fortune to meet several people with the wherewithal to seek change and to observe their actions to achieve it. While my cynicism still remains, it is perhaps dampened by the knowledge that there are actors actively trying to bring about a more workable world.
Reminder: Time to renew your membership in CGS of Greater St. Louis
We value your membership in Citizens for Global Solutions of Greater St. Louis. We hope you will continue your support for another year. You should have received a separate letter reminding you that it is time to renew, but this item in the newsletter is to remind you and also anyone who has not received a letter that a new membership year has arrived. All who were members during 2015 are receiving this January 2016 newsletter. Membership guarantees that you will continue to get our quarterly newsletter GLOBAL SOLUTIONS NEWS which keeps you informed about our local activities and provides articles of interest to our members. We encourage you to participate in our events where you will be informed by experts about global issues and global solutions and will have a chance to share your views with them.
Memberships in our local CGS organization and the national CGS organization are separate matters. Membership in the national Citizens for Global Solutions costs an additional $25 per year. You can decide how much of your national membership dues goes to the educational CGS Education Fund and how much goes to the political CGS Action Network, which also is the home for our GS Political Action Committee which endorses and supports candidates for Congress. Contributions to CGS-AN are not tax- deductible. You can join the national CGS at the website <http://globalsolutions.org> or by sending a check and your name and address to: Citizens for Global Solutions, 420 Seventh Street SE, Washington DC 20003.
Our local CGS of Greater St. Louis publishes a quarterly newslettter and arranges local programs. Annual local membership dues are $25 ($10 for students). Members and other contributors receive our quarterly newsletters and have voting rights at the annual meeting. Please also consider an additional contribution to assist us in our work. Life membership is awarded for a donation of $500 or more. Make checks payable to “Citizens for Global Solutions/ St. Louis” and send them along with the membership blank below to David Oughton, 1130 Big Sky Drive, Fenton MO 63026. Both dues and additional contributions are tax deductible because CGS of Greater St. Louis is a 501(c)(3) educational, non-political membership organization. Thanks for your support. Sincerely, Ron Glossop, Chair
CITIZENS FOR GLOBAL SOLUTIONS OF ST.
LOUIS CHAPTER LEADERS
Each year in April or May we have our annual meeting where we elect our Officers and Directors for the following year. The chapter leaders for 2015-2016 are:
CHAIR: Ronald Glossop,
VICE-CHAIR: Yvonne Logan TREASURER: David Oughton MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Terry Gates,
RECORDING SECRETARY: Kimberly Murphy
DIRECTORS: Brian Arendt, Cassandra Butler, Hasmik Chakaryan, Alex Nourse, Sara Rahim, Robert Reinhold, Chancelor Thomas, Grant Williams, and Samantha Williams.
Others who are important to our work are:
NEWSLETTER LAYOUT EDITOR Marideth Sisco
and NEWSLETTER PRINTER Ally Kowalski at The Ink Spot, 3433 Hampton Ave., St. Louis MO 63139.
Our board meets every other month at the World Community Center, 438 No. Skinker, whose manager is Darrick Smith.
Saturday, February 13, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. – Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) brown bag lunch meeting at World Community Center, 438 No. Skinker to discuss World Beyond War’s full of information booklet “A Global Security System: An Alternative to War.” You may obtain a booklet from Joan Brannigan. Call 314-997-7698.
Saturday, March 12, 10:15 a.m.– CGS/STL Board of Officers & Directors meets at World Community Center, 438 No. Skinker, 63130. The meeting is open to all.
Saturday, May 7, 10:15 a.m.– CGS/STL Board of Officers & Directors meets at World Community Center, 438 No. Skinker, 63130. The meeting is open to all. Note this meeting will be on the first Saturday of the month rather than the second Saturday in order to avoid conflicts with commencement exercises at Lindenwood University and St. Louis University as well as not being the last day before our annual meeting.
Sunday, May 15, 3:00 p.m. – CGS/STL 2016 annual meeting featuring Sovaida Ma’ani Ewing speaking on “Building a World Federation: An Idea Whose Time Has Come” at the Ethical Society of St. Louis. See announcement on front page.
A SAD NOTE
Unfortuately, we must inform you that our long-time diligent chapter Vice-President Yvonne Logan suffered a stroke near the end of November. Consequently she will need to greatly limit her activities.