President, International Philosophers for Peace (IPPNO)

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IPPNO members Dr. Kay McGraw (left) and Dr. Carolyn Byerly lead the IPPNO contingent within a huge march for peace in Washington, DC.

I joined IPPNO in 1986 and began receiving its newsletters and soon became a contributor to its Newsletters concerning my opposition to the Cold War and especially US imperialism in Latin America. I was particularly aware of that imperialism in relation to the work of myself and my wife, Phyllis Turk, for the New River Bocay Project, during the 1990s and early 2000s, in which we we focused on aid first to the people of San Jose de Bocay in Northern Nicaragua (one of the many towns that had been attacked by the US organized and supported “Contra” terrorists) and for the Sumo and Mosquito Indians living along the Rio Bocay and the Rio Coco that runs along the border with Honduras.

Another organization I had joined with 1986 was Concerned Philosophers for Peace (CPP), which was originally organized as one of the international chapters of IPPNO, since IPPNO was to have chapters in many countries all attempting to deal with the nuclear weapons and Cold War madness. CPP was originally to be the US branch of IPPNO, but this group soon became very highly organized, highly developed, and functioning independently of IPPNO. During those decades I participated in both organizations (both organizations held regular meetings, CPP always in the US and IPPNO both in the US and abroad). I published several papers on peace through CPP, which had an agreement with Rodopi publishers for doing this.

Even though IPPNO had membership in at least 25 countries, it never succeeded in establishing this coalition of international chapters. It was at a meeting of CPP in St. Louis (I think in the early 1990s, that I was in conversation with Dr. Howard Friedman, Executive Director of IPPNO, about whether the organization could continue to grow and flourish or whether it might need to be abandoned. Professor Ron Glossop, who hosted the CPP meeting at his St. Louis University in that city, was in the conversation. He said, “if you do things, you are a viable organization. The key is taking action for world peace. The extent of your membership is secondary.”

This great wisdom inspired me to join Howard Friedman who was for many years Executive Secretary, and I soon become President of IPPNO and continued the work for world peace since that time. We published a quarterly “IPPNO Newsletter” that was mailed out internationally to many of our friends and members. Since I began working with the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA ) in 1995, very often sessions of the Provisional World Parliament (PWP) would take place in conjunction with international IPPNO meetings. Hence, the parliament could engage in legislative debates and actions for part of the several days of the conference, and IPPNO papers would be presented for the remaining two days. We had several meetings of this nature in conjunction with the grand “World Peace Thinkers and Writers Meets” organized every few years by Dr. Santi Nath Chattopadhyay in Kolkata through his organization ISISAR.

This system worked quite well for a number of years. After the passing of Dr. Howard Friedman, Dr. Patricia Murthy became Executive Director, and Dr. Mar Peter Raoul served as our Treasurer. I worked closely with both of them in organizing many activities on behalf of world peace (which included IPPNO organized peace marches in Washington, DC: see photo above), along with Dr. Chattopadhyay in Kolkata and others. With their leadership, IPPNO continued to be a significant voice for world peace. Beginning with the 15th session of the PWP in December 2021, this approach appeared no longer necessary since the Provisional World Parliament has developed to the point where the entire session is required for the immense and far-flung work of WCPA and the development of Provisional World Government.

During these years of working actively with IPPNO, I also organized our leading members to draft the IPPNO DOCUMENT ON WORLD PEACE, which stands as an enduring legacy of the IPPNO organization and is just as relevant today as it was when it was compiled by that leading group of IPPNO scholars. The document never completed its intended “Part IV” on concrete paths to peace, but the first three sessions of the document stand on their own as a great statement on world peace, signed by all 25 members of the IPPNO International Advisory Board. The Document was published in booklet form and sent to many leaders and IPPNO members worldwide. The cover is reproduced here.