Heart and Mind
An Attempt at a Short Story
(page under construction)
Glen T. Martin
I have been asked to write this biographical overview by the Chairperson of my Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Radford University, Dr. Joe Jones, III. I am willing to do so to the extent that it may serve the cause of world peace and a transformed world order. I would like my energies and life-story, such as these are, to be used only for the service of humanity and the hope for a decent life for future generations. To that extent, I am happy to construct the following chronology.
My discovery of the philosophical life when I was 19 years old initiated a lifelong journey that has led me to a multifaceted quest for peace on Earth. This quest has included traveling through many parts of the world, through many realms of knowledge, and into the lives of many thousands of people. While I was working that year to save money for college, one of the books I read was called The Inward Morning by H.G. Bugbee. This book convinced me that the proper course of life was a perpetual journey toward ever-greater wisdom, spiritual insight, and commitment to actualizing the good of peace with justice among all human beings.
In those early years, this journey was marked by inner struggles in the face of continual realization of the apparent depravity of our human condition: terrible revelations about war, atrocities, the darker motives behind the actions of powerful nation-states, and chilling assassinations of leaders in whom I had placed faith. These experiences complicated my struggle to find a deep and abiding grounding for human values and my own values.
At that time I, had to keep withdrawing from universities to work to save money for continuing my education. I worked in many different industries and conditions, some of them quite horrible, often working alongside people who had no other options, who were struggling to support a family or realize some higher aspirations for their lives. I began to understand the meaning of economic systems geared to the domination and exploitation of ordinary people. If these were the conditions in the U.S., I thought, what must it be like in the so-called second and third worlds?
I completed my undergraduate years at the University of Buffalo during the tumultuous time, 1967-1970. Opposition to the Vietnam War was everywhere, and people were being drafted to fight in that war. Reflection on tough questions of war and peace were forced upon me. I was protesting the war, and twice during this time scraped up the money to make the long bus ride to Washington, DC, for the massive anti-war protests taking place there. I realized that I had to commit my life against all war, not just this one, and applied for conscientious objector status with my draft board in Rochester, NY. During the next several years, I was called three times before the board to defend my beliefs that killing human beings was wrong. Since I had not been raised in a peace church, three times the board rejected my application.
At that time, I very often felt fear and anxiety knowing that going into the war machine would mean giving up something deep inside me as a human being that should never be violated, and that, if I refused, the draft board could ruin my life in any number of ways by putting me in jail for up to five years. After each horrible encounter with the board’s cruel and senseless questions, they would grant me non-combatant medic status in the military. Each time I would write back that I would not aid or abet war in any way. If the war and the draft had not come to an end within a few years, I would have likely gone to jail.
After college, I began working in New York City where I met my future wife, Phyllis Turk, in 1971. We were married in 1978, at which time I was a graduate teaching assistant at Hunter College. After returning to graduate school in New York City, while studying and working, I continued to protest the brutal “cold war” foreign policy of my country through the many events of this sort that took place in that city. For example, we participated in the giant march against the madness of nuclear weapons that disrupted much of Manhattan during June of 1982. My wife was had just become a nurse-midwife, and we marched in that demonstration with the midwives (photo). These years also included many discussions, seminars, and lectures taking place at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, as we graduate students struggled to clarify the directions within philosophy and the kind of focus that our future lives as philosophers and public intellectuals might take.
My dissertation, which was later rewritten and published as my first book, From Nietzsche to Wittgenstein: The Problem of Truth and Nihilism in the Modern World (1989), set the theme for my life of dedication to world peace. It was my statement of having resolved the terrible nihilism and doubt about the grounding for values in the modern world connected with my study of Nietzsche and reflection on the question of values. The dissertation, and later the book, attempted to elucidate the deeper sources of values that I had found through study of the philosophy of Wittgenstein. During these years of 1974 to 1985, I read extensively, wrote many philosophical papers for my courses, participated in many peace activities, and thought as deeply as possible about our human condition and the problem of values.
In spite of my many activities on behalf of peace during these early years, it was not until the 1990s that I began to more deeply understand that our sorely afflicted planet needs an integrated, coherent solution – and to understand something of the lineaments of that integration. We will not solve our increasingly lethal problems if some people are struggling to address poverty, others struggle to protect the environment, others to prevent wars and reduce weapons, and still others to defend democracy and human rights while humankind remains politically and spiritually fragmented.
I decided that I would focus my life on articulating and actualizing that integrated solution. I wanted to bring all my human energies in my writing, teaching, service to others, and worldwide activist work directly to bear on what I understood to be a real solution, not simply patchwork attempts stave off impending disaster. This ever-growing integration has informed my life to the present moment.
Nevertheless, to this day, every time I sit down to a meal, I take a moment to recall a face, of so many etched in my memory, of some person I have encountered who was hungry, really hungry, malnourished or starving. I am indeed moved by the terrible human rights violations around the world, by the terrible degradation of our environment, and by the horrors of war, but the concrete images that inform my passion for a transformed world system are images of individual people desperately poor and hungry. This is not about a statistic like the recent World Bank estimate that “1.4 billion people live at or below the poverty line of 1.25 dollars per day.” For me, it is about the faces and real lives of persons I have met in many countries around the world. Poverty, economic injustices, war, and environmental decline are not just abstract “global issues” for me. These forces destroy the lives of concrete human beings. I have seen this nearly everywhere I have travelled on the Earth.
Every time I eat a meal, I know that whatever strength that meal gives me will go to creating a world system without involuntary hunger and poverty. I also know that one cannot address the scandal of poverty without simultaneously addressing all our interrelated global crises. Poverty is intimately tied to war, imperialism, human rights violations, environmental destruction, institutionalized greed, and the other major elements of our planetary disorder.
Soon after being hired in 1985 on a tenure track line in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Radford University, I joined International Philosophers for Peace and the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide (IPPNO) and Concerned Philosophers for Peace (CPP), the latter primarily a U.S. based organization of professional philosophers working on peace issues. I began attending their conferences as well as philosophical exploration of the themes and possibilities for world peace, often focusing on the need for both planetary spiritual and institutional transformation. I attempted to articulate the nature of the “integral liberation” that could bring world peace and a transformed life for human beings on our planet. The titles of my professional papers during these years foreshadow the themes of my 2005 book Millennium Dawn, the Philosophy of Planetary Crisis and Human Liberation.
From 1992-94, I worked to build support on the Radford University campus for an interdisciplinary minor in Peace Studies, which was officially passed in 1994 and has been a university program ever since. I have been Chairperson of this program for a number of years. From 2003-5, I worked to develop our Introduction to Peace Studies course as a university study abroad in Costa Rica. Since 2005, students on this study abroad have learned about the many peace traditions and institutions of Costa Rica and visited such places as the U.N. University for Peace and the Center for the Study of Peace in San Jose.
By 1994, I was on the Executive Committee of International Philosophers for Peace and helped organize the international conference in San Jose, Costa Rica in which members of IPPNO, largely from the U.S., interacted with philosophers of peace from several Central American countries. The paper I presented at that conference was called “The Problem of the Ego and Its Relation to World Peace.” While in San Jose, I met with Oscar Arias, former President of Costa Rica, at his home in San Jose, in relation to the goals of our conference. I also met Dr. Robert Muller, former Assistant Secretary General of the U.N. for 18 years (photo above). Our conference keynote speaker was another former President of Costa Rica, Dr. Rodrigo Carazo. I formed lasting relationships with both Muller and Carazo.
Until their deaths in 2009 and 2010, I would meet each of them nearly every trip to Costa Rica to discuss issues relating to world peace. They were both supporters of my work for the development of democratically legislated, enforceable world law. Interacting with these world peace leaders helped confirm my own vision that the struggle to realize a transformed world system of peace with justice is fundamental to our humanity and must be pursued even in the face of apparent overwhelming odds.
At the same time, it was the encounter with the Central American conference participants themselves, peace thinkers from other cultures and their perspectives that led me to realize that we need a worldwide transformation against institutional violence. This led to my paper presented at the Concerned Philosophers for Peace conference at Villanova University later that year entitled “Deep Nonviolence – an Attempt at a Comprehensive Response to the Deep Violence of Modern Civilization.” Overcoming the structural violence of our present world system became another theme of my subsequent books, including Triumph of Civilization: Democracy, Nonviolence, and the Piloting of Spaceship Earth (2010).
In Costa Rica, we had also visited a shortwave radio station broadcasting worldwide from the campus of the U.N. University for Peace. The station was called Radio for Peace International (RFPI). Both Rodrigo Carazo and Robert Muller had helped to establish it there in 1985 (photo). I began corresponding with the directors and was soon invited to become a member of its International Board of Advisors. I continued to travel to Costa Rica for meetings of the International Board until the station was closed down (despite our hard work to keep it open) in 2003 by behind the scenes forces that had taken over the U.N. University for Peace at that time. On each I my visits, I gave talks or was interviewed on their worldwide radio regarding my work for the Bocay Project in Nicaragua and, later, for democratic world law under the Earth Constitution.
Since the late 1980s, one of the many groups working for progressive change that my wife and I supported was the Bocay Project that had been founded in Nicaragua in 1987 when a Witness for Peace volunteer there, Gary Hicks, had been so moved by the poverty in and around the town of San Jose de Bocay in the north that he organized supporters throughout the U.S. to raise funds to build a health center, start a program of vaccinations for children, and build a school for the town. By 1990, he had turned the attention of the project to the destitute Sumo and Mosquito Indians living in villages along the Rio Bocay and Rio Coco within the Bosawas Forest Preserve on the northern border with Honduras. All of these groups had been devastated in some way by the U.S. supported Contra war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua through much of the 1980s.
In my visits to the Bocay Project during the 1990s, I encountered gut-wrenching poverty, hunger, and hopelessness that sickened my heart. The project director took us into many homes of people he had befriended. We got to know people personally, their lives, their stories, their difficulties, their individuality, as well as the maiming, death, and devastation caused by the Contra attacks from Honduras. I understood ever-more deeply that it is individual persons that the struggle for peace is about. Systems: economic, social and political policies that cause such suffering to real persons, every one of whom lives a precious human life, must be transformed. From that time on, in any country I have visited, I went out of my way to visit the slums or rural villages, the poorest, and learn about their individual struggles: to raise kids, to find food, to procure clean water, to have some remnants of a decent and dignified human future.
One intelligent 18 year old girl named Mercedes whom we knew in San Jose de Bocay was going to school (in the school we built) and was in second grade, learning to read. She was proud that she was the first person in her family ever to go to school. People in Nicaragua, Togo, India, and Bangladesh have been the best educators for me in this regard.
There is a 1799 etching by Francisco de Goya in which distorted human figures cackle over commercial account books and at their feet a basket of dead or maimed human infants. The title of the etching is “Mucho hay que chupar.” In Nicaragua, I understood Goya’s meaning more deeply, encountering individual persons who were part of a barefoot, malnourished, and destitute population, without education or healthcare. As a country they had struggled to break free of the global economic system of multinational corporate exploitation, only to have their democratic socialist revolution crushed by the continent’s superpower. I also understood more deeply that no country or countries can establish a decent system alone, that a truly human solution to our most fundamental human problems must be planetary.
By 1992, my wife and I had taken over as the U.S. center for the Bocay Project, now named the “New River Bocay Project,” as those who had previously run the U.S. part of the project turned their attentions elsewhere. We ran this project for the next 10 years with regular meetings, a newsletter, often trips to other U.S. cities to meet with support-groups active elsewhere, and with several trips to Nicaragua to see the results of our effort and to get to know the Nicaraguan people in our projects (photo). We finally closed the project in 2002 when the Director in Nicaragua retired to live in Costa Rica, although an offshoot of our work continues to this day in the Sister City Project between Blacksburg, VA, and San Jose de Bocay, Nicaragua.
In spite of my intellectual and spiritual commitment to understanding the underlying conditions and needs of world peace, and my activist involvement with a variety of peace projects and protests, I still felt at that time that an integrated and focused solution to the multifaceted problems of the human community was missing. This began to change in 1995 when I discovered the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) with its World Headquarters then in Denver, Colorado. I was also becoming aware of the immense stream of thought and action called “world federalism” that went back to well before the Second World War. I became cognizant of great world federalists such as Albert Einstein, Albert Camus, Max Habicht, and Norman Cousins. After telephoning Denver that year, they invited me to fly there for one of their international meetings that included committed leaders from Bangladesh, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and India (photo).
At that time, WCPA world headquarters was a two story building staffed by six employees and full of documents, computers, fax machines, copy machines, and telephones for international calls. This was primarily funded by Philip and Margaret Isely who had considerable wealth from their Denver-based business. Since 1958, their funds had developed the mission of WCPA to assemble citizens from around the world to write a Constitution for the Federation of Earth and promote world unification under this constitution. Large international constituent assemblies had been assembled around the world in 1968, 1977, 1979, and 1991 that had completed writing the Earth Constitution. I learned that WCPA had membership in more than 100 countries, association with dozens of organizations around the world, and active chapters in over a dozen countries. I was impressed by the dedication, vision, and scope of their accomplishments and commitment. I read the Constitution and understood its immense potential to transform our human condition – politically, socially, culturally, and spiritually. Articles 1, 12, and 13 of the Constitution state its essential functions to eliminate war everywhere on Earth, protect human rights, protect and restore the environment, end poverty, and protect democracy and freedom.
In 1996, I traveled to the fourth session of the Provisional World Parliament that took place in Barcelona, Spain, organized by WCPA from its Denver headquarters. There was not a large group present, since unknown forces had clearly subverted what had been organized as a huge international event to take place in Andorra. A major hotel in Andorra had been reserved and $26,000 (1996) dollars had been spent in reservations and in materials that had been shipped there. The government of Andorra had offered to host a reception for delegates. I had arrived in Barcelona and travelled by rental car to Andorra where the manager of our designated conference hotel told me the Parliament had been “cancelled” and gave me a Barcelona phone number for further information. Stunned, I returned to Barcelona.
Many of our delegates at the last minute were denied transit through France or Spain. Others, upon arrival to Andorra, were stopped at the border and turned back, being told to stay out of the country. This was not the only time sessions of the Parliament experienced major disruption. It had happened the previous June in Austria and again in the year 2000 at the Fifth Session of the Parliament in Qawra, Malta. I then understood that the struggle for enforceable democratically legislated world law and world peace was being opposed by powerful forces operating behind the scenes and using the nation-state system (with its visas, absolute borders, and systems of control) to hinder the development of our work.
The first three sessions of the Provisional World Parliament had been unhindered successes. The first session in 1982 had taken place at the famous Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England. It had attracted prominent peace leaders from all over the world, including Sir Chaudry Mohammed Zafrullah Kahn of Pakistan, who was former President of the U.N. General Assembly and former foreign minister for his country. The second session in 1985 in New Delhi had been opened before a packed house by the then President of India, Zail Singh, and was chaired on successive days by the Speaker of India’s lower house (Lok Sabha), the Hon. Bal Ram Jakhar. The third session of the Parliament had attracted a large and dynamic international gathering at the elegant Fountainebleau Hilton Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, during 11 days in June of 1987.
In Barcelona, despite the apparent subversion, I interacted with world citizens from a number of countries, the most inspiring and compelling of whom was Dr. Terence P. Amerasinghe from Sri Lanka, Co-President, with Dr. Reinhart Ruge, of WCPA. Amerasinghe had devoted his life to world peace in a multiplicity of ways that I found very inspiring. He was not only an international lawyer with a Bar-at-Law from London and member of Grey’s Inn, having been an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka; he also had a Ph.D. in Oriental Studies from the University of London and the degree of Doctor of Education from Hamilton State University in the U.S. I learned the history of the first three sessions of the parliament, which were very successful and may have inspired fear in the hearts of those who would preserve the global system of institutional violence, economic exploitation, and military domination.
After the Parliament, Reinhart Ruge (who spoke five European languages) and several of us drove north in my rental car through Spain toward Holland. In France, we stayed at the chateau of prominent world federalists Guy and René Marchand (photo below) and in Holland conferred with people at the World Federalist Offices in Amsterdam. We visited the International Court of Justice in The Hague and travelled to the Maharishi University in eastern Holland to talk with them about cooperating in the project for world peace. I understood the meaning of integration of efforts, networking, and common cooperation in the service of humanity. No one can do this work alone, but must cooperate with many others in order to create a decent future for humanity. On my trip back to Spain to catch the flight home, I spent another night in Barcelona, sitting under the monument to Columbus overlooking the harbor and writing in my journal. Some of these reflections found their way into Chapter 14 of Millennium Dawn entitled “Barcelona Reflections on Revolutionary Praxis for the 21st Century.”
As a member of the Radical Philosophy Association (RPA) of North America, I began giving papers at the Cuban-North American Philosophers and Social Scientists conferences in Cuba, every year from 1997 to 2002 (photos). During these years, I visited a number of cities in Cuba and befriended many ordinary Cubans to learn about their lives and their society, as well as participating in the official government sponsored tours meant to highlight the accomplishments of their society. Each year, I also met with as many leaders of Cuban NGOs as possible, and spoke with as many public groups as possible (photos), about the Constitution for the Federation of Earth (which I handed out in Spanish) and the movement for world peace through enforceable, democratic world law. By the last two of these six years in Cuba, I was meeting with quite prominent members of the government, although my letters to Fidel Castro describing our work and requesting a meeting (carefully translated into Spanish by a professor at my university) were sent every year and never received a response.
During the years after 1996, my university work (teaching and university service), my international activist work on behalf of the Earth Constitution and democratic world law, and my scholarly research and writing became integrated into a coherent whole. Each subsequent year involved international travel on behalf of a sustainable and peaceful future for humanity. During 1997, as every year, I also organized many peace-related works on my university campus, including building a week of world peace events and discussions around the visits of Howard Zinn, whom I brought to campus as our keynote speaker, along with (in later years) Noam Chomsky, Helen Caldicott, Cornell West, and Ramsey Clark, among many others.
Each of these speakers served as the keynote speaker in a series of peace movies, seminars, and talks that usually lasted for the entire week. During the late 1980s and 1990s these annual “peace week” events served a campus that had and continues to have few politically aware and active faculty or students. Perhaps this is a function of our location is southwest Virginia. Even though many of our students come from northern Virginia (and often military families), they are often deeply steeped in the ideology and propaganda of the dominant media, the story of American manifest destiny, goodness, exceptionalism, and often belief in religious superiority. Part of my mission on campus has always been to stand for critical thinking and honest facing of the facts of empire, imperialism, exploitation, torture, and needless war, but it has always been an uphill battle within this environment, including passive administrative hostility and resistance.
With a very few others, for example, I have protested the crude, unconstitutional limitations on free speech for students that the paternalistic administration has defended year after year, ignoring our articles, protests, blatant violation of the speech restrictions with the intention of forcing change, etc., but all to no avail. The dark ages continue after 28 years of criticism and activism with respect to these speech restrictions. The only other faculty member equally outraged by this policy is Dr. Bill Kovarik, professor of communications, who teaches media law and has repeatedly pointed out the unconstitutional aspects of the restrictions on speech, such as prior restraint. All to no avail. In this respect, the climate at Radford University is not all that dissimilar to the on-going climate in Washington, DC, where massive citizen protests periodically point out the absurdity and obscenity of US imperialism and militarism, all to no avail.
But one speaks out because it is right to do so – it is necessary to do so despite the unlikelihood of success. One’s integrity as a human being is connection with our ability to stand for justice and decency in the world, simply because they are right.
In January 1998, I participated in the World Coordinating Council meetings in London, organized by WCPA, and met Dr. Rashmi Mayur, another inspiring world-class leader and an articulate supporter of the Earth Constitution. He was a member of the Steering Committee of the Southern NGO Caucus of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). He was also President of the Global Futures Network (GFN), founder-director of the International Institute for Sustainable Future (IISF) in Mumbai, and had served as Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992. I continued to work with him until his untimely and mysterious stroke and death in 2002. He had a major stroke while serving as a spokesperson for third world countries at the U.N. Conference on the Environment in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In March, we were again in Nicaragua on behalf of the New River Bocay Project. In June, I was in Cuba for 17 days promoting study and discussion the Earth Constitution and its recognition by Cuban leaders.
I helped organize the International Philosophers for Peace conference in Boston in August at which I met E.P. Menon from Bangalore, India, another impressive world peace leader and follower of Mahatma Gandhi, who had literally walked around the world to protest nuclear weapons during 1963 and 64. I continued to work with Menon for world peace in a variety of ways since that time. That year, I also flew to Denver, CO, twice for Executive Council meetings of WCPA, and was in Washington, DC, twice: in early October at the Concerned Philosophers for Peace Conference presenting my paper “A Global Policy for Peace, Freedom, and Justice: The Principle of Unity-in-Diversity” and then at the big rally and peace march to close the Pentagon that took place October 18-19.
During 1999, I hosted the annual Concerned Philosophers for Peace Conference at Radford University, presenting my paper “The Meaning of Peace and Global Issues.” In June, I was again in Cuba presenting my paper “Three Stages in the Dialectical Realization of Democracy and the Constitution for the Federation of Earth” and meeting with as many Cuban leaders and groups as possible. I was also in Costa Rica, giving two worldwide radio interviews with Radio for Peace International during my trip there for one of our International Advisory Board meetings.
In 1999 the book Toward Genuine Global Governance appeared, edited by Errol E. Harris and James A. Yunker. My essay “A Planetary Paradigm for Global Government” appears as the lead article in the book. It signaled my philosophical work of systematically attempting to formulate the paradigm shift necessary for world peace and sustainability. It showed in what ways the Constitution for the Federation of Earth both contributes to, and is a result of, the emerging paradigm shift from fragmentation to holistic unity in diversity.
That year I helped bring Dr. Mujibur Rahman to campus for the Concerned Philosophers for Peace meeting that I hosted at Radford University. He was a major political and peace leader from Bangladesh who had been a freedom fighter during the 1971-72 struggles to establish his country, as well as a long time Director of the WCPA movement in Bangladesh. I had met him in Denver, CO, Executive Council meetings in 1998, and we worked closely together on my several subsequent trips to Bangladesh and internationally.
During that year, I also travelled to Nicaragua. My wife and 10 year old daughter came with me, this year and the following year. On the way to Nicaragua, we first visited El Salvador to pay respects to the tomb of the great peace martyr, Archbishop Oscar Romero. In Managua, I gave talks about the Earth Constitution to professors at the university. Even at that time, the wall murals on the University of Managua campus had not been painted over. We then made the arduous trip to the north to work for the New River Bocay Project (photos).
During the year 2000, the Executive Council of WCPA was preparing for the next session of the Provisional World Parliament to take place at Qawra, Malta, during November. I took advantage of an opportunity to travel to Alaska with my wife and daughter in part because I wanted to see for myself the disappearing glaciers. We took a boat to the foot of Holgate Glacier and watched the huge slabs of ice breaking into the ocean beneath. The captain told us that the glacier, at that time 12 miles long, had been 25 miles long just ten years earlier (photos below). I had understood long ago that my lectures and writings have greater credibility if I have experienced the things described directly: the unspeakable poverty of the poor throughout the world, the lack of clean water and sanitation, the dried up and degraded farmlands, the millions of displaced people living marginally along railroad tracts or other areas on which they squat, the disintegration of our planetary environment, and the political repression and manipulation by governments.
During January of that year I was again with RFPI in Costa Rica, broadcasting on worldwide radio concerning our movement on behalf of a Constitution for the Earth and in Denver, CO, for Executive Council meetings. For our campus peace week in February, we brought Fr. Simon Harak from Voices in the Wilderness as our guest speaker. For March, WCPA had organized a big luncheon and reception at the elegant Roosevelt Hotel in New York City for U.N. Ambassadors, and hundreds of invitations had been sent out. I was one of the speakers about our work to the ambassadors who came, but Philip Isely suspected subversion since few came. He had spent $60,000 on the affair. We announced to those present the fifth session of the Provisional World Parliament scheduled for Malta in November. In May and June, I was again in Nicaragua and Cuba.
In Nicaragua, I not only supported the New River Bocay Project but spoke with as many leaders and groups as possible about our work for a democratic federation for the Earth. Professors at the University of Managua recognized my solidarity with the Sandinista Revolution that they had passively or actively supported, but did not appear to comprehend very readily the need for a global solution to the world’s problems, including their problems with poverty, environmental destruction, imperialism, and exploitation. We made the arduous journey to the far north villages of the Indigenous Sumo and Mosquito peoples along the Rio Bocay and the Rio Coco with which the project had worked since 1990. There are no roads to these villages, and we travelled by dugout boat down the Rio Bocay and Rio Coco to these remote locations. We travelled on the Rio Coco with Honduras on one shore and Nicaragua on the other, the river across which Contra terrorists had penetrated into Nicaragua with CIA orders to hit “soft” targets and cause devastation for the village peoples of the north (photos below).
In November I went to Malta for the fifth session of the Parliament. Two WCPA employees had been there six weeks in advance to help local supporters with the registering and processing of some 400 delegates from around the world who had affirmed their attendance. The government of Malta had assured us that there would be no problem approving the visas for our delegates, although they had repeatedly delayed in doing so. When I arrived the day before the Parliament was to begin, the mood was one of despair. At the last minute, after WCPA had reserved considerable hotel space at significant expense, and after we were unable to change the venue, the Malta government denied nearly all our visa applications. We were left with about 40 participants, many of whom, like myself, did not need a visa.
Some of those present, however, were significant peace leaders such as Dr. Rashmi Mayur from India, Harry Homaro Vacal from Greece, Dr. Timi Ecimivic from Slovenia, and others from countries that included Macedonia, Turkey, Palestine, England, Uganda, and Bangladesh. We did considerable good work over the next few days although Philip Isely, then 85 years old, whose wife of many years had died in 1996, remained devastated. He tried to continue leading WCPA for the next year, but his heart was no longer in it. Within a few months of Malta, he married a woman from Macedonia who was present at the Parliament (photo), and his support for the movement rapidly dwindled. Within the next three years, all six of the paid employees of WCPA had been fired and the Denver Headquarters had been closed down. His funding support for this work had disappeared leaving WCPA in financial crisis.
From December 2000 to January 2001, I was in Kolkata, India, and Bangladesh. An important peace organization in Kolkata directed by Dr. Santi Nath Chattopadhyay, the International Society for Intercultural Study and Research (ISISAR), organized a grand conference called “World Peace Thinkers and Leaders Meet” and invited me to be one of the keynote speakers). International Philosophers for Peace participated, of which I was by then President, and many other peace organizations. I have worked with Dr. Chattopadhyay since that time and he has worked with me in support of the Earth Constitution. ISISAR has published a number of excellent volumes on Indian Peace thinkers (to which I have contributed), thinkers such as Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, and Rabindranath Tagore.
In Bangladesh, I was hosted by Dr. Mujibur Rahman and the long-time WCPA chapter there. I asked them to educate me about their country and its problems and they accommodated my wishes by taking me to many slums, rural villages, destitute “boat people,” poor farming communities in the south, and desperate fishing villages as well as by arranging meetings with political, judicial, educational, and social leaders within their country. One of these leaders whom I met in 2001 was Madam Shova, owner of Queen’s College in Dhaka and later member of the Bangladesh Parliament (photo). Madam Shova supported the Earth Constitution and helped me introduce the Earth Federation Movement to a number of other Bangladesh leaders.
During 2001, I travelled to Denver twice for Executive Council meetings and spent an entire month in Cuba meeting many leaders and giving talks about our movement for democratic world law to many groups. In February, I was with a protesting group of Radford University students (and my 14 year old daughter, Rebekah) and others from around Virginia on the historic campus of the University of Virginia (designed by Thomas Jefferson). We slept in tents in the snow-covered quad and placed small, black coffins out every eight minutes, representing another Iraqi child dying from the U.S. led sanctions against the people of Iraq.
In November, I travelled to Greece with Phyllis and Rebekah, but not only to see the historical wonders and haunts of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle that I, as a philosopher, had taught about for many years. I also wanted to visit the New Humanity Center in Kalamata overlooking the Bay of Kalamata (photo), built and run by Harry Homaro Vacal (long an IPPNO member), whom I had first met in Malta and who was an ardent supporter of our work to transform our fragmented world system as well as our fragmented human consciousness. I soon became a member of his Advisory Board. A few years later, Harry would invite WCPA to use the Center as a European headquarters, which we did for some time. The library of the New Humanity Center had more copies of the Earth Constitution in different languages than I had ever seen in once place before. To date, the Constitution has been translated into 23 different languages.
In December, I was once again in India, this time as participant at the Second International Conference of Chief Justices of the World, sponsored by Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, a world peace leader and Founder/Manager of the huge City Montessori School of Lucknow with 17 campuses throughout the city. CMS was to win the 2002 UNESCO Award for Peace Education. WCPA has had representation at every one of these annual conferences, the 12th of which took place in December 2011. In December 2001, Philip Isely, WCPA Secretary-General, was present, as well as Dr. Terence Amerasinghe and Dr. Reinhart Ruge, WCPA Co-Presidents.
I met for the first time Professor R. Ananthanarayanan who had long been the leader of the active WCPA chapter in Chennai, India. I presented a paper to the justices entitled “Unity and Diversity in the Constitution for the Federation of Earth” and chaired a meeting of some 30 WCPA members from around the world in a venue provided by Jagdish Gandhi, himself a WCPA Vice-President. Every year these extraordinary international conferences have supported the development of enforceable world law and distributed to the justices copies of the Earth Constitution in various languages.
After the Chief Justices Conference, I flew to Mumbai and was hosted by Dr. Rashmi Mayur and his Institute for Sustainable Future. He arranged for me to visit slums in Mumbai guided by a social worker who herself lived and worked there, and we then travelled to Vadodara, India, where a vast international gathering of the Yogi Divine Society was taking place, the chief guest of which was the Dalai Lama. Rashmi was one of the speakers at the plenary session, and I shared with him one of the breakout sessions on environmental sustainability (photos). I spoke about the role of the Earth Constitution in our achieving planetary sustainability.
At the end of January 2002, after classes had resumed, I built that year’s “World Peace Week” around Rashmi Mayur as keynote speaker. He filled our large auditorium with some 800 attendees and gave a workshop on peace to RU faculty. Rashmi had a nation-wide radio program at the time, and he interviewed me from the studios at Radford University concerning my global work. The follow-up call-in response, he said, was the most enthusiastic he had ever had for a single broadcast.
After a trip to Washington, DC, in April to protest the U.S. buildup for a war against Iraq, and a trip to Cuba where I presented at the annual conference and met with Cuban leaders and social groups about the Earth Constitution, I coordinated with Dr. Amerasinghe, Dr. Eugenia Almand, and Dr. Dominique Balouki from Togo (who is WCPA Coordinator for Africa) in a long advertised seminar in Takoradi, Ghana (May 22-June 16), that had enrolled over 40 participants. The Provisional World Parliament had long before created the Graduate School of World Problems with Dr. Amerasinghe as President. It was the Graduate School that sponsored this week long seminar attended by civic leaders from three nearby countries, one Chieftain, and many Christian ministers (photo below).
Just before I arrived, Drs. Amerasinghe, Almand, and Balouki had met with President Eyadema of Togo, spending one day alone with him (photo) and a second day with all his ministers. Impressed with our global work, he had offered to put us in direct contact with leaders of West African countries if we could cover our own transportation and lodging costs to these countries. The four of us immediately sat down and drew up a budget of a mere $50,000 U.S. that we submitted to Philip Isely in Denver by fax. The word soon came back that there would be no budget and that Eugenia Almand was fired as an employee of WCPA. It was then we understood that our work was facing a financial crisis with which we would have to deal.
From Ghana and Togo, Dr. Almand and I traveled to Lucknow, India, where we gave another Graduate School of World Problems seminar for several days, hosted by Jagdish Gandhi at the City Montessori School. From there, in mid-July, I proceeded to Bangladesh for lectures and meetings within and outside of Dhaka, hosted by Mujibur Rahman and the Bangladesh WCPA Chapter. In October, I flew again to Denver to try to make sense of Philip Isely’s withdrawal of support and firing of WCPA employees but met with failure in this quest. In November, my wife and I travelled with our daughter and a number of Radford University students to the annual protests against the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. In January 2003, we were at protests again in Washington, DC.
We had been working on developing the sixth session of the Provisional World Parliament for Bangkok, Thailand in March of 2003 (photos). Philip Isely refused to participate, and would not communicate with us concerning the Parliament preparations, nor concerning our call for a WCPA Executive Cabinet meeting during that time in Bangkok. Nevertheless, a number of members of the WCPA Executive Council worked together on Parliament preparations. The entire affair was hosted by Ariyawanso Bhikkhu, a famous peace monk of Bangladesh who had been WCPA’s “World Peace Envoy” before withdrawing into the Sangha. The President of the Office of the World Peace Envoy, Dr. Phichai Tovivich of Thailand, was the chief local organizer for us. The Parliament did some excellent legislative work and the Executive Council met during evenings. The results of these meetings altered my life in a number of ways, for a quorum of the Council meeting there unanimously asked me to become Secretary-General to replace Philip Isely.
I protested that I had only a professor’s salary and the generous willingness of my wife to share some of her salary as a nurse-midwife to finance these many trips I had been making for years, and that we leaders would now have a worldwide organization without significant financial backing. But they prevailed, and WCPA began a new era. After the Parliament, I immediately sent out a message to WCPA chapters and leaders worldwide that all chapters must become self-funding because World Headquarters, now in Radford, Virginia, did not have funds to promote the kind of chapter projects that had previously come from Denver. Some chapters have done very well with independent funding, such as the large Chapter in Chennai, India, that maintains excellent offices in a central location, or the Costa Rica offices of the Center for the Study of Peace that also host our work.
And in practice, I have continued to send relatively small sums to those WCPA chapters and projects in the most desperately poor countries, such as Liberia, and, for a long time, the Democratic Republic of Congo. But in general, our struggle for financial backing continues to this day. In Bangkok, Dr. Ruge retired to the post of Honorary President for Life and Dr. Amerasinghe became President. Dr. Amerasinghe provided inspiring and eloquent leadership for the worldwide organization until his death in 2007 at the age of 90. In his honor, we left the post vacant for several years until January 2012 when a worldwide email vote of the Executive Council elected me President and Dr. Eugenia Almand the new Secretary-General.
From June 2, 2003 to July 2, we were in Togo talking to government ministers, mayors of cities, civic leaders, social action groups, and churches about the need for a democratic world order that would transform the world system that now kept their country in abject poverty, misery, and deprivation (photos). WCPA has been working on developing permaculture projects in Africa to serve as educational centers for sustainable eco-villages for people as well as centers for education about the need for a federation of Earth. Dr. Balouki has persuaded two cities to donate agricultural lands for this purpose: Kara and Sokodé (photo).
My physical constitution is not impervious to third world conditions, and in Togo, Nicaragua, and India, I have sometimes been extremely ill with diarrhea and vomiting from trying to function in places to which my body is not acclimated. But to me solidarity has a price in a world of such astonishing poverty and injustice, and enduring illness abroad is simply part of that price.
In September, at Radford University we built a “World Peace Week” around E.P. Menon from Bangalore as our guest speaker and, as part of that week, held a ceremony in honor of all the Virginia citizens who had gone to prison for nonviolent civil disobedience protesting the U.S. Army School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia (the name of which, but not the mission, has since been changed by the U.S. government). Some 18 men and women who were former prisoners of conscience for nonviolent civil disobedience, or were now accused and awaiting their court dates, came from around Virginia.
Our guest speaker for the ceremony was Father Roy Bourgeois, founder and director of School of the Americas Watch. SOA Watch had long documented the torture, murder, and repression enacted by Latin American military personnel who had been trained at this school. This meeting, and the weekend I spent hosting Roy, initiated an on-going friendship with Father Roy, one of the finest people I have met, who also understands the relation between his work to close down the School of the Americas and my work for a democratic world order free of repression and war.
In 2003, we established the Institute on World Problems (IOWP) to replace the Graduate School of World Problems as an educational institution and think tank. IOWP is legally recognized in the U.S. as a non-profit, tax-deductible organization. We put together an international Board of Trustees who elected me as President and Eugenia Almand as Executive Director. We still hope that someday this organization will be receiving significant financial support. Since that time, we have held many IOWP seminars and lectures around the world that also support the work of WCPA.
During that year, we also worked on developing the seventh session of the Provisional World Parliament scheduled for December 2003 at the Palmgrove Hotel in Chennai, India. This was hosted by Professor Ananthanarayanan and the WCPA Chapter there. It was at these 6th and 7th sessions of Parliament that we began to revise our legislative work to become professional, astutely written, and in conformity with quality legislative writing standards. Following the Parliament in Chennai, Dr. Almand and I gave a number of lectures concerning our work at local colleges. We met with our parliament’s keynote speaker, Justice Sawant, former Supreme Court Justice of India, to discuss the development of enforceable world law.
We then travelled south to Pondicherry to meet with leaders of World Union, the worldwide organization founded by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother dedicated to promoting world unity and the oneness of humankind. World Union had worked closely with WCPA for many years through its leaders such as Samar Basu and A. B Patel. A.B. Patel, who was General Secretary and Treasurer of World Union International, was also a Co-President of WCPA for a number of years until his death in the late 1980s. Returning to Chennai, I flew to Bangalore, India, hosted by E.P. Menon and the India Development Foundation, where we visited an elementary school, a slum, and talked with civic groups and leaders.
From Bangalore I flew to Dhaka, Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, Dr. Mujibur Rahman and I visited various places in the south, in the countryside and on the coastline near Chittagong. I saw the results some agricultural projects in the area that agricultural expert Sarwar Kamal had implemented with IOWP funding. I spoke to a number of audiences in schools and communities (photos below), and witnessed giant machines digging huge pits in the sandy coastline in preparation for a commercial shrimp farm. I saw first hand the destruction of coastline mangroves that help protect the people in low-lying coastal lands from storm surges and flooding. We interviewed poor fishermen who said their catch is smaller each year. I returned to the U.S. on January 13, 2004.
For May 2004, I had organized and then hosted an International Philosophers for Peace conference at Radford University. The theme of the conference involved models of human liberation and I presented two lectures, the first as my Presidential address entitled “A Liberated World Order” and the second, as a conference participant, entitled “Capitalism with a Human Face.”
During the spring, I was invited by WCPA Vice-President in Libya, Dr. Ramadan Breki, and the Revolutionary Committees Movement (RCM) of Libya to organize and lead a delegation of U.S. civic peace leaders to come to Libya from June 29 to July 8, all expenses paid. Our delegation of 12 people was a significant success in which we learned a great deal about Libyan society and its history and interacted positively with many Libyan leaders. We were shown a number of institutions from the Teachers Union to the political process, to culture and traditions in the villages outside of Tripoli. We spent 40 minutes with Libyan President, Muammar Gaddafi. I gave him a copy of my book Millennium Dawn and gave his translators copies of the Earth Constitution in English and Arabic (photo).
We had been organizing the fourth session of the Provisional World Parliament for August 2004. Jagdish Gandhi had invited us to use one of the campuses of the City Montessori School of Lucknow as a venue. The children of the school organized dances and ceremonies for us and the members of the legal profession from around Uttar Pradesh who had been invited to attend the opening ceremonies in the packed auditorium of the Gompti Nagar campus. Delegates from a number of countries around the world arrived for the Parliament and were housed on the campus. The Parliament passed, among other acts, an act on World Boundaries and Elections (WLA 29) that sets up a Global People’s Assembly, fostering active participation of the people of Earth in the affairs of the World Parliament. Dr. Amerasinghe was elected President of the Parliament, myself Vice-President, and Dr. Almand Secretary. Justice L.M. Singhvi, former Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, High Commissioner for India in the U.K., and member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague (photo below), gave the keynote address at the opening ceremonies (photos below). Our Parliament declaration read, in part:
Since Dr. Amerasinghe and I had taken over leadership of WCPA, with the help of the powerful legal minds of himself and Dr. Almand, we had begun a systematic development of quality provisional world legislation, enabling and articulating provisions of the Earth Constitution and laying the groundwork for a relatively smooth transition to an Earth Federation once the nations of the world decide to begin the process of uniting. Examination of the legislation from the 6th to 12th sessions of Parliament, in comparison with that of the first five sessions, clearly reveals this development.
The academic year 2004 to 2005, I was granted a faculty development leave, one year at half pay. In addition to doing research for several of my future books, I travelled throughout January and early February 2005 giving lectures, seminars, and having meetings on behalf of the emerging Earth Federation. This began with the huge World Peace Congress organized once again in Kolkata by Dr. Santi Nath Chattopadhyay and ISISAR. There, I again spoke about our work to both large and small audiences (photo), participated in radio and TV interviews, marched in a peace march involving thousands of people, and even helped judge an art exhibit. From Kolkata, I went again to Bangladesh where I had also requested a visit to a rural village. My WCPA hosts took me to a village that was an island during the monsoon season, which we visited by boat. I spoke with families and children about their lives and their difficulties. Here are some photos I have taken in Bangladesh at various times.
From Bangladesh, I travelled to Sri Lanka, arriving less than three weeks after the terrible tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004. We immediately travelled down the coast road going south from Colombo to inspect the damage on behalf of the Universal Love and Brotherhood Association, a worldwide organization sponsored by the International Programs of the Oomoto religion of Japan. Dr. Amerasinghe was their director for Sri Lanka and our assessing the tsunami damage led to his developing a proposal for projects to help the victims. Dr. Amerasinghe and I then met with the speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament and other leaders concerning the Earth Constitution. The speaker was a Buddhist and seemed to appreciate the universality and brotherhood of our message. We also gave lectures on our work to a well-filled room in the historic Hotel Ranmuthu where I had been assigned a large and special room as an honored guest. This hotel had been the location of the third constituent assembly in the development of the Earth Constitution, meeting there in 1979. The hotel manager remembered the event well. I also met with Arthur C. Clark at his home. Clark was the famous author of science fiction novels and a pioneer in satellite communications, who wrote about a galactic earth federation. I solicited his support for our very earthly and planetary earth federation.
During that visit, Dr. Amerasinghe spent hours with me in my hotel room and on our trip to the central highlands of Sri Lanka, talking about the history of our movement and providing me with essential documents concerning its half century of work. He knew that he might not be with us much longer and was preparing me to assume an even greater leadership role after his death. He passed away two years later, a great loss to the Earth Federation Movement and to humanity.
I went from Sri Lanka to Japan in late January to early February 2005. I was met at Tokyo airport by members of the Oomoto faith who accompanied me by train back to Kameoka, one of the centers of the Oomoto religion, along with the city of Ayabe. Like the Baha’i faith, the founders of Oomoto had advocated world union. My hosts housed me in the large, beautiful guest residence, and the following day I was honored to meet the spiritual head of the religion and participate with her in a tea ceremony (photo). Each day I joined them in morning meditation in their beautiful temple. The Oomoto Religion and its International Office, Jenrui Azenkai, arranged a two day seminar with leaders of the religion such as Oomoto President Shumomoto, a long time WCPA supporter, and other members their executive body.
They then hosted me in Ayabe for the annual Setsubun Festival where we had dinner with the Mayor of Ayabe, who was proud that his city is an officially mundialized world territory. Finally, two leaders of their international office accompanied me on a trip to Hiroshima, where we met leaders of the World Federalists of Japan from that city, and all gave me a tour of the peace park that commemorates ground zero of the atomic blast (photos). The head of their Holocaust Museum gave me a personal tour and, in his office, told me the story of the loss of his own relatives in the aftermath of the explosion. I understood why World Federalism is very strong in Japan. They have kept alive the memory of that holocaust and understand why we must construct a world system that abolishes such horrific weapons.
In May of 2005, we held an Institute on World Problems seminar in Mexico at the home of Dr. Reinhart Ruge, who had recently been honored to become a Knight of Malta. He had invited leaders of social activist organizations, political leaders, economists, and other highly thoughtful people concerned with transforming our present unworkable world system. One guest was a Vice-President for Engineering at Mercedes-Benz who spoke about the company’s investigations with respect to hydrogen powered automobiles. As a world problems think tank, the IOWP not only promotes (with the WCPA) activism to the grass-roots and leaders of the world for promotion and ratification of the Earth Constitution; it also promotes deep reflection and discussion of the global issues we all face. Dr. Amerasinghe, Dr. Almand, and Dr. Reinhart Ruge’s politically prominent daughter, Tiahoga Ruge, were also there (photo). I thought of Margaret Mead’s famous statement that “a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
From Mexico, I returned to Virginia to take a group of Radford University students on a three week study abroad trip to Costa Rica. The course was Introduction to Peace Studies from our Peace Studies Program, and this was the first year I had adapted it into a study abroad course. From then on, we hoped to offer the course every year in Costa Rica. My many contacts there with respect to peace made possible a terrific experience for our students. Our local guide that year was James Latham who had been founder/manager of Radio for Peace International since the station’s inception in 1985, and whom I had long known as a member of the station’s International Advisory Board. Among many other things, we arranged meetings for the students with such world class peace leaders as Robert Muller, Rodrigo Carazo, and Celina Garcia (photos).
I had again been asked by the Libyans to lead a delegation of peace leaders to their country with all expenses covered by the Revolutionary Committees Movement. I included peace leaders from the U.S., several European countries, and Turkey in the delegation. This was organized for September, 2005, and featured a round table on democracy with both Libyan thinkers and delegation members (photo). We learned a great deal concerning the Libyans’ understanding of democracy and their insightful criticisms of Western-style representative democracy. I argued that ultimately democracy had to be global or it would fail everywhere. During the visit, I planned with Libyan WCPA leaders to hold the sixth session of the Provisional World Parliament in Tripoli the following April. I also met personally with Mr. Suleiman Shahomy, Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the People’s National Congress, about the Constitution for the Federation of Earth and the need for Libya’s efforts to promote an African Union to also include a larger effort to work toward a world union.
From April 9-16th, 2006, I was in Libya for the 9th session of the Provisional World Parliament, hosted by the Revolutionary Committees Movement at the lovely El Kabir Hotel in Tripoli. Mr. Suleiman Shahomy of the Libyan People’s National Congress was the keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies. There were some 56 delegates from 19 countries plus a number of Libyans attending who were not registered as delegates. The City Montessori School of Lucknow also sent a delegation of children with their teachers who made an appeal on behalf of the children of the world. For several days, the parliamentarians debated proposed legislative acts that had long been pre-posted, as for every parliament, on the Institute of World Problems website.
As at all parliament sessions since 2003, we have had a rich legislative agenda. At the 9th session, we passed an act for integrating the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights into the Earth Federation, an act enabling the conflict resolution functions of the World Police, a public utilities act, three acts on the dismantling, elimination of financing, and use of fissile materials regarding nuclear weapons, and an act on world federal privileges and immunities drawn from the Rome Statute of the Assembly of States Parties. The latter was modified to give the statute real force and meaning as enforceable world legislation upon commencement of the Earth Federation (photos below). We are laying the groundwork for a real transition to world peace. The Parliament Declaration read, in part:
Following the parliament, delegates participated in a grand series of events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli during which several children who were members of his family had been killed. I was asked to speak at the plenary session of these ceremonies. I spoke, of course (with simultaneous translation into several languages), of the need of all countries to transcend the lawless war system and recognize that we are all human beings beneath our borders, cultures, and clothing, and that we needed to join together as one human family within one democratic world order.
For most of June that year, I was in Togo and Benin in West Africa meeting officials in various cities, speaking to many groups, and learning more about the immense problems of a third world country. We also did more work toward the development of our permaculture projects in the cities of Kara and Sokodé. As an agricultural expert, Dr. Balouki is already a leader there in agricultural development. We then travelled to the rural village of Chari and participated in the funeral ceremonies where the chief, Dr. Balouki’s brother, had died, and Balouki had been asked to give the eulogy.
The year 2005 saw the culmination of the philosophical work that I had been doing for many years on the concept of paradigm shift as well as the culmination of my specific work involving the interpretation and elucidation of the Earth Constitution. The latter involved the publication of World Revolution through World Law that included my “Manifesto of the Earth Federation” as well as essays by Errol E. Harris, Eugenia Almand, and Terence Amerasignhe, all supporters of the Constitution. The former involved the publication of my second book Millennium Dawn: The Philosophy of Planetary Crisis and Human Liberation. This book systematically attempted to give a complete philosophy of human liberation spanning not only philosophical, but the psychological, anthropological, social, and institutional dimensions of human life on Earth. The book ends by formulating ten principles of a transformative praxis, principles that I follow in my own life and work.
In March 2007, I travelled to the New Humanity Center in Kalamata, Greece, for an Institute on World Problems seminar there. The seminar had been advertised in Kalamata City and included some Greeks, but it primarily consisted of WCPA leaders acting as a think tank to further understand our world’s disorder and plan for the future. Mr. Nalin Jayasuriya from Sri Lanka, CEO of an international corporate consulting firm based in Colombo, gave an important talk on organization and development. Dr. Timi Ecimivic, a climate scientist from Slovenia and author of the book (to which I contributed) Climate Crisis: Our Common Enemy, gave a presentation about on-going climate collapse in which he affirmed that the coming disaster cannot be dealt with without an effective earth federation.
Back at Radford University at the end of March, I hosted as a guest speaker Mr. Mike Gravel, former U.S. Senator from Alaska and announced candidate for the 2008 U.S. presidential elections. Mike Gravel is one of the few U.S. leaders who supports earth federation. He told me that, if elected, he would appoint me as his worldwide ambassador for developing a federation for the Earth. In May, I hosted an International Philosophers for Peace conference at Radford University, with members participating from several countries, including E.P. Menon from Bangalore, India, an important supporter of the emerging Earth Federation.
In June, I travelled to Bangladesh for meetings with civic leaders and activists in the WCPA there, then to Sri Lanka where Nalin Jayasuriya had arranged a premier IOWP seminar in a beautiful hotel in central Colombo. At that time, soldiers were stationed on many corners in downtown because of the war in the north. The seminar was well attended and quite successful. Our Sri Lankan guest speaker was Justice C. G. Weeramantry, former judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice in the Hague (above photo). He was also a former pupil of WCPA President, Dr. Amerasinghe, who had been one of his professors years ago.
From Sri Lanka I flew via London to Lomé, Togo, in order to help with preparations for the 10th session of the Provisional World Parliament that was scheduled for the end of the month. We met with officials, travelled to Benin to speak about the Parliament to a big meeting of teachers, made preparations for lunches for delegates, and for the elaborate celebrations (dancers, choirs, speakers, and drama) that Dr. Balouki had arranged to accompany the Parliament. We secured the Congress Palace near Kara as an appropriate venue, and spoke with many officials about what we were preparing, as is the African custom. The Parliament celebrations were magnificent expressions of African culture and humanity, and the Parliament itself had some 80 participants from several African nations and the U.S.
The Congress Palace in Kara (owned by the Togo government): site of the 10th session
of the Provisional World Parliament. Right: the lobby of the Congress Palace.
The 10th session of Parliament. Left: Dr. Balouki speaks. Right: Dr. Almand introduces a legislative proposal.
In March, 2008, I went again to Thailand to meet with Dr. Phichai Tovivich, a WCPA Vice-President and director for WCPA in Thailand, and to further promote the development of our work there. I spoke with several audiences, and one smaller session that included a Princess of the Thai Royal Family. The metaphor I most often used in this largely Buddhist country was the transition across the river of samsara to the peaceful shore of nirvana. Human life is in chaos on the Earth because we have not established the “right speech, right livelihood, and right conduct” of democratic world law. Dr. Phichai and I also travelled south to the Kuan-Yin Interreligious Park. He remains President of the Office of the World Peace Envoy even though Ariyawanso Bhikkhu has died (whose body remains at the park and has not decayed). We discussed our common concern to continue this tradition and find a new WCPA World Peace Envoy.
After returning to the U.S., Dr. Almand and I travelled to Toronto, Canada, where we had been invited to hold an IOWP seminar at Humber College. After that, I returned to Radford University where I was organizing a large peace conference in cooperation with the World PROUT Assembly and its U.S. Director, Garda Ghista. Progressive activists and peace leaders from all around the U.S. came for the conference, with speeches by anti-war activists, civil rights advocates, Iraq War veterans who were rebuilding New Orleans, 9/11 Truth groups, and others deeply concerned with the conditions within the U.S. and worldwide. I organized, in particular, a group of world federalists from around the country who spoke, each from his or her own perspective, of the need for world unity and earth federation.
May 29th I left for Brussels to rendezvous there with Nalin Jayasuriya from Sri Lanka, and both of us met with Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Council, concerning the Earth Constitution (photo below). She and her assistant were very interested, and she offered to put us in contact with European Union parliamentarians. Ms. Wallström has since moved to new prominent position within the U.N. in New York City.
People often believe that our vision is very “idealistic” and therefore unrealistic. If they are from the first world, they also fear that substantial changes will endanger their freedoms or prosperity. But neither is the case. What is unrealistic is to continue with the present world disorder in the face of a collapsing environment, the continued threat of nuclear holocaust, and continued massive worldwide injustice. And if the first world loses anything from the change to a democratic and equitable world order, it will be nothing of value, only what is connected with systems of exploitation and domination. But they will gain everything: from peace on Earth to the civil use of the more than one trillion U.S. dollars they currently spend annually on militarism.
From Brussels, I continued to Lucknow, India, to give a seminar to CMS faculty and leaders, in which Dr. Gandhi participated. My presentation outlined nine features of emerging world law that distinguish it from our present system of international law. Dr. Gandhi called a press conference for my visit, and I was interviewed on CMS TV. I asked Dr. Preeti Shankar, WCPA leader and Editor for CMS Magazine, to arrange a visit for me to a rural Indian village. She obliged, and I was able to spend a day with desperately poor people in a small village outside Lucknow. The village had one well, and no outhouses but only the surrounding fields, which, they told me, they fertilized daily. I met with several families, with their social worker (also a resident of the village), and with the women’s association of the village (photos below).
From Lucknow, I flew to Chennai, India, to meet with the WCPA leaders there and travel further south to Pondicherry to meet with current World Union leaders about continuing collaboration with WCPA. In Chennai, Professor Ananthanarayanan and the WCPA Chapter had organized a dynamic symposium at the University of Madras that included peace activists and thinkers from throughout the state of Tamil Nadu for which I was to give the keynote address. I learned a great deal, including the wonderful good work that is being done in Tamil Nadu by people dedicated to helping the cause women and the poor. However, as I told the audience, the pathos of our work was striking at this location, for the university is directly across the road from the huge beach on the Bay of Bengal on which live many families and children who are destitute, homeless, and hungry (photos). If the problem of such poverty and misery is structural and institutional, all the social workers on Earth will not solve it. We require global institutions dedicated to human equality and prosperity.
Speakers for the World Peace Symposium in Chennai. Children living on the beach across the road from the Symposium.
I then flew to Kolkata to meet with Dr. Chattopadhyay and ISISAR/WCPA leaders there concerning the next session of the Provisional World Parliament that was to be in Kolkata but, due to unforeseen circumstances, had to be rescheduled for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Nainital, India, the following July. Sri Aurobindo leaders were later very cooperative in scheduling and facilitating this parliament. From Kolkata, I continued on to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mujibur Rahman and Mahbubul Islam (WCPA World Youth Coordinator) had arranged meetings for me in Dhaka with BAPA leaders (a major environmental organization) and others (such as member of Parliament, Madam Shova). They then traveled with me to the city of Sylhet in the north where I met with civic groups, members of the teacher’s union, and members of the Advocates Union. After returning to Dhaka, I flew to Bangkok for meetings there, hosted by Dr. Phichai and WCPA supporters. Dr. Phichai also took me to the beautiful north of Thailand this time for meetings and also for meditation and spiritual renewal. I returned to the U.S. on June 29th.
2008 also say the publication of my book, Ascent to Freedom: Practical & Philosophical Foundations of Democratic World Law. This book represented my on-going philosophical study of the pragmatic, moral, philosophical, and legal foundations for ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. It included three chapters on the necessity of a paradigm shift from fragmentation to holistic unity in diversity, four chapters on the history of the philosophy of law in the West showing the steady evolution of the concept of law in the direction of world law, and several more chapters articulating the ethical and philosophical foundations of world law.
In 2009, I was the professor for the Radford University study abroad course in Introduction to Peace Studies for three weeks, May 16 to June 7, in Costa Rica. The 11th session of the Provisional World Parliament in India was scheduled for early July. In late June, I flew to Delhi, connected with others staying overnight at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram there, and caught the train for Nainital in the north. The beautiful location was that of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram on top of a mountain not far from Lake Nainital. A number of participants came from around the world, including our honored guests Justice A. P. Misra, former Supreme Court Justice of India and N. Saraswathy Devi, international Barrister at Law from Malaysia (photos). Devi is Chairperson of the International Women Lawyer’s Committee against Human Trafficking. She submitted a bill for a law against human trafficking that was debated by the Parliament and passed with friendly amendments as World Legislative Act number 43. Delegates debated an active legislative agenda throughout that session of Parliament, and, on the final day, we held an International Philosophers for Peace conference so that people could talk about their own ideas and efforts on behalf of peace.
In late December 2009, I went to Costa Rica for three weeks to speak with professional groups and offer an all-day seminar on the Earth Federation Movement at the Colegio de Abogados in San Jose. I also took Spanish lessons during that time from a professional teacher in Cuidad Colón in order to continue improving my Spanish. In March, 2010, my wife and I flew to Munich, Germany and met with the leader of the World Party of Germany, Fabian Ellerder, before driving on through Austria and Slovenia to Croatia. We were hosted in Croatia by Dr. Slavko Kulic and Dr. Marija Pavkov, who arranged for me to give a lecture and visual presentation to the English speaking European Association of Zagreb. Drs. Kulic and Pavkov were working on establishing an official branch of the Institute on World Problems in Croatia, an effort that was accomplished the following year.
In 2009 Dr. Eugenia Almand and I also published Emerging World Law — Key Documents and Decisions of the Global Constituent Assemblies and the Provisional World Parliament. This book is volume one in a projected three volume series that includes the Earth Constitution, the legislation of sessions of the Provisional World Parliament, key documents in the development of this work since its founding by Philip and Margaret Isely in 1958, and philosophical background for the emergence of effective, positive world law. The beautiful cover, designed by Dr. Almand, reproduces a painting of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, which was the location for the first session of the Provisional World Parliament in 1982.
In May and June 2010, I was in Africa for a month. Dr. Balouki from Togo and I gave two, three-day seminars to the two different WCPA chapters in Ghana, first in Kasoa, headed by Rev. Isaac Taylor, and the second, headed by Bishop Immanuel Mensah, in Kumasi. In the seminars, I spoke about third world problems and their solution through earth federation and Dr. Balouki, as an agricultural expert, spoke about bee keeping, snail raising, and intensive gardening for health and added income. Our audiences were very interested in both topics. We returned to Togo, through Lomé, travelled north by bus, and I gave talks in Sokodé and met with WCPA leaders in Kara before returning by bus to Lomé and flying to Kampala, Uganda, for the first-ever General Review Conference of the International Criminal Court, June 1-11, 2009.
The review conference took place at the elaborate Speke Resort and Conference Center on Lake Victoria. The resort housed official delegations from most of the 111 members of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) as well as a large delegation from the U.S. (not a member of the ASP). Most of the representatives from global NGOs, such as Dr. Eugenia Almand and myself, stayed in less expensive accommodations in various places around Kampala. Security was very tight, with all autos entering the resort carefully inspected and all guests entering the conference area carefully screened. Dr. Almand and I had long preregistered as representatives of the Institute on World Problems. We gave a public presentation of our work, spoke with many representatives of NGOs, and with many there who had been victims of human rights abuses and wanted to see justice done. We also entered an official proposal with the ASP Secretariat showing how the International Criminal Court could be strengthened and could help form the nucleus of an emerging earth federation (photos below).
The results of the ICC Review Conference were disappointing, as usual with negotiations among competitive, sovereign nation-states. The U.S. delegation led the way in delaying the activation by the ICC in prosecuting the crime of aggression until the year 2017. Very little was accomplished, and almost nothing at all as progress toward uniting humanity under the rule of enforceable laws. We certainly must not abandon the U.N. or the International Criminal Court and their accomplishments. Indeed, the Provisional World Parliament has made extensive use of the Rome Statues of the ICC, which are excellent (though largely unenforceable) documents, and it integrates viable U.N. agencies into the Earth Federation. Rather, we must integrate their foundational good work into a higher stage of human understanding and organization. We human beings began implementing our broad ideas regarding world peace with the League of Nations in 1918. We progressed to a higher level with the advent of the United Nations in 1945. But we will not overcome our lethal problems on this planet unless we move to a yet higher level of political and economic integration as represented by the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.
We understood once again, what we have seen repeatedly in both our own experience and in modern history of the past four centuries: that the condition of the world under the system of militarized “sovereign” nation-states is intrinsically unable to move forward toward a demilitarized world of peace, toward real protection of human rights, towards protecting and restoring the environment, or towards ending poverty on Earth. The system of militarized sovereign states is intrinsically a war system, not accidentally so. For outside national borders there is no democratically legislated enforceable law directed toward the common good of the Earth and humanity. Externally, the relation among states is one of defacto war. Each national government is out for its own interests and, without enforceable world law, the big, powerful nations do what they want and the weaker suffer in innumerable ways: from poverty, to exploitation, to theft of their natural resources, to pollution of their environments, to invasion, war, and unspeakable destruction.
Larger unions of states are a good sign: a European, African, Latin American, or Asian Union. But these will not solve the problems described here. Only democratically legislated, enforceable world law can effectively address our lethal problems. The European Union functions as an economic and political power-block in today’s world, not as a force for ending war and creating global unity. Its surrogate army is NATO, largely dominated by the imperial forces of the United States. And Europe’s own imperial ambitions are shamefully reflected in the destruction of Libya during 2012 and 2013 along with the French interference in Mali and the Central African Republic in 2013 and 2014. Shameful, just like the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are shameful and reveal the crying need for effective emerging world law.
Left: the big tents to house meetings of global civil society groups. Right: a meeting of an African civil society group concerning human rights issues.
I returned to the U.S. on June 12. In December of that year, I flew to Lucknow, India, to participate in the International Conference of Chief Justices. My 2009 book, The Constitution for the Federation of Earth: With Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion, had been sent to WCPA leaders around the world. Dr. Gandhi, in Lucknow, had requested to republish the book in India with a chapter that included the specific work of the City Montessori School with regard to developing an earth federation. We worked on this by email during the fall months and the expanded book was in print and waiting in the packets of every Chief Justice who attended this conference. As at every annual Chief Justices conference to this day, WCPA has had a number of WCPA representatives present to persuade and inform the justices, many of whom are very interested in our work.
After the conference, I flew to Bangladesh for several days to meet with groups, prominent persons, and give lectures on the Earth Federation Movement. We connected there with Justice Syed Islam, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh who immediately saw the significance of our work and volunteered to become a member of the Collegium of World Judges. This Collegium, being activated under the authority of the Earth Constitution, Article 9.4, will empower a volunteer group of former and present high court judges around the world to make public declarations and eventually begin prosecutions for violations of world law. The failure of the International Criminal Court in this regard is on the minds of many of these justices.
I returned to Kolkata for the World Peace Thinkers and Poets Meet, December 27-31, 2010. This was another magnificent peace event organized by Dr. Chattopadhyay and ISISAR. This event included the 12th session of the Provisional World Parliament and the 13th Conference of International Philosophers for Peace. Delegates from many countries and around India were present. There were many large assemblies at which I was a speaker, press conferences, art exhibits, and readings of major Bengali Poets. The opening ceremonies the first day were anticipated with a big peace march through the streets of Kolkata from the Gandhi statue to the large campus that was our conference venue (photos). I presided at the Provisional World Parliament, served on several panels, and read one of my own poems entitled “The Children” to a meeting of poets that was included in a publication resulting from this conference. Previously, three of my poems entitled “Freedom,” “This Grey Dawn,” and “The Alchemist’s Song,” had been published as part of a collection of the poetry of Elaine F. Webster entitled Dawn Dancing. I am no poet but nevertheless feel, on occasion, to express my deepest thoughts and perceptions in the form of poetry.
Left: holding the banner in the peace march preceding the opening of “World Peace
Thinkers and Poets Meet.” Right: speaking at one of the plenary sessions of the Conference.
I returned to Radford in early January 2011 and back to classes that always begin the third week in January. After the semester finished, on May 10, I went to Costa Rica with my wife and Dr. Rita Martin (no relation) who is a professor of Spanish at Radford University. (Rita is an immigrant from Cuba who is interested in promoting our work for world federation.) We intersected with the Radford University study abroad class (taught by another teacher) and I spoke with both the class and Costa Rican citizens about our work. Celina Garcia and WCPA supporters there had arranged lectures for me on the Earth Federation Movement to a law class, a political science class, and a sociology class at 3 different universities in San Jose. We returned to Radford, May 21st.
June 7, 2011, I left for a 5 city lecture tour in Asia: Lucknow, India, where I was interviewed for CMS TV once again, then on to Colombo, Sri Lanka, for three days during which I gave lectures organized there by Nalin Jayasuriya. While in Sri Lanka, I asked Nalin to organize another ride down the coast road south from Colombo on which I had travelled in 2005 with Dr. Amerasinghe as we inspected tsunami damage. I had read in Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine and the Rise of Disaster Capitalism that when the poor are displaced from their homes by disasters (as in New Orleans after the hurricane), that they are not allowed to return. Instead big money comes in to buy up the land and build resort hotels or other such development for the wealthy. In the case of this coast road, I did not see significant examples of this process. It was rebuilt but still appeared to be populated by ordinary people.
From there I went to Chennai, India, for 7 days of lectures, meetings with groups and leaders, a trip south to visit leaders of World Union in Pondicherry, and gave presentations at Jaya College of Arts and Science for an entire day. The week-long series of events, that included meeting with activist social groups in the countryside and a visit to a Chennai slum, was entitled “Global Challenges to Peace” (photos below). During this time we once again visited a slum at my request, and, later in the week, I was presented with a “Lighthouse of the World” award by the WCPA (Asia Wing) and Bharat Vikas Parishad at the all-day program at Jaya College outside Chennai. (When I mentioned this award later to my sister, Elaine Sumner, who lives in Ecuador, she replied, “I thought Jesus was the lighthouse of the world.” She makes a good point. I am no Jesus, nor Buddha, nor Krishna. Nevertheless, I am deeply honored by their gift.)
From Chennai, I flew to Dhaka for two days. I had not intended to do this when the trip was originally being planned, but my dear friend, Mujibur Rahman, was dying of cancer, and he and I both understood that this was my last chance to be with him. In spite of the sadness and warmth of this encounter, Mujibur and Mahbubul Islam and the WCPA leaders there had also arranged a couple of meetings for me, including a WCPA meeting of ten of our local members at the apartment of Mujibur and his wife, Bulbul. Mujibur and I had known and loved one another all these years, since our first meeting in Denver, Colorado, in the mid-1990s. I have experienced the deaths so many wonderful friends and visionaries, including Rashmi Mayur and Terence Amerasinghe, but this was the hardest one for me.
Mujibur was a great human being, dedicated to the common good of the people of Bangladesh and to the transformation of our unjust world system under the Earth Constitution. His spirit and vision in Bangladesh will now be led by his and my good friend Mahbubul Islam, who has long worked with Mujibur and WCPA and who serves as WCPA Youth Coordinator.
From Dhaka, I returned to Bangalore, India, where E.P. Menon had arranged an all-day seminar with leading social activists, journalists, and academics concerned with global issues. Some of these serious and thoughtful people understood quite clearly the significance of our work, others rejected these ideas, but all of them are now clearly aware of the Earth Constitution and our Earth Federation Movement to bring peace with justice to the Earth. I returned to the states on June 27th.
At the end of July, my wife and I then hosted an IOWP seminar for four days at our place at Raquette Lake, in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The seminar was attended by some 20 persons from around the U.S. who discussed our work in depth and vigorously made plans to move it forward into the future. This was the first seminar of the kind that we had organized there, but we had long wanted to find ways to integrate this beautiful place in some way to the service of humanity. We are planning another seminar there for July 2012.
September 21 is World Peace Day, and Costa Ricans, true to form, have transformed that into a World Peace Week in their country. Dr. Almand and I travelled to Costa Rica from September 17 to 24 to participate in World Peace Week in northern Costa Rica. Celina Garcia and WCPA members there had long worked with the many groups involved with the AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project) and Celina had decided it was time that the vision of AVP activists was enlarged to a global vision. We spoke at many events in San Carlos, Quesada, and Santa Rosa concerning the Earth Constitution and gave lectures at two colleges during that week. On December 7, 2011, I returned to Lucknow, India, for the International Conference of Chief Justices of the World at the City Montessori School (CMS). Dr. Gandhi had asked us to hold a WCPA meeting at the CMS World Convention and Unity Center during the time of this conference.
We understood that the presence of many WCPA participants with the Justices would strengthen their understanding of the Earth Constitution and the need for democratically legislated enforceable world law. I called the meeting and more than 25 WCPA friends and leaders from a number of countries attended. We actually held three WCPA meetings during the time of the Chief Justices Conference to coordinate our efforts and discuss WCPA issues. We were signing up justices to be Honorary Sponsors of the Earth Constitution and also to become members of the Collegium of World Judges. We had some success with both endeavors and made many contacts with interested justices from Latin America and other parts of the world that we will be following up (photos below).
During the Conference, justices from Argentina and from Nepal invited us to their countries to talk about our work, which we will be doing during 2012. We have a list of new Honorary Sponsors of the Constitution and members of the Collegium that we will be adding to the many prominent sponsors who have supported our work since 1958. We are already scheduled to be in Nepal in June and are trying to make plans for a trip to Argentina that will include our Latin American Coordinator, Celina Garcia.
And we already have several proposed legislative acts submitted for the 13th session of the Provisional World Parliament, including an act outlining the procedures by which non-democratic nations may become part of the Earth Federation. The 13th session was planned to meet simultaneously with the International Conference of Chief Justices of the World, hosted by Dr. Jagdish Gandhi and the City Montessori School of Lucknow, during December 2013. We also had Executive Council plans to attend the “World Peace Congress and Carnivale” in Sidney, Australia in 2014, as well as the worldwide meeting of Mundialized World Cities to take place in Hiroshima, Japan, in 2015. In addition, I am on the organizing committee for Radford University to host a “Building a New World Conference” during May 2015. We plan to have truly alternative thinkers from many places in the world come together to define and empower all the work being done that is truly transformative of our present brutal, unjust, and unsustainable world disorder. And the 14th session of the Provisional World Parliament is now scheduled for December 2015 in Kolkata, India.
Left: the assembled Justices: some 199 from 77 countries. In front center, in the white slacks, is Prof. Dr. Minira Garayeva, President WCPA Azerbaijan. Right: in the peace march, with Dr. Phichai from WCPA Thailand to my left.
In 2011, saw the appearance of my book The Earth Federation Movement: Founding a Social Contract for the People of Earth – History, Documents, Philosophical Foundations. One of the tasks of those of us active in the Provisional World Parliament (PWP) and the Earth Federation Movement (EFM) is to conceptualize, articulate, and model the kind of Planetary Civilization that will emerge upon ratification of the Earth Constitution and a World Parliament that adopts laws very similar to the ones that have been passed at sessions of the PWP. This book represents some of my efforts to fulfill this task. Most of the documents collected in the appendix are world legislative acts from sessions of the Parliament. One document in particular, endorsed at the 12th session of the Parliament in Kolkata, India in December 2012 is called “Conceptual Model of the Earth Federation.” In it I attempted to concretely envision the kind of world emerging from ratification of the Earth Constitution in terms of a peace system, a prosperity system, a justice system, a freedom system, and a sustainability system. The book also articulates the philosophical fundamentals of the global social contract under the Constitution in terms of its ethical holism, democratic holism, and political holism.
During 2012, I was again at the International Conference of Chief Justices of the World in Lucknow, India. During that year, I also gave lectures on the Earth Federation and the Earth Constitution in Togo, West Africa, in Radovic, Macedonia, in Zagreb, Croatia, and in Istanbul, Turkey. I also met with the leaders of the World Citizen’s Registry in Paris concerning both coordination with respect to our mutual interest in democratic world government and promoting the upcoming 13th session of the Provisional World Parliament scheduled for December 2013. During September, I also gave a number of lectures concerning our work during “World Peace Week” in Costa Rica.
In Radovic, leaders of environmental organizations from several countries in the region of south east Europe described creative and successful environmental initiatives that took a variety of forms. I had the unfortunate duty to describe the condition of our planetary environment, which is failing and whose care and improvement can be described as anything but successful. Soon after that, at the invitation of climate scientist, Dr. Timi Ecimovic, I began work on my book that was to appear in 2013 – The Anatomy of a Sustainable World: Our Choice between Climate Change or System Change. And How You Can Make a Difference.
In 2013, I was again in Costa Rica, lecturing in several cities on the Earth Constitution in relation to World Peace Week. Our WCPA Vice-President and coordinator for Latin America, Celina Garcia, invited representatives from the Latin American embassies in San Jose to one of my talks that was scheduled at the elegant Mexican Institute. After that talk, the representative from the government of Ecuador was very interested in the Earth Constitution and its relation to protecting the global environment.
For 20 years the government of Ecuador has had a law suit against Chevron-Texaco for massive destruction of the rain forests of Ecuador, and the habitat of the people living in those rainforests, in the extraction of oil prior to 1993. We began discussing with them the possibility of constituting a court under the authority of the Earth Constitution to try this case, since they have not had any success in finding any presently existing court system that can deal with this issue in an objective and authoritative manner. My book, The Anatomy of a Sustainable World, shows clearly all the ways that the Constitution establishes a just and sustainable world dedicated to restoring our degraded planetary environment and establishing the conditions for permanent, effective sustainability everywhere on Earth.
In November of 2013, my wife and I travelled to Malaysia where we were hosted by Puan Sri Datin Seri N. Saraswathy Devi, international lawyer and Vice-President of WCPA, whose offices are located in Kuala Lumpur. Devi arranged for me to give a talk about this new book to a group of lawyers in her elegant law offices, with a well-appointed reception to follow. From Malaysia we flew to the Philippines where I was to receive the GUSI Peace Prize International at this year’s Peace Prize ceremonies taking place before an audience of some 6000 people in the Manila Convention Center. I was pleased that the committee that reviewed the many documents I was required to submit to them selected out two special themes to mention as reasons for my receiving this honor: my work in “the philosophy of human liberation” and my work as President of WCPA on behalf of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. These two themes together sum up my philosophical and practical life’s work on behalf of a decent future for humanity and our precious planet Earth.
After the final two weeks of classes at Radford University I returned to south east Asia for the 13th session of the Provisional World Parliament in Lucknow, India, hosted by Dr. Jagdish Gandhi. The Parliament, with the participation of a number of intelligent and articulate delegates, debated and passed several excellent legislative acts that now serve as part of the resource base for emerging world law. We had a well-attended Press Conference that resulted in articles in all the leading newspapers of the region. After the Parliament, I flew to Dhaka, Bangladesh, where I was hosted for nearly a week by a member of the Bangladesh Peace Council, and provided with a packed itinerary of meeting with multiple peace groups by Mahbubul Islam. I was also hosted one afternoon by a fellow recipient of this year’s GUSI Peace Prize, Mr. A.N. Noumen, founder and director of DORP, a Bangladesh non-profit organization dedicated to the alleviation of poverty.
After Bangladesh, I flew back to Delhi and stayed two nights with Mr. Amit Paul, President of the Delhi Chapter of WCPA, before taking the train to Shardarshar in the Rajasthan dessert where IASE Deemed University is located. I had long conversations with Chancellor Kanak Mal Dugar and his son Himanshu Dugar concerning possible cooperation in values education and the development of the new Global Harmony Institute that is being finished on the 1200 acre IASE campus. I was generously hosted by Dr. Surrendra Pathak and his family and given a tour of the many buildings on this huge campus. Each morning I jogged into the 200 year old city of Shardarshar with its narrow streets, interesting architecture, and camel pulled carts. With the cold nights, warm days, and sand everywhere that was not cultivated and irrigated, I could see how people might enjoy living in this part of India.
In my encounters with thousands of people and in my research and writing of eight books and dozens of articles, as well as in my reflective or critical dialogues with numerous thoughtful people, the question regularly recurs as to whether the kind of world unification with universal political democracy under the rule of law that we advocate does not first require a spiritual transformation on the part of human beings, the kind of spiritual transformation advocated by many of the world’s great religions and spiritual teachers. My understanding of this issue has deepened over the years. It is a question I have addressed in one way or another in all my books.
This question has implications for the kind of transformative work to be done at this point in history. But my first answer, that has remained with me all these years, is that this work should be done because it is right to do it. It is right to establish a decent world order for all persons that embraces both justice and peace. As French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas writes: to see the “infinity in the human face” is to live under a command to care for “the widow, the orphan, and the stranger,” and a related command, “thou shalt not kill.” Encountering the vulnerable, yet beautiful faces of people in many parts of the world underlies this work: because we are all infinitely precious individual persons.
This work should be done because it is right to do it. Yet, in terms of the practical question of the means for transformation, I have come to understand that human beings are so powerfully influenced by their social, political, and cultural environments that we are capable of becoming nearly anything, depending on these influences. If we transform our social, political, and cultural environment on Earth through the unity in diversity provided by a common constitution that abolishes war, protects human rights, progressively eliminates poverty, and restores our collapsing environment, then we will have established a very powerful social, political, and cultural framework that will also transform us spiritually.
The structural and spiritual aspects of our lives are so deeply intertwined that these cannot be separated as “one before the other.” Our most basic human need at this time in history is to foster both simultaneously. In this sense, I believe my life’s work has always been as much about spiritual, as it has been about political, transformation. As human beings, we carry within us this tremendous possibility and hope.