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Many to Many
December 2004    Issue 90


II. THE 57TH  DPI/NGO CONFERENCE:  "Millennium Development Goals: Civil Society Takes Action" - Report

III. A CALL TO WOMEN OF GOODWILL  - Everywhere in the world








I.     Image  

Image seems so important today. From children to presidents appearance and presentation is essential as we seek to fit into the community or climb the societal ladder towards the top. A whole industry of advisers teach us how to walk, talk, dress and gesticulate to make the right impression on whomever we wish to convince of our worthiness to be included in the group or deserving of our desired position in life. Casting shadows over any opponent’s reputation through innuendos, mudslinging, or other backhanded methods is, it seems, a practice almost universally accepted.

This is not a new phenomenon. Throughout the ages people have reached for power and position and succeeded, not necessarily through their noble qualities and skills but by their inherent talent for manipulation and persuasion. Right posturing and attire will – at least temporarily – suffice to keep such persons in office. Those, sincerely aspiring to serve the good of humankind, work more often than not unseen and in the background.

But although the business of imagery has reached new heights of sophistication and prominence and provided the public with a mesmerizing spectacle of rises and falls, there are signs that its capability to convince and impress is waning.

The sheer necessity for good leadership, and the longing for authenticity in this crisis-ridden world, is making us look for truth beyond the surface of things  – into the heart of the matter. People everywhere sense the urgent need for change of direction. But wherever we look we see the effects of this preoccupation with – as the New Testament expresses it - the gathering of treasures upon earth "where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal".

However humanity’s call for truth has not gone un-headed. As masks come off, the world appears to be flooded with dark revelations infiltrating and contaminating all human affairs. The light that reveals the truth also reveals that which is not, and although this may add further to the already existing trauma and confusion, it will eventually and inevitably help us find the path that leads to a more enlightened civilization.

The dictionary defines ‘image’ as the optical counterpart produced by rays of light reflected from a mirror. These rays of light are enabling us to see what we and our world look like. They are the revealers of truth. If we sincerely wish to look beyond the reflection we see, we must pry our eyes away from the mirror and look deeper within ourselves: the creators of civilizations – past, present and future.

Jesus Christ said: "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light".

In human terms we have for a long time been living ‘at the dawn of a new age’. For generations we have prepared ourselves for a new day. We know in our hearts that life on this planet is one interdependent whole – a living evolving organism within an even greater whole. Will we continue the endless pursuit of earthly treasures, or will we lift our eyes to the sun and open our whole being to the light that shines through all creation?

Will we choose to become a lifeless moon, or a living, radiant, life-giving, sun? The choice is ours.

II. The 57th Annual DPI/NGO Conference
"Millennium Development Goals: Civil Society Takes Action"
8 to 10 September 2004; United Nations Headquarters—New York City

Ida Urso, Ph.D.[1]

The image on the agenda booklet of the 57th UN/NGO Conference is a most telling and symbolic statement about this year's NGO conference.  It depicts a chain of people efforting to raise the globe of earth up a set of stairs; concerned humanity—cooperatively striving to uplift Earth up the stairs of consciousness, thus lessening and eliminating suffering, darkness and despair.

One newspaper publication of the Millennium Campaign ( made available at the Conference put it this way, "In September 2000, 189 nations came together and agreed on 8 goals to make the world a better place for everyone."  Then each page of the newspaper is dedicated in large, bold type to one of the following possibilities:

• What if governments lived up to their promise?
• What if everyone could eat when they were hungry?
• What if everyone were guaranteed a basic education?
• What if everyone were equal regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion?
• What if A.I.D.S. disappeared?
• What if more mothers and children survived the miracle of childbirth?
• What if environmental resources were here for generations to come?
• What if everyone were to work together as a global community?
• What if you could make it happen?

The newspaper concludes, "Meeting the 8 Millennium Development Goals by 2015 will require all of us to hold our governments to their promise.  Lend your voice [this author would add, ‘your heart and your mind’] for this unique opportunity."  (Please visit the following website which enumerates the 8 goals:

Making their way through an unusual downpour of rain and putting up with the long lines created as every single person went through strict security procedures, 2700 plus representatives from over 700 Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from 90 countries came to participate in an extraordinary conference.

In this my 14th year of participation, I was struck by what seemed to me to be a yearly climaxing depth of commitment, focus and a positive, cooperative and collaborative "can do" attitude that refuses to entertain the word, "can't."  Civil society, government, faith based and media representatives, UN diplomats and staff, youth and more were all applying heart and mind energies to the question of how can we best achieve the 8 potentially world transforming goals, now agreed upon by all 191 member States of the United Nations.

These 8 goals—the Millennium Development Goals, the "MDGs", referred to by Shashi Tharoor, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, as an acronym for "Making A Difference for Good," are, according to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, "a test for all of us."  Further quoting Mr. Annan, he stated, "We have an historic opportunity to end extreme poverty and to set the world on a safer, more just and humane path, but there is no time to lose.  Every day we don’t act, people suffer.  And if the goals are not met, we will all be poorer and less secure."

Eveline Herfkens, Executive Coordinator of the UN Millennium Development Goals Campaign, enthusiastically underscored the importance of civil society in both articulating the goals and in ensuring their realization.  She also addressed two criticisms of the goals:   one, that they are not ambitious enough.  For those who thus complain, she encouraged:  "Please, raise the bar!"  The second criticism is that these goals cannot be achieved.  To this she responded, "I want you to join me by simply not accepting that these goals are not going to be achieved!!   The world has the resources.   We’ve never been richer.  We know what to do; we know what the solutions are and please don’t get disheartened by so many reports, including from the UN system that so many countries are off track of so many of the goals, accentuating the negative, the glass is half empty….Please reject this undue pessimism because these goals are doable."

Joining every speaker at the conference in her affirmation of the need for unprecedented cooperation and collaboration, Ms. Herfkens encouraged the creation of "grand alliances" and the need to "act locally while thinking globally."   She quoted Secretary-General Kofi Annan who often underscores the necessity for local/national/UN cooperation:  "Political will shifts only if there is national and local mobilization by the public and only when national leaders are held accountable."  The UN, as Mr. Annan often reminds us, "is only as strong as its members allow it to be."

Necessary to the realization of these goals is a recognition of "the division of labour" required between the developing and the developed countries of the world:  "We have all agreed that it is the responsibility of the developing countries to achieve the first seven goals, but [we also] acknowledge that rich countries must support poor countries in order for them to do so…The MDGs are a global compact built around mutual commitments and they demand mutual accountability by all countries."  The enumerated responsibilities of the "rich countries" are to "increase aid, increase aid effectiveness, provide more debt relief and more trade opportunities and put an end to agricultural subsidies that destroy the markets of poor farmers."

Encouraging and inspiring all, she reported on the large global North-South coalition coming together under the banner, "Make Poverty History." This global mobilization effort demonstrates that citizens do care and want to put an end to poverty.  We have in front of us a unique window of opportunity.  The suffering of children in developing countries necessitates immediate action and the children of rich countries can no longer afford to ignore how their counterparts in the South live.  The children in rich countries cannot continue to be "illiterate on how their own societies share responsibility" for current world conditions.

Pointing to the dilemma caused by the clash of the competing demands of nation states at the UN, Shashi Tharoor referred to the results of the "prestigious Pew Report" of last summer that found the UN standing had come down in all countries.  Those who supported the Iraq war were criticizing the UN for not supporting the war and those who did not support the war were castigating the UN for not being able to prevent it.  As a result, a "High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change" has been appointed to examine the major threats and challenges to international peace and security, including those threats arising from economic and social issues.   Mr. Tharoor reported that the challenge before this panel, "is nothing less than reviewing the entire architecture of the whole system that we have built up in the last 59 years and next year on the 60th anniversary of this organization, in December, the report of this panel will be fully discussed."

As he indicated, the need for greater planet-wide peace and security cannot be overly estimated:  "It is axiomatic that the MDGs will NOT be met in a world marred by instability and conflict.  [The MDGs]  are inextricably linked to the need to build international peace and security!"

Quoting from the Millennium Declaration, (, Joan Kirby, Chair of the NGO Conference emphasized that in signing the Declaration, the countries of the world recognized that in addition to their responsibility to their individual societies, they also agreed that they have  "a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level."  They solemnly affirmed that the United Nations is the COMMON HOUSE of the entire human family and they pledged unstinting support for their common, universal aspiration for peace, cooperation and development and their determination to achieve them.

Sister Kirby, a Religious of the Sacred Heart and the NGO Representative to the UN of the Temple of Understanding, ended her remarks by citing a prayer:   "For as long as space endures and for as long as living beings remain, may we too abide to relieve the misery of the world."

Putting in perspective the goal of the United Nations and the present reality, Jacques Attali, President of "PlaNet France" and featured keynote speaker sharply contrasted today’s UN, which functions mainly "as a multilateral organization where nations are competing to get the best for their own interest" and the UN needed to solve today’s global problems.  As he emphasized, there is a need to shift from "national priorities to mankind priorities."  He lamented the fact that the world today is sadly lacking in statesmanship and in "worldmanship."  He referred to the national defense budgets as "budgets for the protection of national interest."  He stressed the need for world consciousness and speaking on the last afternoon of the conference, he asserted what had been evident throughout the three-day proceedings: "It is only in a room like this one where we see people interested by issues without borders, without any national, selfish interest; and this makes a dramatic difference in terms of ethics and dreams."

Mr. Attali called for the creation of a Dow Jones-like index that would daily measure and publicize "a survival index to see if humanity is progressing along the path to its own survival." And he called for the need to hold people accountable if the MDGs are not being met.

Responding to a question posed by Zin Verjee, Anchor of CNN International, Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) referred to the fact that the 9/11 tragedy caused a change in political consciousness.  "We have learned," he said, "that not only can the rich hurt the poor, but that the poor can hurt the rich," and a strong national defense cannot make life safe for its citizens.  In fact, he stated, "the stronger your defense, the richer your citizens, the more powerful you are, in some ways, the more vulnerable you are and I think these ideas are penetrating into our world, which means with the help of civil society, we will within a short generation understand a genuine sense of global responsibility and [the need for] global action."  He acknowledged, "we are at a moment of moving signposts in the global conversation," and in a few years, we will talk in different terms about security and development and eventually, we will recognize the need for pro-active development strategy as just something you expect from your tax-payer dollar wherever you live.

This theme of important changes wrought in consciousness by the 9/11 tragedy was further addressed by Kavita Ramdas, President of the Global Fund for Women who referred to the "gift of 9/11":  "We are all in this world together vulnerable.   We all suffer terror of all different kinds.  The privilege of living in a wealthy country does not necessarily protect you from being exposed."  She referred to the terror experienced by those who watch their child die of starvation; the terror of not being able to make ends meet even though you work so hard from sunrise to sunset; the terror of watching both of your parents die, leaving you with only a legacy of being HIV positive.  She declared that the citizens of the world are only secure when for example, "the children of Fallujah are fed and secure and not fearful that cluster bombs can, at any time, fall on their heads."

Increasingly the concepts of universal ethics and spirituality are embraced and openly articulated at these gatherings.  For example, this year, two of the midday workshops referred to the role of spirituality in addressing global problems.  One workshop whose theme was, "The Role of Spirituality in Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution" called for the creation of a global day of reconciliation.  The presenters of this workshop recognized that violence is a response to a deep wound and the world community must seek alternative ways of addressing wounds, based on forgiveness and love rather than on punishment and violence.

Another midday workshop entitled, "The Ethical and Spiritual Dimensions of the Millennium Development Goals" created a statement, part of which is excerpted below and which was then submitted for the final report on the overall conference proceedings:  "In order to best implement the MDGs and insure sustainability of the goals, we must explore and include the ethical, moral, and spiritual dimensions of friendliness, love, compassion, respect for diversity, generosity, justice, fairness, peace, kindness and acceptance.  The real power of the United Nations is the moral force that distinguishes humans from other living beings.  It is the ethical, moral, and spiritual forces, the foundations of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions, which can transform political inertia into the political will necessary to achieve and surpass the Millennium Development Goals."   [If you need to lessen words, this paragraph could be left out.]

We exist at a pivotal point in the history of humanity and the planet.   As many of the NGO conference participants repeated, the problems on our planet are huge, yet so is the opportunity!  May we therefore each play our part with stern resolve and with earnest aspiration to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom!

A transcript of the available speeches and the web cast of the conference can be found at:

[1]Ida Urso, Ph.D., is Founder/President of the Aquarian Age Community, a non-profit accredited nongovernmental organization (NGO) in association with the UN Department of Public Information. This article is an extract from a more extensive report, which may be found at:  For information about the meditation initiative, "The Spiritual Work of the United Nations and the Liberation of Humanity," write to

III. A Call to WOMEN OF GOODWILL – Everywhere in the World:

To recognize the power of goodwill as a vital force, molding women’s opinions and guiding our actions in constructive cooperation.

To realize that this power is greatly needed in world affairs at this time, and without goodwill among women no lasting peace is possible.

To strive to exemplify goodwill increasing in our daily lives and so become effective goodwill units within the body of humanity.

To give personal recognition and support to every statement and effect by prominent women and leaders of thought everywhere which has the quality of goodwill, so that whenever and wherever the power of goodwill is used it will have the support of an enlightened public.

To use our time, our thought and our money to increase goodwill action everywhere in the world.

Women of goodwill are those of all countries, all races and every class who are naturally kind, who prefer friendly relations with others, who know the practical value of unselfishness, and who live constructively.

We prefer to understand and cooperate with other races, nations and individuals.

We are intelligent people whose minds have not stifled the dictates of our HEARTS.

We are known by the way we live.


Since the historic moment when the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1325 (31October 2000), calling for women to be included in all peacekeeping activities and participate equally in all peace negotiation, women organizations have been working hard and consistently for the implementation of the recommendations contained in this groundbreaking resolution.

In September 2004 a conference took place in New York, organized by UNIFEM and the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) with the theme: gender justice in post-conflict situations. Women ministers, lawyers and judges came together from Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Liberia, Namibia, Iraq, Burundi and Rwanda, to discuss this matter and share their experiences and perspectives on what they saw as best practices with regard to gender justice, and what action still needed to be taken in their countries.

There was general agreement that, because of the increasingly disproportionate impact of war and conflict on women and girls, the issue of gender justice needed urgent special attention, action as well as resources. UNIFEM Executive Director, Noeleen Heyzer, stressed that "to restore legitimacy, public trust and establish long term stability and security in the aftermath of war, the obstacles preventing women from enjoying protection of their rights, and seeking access to justice for gross violations committed against them need to be removed."

The conference participants discussed how discriminating laws and practices could be addressed at the highest institutional levels so as to be brought into line with international human rights standards. Women should be encouraged and helped actively to participate in the process of developing "legal, judicial and constitutional structures to promote gender equality and justice."

The conclusions and recommendations from this conference were presented to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council for consideration during the open debate at the fourth anniversary of resolution 1325.

The role of women ex-combatants

The issues raised in resolutions 1325 was also discussed at a meeting held in Kigali, August 2004, organized by UNIFEM in cooperation with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) °© particularly regarding women°Øs role in peacekeeping missions, specifically in Africa.

The meeting acknowledged the vital contribution that women can make to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes, and deeply regretted the fact that women often found themselves excluded from taking part in these.

Some 200 African women belonging to an association of female ex-combatants called Ndabaga, told the meeting of their deep commitment to Rwanda°Øs national reconstruction and reconciliation process. Many of its members are already active leaders in grassroots organizations who assist their communities with conflict resolution.

The Ndabaga association used this opportunity to ask for a role in regional peacekeeping missions throughout Africa. The Rwandan Minister for Gender, Valerie Nyirahabineza, agreed with this request, adding "Since wars and conflicts affect children and women in a special way, and since women tend to confide in their fellow women more than they do in men, peace missions should have a big representation of women to attend to the special needs of women suffering the consequences of war". The Minister has allocated funds to help the Ndabaga women carry out their activities, and the Minister of Labour, Vocational Training and Public Service, pledged to sponsor Ndabaga members for vocational training for 3 years.

UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer felt sure that this initiative would help inspire other women°Øs groups not only within but outside Africa.
Contact:  website:

The intrinsic role of women in global peace and security has remained
unrecognized since the creation of the United Nations.
The inexplicable silence of 55 long years was broken, for the first time,
on the 8th of March 2000, on International Women’s Day,
when the President of the UN Security Council issued a statement that recognized
the under-utilized and under-valued contribution women can make to preventing war,
to building peace and to bringing individuals and societies back in harmony.
I consider it my proud privilege that as the Council President I could take that initiative.
(Later that year, 31 October, the Council adopted resolution 1325)

UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul Karim Chowdhury.

Women make up 80 per cent of all civilian casualties,
And 80 per cent of all refugees and internally displaced
people worldwide are women and children


 In July 2004 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched its annual report entitled "Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World". The main themes of this report are: how to manage aspects of multiculturalism, namely race, religion and ethnicity; how to encourage and benefit from diversity; and how to promote inclusion, democratic values and economic progress.

At the launch in Brussels, the UNDP Administrator, Mark Malloch Brown, said that "if the world is to reach the Millennium Development Goals and ultimately eradicate poverty, it must first successfully confront the challenge of how to build inclusive, culturally diverse societies".

The report provides a wide-ranging study around this vital issue, based on background studies, extensive consultations, collaboration with other UN agencies and contributions from an advisory panel of eminent experts of different nationalities.

The 2004 Human Development Report (HDR2004) argues that suppressing cultural diversity in the name of peace and development is counterproductive: "Human development is first and foremost about allowing people to live the kind of life they choose – and providing them with the tools and opportunities to make those choices"

HDR2004 defines two new significant trends in today’s diverse and complex world community; firstly the rise of what is called ‘identity politics’, explaining that people throughout the world, albeit in different context and in different ways, are "mobilizing anew around old grievances along ethnic, religious, racial and cultural lines, demanding that their identities be acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by wider society." Secondly, the report points to the rise of coercive movements that threaten such cultural liberties, stating that "in this era of globalisation, a new class of political claims and demands has emerged from individuals, communities and countries feeling that their local cultures are being swept away. They want to keep their diversity in a globalised world."

These different demands are bringing with them both challenges and opportunities to governments as well as the world community, as well as the urgent need for right and appropriate responses from both. However, if handled well, the report believes that "greater recognition of identities will bring greater cultural diversity in society, enriching people’s lives."  But struggles over cultural identity could also, if managed poorly or unwisely, become one of the greatest sources of instability within and between countries and lead to regressive and xenophobic policies that would retard human development.

HDR2004 sees ‘nation building’ as having been a dominant objective of the 20th century, with most States aiming to build culturally homogeneous States with singular identities. And sometimes they have succeeded, says the report, but at the cost of repression and persecution. "If the 20th century showed anything, it is that the attempt either to exterminate cultural groups or to wish them away elicits a stubborn resilience. By contrast, recognizing cultural identities has resolved in never-ending tensions. For both practical and moral reasons, then, it is far better to accommodate cultural groups than to try to eliminate them or to pretend that they do not exist".

In conclusion the report emphasizes that the expansion of cultural freedoms should be seen as an important goal in human development: "This world needs both greater respect for diversity and stronger commitment to unity. Individuals have to shed rigid identities if they are to become part of diverse societies and uphold cosmopolitan values of tolerance and respect for universal human rights".  The Human Development Report 2004 hopes  that it has provided countries with a basis for discussing how they can make this happen.

"If the short history of the 21st century has taught us nothing else, it is that ducking these questions is not an option".

Among the eminent persons who provided special contributions to the HDR2004 were the former South African President, Nelson Mandela, from which the following quotes are taken:

       "On 27 April 1994 the people of South Africa founded a nation on the pledge that we would undo the legacy of our divided past in order to build a better life for all.

       It was not a pledge that we made lightly. For generations, millions had been deliberately reduced to poverty. And to perpetuate itself, the apartheid system that claimed to be ordained from on high was sustained only by brute force, robbing us all of our humanity – oppressed and oppressor alike.

       For decades we had fought for a non-racial, non-sexist society, and even before we came into power in the historic elections of 1994, our vision of democracy was defined by the principle, among others, that no person or groups of persons shall be subjected to oppression, domination or discrimination by virtue of race, gender, ethnic origin, colour or creed.

       Once we won power, we chose to regard the diversity of colours and languages that had once been used to divide us as a source of strength. We ensured that the basic law of our land, our Constitution and Bill of Rights, promoted unity and gave unique attention to social and economic rights. Our path of inclusiveness was not new, nor had it been chosen in haste. For decades the African National Congress had promoted national unity, and even at the height of oppression, when racial interaction led to prison and death, we never gave up on our aim to build a society grounded on friendship and common humanity.

       Now, although laws no long enforce the old divisions, they are still visible in social and economic life, in our residential areas, in our workplaces and in the growing inequality between rich and poor.

       When we took on the project to transform our society, one of our rallying cries was "freedom from want." Our goal was to banish hunger, illiteracy and homelessness and ensure that everyone had access to food, education and housing. We saw freedom as inseparable from human dignity and equality. Now the foundation for a better life has been laid, and construction has begun. We are fully aware that our freedom and our rights will only gain their full meaning as we succeed together in overcoming the divisions and inequalities of our past and in improving the lives of all, especially the poor. Today, we are starting to reap some of the harvest we sowed at the end of a South African famine.

       Many in the international community, observing from a distance how our society defied the prophets of doom and their predictions of endless conflict, have spoken of a miracle. Yet those who have been closely involved in the transition will know that it has been the product of human decision."

Source: Go Between no 104,  NGLS, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
e-mail  Info on report:


The Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Rubens Ricupero, in his farewell speech after nine years of service (September 2004), clearly agrees with the findings of the HDR2004 and with Nelson Mandela’s statements, stressing that it would be utterly simplistic to reduce globalisation to its economic dimension. It is, he says, "a macro-phenomenon of historic significance and very broad comprehensive character", encompassing many political, cultural, scientific and demographic aspects.

Ricupero believes globalisation is a trend which began to gather momentum already at the end of the Renaissance, with the great maritime voyages of discovery and exploitation: "the unification not only of markets but of the whole planetary space for the mutual knowledge and cross-fertilisation of exchanges between the different branches of human civilization that had lived more or less in isolation from one another".

In his speech Ricupero remembered the founder and first Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Raul Prebisch, and his steadfast commitment to "genuine development that would lift out of poverty the world’s marginalized and excluded masses".

"But above all else", concludes the resigning UNCTAD Secretary-General, "the central concern of UNCTAD must be with the ethical and human dimensions of development. Perhaps precisely because I am not an economist, for me the very essence of development is to be found beyond the economic realm. (…) If there is indeed a pattern to history, it is the certainty that we evolve in the direction of growing complexity. And in the final analysis, to develop is to learn how to manage increasingly complex societies, not exclusively in economic terms, but in terms of equity, human rights, environmental protection, gender equality; in sum, the legacy of the Enlightenment, the best hope from a purely human perspective for transforming in depth the quality of relations among human beings."

VI. Life-Link XII Conference
Alexandria, November 2005

The Sweden based Life-Link Friendship-Schools has just announced its next major international conference, which will take place in Alexandria, Egypt, a year from now. The theme for the conference will be: Olympic Truce at Schools World-Wide – A Youth Commitment.

The Life-Link XII Conference is made possible through the collaboration between the Swedish Life-Link Friendship-Schools and the Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Education in Egypt.

Old as well as new Life-Link schools worldwide, participating in the Life-Link Olympic Truce Campaign 2005* can apply for participation in the conference. Certain geographical representation will also be considered. About 25 schools will be accepted with each school delegation consisting of 2 students (preferably one boy and one girl, age around 15-17) accompanied by one teacher/educator.

The duration of the conference itself is 5 days, plus one day for arrival and one day for departure. The possibilities for pre- and post-conference tourism are being discussed with Egyptian Tourist agencies.

The aims and goals of the conference are to
• Report on performed Olympic Truce actions at participating schools
• Discuss the peace dimensions of Olympic Truce in relation to the Life-Link ethics
• Conclude a youth guiding pamphlet on "Olympic Truce at Schools World-Wide"
• Launch an Arabic translation of the Life-Link Friendship-Schools Programme
• Gain and international and intercultural experience
• Learn about the Alexandria peace and dialogue promoting institutes and the Alexandria Library/Bibliotheca

*This campaign, endorsed by youth and educators at the Life-Link XI conference in Moscow 2004, invites schools to perform a few hours peace action based on the theme "Olympic Truce – Get on the Move". Students are encouraged to invite local or national sport heroes to such activities to attract public attention to this initiative. The Life-Link Friendship-Schools peace action hopes that youth, teachers, parents and communities will help their schools to join this campaign. For more information:

Some background information on Olympic Truce

Truce means to lay down fighting weapons; to take a ‘time-out’ from hostilities, time for reflection.

The Olympic Truce goes back to ancient Greece year 776 B.C., when the kings of Sparta and Pisa agreed to a two weeks truce every fourth year in order to break the cycle of ongoing conflicts and instead engage in friendly athletic competitions in Olympia at Peloponnesus.

These Olympic Games continued to take place every fourth year for almost 1200 years, and were then resurrected in 1896 in Athens, Greece, bringing people of all nations and cultures together in noble competition and peaceful coexistence.

In year 2000 the International Truce Foundation and the International Olympic Truce Centre were founded. The importance of this event was underscored by the UN member states in the Millennium Declaration calling for observance of the Olympic Truce. Subsequently, in connection with the 2004 Olympic Games, efforts have been made to bring the Olympic Truce closer to youth and schools throughout the world.

Warfare, according to the Olympic Truce, does not emerge from our genes: "Warfare is a social invention, planned with weapons production, trained and exercised for specific reasons and goals". If warfare can be stopped for 16 days during the Olympic Games, "let’s do it forever!"

LIFE-LINK e-mail:


Whether or not one agrees with the statement made by the Olympic Truce in the previous article that warfare does not emerge from our genes, most of us would agree that by nurturing and encouraging the best qualities and values in a person, these values and qualities will eventually come to characterize the community as a whole.

In a paper, entitled Relevant Education of Children: Adults of the Future, by Charles Mercieca, President of the International Association of Educators for World Peace, we are reminded that ‘education’ is derived from two Latin words: e+duco – out of+lead.
But it depends very much upon the educators involved whether we are led from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness into light, or from knowledge into confusion and from light into darkness, says Charles Mercieca.

The professor emphasizes that ‘relevant education’ does not merely mean ‘the usage of modern advanced educational technology but a kind of education that would eventually develop the maximum of one’s full potential properly and effectively’.

It also means we must learn to see ourselves as individual parts of an interdependent whole. But for centuries we have experienced ‘plenty of wars and suffering simply because people tended to live in isolation from each other in groups or cliques. In most instances, governments went as far as to prohibit their people from socializing with people of other nations to this very day.’ Such isolation, stresses Mr. Mercieca, was – is – often promoted by those in charge, political leaders in particular.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, The Tikkun Community, highlights another side to this dilemma of exclusiveness. In an article, dated 3 November 2004, headed "The Democrats Needed and Need a Religious/Spiritual Left", he argues that many American voters found a "politics of meaning" in the political Right: "In the Right wing churches and synagogues these voters are presented with a coherent worldview that speaks to their ‘meaning needs’." Within these congregations members find a sense of community and a level of caring rarely found in the rest of society. Although material needs are important, people within such a community will tend to vote for candidates who seem to them to care about and protect the values around which their lives are centered. The flipside to preserving this sense of community and family can be a willingness to demean those outside.

The Rabbi points out the strange contradictions of the Republican policies and understands the Liberal’s indignation at the way some religious communities have been mired in authoritarianism, racism, sexism and homophobia, but feels that the ‘knee-jerk’ reaction by the Democrats against religion together with the emphasis on economy may well have made people move to the Right.

Says Michael Lerner: "Imagine if John Kerry had been able to counter George Bush by insisting that a serious religious person would never turn his back on the suffering poor, that the bible’s injunction to love one’s neighbour required us to provide health care for all, and that the New Testament’s command to "turn the other cheek" should give us a predisposition against responding to violence with violence."

"Imagine a Democratic Party that could talk of a New Bottom Line, so that American institutions get judged efficient, rational and productive not only to the extent that they maximize money and power, but also to the extent that they maximize people’s capacities to be loving and caring, ethically and ecologically sensitive, and capable of responding to the universe with awe and wonder."

"Imagine a Democratic Party that could call for schools to teach gratitude, generosity, caring for others, and celebration of the wonders that daily surround us!"

Could we not also imagine the day when spirit was seen as inseparable from any aspect of our lives and relationships – infusing all of it?

E-mail:  E-mail


We have received the following responses to the questions in the article, entitled "Building a Culture of Peace and the Evolution of Consciousness", which appeared in the September 2004 issue of Many to Many:

David Kimball wrote:

"I read an article in CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) on the web about your seminar "Building a Culture of Peace and the Evolution of Consciousness" in New York. The article described the topic, some of the speakers, and the three questions:

1) What is the UN already doing to foster and facilitate a Culture of Peace in the world?
2) What is my vision of a Culture of Peace – for myself? For my home and community? With the United Nations and within the World? And
3) In what ways can I contribute to a Culture of Peace – in my personal and professional life?

It then invited us readers to respond to these at the above e-mail address.

The evolution of my consciousness of a Culture of Peace was brought about by internal analysis of Root Cause Analysis of what went wrong in our American society when we went to war with Iraq. Because I didn’t want to just say "Our present Administration was wrong" I came  up with my own list of four areas: 1) Critical Analysis; 2) Empathy; 3) Ethics/Justice; and 4) Conflict Management. Although I started out looking at a macro level with international issues, I then realised that these same four concepts apply to inter-personal areas needing peace as well: child abuse, spousal abuse, peer abuse, job abuse, elder abuse, and society abuse. If we learned to empathize more, we would have less interpersonal abuse. (And the same about the other factors)

This became, for me, my Culture of Peace. If I do anything locally or globally to stimulate or generate others to practice critical analysis, to learn/teach empathy, to consider ethics and justice, or to exercise conflict management, I am promoting a Culture of Peace. I have participated in numerous community events where this has been possible. I have used this as a template and format for sending letters to the editors on various community issues. I have also been able to participate by having display tables at events with information such as UN and NGO programs dealing with AIDS/HIV.

I find the opportunities boundless
David Kimball  

e-mail:  or

Peace Culture consists of:

1. Critical Thinking
2. Empathy
3. Ethics/Justice
4. Conflict Management

The following response came from Helen Huber:

"My vision of a Culture of Peace includes individuals creating beauty for one another and through the process of beauty making, becoming more and more cultured and civilized. Thus forming the basis for a peaceful society.

One of the ways that I contribute to a Culture of Peace in my personal life is by creating many hundreds of Peace Prayer Missile note cards that I give away.

Also, we (a few Friends) have begun to write and gather material for a website HARP (Help the Arts Reach Peace). We wish to call attention to the Power of Beauty for the development of a culture of peace and harmony with nature.

We invite prose and poetic expressions of experiences and joys related to Beauty for the HARP website. Response may be sent e-mail: art4harp@yahoo or to HARP, Gwynedd Friends Meeting, PO Box 142, Gwynedd. PA 19436, USA

IX. Ecovillage Training - 2005

This training programme is a Findhorn Foundation project in association with Global Ecovillage Network – Europe. It will take place at Findhorn, near Forres in Scotland, between 19 February and 19 March 2005, and will include modules such as: Ecovillages: New Frontiers for Sustainability; Building Effective Groups – Working with Diversity;
Permaculture: Design for Sustainability; Deep Ecology, Wilderness & Ecological Restoration, and EarthShare: Food, Farming and Community.

The Ecovillage Training, which has institutional endorsement from the United Nations Institute For Training and Research (UNITAR), invites you to join the ecovillage movement, a global movement that is uniting North and South, East and West in a common agenda for relating harmlessly and constructively with the natural environment.

Contact: Findhorn Foundation, The Park, Findhorn, Forres, Scotland IV36 3TZ. E-mail: Website:


Na te maramatanga kei te
Ngakau o Te Atua
Kia koha te maramatanga ki te
Ngakau o te tangata
Kia koha te maramatanga ki te ao

Na te aroha kei te ngakau
O Te Atua
Ki horapa te aroha ki te
Ngakau o te tangata
Kia hoki mai ano te Karaiti
Ki te ao

Na te mauri o Te Atua
Kia marama te haere a te tangata
I te huarahi o Te Atua

Na roto mai I te Tangata
Ma te maramatanga me te aroha
Tatau e arahi
A ma tenei e pa kuaha ki te Kino

Ma te Maramatanga,
Ma te Aroha,
Ma te Kaha e whakau
Te whakaaro nui te ao


From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.

From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men
May Christ return to Earth.

From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men –
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.

From the centre which we call the race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.

Let Light and Love and Power restore the plan on Earth.


Du  point de Lumiere dans la Pensee de Dieu
Que la lumiere afflue dans la pensee des hommes.
Que la lumiere descende sur la terre

Du point d’Amour dans le Coeur de Dieu
Que l’amour afflue dans le coeur des hommes.
Puisse le Christ revenir sur terre.

Du centre ou la Volonte de Dieu est connue
Que le dessein guide le faible vouloir des hommes,
Le dessein que les Maitres connaissent et servent.

Du centre que nous appelons la race des hommes
Que le Plan d’Amour et de Lumiere s’epanouisse,
Et puisse-t-il sceller la porte de  la demeure du mal.

Que Lumiere, Amour et Puissance restaurent le Plan sur la terre