In This Issue

Yehezkel Dror is a world acclaimed social and political scientist. He is also an acute observer of the central issues of war and peace. In a sense, “Saving Humanity from Itself” is an admission of the limits of rational science on world politics and the author has decided to express himself as a world citizen with moral outrage. Specifically he is observing the slaughter in Syria and the role of the big powers including Western Europe. According to him, Western Europe has condemned itself to impotence by relying on the myth of soft-power. This myth is confronted by “a world still dominated by hard power.” In a sense, this proposes a profound challenge to the implications of the Draft Declaration on the Right to Peace.

Building up European Solidarity: A view from the East” by Emil Constantinescu looks at the challenges that are emerging that may have the possibility of fracturing the unity of the European Union. Using the historical context the author traces the history and traditions of South Eastern Europe and the role this region has played in the advancement of civilization, cultural creativity and indeed, European identity. In the Fourth Millennium B.C., the region was transformed by the migration of Indo-European groups. In time, the groups were integrated in a way that constitutes the historical roots of Europe as a whole. It should be remembered that the region itself had many discrete pockets of cultural identity. On the other hand, creative communication as well as the influence of stoic philosophy and Christianity generated a multi-cultural world with degrees of autonomy and degrees of integration on interdependence. The author seems to imply that the cement which prevented these communities from fragmenting, was the fact that they all bought into the democratic spirit. The democratic spirit had a commitment to freedom of communication which led groups to understand their distinct cultural identity as well as their patterns of common interest and similarity in shared democratic values. Thus we see pluralism today co-existing with the continent-wide solidarity infused with respect for diversity. Europe’s oldest experiment has many lessons to teach the current generation.

The Deep Blue Sea: Challenges and Opportunities for Higher Education and the World” by Roseann O’Reilley Runte is an interesting essay in which the author underscores the importance of being alert to the challenges posed by education and scientific progress and the vital importance of higher education for the public interest. To give you one illustration, the revolution in information technology and near instantaneous communication is accompanied by abuses of this information technology and the flooding of communication systems with misinformation and incorrect data. These advances challenge us to determine truth from untruth. We might add the advanced technologies have been the cause of unemployment because they replace human labor. The author reminds us that a great deal has been said about the cost of higher education. These same voices say nothing about the cost of limiting education. She reminds us “that societies with well-educated populations are rich not only in ideas, but in extraordinary cultures and strong economic development.” She makes an important pitch for the importance of interdisciplinary perspectives and a good deal more. This is an extremely insightful essay.

In “BioPolicy–Creating Positive Momentum to Save Bios,” Agni Vlavianos Arvanitis underlines the problem of the greedy, arrogant society driven by conspicuous consumption. This society relishes short term profit, the destruction of irreplaceable natural capital and is heedless of accelerated global warming. She provides the call to save the bios and suggests strategies and techniques to reach the few who exercise control over the world’s wealth. She suggests that we need a new Parthenon with a global reach by inspirational leaders. This will require a form of public education of global importance and intensity. It requires as well the collaboration of media and modern communications. She calls for a bio assessment of technological capacity as well as a bank of accessible ideas to provide momentum and dynamism for new initiatives. Among the important ideas she puts forth are the creation of genetic banks for the conservation of genetic diversity; she calls for redefining the notions of profit and gain and also calls for changing business education, mobilizing the arts, and a good deal more. The author is a leading force in global bio-politics and has generated powerful and important thoughts for improving the prospect of human survival.

In Search of Islands of Sanity,” a short article by Charles Smith, is one of the most far reaching that I have read on the role of leadership, its mental prerequisites and moral components. Smith begins the article by suggesting that the conventional methods which conventional science has given us seem to make no difference on how the world is run. Central to this assumption is that the relationships in private or public sectors have broken down. This requires new innovative paradigm thinking. Central to the idea of paradigm thinking is the effort to locate one’s self in spaces of sanity. In these spaces we begin to communicate in terms of the values of compassion, kindness and affection that provide for progressive human-centered mutuality. It is a short critique of leadership today. For example, according to Dutton, CEO is a profession of most psychopaths. He then takes us into fringes of new frontiers of physical thinking, Einstein and quantum physics. The quantum world is a world that is replete with amazing communications possibilities. Indeed, an essential element of the quantum world is the principle of non-locality. In short, in the quantum world communication over vast distances at the microscopic level is instantaneous. The implication of Smith is that the communication of empathy, solidarity, kindness and mutuality may have the possibility of generating constructive patterns of mutuality for the improvement of humanity. He gives several examples of mutuality emerging in odd places. He also insists that the development of human consciousness is a pathway to human mutuality and improved performance. He then provides nine steps to cultivate an improved level of consciousness and this includes such issues as relational identity, the Merlin factor, and a whole range of other challenging ideas that are rooted in the interconnectedness of all matter and the potentials of human consciousness in shaping humanity’s future. This is a challenging essay and I am confident that the Fellows of the Academy will enjoy reading it.

The concern of the United Nations over the threat of climate change has raised an important question of how human society and in particular, its economics, can be reshaped to reduce the impact of climate change on the viability of the earth system. One of the important issues that has become obvious is that society’s economic organization must be made sustainable and at the same time, be organized in a way so as to reduce the threat of climate change. From these discourses emerged the importance of the concept of the green economy as a method that improves human wellbeing, social justice, and at the same time reduces environmental risks and food scarcity. In “Green Economy and Sustainable Development: The Latin American Scenario,” Ione do Santos Velame and Joanilio Teixeira seek to clarify structure and the variables that may be put into a scientifically measurable form to determine quantitatively what progress has been made with economies being oriented to the green imperative. To this end, they utilized and developed the Green Economy Index and then applied this model to the context of Latin America. The green economy context builds on a geometrically constructed magic triangle and this integrates ecology, society and economy. This approach requires the simultaneous development from a multitude of variables which in turn emerged in another geometrical expression, the magic square. The ordering of the magic square had to be further developed into a form called the magic hypercube. These geometric models permit more effective and integrated measurement of the impact of green factors on performance in terms of sustainability. What the research indicates is that the green economy has had a positive effect on sustainability but in the Latin American context, this has been extremely modest.

The Human Rights Council and its affiliates have been engaged in an effort to draft a Declaration on the right to peace. This sounds simple enough. Who can disagree with the right to peace? Yet placed in the broader context of international organizations, states and civil society groups, the idea of a right to peace is not without complexity. In a rational world every item implicating or detracting from the notion of the right to peace can only be adequately understood if we have a theory and method that fully contextualize those factors to determine how they augment or restrain the ultimate emergence of the Declaration. In this context even the form of expression is complex and usually fully understood. A Declaration coming from the General Assembly in most instances emerges in the form of a Resolution of the GA. A Resolution is not legally binding. But the question is if the Resolution simply extends pre-existing UN law that is binding, does it not in reality have the character of a binding obligation? So one issue that emerges is, when states vote for the Declaration are they or are they not bound? In general, a distinction is made between a Declaration and a Resolution that the Declaration is meant to be taken far more seriously. In this overview of the continuing work of the Human Rights Council regarding the Declaration on the Right to Peace, although much progress has been made in the formulation of the Declaration, the drafting process continues. There are enormous complexities embedded in the Declaration. For example, a strong Declaration may place greater responsibilities on the world’s stronger powers. Does the right to peace require armed intervention by the powerful? Does this impose an obligation on them? Or more controversially, does the right to peace mean fewer restraints on the part of the states who wish to intervene in the internal affairs of other states? In “The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the right to peace: an opportunity to strengthen the linkage between peace, human rights and development in the New Millennium,” Christian Guillermet-Fernández and David Fernández Puyana have given us an excellent overview of the debates and drafting issues and the difficulties of ultimately emerging with a needed right to peace Declaration.

Winston P. Nagan
Chairman of the Board, World Academy of Art & Science
Chair, Program Committee