Winter 2016

Click here to download the PDF version of the Newsletter
Science, Technology, Innovation & Social Responsibility


M. Møller

H. Gurgulino de Souza

R-D. Heuer

Science, Technology and Innovation are among the most powerful forces driving social change and development today. They have been the source of both remarkable advances and existential threats to civilization. Some aspects of scientific development and application such as nuclear technology, pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals and food additives are strictly monitored and controlled by governments and law.

Other areas such as computerization of financial transactions, automation, biological research and telecommunications have been left primarily to the self-government of scientific institutions and business entities.

Today the rate of scientific and technological development, dissemination and application far outpaces the capacity of society, institutions and individuals to adapt, contributing to increasing social imbalances, stress, upheavals, displacement and disruption.

The challenge before humanity is to arrive at the most effective blend of governance and self-management to maximize both the freedom for scientific creativity and technological innovation and the welfare of present and future generations.

On November 11, 2015 the World Academy of Art & Science organized a symposium in Geneva in collaboration with CERN under the auspices of the United Nations Office at Geneva and with the participation of senior executives of seven UN agencies.

In his inaugural address, Michael Møller, Director General of UNOG, referred to the growing gap between the knowledge acquired by modern science and prevailing policies. He stressed the great importance of integrating science with public policy formulation. Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN, emphasized the critical importance of values in scientific research and education as the key to development and proper utilization of scientific knowledge in society.

WAAS President Heitor Gurgulino de Souza traced the origins of the World Academy to rising levels of concern regarding the threats posed by the unregulated development and proliferation of scientific technology. WAAS’ eminent founders, a number of whom had been directly associated with the development of nuclear weapons, committed themselves to evolving effective ways to promote the beneficial applications of science while avoiding a repetition of its horrific potential for destruction.

The symposium surveyed the international mechanisms now in place to ensure socially responsible management of scientific activities by the research community, business and governments. The key role played by science in understanding the potential threats of climate change were emphasized by Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION & SOCIAL
RESPONSIBILITY,
GENEVA


Science will deliver the progress we need – or it won’t.

Our abilities to set priorities will decide.


PARADIGM SHIFT OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, GENEVA

CONFERENCE ON ANTICIPATION, TRENTO

CONFERENCE FOR A GREEN & INCLUSIVE ECONOMY, GENEVA

FROM THE WAAS ARCHIVES

UPCOMING EVENTS

Course on Mind, Thinking & Creativity, Dubrovnik, Croatia

XIII International Colloquium, University of Lisbon, Portugal

PUBLICATIONS: ERUDITIO
UPCOMING EVENTS

International Conference on
Podgorica, Montenegro


Course on Social Power, Empowerment & Social Evolution, Dubrovnik, Croatia

NEW ECONOMIC THEORY (NET) REPORT

DEMOCRACY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

PUBLICATIONS: CADMUS

CULTURAL DIMENSIONS OF A NEW PARADIGM

OP-ED

Seeds of a World University

The Future of WAAS

World Meteorological Organization, who described the complex scientific network of agencies involved in monitoring and projecting environmental impacts. He stressed the importance of cooperation and urged that all scientists of the world should work together to address the challenges confronting humanity today.

Ivo Šlaus said that the realization of sustainable development goals unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly recently is a collective and individual duty of each one of us. He further added that the Academy has initiated and significantly contributed to several of these goals.

Raymond Torres, Director of Research at ILO, examined the role of science and technology in securing a better future for humanity and stressed that science and technology should address crucial problems such as income inequality and insecurity. Senior executives from the World Intellectual Property Organization, International Standards Organization, UN Institute for Training and Research, and European Physical Society examined other critical issues related to socially responsible governance of science and technology by international organizations.

Marie-Paule Kieny, Asst. Director General of World Health Organization for Health Systems and Innovation, emphasized the need for a mutual sense of social responsibility and stressed the inherent conflict between global health promotion and the commercial motives of pharmaceutical companies.

“Now is the time for science,” UNITAR’s Director of Research Francesco Pisano urged, “to take responsibility.” The education system has to change to teach policymakers the knowledge they didn’t possess before. The global scientific community today includes more than seven million scientists in universities, research institutions, business and government. An increasing number work in institution with

commercial objectives that may not be aligned with public welfare.

Herwig Schopper, former Director General of CERN, referred to the CERN model of international scientific collaboration as a uniquely successful approach to fostering closer and more effective relations between nations in the field of scientific research as well as other fields. Scientists and intellectuals have a special responsibility towards society.

Sustainable development that ensures maximum well-being for all formed the crux of Alexander Likhotal’s talk. Science, that now serves as a servant to money power, should know how to use knowledge for good. Universal education, the catalyst for bringing about sustainable change, is critical. Governments today are ill-equipped to understand and encourage scientific advancements. Inclusive development as opposed to short-term unsustainable growth should be the goal.

Garry Jacobs pointed out that science is being undermined by threats from within its own community—interested motives, careerism, competition for research grants and intellectual notoriety—which are in conflict with the impartial, impersonal scientific values of truthfulness and public service for which science is universally revered.

The credibility of science is also threatened by political forces. Martin Lees, former advisor to the President of COP20, argued that too often today politics drives science. Scientific analysis is compelled to conform with what are regarded by policy makers as politically acceptable conclusions. This is particularly dangerous in fields such as climate change, wherein decisions taken today may have lock-in consequences for the next fifty years or more. He highlighted the need for establishing a counterpart to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the social sciences to examine the social consequences of climate change.

The Big Picture .... externalities are still the rule

Scott Williams, adviser to PricewaterhouseCoopers SA (PwC), said that the transition to manage the non-linear state shifts requires an open-systems view. “The high stakes challenges and opportunities need to be addressed now to enable a safe(r), transitional pathway from systemic sociopathic arbitrage to optimised, economically sustainable human development and ecological stewardship.”

Christophe Rossel, President of the European Physical Society, emphasized that the culture of scientific research must support and encourage high quality, rigorous, original, ethical and valuable science. He further added that regular assessments of societal and/or economical impact of research are needed.

The importance of enhancing the interface between science and public policy was stressed by Julia Marton-Lefèvre, former Secretary General of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Maurizio Bona, adviser to the DG of CERN.

Carlos Alvarez-Pereira called for development of a new business model which redefines business purpose in order to eliminate the inherent conflict between corporate social responsibility and the pressure on corporations by shareholders to maximize profits.

Recent history points to the practical incompleteness, fragility, obsolescence and often failure of attempts to govern science. Momir Đurović stressed the imminent danger of technological determinism, referring to the tendency of human beings to become subservient to the inventions of their creation which they intended to control. Science is a community of human beings like all others and must be subject to the same accountability as corporate polluters and corrupt politicians. Granted that increasing external governance of the scientific community could become a severe impediment to the advances of free inquiry and scientific knowledge, he concluded that the only effective alternative is to strengthen mechanisms and cultural norms for oversight, self-governance and internal accountability of scientific community to own standards in all sectors of society.

How can we, asked Yoshiyuki Takagi, Assistant Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization, stimulate universities and other institutions to contribute to the society? Focusing on the need of the hour, he added that we will continue to evolve in order to respond to the emerging social responsibility needs.

Daniele Gerundino, Director of Research at the International Organization for Standardization, said that standards should be based on the consolidated results of science, technology and experience, and aimed at the promotion of optimum community benefit. The challenges we face today require changing mentalities, and deep rooted economic models to be addressed effectively.

Sergio Bertolucci, Director of Research at CERN, emphasized the crucial role of responsibility in science and technology. Science, technology and innovation play a minor role in the absence of responsibility. We have to address the challenge immediately without further delay.


Presentation at the Conference on Science, Technology, Innovation and Social Responsibility held on November 11, 2015 at CERN, Geneva

Science will deliver the progress we need – or it won’t.

Our ability to set priorities will decide

Science has become a part of almost every aspect of our lives, and takes justified credit for all manner of Progress—economic, technological, cultural, and social. And yet somehow, this does not feed our enthusiasm. The fundamental myth of progress—that it produces a steady betterment of life—is crumbling before our eyes. The experience of the twentieth century, with its civil and world wars, Gulags and Holocaust, was too tragic to support a continued belief in a kind of granted optimism of world history. Today, ISIS and the refugees crises, to say nothing about hybrid/proxy wars erupting in many parts of the world, also do not add to an optimistic picture.

In fact we live already in a “hybrid peace” where 21st century technology helps spread images of barbaric decapitations in front of the cameras, and wars have become inalienable elements of peace.

I am not doubting scientific progress. But I am thinking about how science development is distorted by our modern social organisation and economic system. I am thinking that real progress could have been much more impressive and tangible. I am thinking of the goals and definitions of Progress.

The problem is that the scientific endeavour is as much ‘about’ us as it is ‘for’ us. Today, progress is defined almost entirely by consumer-driven, often banal improvements in technology. Sure, our phones are great, but that’s not the same as being able to send a man into outer space, fly across the Atlantic in eight hours or eliminate smallpox, to name a few of the quantum leaps of the post-war Golden Quarter. As the US technologist Peter Thiel once put it: ‘We wanted flying cars, we got 140 characters.’

Our society is possessed by money, consumption, and economic growth. But again and again politicians and economists use the unsustainable argument that we need economic growth to have more welfare, to create jobs, to improve standards of living for everybody and to protect nature.

In this model, even science becomes an obedient servant of the system, allowing us to do more and more. But while allowing us to do more, science doesn’t tell us whether doing more is right or wrong.

Therefore with scientific advances, we need greater ethical

vision; better judgment; and stronger analysis of how to use knowledge for good, notevil. It was in the 19th century when the ideals of positivism pushed people to adjust their ethics to the standards of science. Today, it is more appropriate to talk about the ethical control of progress and results of scientific discoveries.

And it is not about making science a scapegoat for misuses of its advances. It is not science, but ignorance that is to be blamed. So education is critical.

Universal education is needed not only for those who expect to practice science but for everyone living in the modern world. We need it because education is a tool providing catalysts for important, sustainable change in our society. We need it to help youth chart a course. We cannot just train them to “succeed” in the current system—that is not a real education. We must inculcate in them a broader world vision and a greater capacity for critical thinking.

Political leaders, in particular, badly need to be exposed to scientific vision. The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never reverts to its original dimensions.

Unfortunately we have to recognize that today’s governments are ill-equipped to understand science, sophisticated technological challenges, or the opportunities facing the world.

New instruments are needed to ensure that science and technology are adequately applied to address the wide range of increasingly urgent global problems—and not just to make our smartphone batteries last longer. This will require a rapid transition to a different model of development; one which not only takes into account the interests of short-term growth, but provides opportunities for sustainable and inclusive development.

Unknown future change may be frightening, but it is inevitable. And, in fact, it provides an opportunity to improve our instruments, update our strategies and change ourselves. The wave of technological progress is far from its peak. We should be excited and filled with hope—about where it could take us, of course, only if we chart the course properly.

Alexander Likhotal
Member, Board of Trustees, WAAS;
President, Green Cross International

Increasing globalization of the economy in Space, accelerating velocity of movement and social change in Time, growing Complexity and integration of activities, sectors and levels of society, rapid Evolution of global society undergoing continuous transformation, and rising imbalance between technological development and cultural adaptation present unparalleled challenges for individuals, nations and the human community. Evolving effective responses to these challenges and ways to transform them into opportunities for human progress lies at the heart of the Academy’s agenda in collaboration with the World University Consortium and partnering organizations.

On November 10th, 2015 WAAS and WUC convened a meeting in Geneva to summarize the core findings of fifteen conferences and workshops conducted over the past four years and to identify the agenda for future work. A consensus has emerged from these efforts that a new conceptual framework is urgently needed to reflect the complex realities of global society.

This calls for a paradigm shift in thinking in the social sciences as significant as the earlier shifts in the natural sciences from a geocentric to a heliocentric universe and from a mechanistic Newtonian world to the complexity revealed by Quantum Mechanics.

This paradigm shift will challenge many fundamental premises, break down arbitrary barriers between disciplines, and penetrate into the trans-disciplinary strata of social processes common to all fields of human endeavor.

It will represent a quantum shift away from mechanistic, naturalistic, materialistic conceptions and models of human society, making human welfare the focal point and central objective, affirming the central importance and validity of universal values in the human sciences, restoring scientific legitimacy to subjective experience, and recognizing the catalytic role of creative individuals in the evolution of the collective.

Garry Jacobs reviewed the Academy’s findings on deep drivers of social change; the paradox of unmet human needs and underutilized social resources; the divorce between financial, economic, social and ecological systems; the guidelines for a human-centered development paradigm; the shifting boundaries of economy; social factors determining the way market economies work; premises of new economic theory and transition strategies for effecting a paradigm shift in economy.

Prevailing myths about the market represent a core premise of contemporary economic theory. Debunking the superstition of

Market Myth: Gaps in our Understanding ©T. Björkman, Ekskäret

free markets, economist Tomas Björkman, a former international banker and founder of Ekskäret, Sweden, identified critical gaps between economic theory and reality that are exploited by financial institutions and corporations to make the market work in favor of the wealthy and powerful. He stressed that the laws or principles governing the operation of the market economy are determined by human choice and that we have the power to alter the way markets work in order to generate a fairer, more equitable and sustainable outcome.

Martin Lees, senior adviser to the President of COP20, focused on the extreme complexity of factors affecting global economy, society and ecology and the inadequacy of conventional approaches that do not take into account the extreme and unpredictable variations that can occur in complex systems. He stressed the need for concerted action at the global level.

Transformation of the institutions and policies of governance at the national and global levels are essential for addressing global challenges. Winston Nagan emphasized the need for a deeper understanding of the global social process, the role of values as an attractor for the future, and the subtle influence of informal social power structures on how governments and public policies actually work. In order for true democracy to come into force, the factors determining the exercise of social power must be made explicit, fully transparent and subject to law. The conflict in Syria, the flood of refugees into Europe, and the terrorist attack in Paris highlight the central role of cultural factors.


Adam Koniuszewski, Executive Director of Green Cross International, presented a set of recommendations for COP21 generated by participants in the international conference on Green and Inclusive Growth in Geneva on October 6-7, 2015.

Ivo Šlaus, Honorary President of WAAS, questioned how we can be sure if we have brought into place an effective paradigmatic change. Also, he recognised the crucial role of human capital in the development of society. Human creativity, he added, can solve any problem.

Pascal van Griethuysen, Research Coordinator for Socially Sustainable Development, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), emphasized the relevance of evolutionary economic theory to addressing ecological threats.

Paradigm shift in economy, ecology, governance and society requires a fundamental shift in education at all levels. Alberto Zucconi, Treasurer of WAAS, summarized WUC’s conception of people-centered, person-centered education.

Stefan Brunnhuber, WAAS Fellow, presented the findings of research involving 80 million students confirming that interpersonal factors are far more important than institutional factors in determining learning outcomes and that active forms of learning such as teaching and discussing with others result in far higher retention levels than conventional classroom lectures.

Nebojša Nešković , Secretary General of the Academy, identified the need for inclusion of multiculturalism in the WAAS project on New Paradigm for human development. WAAS should recognise common human needs across cultures, he said.

Participants also stressed the need for a paradigm shift in education and a shift in emphasis from analytic thinking which examines premises from within the present paradigm to integrated or deep thinking which is capable of seeing beyond the borders of the present paradigm and reconciling the contradictions resulting from the limitations of prevailing theory.




Report on the Conference on Anticipation, University of Trento, Nov 5-7, 2015

Great Anticipation is increasingly at the heart of urgent contemporary debates, from climate change to economic crisis. As societies are searching for effective guides to the future, anticipatory practices are coming to the foreground of political, organizational and personal life. Research into anticipation, however, has not kept pace with social demand for insights into these practices, their risks and their uses. Where research does exist, it is deeply fragmented.

As an emerging field of study influencing a wide variety of disciplines and exploring relationship with uncertainty and complexity, anticipation is instrumental for framing the movement toward a new paradigm in human development capable of effectively addressing enormous challenges confronting humanity today. Applicability of anticipation is pressingly significant for domains economic, environmental, geopolitical, technological, and social, and most importantly, for the complex interconnectedness of these domains.

Aiming to generate a more defined and more unified understanding of anticipation in theory and practice, the University of Trento partnered with UNESCO and the World Academy of Art & Science to organize the First International Conference on Anticipation at Trento, Italy from November 5-7, 2015 in association with the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), the Advanced Design Network and the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento as co-organizers.

As a first time event, the conference had an unprecedented success by gathering over 300 international speakers at 17 main sessions with 70 panels and featuring a group of distinguished keynote speakers, including Roberto Poli, chief organizer of the conference and UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Systems at Trento, Riel Miller of UNESCO, Jens Beckert and Ruth Levitas.

Conference panels and presentations covered a wide range of disciplines and topics, such as anticipation in education, politics and political economy, philosophy and sociology, biology, engineering and design, research and innovation, urban futures and migrations.

WAAS convened two sessions with a total of five panels on “Anticipation for Transition to a New Paradigm” and “Bring forth Futures.”

In his keynote address, Roberto Poli tracked the development of anticipatory research in various disciplines and laid out the foundations of anticipation as a discipline in its own right. He clarified that the conference’s main aim was to serve as a point of encounter and exchange among scholars from different disciplines, helping them to develop a fuller understanding of the centrality of anticipation to human behavior. As a medium to long-term consequence, a research base may be developed capable of assessing and enhancing the potential of anticipatory practices for individuals, organizations and society. A better and more complete understanding of anticipation and its effects will improve theories and models of individual and collective human behavior and its consequences. The arising benefits will, thus, assist those who are explicitly seeking to understand and design ‘the prepared society’, to make more effective and sustainable use of technologies, to create more inclusive democracies and to explore the boundaries of human endeavors.

Garry Jacobs stated that the conference heralds the beginning of a paradigm change in science which will eventually restore full recognition and legitimacy to the role of conscious intention, subjective, perception, creativity and intuition in every discipline. Anticipation is a fundamental trans-disciplinary principle that cuts across the different fields of social science. It is also a faculty that connects human values, expectations and rights and, as such, channels and directs evolutionary and revolutionary change. Leadership is the catalyst for the conscious emergence of new forms of anticipation and their organized expression in the collective to alter the distribution of social power and lead to major paradigm change.

Neantro Saavedra-Rivano laid out some initial elements of a new forward-looking or anticipatory attitude toward economics. For the development of what he provisionally called the Prospective Economics, he outlined two anticipatory approaches—the “passive” and “active” anticipatory stances. He proceeded to expound on their promising implications for the development of new economics.


Erich Hoedl discussed the European Union’s Long Term Anticipation Studies 2025, 2030 and 2050, which anticipate a globally shrinking economic and demographic role of Europe. The studies suggest higher investments in science, research and technology as strategies to address that issue. And yet, Hoedl points out, European educational policies lag behind research and innovation policies and neglect the idea that human-centered education is a precondition for successful technological and societal changes.

Highlighting that globalization has enabled individuals to transcend various boundaries in ways unimaginable before, Faris Gavrankapetanović raised the concern that, many scientists with outstanding potential are precluded from contributing to humanity because of restrictive immigration policies. Consequently, in his title, he asked “Are We Losing Individual Potential in the Current Global Trends?”

Winston Nagan drew attention to the salience of anticipation for major factors at play in the management of the sovereign state. He focused on the centrality of human subjectivity in understanding the concept of anticipation and sought to clarify fundamental values such as peace, security and human dignity in the anticipated constitutional and public order of the world community.

Reflecting back on the approach developed by Carl Rogers, Alberto Zucconi illustrated his systemic-holistic paradigm for development of human potentialities and positive sustainable change. He highlighted the central importance in the person-centered approach of the drive for self-actualization signifying a fundamental future orientation with the future as an attractor molding present behavior.

Carlos Alvarez-Pereira traced the multiple high-speed gridlocks in which humanity is trapped today. Untying those gridlocks is not possible in the same plane they were created: tensions will accumulate up to a critical point when systemic instabilities will make bifurcation happen. To ensure that untying the gridlocks would lead a path forking toward good, we have to change the hermeneutic framework limiting our perception—the way in which we understand and interpret our world. One such way would be to backcast from the imagination of desirable futures by engendering a cultural revolution built on more feminine values of care and collaboration; reinvention of money for preservation instead of accumulation; promotion of generosity as the driver of progress.

The WAAS sessions on Bring Forth Futures were convened by Mila Popovich and Mark Swilling. The first panel was chaired by Heitor Gurgulino de Souza. Popovich examined the nature of anticipation as prospecting of the future for the present and outlined two general anticipatory modalities— particular modes of anticipation and vision of future they engender as always context, position, and power contingent—“strong futuring” and “slow futuring.” It is in the interstice of these anticipatory modes that her presentation situated the generative space for unlocking the potential of the present. She proceeded to examine the implications of these anticipatory modes for the current global social challenges and for the future culture and world in the making.

Granted that a complex adaptive system is dispositional in nature, lacking a linear or repeating relationship between cause and effect, David Snowden asserted that, consequently, both forecasting and backcasting have limited utility. He illustrated that we have to go beyond big data and models to create human sensor networks and shift from inductive to abductive thinking and radically increase the number of perspectives involved in decision support.

Zbigniew Bochniarz focused on the shared-value based education explored in a project of the University of Washington called “Effective Clusters: the Base of Innovation and Source for Sustainable Regional Development”; the interregional project was funded by the government of Poland and European Union through an interdisciplinary research by applying the methods of microeconomics, development economics, sociology and philosophy. The project was to develop two products: development of the new methodology of industrial clusters evaluation and a book of best practices.

Gerald Gutenschwager challenged anticipation as a new science because it has to face the fuzzy reality that defies the mechanistic search for linear causal relationships that would allow an anticipated future to be manipulated and controlled. Anticipation as art, however, could incorporate those dimensions of social reality that have been so difficult to comprehend because art is not only at home with ambiguity and uncertainty but, rather, thrives on them. As such, it can bring to light the emotional and moral context of the communication processes within which intersubjectivity and collective anticipation develop. Furthermore, it could help develop, anticipate and give birth to a new philosophical framework, which Gutenschwager expects to be closer to the Epicurean framework than the Aristotelian-Newtonian framework that has governed our thoughts for the past two millennia.

The rich 3-day long exploration on the topic of anticipation both in theoretical and practical terms and with the aim of developing a research field and a nascent discipline was followed by an announcement that the next conference on anticipation will take place in 2017 and the preparation for it has begun.

Additionally, various publications ranging from academic journals to book projects are planned and under way. The organizing committee, chaired by Roberto Poli, will be particularly focused on publishing a handbook on anticipation, that way giving more comprehensive, formal contours to the new discipline.

Mila Popovich
Chair, Membership Communications Committee
Associate Fellow, WAAS

Education and Anticipating the Future

Education has long been one of the primary mechanisms by which societies and individuals have sought to anticipate and be prepared for the future. However, the accelerating change we see in all aspects of life promises a future we cannot completely envision, therefore the current educational model needs to be reconceptualised, into one that can build personal, collective and societal capacity to hope and to create better futures in conditions of ongoing and radical disruptions.

New educational structures and practices—both inside and outside conventional schools and universities—must evolve in these conditions. We need a new conception of ‘being educated’. Therefore, Education was one of the points of focus at the “First International Conference on Anticipation”.

Garry Jacobs, in his presentation ‘Education at Warp Speed: Anticipating the Future’ during the session on Education, advocated a new paradigm in education, one that is idea-based, contextual, person-centered, transdisciplinary, and conducive to integrative thinking.

We need to move from a conservative orientation to the past, wherein education places emphasis on past experience and knowledge that have already been acquired, rather than what is yet to be discovered. We think much more about what has happened over the past 2000 years than what is likely to happen over the next 20 years.

A progressive attribute in education would be to learn from failures. A consciousness of past errors and failures creates a greater willingness to challenge convention and explore new approaches. That combined with the awareness of how much has changed, will generate an anticipation of a different future.

Conclusions of the International Conference for a Green and Inclusive Economy organized by Green Cross International at Geneva on 6-7 October 2015

The courage and compassion of the people of Paris following the 13th of November atrocities in 2015 are an inspiration. Our resolve to come together to create a better, safer future can only be strengthened in the wake of this tragedy, and the terrible suffering and insecurity that afflicts so many people on Earth. This Declaration is one of peace, hope and solidarity for the City of Paris and all who gathered at COP21.

A green and inclusive future is possible! We have the knowledge, technology and public support to achieve it: what we are waiting for is the political leadership to take us forward. This must be delivered in Paris in the form of an ambitious, binding and universal climate change agreement backed by ample climate finance. It is time for a fundamental transformation of our economic, financial and energy systems. Such a transformation is not a choice: it is a moral, economic and environmental imperative. In December, humanity has an appointment with its future—we cannot miss this momentous opportunity to launch a new era of global climate action.

This is the clear and determined message put forward by over 2,700 people participating at the International Conference for a Green and Inclusive Economy, held in Geneva on 6 and 7 October 2015.

As the birthplace of the Red Cross, the European home of the United Nations, and the site of the world’s largest network of environmental organisations, Geneva is a city that represents the world’s ability to come together to overcome adversity; it is calling for a science-based, people-driven global strategy to combat the biggest threats we face, while helping to lead the way in making the fundamental changes needed.

This diverse gathering included representatives of the City and Canton of Geneva, the United Nations and its institutions, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), universities, civil society, technology, business and the military, but was united in its simple message that Paris Climate 2015 must:

  1. Acknowledge that our current economic model is failing humanity and destroying the conditions that have allowed life to flourish on the planet we share. Leaders need to affirm that the vast majority of remaining fossil-fuels must be left in the ground, and that economies cannot continue to grow exponentially on a consumption basis. We CAN shift to a new economic system without global collapse, but we CANNOT avoid environmental collapse if we rely on piecemeal optimization of the existing model.
  1. Commit to ambitious, legally-binding emission reductions that will fulfil the 2010 agreement to limit global temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius. The current Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)—if they are implemented in full and on time—put us on a pathway to approximately 2.7-3oC of warming by 2100; this is an entirely unacceptable and unsafe outcome that should not be the basis of the final Paris Climate agreement. World leaders have the power to go further: with so much at stake, they must do better.
  2. Demonstrate solidarity with the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts, and assign the resources required to share the burden of both mitigation and adaptation. A strong agreement in Paris must include accordingly ambitious, targeted financial commitments to be delivered without further delay.
  3. Reaffirm commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While combating climate change is just one of the 17 SDGs, failure to do so has the power to sink them all. It would be unforgivable for our governments to meet the SDGs only to fail to commit to the climate action required to meet them.
  4. Achieve an inspirational closure to two decades of disappointing, divisive climate negotiations, and launch a new era based on solidarity, innovation and the will to change. Today the principal barriers to global climate action on the scale required are not technological or financial, they are political. The world was looking to Paris Climate 2015 to deliver the unequivocal, compelling policy signal that it is time to commit unreservedly to a sustainable, low-carbon future.

The future is not preordained. It is up to us. Alongside the direct plea to decision-makers at Paris Climate 2015, the Geneva gathering was overflowing with ideas and examples of the solutions and innovations needed to build a green and inclusive future. At the heart of all proposals are people—the immense capacity of humanity for creativity, ingenuity, adaptation, hard work, and care for others. Action on climate change can be a catalyst to transform and reform our societies, to shift the currently undemocratic balance of power, and to promote the human rights and wellbeing of all people.

In the mammoth undertaking of transforming our economies and


F. J. Radermacher

I. Šlaus

M. Lees

G. Jacobs

R. Peccei

E. Weizsäcker


M. Munasinghe

behaviour, there will be central roles for states, for cities, for regions, for the private sector and for civil society. But those with the most at stake are the young, and the generations to come. This is why our Conference is proud to support the new “Universal Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities of Humanity”, with its strong insistence on intergenerational solidarity, which was represented at the Geneva Green and Inclusive Economy conference by Scouts from all continents,

and presented to world leaders at Paris Climate 2015. http://droitshumanite.fr

Other WAAS representatives present at the October 6-7, 2015 Conference in Geneva include F. J. Radermacher, Ivo Šlaus, Martin Lees, Garry Jacobs, Roberto Peccei, Alexander Likhotal, Mohan Munasinghe and Ernst von Weizsäcker.

Adam Koniuszewski
Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer,
Green Cross International; Associate Fellow, WAAS

Why WAAS?

The Fellows of the World Academy have been selected because of their eminence in their own vocations and because of their concern for mankind. You have been chosen as individuals free from the obligations to special interests that inhere in representation in international organizations. You are influ-

-ential citizens of many countries. Surely your intellectual and moral influence can play a part in the evolution of concepts, motives and actions appropriate to the modern world.

Leaders must be trained for many lands and many special undertakings; such men and women should be dedicated to the welfare of mankind; they should also be trained to high competency in one or more essential operational areas; profes-

-sional, technological or political, as the case may be. Researches should be undertaken with regard to the manifold necessities of a world changing at an unprecedented rate.

Stuart Mudd,
Former President of the Academy,
in “Features of a world capable of achieving peace under law”, Conflict Resolution and World Education WAAS, 1967.

Referendum

Calls for the democratization of the UN, abolition of the veto power, outlawing the use and possession of nuclear weapons, formation of a global cooperative security system, establishment of a world central bank and a global parliament may still seem utopian to many, but they are as inevitable and irresistible as the progressive evolution of democratic freedom and individual human rights over the past few centuries.

What is needed are practical steps to generate awareness, build consensus and release a revolutionary or evolutionary

movement akin to those of the past, but on a global scale.

A referendum of the world’s people on the fundamental principles that should govern the evolution of the human community is a practical step that can be taken now. Conducted electronically, it can reach out and involve one billion people, possibly many more. It is a seed-idea, an idea whose time has come.

Garry Jacobs, Orio Giarini & Ivo Šlaus
Cadmus Volume 1, Issue 2, April 2011



Mind, Thinking & Creativity

Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik, Croatia

April 11-15, 2016


Mind is humanity’s highest developed instrument for seeking knowledge; therefore, it is ironic that we invest so little time in education and scientific endeavor trying to understand the nature of mental knowledge, the character of the mental processes by which we arrive at it, the inherent limits to rationality and mental ways of knowing, as well as the extraordinary creative and intuitive processes by which mind transcends those limitations and tends toward genius.

Thinking is the activity by which mind associates, organizes, coordinates and integrates information, thoughts and ideas. Creative thinking is the process by which mind extends the boundaries of existing thought and knowledge to connect, reconcile and unify previously unconnected or contradictory perspectives.

This course will explore the characteristics of mental knowledge and thought processes, types of thinking, the character of rational thought, the mental and social construction of knowledge, deep thinking, creativity and genius.

Rather than focus on abstract philosophical concepts, it will apply this knowledge to understand both the sources of humanity’s prolific mental creativity, the characteristic problems it confronts due to irresolvable conflicts and contradictions between mental perspectives, and their resolution in different fields of natural and social science, public policy, collective and individual behavior.

LECTURE TOPICS

  • Nature of Mind
  • Types of thinking
  • Conceptual construction of knowledge
  • Social construction of knowledge
  • Mental creativity & the scientific method
  • Objective and Subjective forms of knowing
  • Deep thinking and Paradigm change
  • Education and development of the mind in children
  • Limits to rationality
  • Mental patterns associated with genius
  • Insight and Intuition

COURSE DIRECTORS:

Goran Bandov, Vice Dean, Dag Hammarskjöld University College of International Relations & Diplomacy, Zagreb, Croatia.

Garry Jacobs, Chairman & CEO, World University Consortium.

Winston Nagan, Professor of Law, University of Florida, USA.

Alberto Zucconi, President, Person-Centered Approach Institute, Italy.

Please contact support@worldacademy.org if you wish to participate as a faculty member.


Following highly successful conferences at Brazilia in 2014 and Gainesville in 2015, the World Academy of Art & Science and World University Consortium are pleased to collaborate in organizing a three-day conference on Post-2008 Global Dynamics & Structural Changes: Economic, Political and Eco-Societal Transitions at the University of Lisbon on May 11-13, 2016 in association with the Centre for African, Asian and Latin American Studies (CEsA), Research in Social Sciences and Management (CSG), Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG), and University of Brasilia (UnB).

Although the international crisis starting in 2007 managed to generate some skepticism among decision makers, politicians and international organizations, the disturbances it created were apparently not powerful enough to inspire another shared vision of positive paradigm change.

We hope the 2016 International Colloquium will stimulate thought and action on the vision of a sustainable, fair and equitable way to deal with the critical tasks society is facing.

We need to examine the root causes of the current challenges and opportunities so as to formulate an integrated and comprehensive strategy towards the promotion of worldwide change to well-being.

The XIII Colloquium will discuss the current international situation and its systemic stresses with special emphasis on Europe and will explore changes in economic theory and policy needed to cope with the challenges of globalization, mechanization, employment, migration and ecology.

Paper submission is open until January 31, 2016.
Click here for more information.

Eruditio, the e-journal of WAAS, complements and enhances the academy’s focus on global perspectives in the generation of knowledge from all fields of legitimate inquiry. It also mirrors the academy’s specific focus and mandate which is to consider the social consequences and policy implications of knowledge in the broadest sense.

Contents of the Current Eruditio Issue – November 2015-January 2016

Determinism and Reification: The Twin Pillars of the Amoral Society by Gerald Gutenschwager

Breaking Free: Bringing the Overview Effect to Life & Work by Charles Smith

Higher Education – Cornerstone of the New Era by Federico Mayor

The Future of International Law by John Scales Avery

EU between Monetarism and Keynesianism by Mladen Staničić & Josip Sapunar

Introduction to the New Paradigm of Political Economic Theory by Winston P. Nagan

Collabocracy: Collaborative Intelligence & Governance of Globalised Society by Dimitar Tchurovsky

Reforming Electronic Markets and Trading by Hazel Henderson

Remarks on Visions of Sustainable Development: Theory & Action by Robert J. Berg

Analysis and assessment of the right to peace in light of the latest developments at the Human Rights Council by Christian Guillermet Fernández & David Fernández Puyana

Sustainability, Past and Future by Michael Marien

Book Review by Michael Marien


Shaping the future in order to realize the economic and social goals that enable the establishment of a socially inclusive and environmentally healthy community is the fundamental challenge of human society. Technology has been shown to be the key player in meeting this challenge. Still, there remain many uncertainties related to the transformation of scientific results into technology regarding its positive economic potential, and social, and human outcomes. The rapid pace of technological change at the beginning of the twenty-first century, as well as the inability to understand technology and perceive its effects on society is one of the greatest, very subtle, problems of the XXI century.

There are many who, facing the rapid advances in the XXI century, wonder if it will be possible or even desirable to continue along the path of such prodigious change. Technological advances per se do not guarantee above all how they will be used. Tomorrow’s technologies may contain destructive potential, a threat to the natural and human environment which may be too powerful and challenging to control. A purely technological risk involves the possibility of greater vulnerability to system-wide breakdowns. Certainly, the risks of over- or under regulation and of undercapitalization error of new technological developments are already present. Furthermore, enthusiasm about new developments often neglects the social, ethical, economic and political constraints. The complement of that is to overlook the secondary, very harmful, effects of new technologies offered for improving the condition of humankind.

The interrelation of technological and cultural changes is vitally relevant in the globalized era in which we live. Associated with a belief in technological determinism, the convergence theory argues that we are becoming more similar to one another—i.e. the world is converging—since we all make use of the same technologies. The role of technological change in promoting the convergence of societies is less certain on the theoretical and empirical grounds. To think of technological change as a universal instrument that dissolves all prior religious, cultural and social patterns is not possible.

The theory of cultural lag is predicated on the belief that habits, thoughts, values, and social arrangements often fail to change at the same speed as technological innovation. The belief that technology acts as an independent force in our life, unaffected by social forces and inertia in change of spirituality is known as

“technological determinism”, and if it is true, we have become the servants of technology instead of its master.

No one can argue that technology has not been a key force in shaping the world we live in, and in which we will live, but we need to appreciate the fact that technology has not been independent of the society in which it is imbedded. Does social constructivism therefore offer the possibility for more human agency than technological determinism?

The conference aims to open many questions related to the interaction of emerging technologies and society. With this in mind, the prospective participants are invited to contribute to any of the following topics:

  • Technology advances: challenges and threats
  • Technology and values
  • International relations and technology
  • Social construction approach & technological advance
  • Technology control, legal and ethical constraints, sustainability
  • Technology dependence, power and bureaucracy
  • Technology, spirituality and religion
  • Technology, future education and cultural lag
  • Artificial intelligence and future of humans
  • Technology and gender

Technical Details
Venue: Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, Podgorica, Montenegro
Date: May 19-20, 2016
Organizer will cover speakers’ costs of stay (local transfer, lodging, meals and social events).

Deadlines
Abstracts (not more than 300 words): 15 January, 2016
Acceptance notification: 1 February, 2016
Full paper: May 15, 2016

Contact: Ms. Katarina Terzic
Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts
Address: Rista Stijovica 5, 81000 Podgorica, Montenegro Tel: +382 20 655 459; Fax: +382 20 655 451
Email: katarinat@canu.ac.me; canu@canu.ac.me

For more information click here.


Humanity lives in a time of unprecedented capacity for accomplishment in every field of social life. Never before have we possessed power of this magnitude for good or for evil. Never before has power been so widely distributed within society.

Democracy, law, human rights, science, technology, education and many other forms of social organization have generated immense power. Society governs the possession and exercise of this power through formal structures and institutions, such as law and human rights, as well as through both legitimate and extra-legal informal mechanisms including status, wealth, popularity, political influence and corruption.

The distribution of power in its various forms powerfully impacts on the functioning of the economy, political system, educational, scientific, religious and and other social institutions, and on the overall productivity, strength, integrity, harmony and welfare of society.

This transdisciplinary course will explore the sources, expressions, determinants and consequences of the creation, distribution and exercise of social power in its various expressions in politics, economy, society and culture and its consequences for the evolution of society as a whole.

LECTURE TOPICS (partial list)

  • Society, social capacity, social power & social potential
  • Nature and types of power
  • Sources and levers of social power
  • Relationship between the distribution of social power, social harmony and human welfare
  • Formal and informal centers of power in society
  • Authorized and unauthorized exercise of power
  • Power and human relationships
  • Individual empowerment and disempowerment
  • Inter-exchangeability between different forms of power
  • Power behind the throne
  • Characteristics of money as a form of social power
  • Nexus of political, financial and social power
  • Democracy and Plutocracy
  • Strategies for equitable distribution of social power

COURSE DIRECTORS:

Goran Bandov, Vice Dean, Dag Hammarskjöld University College of International Relations & Diplomacy, Zagreb, Croatia.

Garry Jacobs, Chairman & CEO, World University Consortium.

Winston Nagan, Professor of Law, University of Florida, USA.

Alberto Zucconi, President, Person-Centered Approach Institute, Italy.

Please contact support@worldacademy.org if you wish to participate as a faculty member.


WAAS and WUC partner with 20 institutions to develop course on New Economic Theory

Rising levels of unemployment, inequality and ecological damage pose severe challenges to the future of humanity. Yet efforts to seriously address these issues have been effectively opposed by vested interests and institutional inertia based on outmoded, conventional economic theories and models. Old ideas block urgently needed action. A concerted effort to synthesize and project the best available alternative thinking can effectively challenge the conventional orthodoxy.

Following a highly successful conferences at University of Brasilia in May 2014 and University of Florida at Gainesville last May, WUC and WAAS have joined hands with 20 partnering institutions from 12 countries on five continents to close the intellectual gap that retards effective action on a broad front of economic and ecological issues. The project team and advisory committees include 48 thinkers, academicians and practitioners from a range of social science disciplines.

The project seeks to gather together the world’s best thinking on alternative economic concepts and integrate them within a transdisciplinary human-centered framework for global sustainable development. The objective is to develop a comprehensive, integrated outline of new economic thinking and project it through a course of video lectures for university classrooms and online delivery.

The goal is to formulate a valid theory that

  • Maximizes human security, welfare and well-being instead of limitless consumption and unregulated economic growth for their own sake;
  • Perceives people as the most precious resource and development of all forms of human and social capacities as the most important form of productive capital;
  • Ensures employment opportunities and meaningful occupation for all, including both youth and the increasingly healthy and active elderly populations;
  • Regulates the global casino of financial speculation that currently destabilizes economies and impoverishes people;
  • Manages the world’s resources in a sustainable manner for both present and future generations;
  • Promotes a more equitable distribution of income within the constraints imposed by the planet’s resources;
  • Resolves the apparent contradiction between human welfare and ecological sustainability by shifting the focus from unlimited, wasteful, material consumption based on energy and material intensive technologies to maximum security, welfare, well-being and developmental opportunities for people.

The network of participating research institutes, think tanks, universities and other civil society organizations includes:

Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Center for Partnership Studies, California, USA

Dag Hammarskjöld University College of International Relations and Diplomacy, Croatia

Environment Europe Limited, UK

Ethical Markets Media, Florida, USA

GameChangers 500, California, USA

Global Action Plan International, UK

Global Footprint Network, California, USA

Green Cross International, Switzerland

University of Brasilia, Brazil

Inter-University Centre, Croatia

New Economics Foundation, UK

Person-Centered Approach Institute, Italy

Praneo Foundation, Switzerland

The Blue Economy, Germany

The Mother’s Service Society, India

University of Florida, Institute for Human Rights, Peace and Development, USA

University of Lisbon, Department of Economics, Portugal

whatIf? Technologies, Canada

The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future, USA

World Resources Forum, Switzerland

Y. K. Center, Israel

Conferences exploring alternative perspectives for the project are being planned for University of Lisbon in May 2016 and Stellenbosch University, South Africa in 2017.

For more information on the rationale of the project and project plan, partners and participating individuals, past conferences

and discussion papers, please visit
www.neweconomictheory.org

Individuals interested to contribute to the NET project are invited to contact
net@worldacademy.org

A major international conference on Democracy in the 21st century was organized by Ismail Serageldin, President of the Library of Alexandria and WAAS Fellow, at Alexandria, Egypt on December 9-11, 2015 bringing together a host of international political leaders, scholars and activists, including seven former heads of state, to examine the historical roots, achievements, challenges and strategies for enhancing the effectiveness of democratic forms of governance. Participants included WAAS Fellows Emil Constantinescu, Garry Jacobs, Zlatko Lagumdžija, Alexander Likhotal, Rovshan Muradov, and Rosalia Arteaga Serrano.

Democracy was the most successful political idea of the 20th century.

Just a few years ago democracy looked as though it would dominate the world.

By 2000 Freedom House classified 120 countries, or 63% of the world total, as democracies. Between 1980 and 2000 democracy experienced a few setbacks, but since 2000 there have been too many to be listed as exceptions. Even in its heartland, democracy is clearly suffering from serious structural problems, rather than a few isolated ailments.

Political systems have been undergoing dramatic changes in the past decades driven by globalization and neoliberalism. Vital democratic institutions have been tarnished and manipulated.

Why has it run into trouble, can it be revived?

According to the usual explanations of the Western writers, democracy as a model has been attractive, because democracies are on average richer than non-democracies, are less likely to go to war and have a better record of fighting corruption. More fundamentally, democracy lets people speak their minds and shape their own and their children’s futures.

Why then the crisis?

The answer is that democracy is not only about how people live. It’s also about what they live for—it’s about human dignity, self-esteem, meaningfulness, sense of fulfilment. It’s about values!

One thing is clear.

The world governance has gone impotent. G7, G20, UN, World Bank, EEC, BRICS, UNESCO, World Economic Forum and the likes...

Dozens of important organizations, dozens of important presidents, thousands of important ministers, millions of spies, analysts, the CIA, the Russian Federal Security Service, MI-6 and so on. And so on. An incredible financial, industrial, intellectual capacity.

They really run the world. But they run it really bad. What went wrong? There are existential, political and operational reasons.

The modern market economy was a natural outgrowth of the rise of liberalism and political democracy in the West. The extension of freedom and democratic rights to every citizen has gradually led to the emergence of economic democracy as well, in which each individual casts monetary votes according to his individual needs and capacity. In the absence of basic human rights, economic life as we know it today is inconceivable.

But the further evolution of this value has played a trick with civilization. In this consumption driven world people have started to be driven by the belief in economic prosperity as the guarantee of human freedom. Material prosperity has become implicitly related to the extent of individual freedom. Personal wellbeing gradually has turned from a tool of liberal values into a competing goal, gradually devaluing and marginalizing these values. That is why the threat to the prosperity standards (leading to unbridled economic growth) has started to be seen as the erosion of freedom.

As a result, human development and personal status have become hostages of economic performance, deforming the basic civilisation’s ethical matrix. Democracy, with economic issues dominating parliamentary agendas, has gradually been reduced to an instrument of economic optimisation.

In the political sphere the end of the Cold War has paradoxically

accelerated this process. After World War 2 many people of the world were attracted by the Western model, by its “soft power”. Its high economic efficiency, rule of law, human rights turned the democratic system into a shining city on a hill for many especially when compared to the repressive and economically less-efficient models.

The socialist system implosion has devalued and erased the stark comparative advantages of the Western political system. Not being able to use anymore the repressive models of the East block as a reference point, the West was challenged to start “sweeping in front of its door”, to confirm and prove the democratic model moral advantages in its own daily reality. But instead it has ceded the temptation to “establish” its gains in the cold war victory, quickly converting moral principles into geopolitical instruments.

Already in 10-15 years, the world may be completely different. We are looking at communications and technology revolutions occurring in very abbreviated time frames. Soon, billions of people will interact via a fast data-transferring Metaweb, and it will change social standards as well as human behaviour patterns. Integrated global economies functioning as holistic entities will spur a deep reframing of global governance, shaping a new configuration of political, economic and military power. One can hardly expect that these changes will leave democratic mechanisms intact.

Since the dawn of the modern democratic era in the late 19th century, democracy has expressed itself through nation-states and national parliaments. But globalisation has changed national politics profoundly. People today engage in social issues mainly through civil society and the use of social media as their primary tool. This holds fascinating prospects for de facto global citizenship and action, but it does something to the old type of representative democracy.

The present-day social reality reveals new growing and influential actors. Alongside the notorious process of globalization, there is another process that receives much less attention. This is the process of “lateralisation”—the establishment of vigorous, polyphonic groups that benefit from the broad access to the IT and communications, financial, organisational, and technological means of the post-industrial world.

We never anticipated a technology revolution so extreme in its productivity that it could actually reduce marginal cost to near zero for a whole array of goods and services, making them essentially priceless, abundant and beyond the market.

What are the long-term goals? What is the meaning of world development in the twenty-first century, the answer to which will define the future of democracy.

Democracy isn’t dying, it’s evolving.

Democracy can be reset if it can provide a platform for collective judgement and individual development—in a value-driven process, when values manifest themselves in concrete and socially meaningful issues, not reduced to the economic optimization and politics of the wallet.

In other words, the only remedy to resolve the crisis of democracy is more democracy.

Alexander Likhotal
Member, Board of Trustees, WAAS;
President, Green Cross International

Cadmus, is a journal for fresh thinking and new perspectives that integrate knowledge from all fields of science, art and humanities to address real-life issues, inform policy and decisionmaking, and enhance our collective response to the challenges and opportunities facing the world today.

Contents of the Current Cadmus Issue – October 2015

Cultural Policy as a component of the New Paradigm of Human Development

The WAAS project on the new paradigm of human development should have a well-defined cultural policy as one of its components. The general aim of this policy should be to ensure preservation of cultural richness of humanity and enable creation of an efficient global governance system.

Multiculturalism is the policy and practice of giving equal attention and representation to the needs and contributions of all cultural groups in a society. Two major multicultural policies have been developed so far. The first policy avoids presenting any culture as more important than the others, and it is usually referred to as traditional multiculturalism. It promotes cultural isolation with the aim of protecting cultural diversity. The second policy promotes interaction between different cultures, and it is usually designated as interculturalism. It brings intercultural competition.

In the Western states, multiculturalism as the official cultural policy started in Canada in 1971 and Australia in 1972. After that, it was quickly adopted as the official cultural policy by most member-states of the EU. However, recently, the Governments of Denmark and the Netherlands have reversed their cultural policies, returning to monoculturalism. A similar reversal is the subject of debate in the UK, dominantly due to the evidence of incipient anxieties and segregation over home-grown terrorism.

Several heads of state have expressed doubts about the success of multicultural policies—the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron; the German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Australia’s ex-Prime Minister John Howard; the Spanish ex-Prime Minister José Maria Aznar; and the French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy. They have voiced concerns about the effectiveness of multicultural policies for social integration of immigrants. Today, with a continual very big wave of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa trying to enter and stay for good in the EU, it is clear that these and the surrounding countries have a huge political, social and economic problem with no consistent cultural policy to enable its sustainable solution.

Interculturalists say that culture is not rigidly defined—its elements change with time, with intercultural interactions contributing to these changes. It has been established that these interactions reduce prejudices and hostility between

different cultures. Critics of interculturalism debate whether the ideal of benignly coexisting cultures, which interrelate, influence one another and yet remain distinct, is realizable and sustainable. It is argued that a nation-state, which has been synonymous with a distinctive cultural identity, is endangered by enforced interculturalism, which can ultimately erode this identity.

WAAS should adopt soft interculturalism as its cultural policy. We should support critical dialogue within cultures and between them, and challenge segregation tendencies in cultures. This policy should appear as a response to the criticism of traditional multicultural policy, which legitimized separate cultural communities, accentuated their specificities, and isolated them from each other. This policy should be based on the recognition of both differences and similarities between cultures.

The intercultural policy of WAAS should be a global policy of recognition of common human needs across cultures. We should reject the claim that only the members of a particular cultural group have the ability to understand its specificities. In parallel, we should insist on protecting cultural diversity, often standing against economic forces, which favor uniformity.

In 2005, UNESCO adopted the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which supports interculturality. The document states that multiculturalism has faced serious problems that need to be resolved through interculturalism rather than traditional multiculturalism.

In order to define such a cultural policy, a WAAS working group should be formed. It should include committed members of the Academy and individuals from other organizations, mostly sociocultural anthropologists. However, since the membership of the Academy includes only a few such experts, whose activism in recent years has been minimal, this condition represents a serious obstacle. Thus, we should try to find a few distinct sociocultural anthropologists who would accept to become Fellows of WAAS and help us form the working group.

Nebojša Nešković
Secretary-General and
Chair, Nominations Committee, WAAS

INVITATION TO CONTRIBUTE

Fellows are invited to submit content for the next issue on:

  • Articles on Global Issues (upto 500 words)
  • Upcoming Events
  • News of Fellows
  • Feedback on the WAAS Newsletter & Activities

Send your comments and contributions to support@worldacademy.org


Seeds of a World University

‘Some Comments on the Idea of a World University’ made at the onset of the Cold War with a view to resolve global conflicts is still strikingly relevant today. The article, written by Harold Taylor, Chairman of the National Research Council on Peace Strategy, in the 1967 WAAS publication ‘Conflict Resolution and World Education’ (pg 163), explores the potential role of higher education, provided by a decentralized global university with existing educational institutions around the world as cooperating units, as a step in the right direction.

The world then was divided into two major blocs, and educational institutions became a part of the ideological structure of the Cold War. Newly sovereign Asian and African countries were trying to find an identity, for themselves as well as their institutions, independent of their colonial rulers. Today, the world is fragmented in many ways, at multiple planes, and the interplay of the various parts presents us with a complex scenario that cannot be addressed with a single strategy. Education—affordable, best quality, inclusive, future-oriented—is perhaps the single most essential tool needed to devise a multi-faceted strategy that will usher in a new paradigm of social development.

WAAS has been one of the early visionary organizations that have recognized the value of a world university in addressing the world’s challenges. The World University Consortium, founded by WAAS, functions on the lines of the World University, as envisioned by Taylor.

The following are some of the ideas for the World University presented in his article:

“An international network of scientists and scholars, a network similar to that proposed by the World Academy of Art and Science through which existing groups of intellectuals in the world’s universities can be brought directly in touch with each other through a central headquarters.

Institutions deliberately designed to bring together an international community of scientists and scholars to deal with specific problems in science, technology and social change.

One specific task for the World Academy of Art and Science might be to make suggestions and proposals to the existing world organizations of scholars through which regional research and teaching centers with a world point of view might be established, at least in embryo, by special institutes based on approaches to specific problems. Another possibility exists in establishing truly international communities within the framework of existing universities.”

Janani Ramanathan
Associate Fellow, WAAS;
Senior Research Analyst, The Mother’s Service Society


The Future of WAAS

The French Revolution formed the basis for the advent of international organizations. After the Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, leaders of Europe met periodically and took initiatives to prevent internal conflict and rebellion. Such political organizations later paved the way for the emergence of International Governmental Organizations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations.

Now that international organizations have started replacing individuals in solving the world’s problems and creating unprecedented opportunities, their role in evolving a better society and speeding up social development is crucial than ever before, talking about which a question naturally comes to my mind: What is the future of international organizations, especially that of WAAS?

It is said that the future is contained in the past. Analyzing the past can provide a glimpse into the future. That said, the founders of WAAS were true pioneers, idealists who wanted to create the future by taking full responsibility to change the course of evolution.

WAAS was created as a forum for “distinguished scientists and scholars to discuss the vital problems of mankind, independent of political boundaries or limits—whether spiritual or physical; a forum where these problems will be discussed objectively, scientifically, globally and free from vested interests or regional attachments.”

WAAS acted as spokesperson for the whole world rallying for ‘a world university’ well ahead of time. Its founding members tried to invent a new world, a new paradigm that integrated ideas and actions.

So, thinking about the future of the Academy and its own evolution, one can’t help but come to the conclusion that the pioneers-founded organization will carry the characteristic of the founders and consciously speed up evolution and change the course of history.

WAAS will have achieved its primary goals by 2020: A transdisciplinary framework of society, a World University, an integrated science of society, full employment, discovering and rewarding genius, integration of the arts and sciences, a global rule of law, a human-centered economic theory, a transformed financial system, abolition of nuclear weapons and power, global governance characterized by full democracy, so on and so forth. It takes a greater imagination to wonder what the goals and responsibility of the Academy would be after these aspirations are met.

Suffice it to say that the future of WAAS is the future of humanity.

Ranjani Ravi
Junior Fellow, WAAS;
Research Associate, The Mother’s Service Society