Dear friends and colleagues,
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I am finishing this report and writing this greeting on New Year’s Day, 2019. Many great things are happening with WCPA here in India and around the world. I will report on these developments soon. In the meantime, here is the report for our successful WCPA Conference 2018.
Our Building the World Parliament Conference 2018 took place December 10 and 11 at O.P. Jindal Global University in Sonipat, India, not far from New Delhi. The Conference was sponsored by the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA), International Philosophers for Peace (IPPNO) and O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU). The general atmosphere of the conference was one of solidarity, energy, and commitment to the future of humanity.
We want to thank all the participants who contributed their insights, perspectives, and great learning to the success of this event. We achieved a collective learning experience for all of us. We achieved a renewed commitment to one another and our shared goals to raise the Constitution for the Federation of Earth as a common standard for all nations and peoples.
The Conference had 72 registered participants and a number of others who showed up at the last moment whom we did our best to accommodate among the presentations.
We were honored by our hosts from O.P. Jindal Global University, Vice-Chancellor C. Raj Kumar and Registrar Prof. (Dr.) Y.S.R. Murthy who participated in the opening ceremonies. Mr. Prashant Singh, who was assigned to organize the details of the conference such as housing, food, arrivals and departures, etc., did a terrific job, attending to our needs very efficiently and warmly.
WCPA Distinguished Advisor, Swami Agnivesh, gave the keynote speech on the morning of the 10th. He eloquently articulated the ideals behind our movement on behalf of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth and outlined three commitments from each of our members that are necessary if we are to successfully create a decent future for humanity. First, he said we must have a financial commitment, on a monthly basis, to give WCPA the funds to successfully establish the Global Communication Center and make the Constitution known and available to the people of Earth.
Second, he said that we needed to present our work, in whatever mode of work we may be engaged with (whether education, law, administration, private enterprise, or humanitarian service) in the context of the Earth Constitution. The Constitution is not an extraneous idea tacked on to our everyday pragmatic activities. Rather, it needs to be the context and vision of the future through which these daily activities are directed.
Third, he said that when we leave the conference, we must not forget our commitment and our promises but must move forward in the light of these commitments with ever greater dedication, vision, and energy. We are key persons in the struggle for a decent future for all humanity and we must leave our conference and move into the future within the framework of this noble mission and vision.
Swami Agnivesh giving the Keynote Address
In this report, I cannot, of course, comment on all of the many great presentations during these two days. There were more than 25 presenters. Our Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Vijaya Murthy, not only expertly guided us through the process of presentations, but managed to include several unscheduled speakers who needed to be heard. In doing this, she made a great contribution to the success of the conference. We were also pleased with the participation of Guruji Arun Kumar, WCPA Distinguished Advisor.
In addition, at the Conference, we had the good fortune of Dr. Subhash Chandra joining us with an executive position within WCPA and Mr. Srikanth from Hyderabad being appointed as WCPA Youth Coordinator for India. We were also deeply honored by Mr. D. Gopalkrishna, MBA from Bangalore, who donated his home in Bangalore for the use of the WCPA chapter there.
Dr. Vijaya Murthy, Master of Ceremonies
The themes of the presentations resonated with our broadly defined work to create a decent future for humanity and the people of Earth. They ranged from human rights including specifically women’s rights, to the wholeness of the human mind, body, and spirit to the culture of peace and the power of education to create global citizens in the service of peace.
International participants included Dr. Anthony Kamson from the USA who spoke about the dynamics of economic democracy and Dr. Ian Fry from Australia who spoke about the need for the people of Earth to end their subservience to Western powers and begin to determine their own destiny. Mr. A.H.M. Nouman, CEO of Development Organization for the Rural Poor in Bangladesh (DORP), spoke about the development of the Mothers Parliament among the rural poor in Bangladesh as an aspect of grassroots work integrating with the development of the World Parliament under the Earth Constitution. A number of the participants from DORP who came to the conference with Mr. Nouman treated us to a model demonstration of the Women’s Parliament.
A.H.M. Nouman (center, green vest) and some of the members from DORP Bangladesh
Some presenters highlighted concrete developments with regard to the work of WCPA on behalf of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. One concrete development, just noted, was the moving forward of the holistic organizational development of the Earth Federation Movement (EFM). It is incorrect to speak of a tension between a so-called “top down” approach of promoting the World Parliament versus a so-called “bottom up” approach of grass roots organizing among specific groups confronting local problems.
The holistic approach of WCPA understands that so-called top-down and bottom-up go together and must be promoted holistically in our efforts to transform the world system into one that works for all people and future generations. As such WCPA has long welcomed cooperation with human rights organizations, environmental action NGOs, local governance groups, groups engaged in cooperative and alternative styles of living (such as PROUT, represented at our conference by Swami Acharya Santoshanand), and organizations addressing poverty (such as DORP). None of these organizations can be successful at the local or regional levels without simultaneous transformation of the world system under the Earth Constitution. Similarly, our efforts for a World Parliament cannot be successful without the support of the global grass roots.
Along these same lines, immediately after the Conference Glen T. Martin and Phyllis Turk flew to Guwahati in Assam, India, where we helped launch a northeast chapter of WCPA and a branch of the new WCPA World Parliament University (WPU) under Prof. Deepak Kumar Baruah. His association works on local governance in conjunction with the Panchayat system in India and is now affiliated with WCPA in a holistic approach that integrates the grass roots with the movement for World Parliament.
At the conference, Mr. Narasimha Murthy (President of the Bangalore Chapter of WCPA) and Mr. E.P. Menon (WCPA Global Vice-President) announced the launch of an active WCPA all-India website and World Parliament University center in Bangalore. They are also working with Mr. Amit Paul, WCPA Vice-President from Delhi, to have WCPA officially registered throughout India, which will greatly facilitate our work in all parts of India. Congratulations are in order to Mr. Murthy and Mr. Paul who each received the distinguished WCPA Global Peace Award at the conference.
Other news of concrete developments in the work came from Indian educational leaders such as Dr. Hemlata Talesra and Dr. Ushoshi Guha. For a number of years now, Dr. Talesra has used her extensive educational contacts and leadership in India to promote study and awareness of the Earth Constitution. And Dr. Guha, as a professor of law in India, has systematically instituted the study of the Earth Constitution among her students. To date, she told us, some 400 law students have been studying the Earth Constitution as part of their educational work. Both these women leaders serve as models of what can be done in the educational sphere on behalf of a World Parliament and the future of humanity.
Professor Ushoshi Guha
The great success of this conference, therefore, came not only from the high quality of the papers and presentations of its participants. And it came not only from the spirit of consensus, cooperation, and solidarity on behalf of those gathered at O.P. Jindal Global University for these two days. It also came from the many concrete positive developments on behalf of WCPA and the World Parliament that were announced and described throughout the conference.
Our conference was enriched by several participants from Bollywood, two film producers, Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta and Ravindra Arora. Mr. Gupta offered to produce a film about the Earth Constitution. Also from Bollywood, came professional singer, Ms. Chander Kala Singh, who graced our conference at several points with her wonderful voice, and Ms. Shweta Varpe, former Ms. India and actress, who committed her powerful leadership skills to the promotion of DORP and the World Parliament. Their creative presence led to a beautiful explosion of song and dance in the final moments of the conference on the evening of December 11 when the entire audience began singing and dancing together in a wonderful climax to our gathering.
At the final WCPA meeting on the evening of December 11, conference participants worked together to finalize the “Sonipat Declaration” as a consensus statement coming from our 2018 conference. The initial draft for the Declaration was written by Dr. Eugenia Almand, Secretary General of WCPA, who was unable to attend this year’s conference. This powerful declaration will be sent out to all WCPA members shortly. It serves as a complement to this report about the success of our Building the World Parliament Conference 2018.
We want to thank once again all those who participated, and as well as the many who wanted to participate but were unable to make it this year. These included Mr. Leopoldo Cook Antonorsi, our Vice-President for Latin America from Venezuela, and Rev. Laura George, our Vice-President and director of the Oracle Institute in Virginia, USA. With solidarity and vision, our world movement for a World Parliament is rapidly gaining traction.
If we follow the guidelines articulated by Swami Agnivesh in his keynote address, our momentum will be assured: financial commitment, the Earth Constitution as an explicit framework for all our specific work, and steadfast follow-up continuing into the future. In India, there is great energy and vision regarding WCPA, the emerging World Parliament University, and the vision of a democratic World Parliament under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Let us continue to join our heads, hands, and hearts to make it happen.
With blessings to all,
Glen T. Martin