The Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) written just after the end of the destructive Second World War states that "since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed." Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in consultative status with the United Nations, such as the Association of World Citizens, have played an important role in changing attitudes both among the representatives of governments and among the wider public. NGOs have stressed the need for real cooperation in meeting the many challenges facing humanity, challenges which require new and innovative strategies.
It is abundantly clear that many challenges facing humanity require new and innovative strategies. The United Nations has a unique role to play in responding to these challenges. The United Nations is the only truly universal organizations with a mandate that covers virtually all areas of human endeavour. In an interdependent world, problems cannot be solved without a sense of commitment to the good of the whole.
There is a need for further empowerment of the UN system for conflict prevention as well as promoting the values of a culture of peace. Yet it is also clear that the UN cannot fulfil its weighty responsibility set out in the Charter alone. It needs to reach out to a wider circle of talents for we need to draw upon insights, ingenuity, determination and compassion to make this world a place of dignity and joy.
Thus, increasingly the energy and talent of members of non-governmental organizations are linked directly to UN efforts both as a source of ideas and as a powerful multiplier of actions to develop policies and structures of peace and non-violence.
The representatives of the Association of World Citizens are turned toward the future. As Fredrico Mayor, former Director General of UNESCO has said "One great task is to be the look-outs for the future, since in this way we shall be able to anticipate and prevent. Prevention is the greatest victory since it is what avoids suffering and avoids confrontation."
The future belongs to those who give the next generation reasons to hope. A vision of the future precedes the creation of a new reality. If we cannot envision the world we would like to live in, we cannot work towards its creation. We need a vision of the future as a time of great healing and social transformation. With a vision of the future, we can see better how each of us can contribute to this wider transformation. The real future is the future which is built by the inspiration of a vision. A vision creates hope, enthusiasm and conscious actions to actualize the vision. Thus we need to keep an open mind, to seek truth and to inform ourselves of the points of view of others.
The actions of the Association of
World Citizens are directed toward a future of freedom, dignity,
and world unity.