An Idea who's time has come: World peace & future security will be best served by a strong, effective and democratic United Nations

Dear Reader,

This is a time of opportunity and necessity.  It is a time to act - for every one of us.

When I wrote Is Peace Achievable?  What is the Formula for Peace? , I concluded "From the top down, all the research is overwhelmingly in support of a new world order. This planet, in the past century, has become too small and its limitations too apparent to not realize that the world's populace must act together. Never before have we been so dependent on each other. It is inescapable. We have a global problem that will require a global solution. This will take leadership at a global level that we all will follow. The United Nations is well placed to provide this leadership. However, the United Nations would have to be reformed to undertake this onerous responsibility." 

The Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace web site has benefited from much research and publications provided by the United Nations.  We firmly believe in the need for global leadership and governance on matters of global importance, and in the importance of the United Nations Culture of Peace Program as a long term, systemic solution to build peace in our communities and world (see references below).  It makes eminent sense that, as we have community and national governance to lead local and national matters, so we need the best international governance to lead international matters.

We have also warned that time is of the essence.  As the World's Scientists have warned us, during our children's lifetime "A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated." We are the stewards.  It is time for a new Social and Environmental Contract in the world, to which all peoples, governments, commercial and non-commercial organizations are committed and accountable parties.   

The United Nations is not perfect.  Good global governance has been compromised for a number of reasons: primarily the use of vetoes in the Security Council, and the undue interference of super powers.  As Henry Kissinger put it succinctly, "Empires have no interest in operating within an international system; they aspire to be the international system ..."  However, the current crisis of International Terrorism, and the world's reaction to it, is proof that the United Nations international governance is An Idea who's time has come: World peace & future security will be best served by a strong, effective, democratic United Nations. 

I urge you to learn more about global governance and the United Nations (a number of links have been provided below), and promote a reformed United Nations as a world leader in matters of international importance.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert Stewart, Director
Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace

stewartr [at] peace.ca

P.S. the other key ingredients to world peace is peace education (reference http://www.peace.ca/visionsofacdnpeaceinst.htm ) and National Culture of Peace Programs (reference http://www.peace.ca/copp.htm )

The United Nations - a brief summary

The United Nations ("U.N.") was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership now totals 189 countries.  When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty which sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes: to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights, and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.  UN Members are sovereign countries. The United Nations is not a world government, and it does not make laws. It does, however, provide the means to help resolve international conflict and formulate policies on matters affecting all of us. At the UN, all the Member States - large and small, rich and poor, with differing political views and social systems - have a voice and vote in this process.  The United Nations has six main organs. Five of them - the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the Secretariat - are based at UN Headquarters in New York. The sixth, the International Court of Justice, is located at The Hague, the Netherlands.  For more information: http://www.un.org

Some may think that the U.N. Security Council has the final word on matters of world peace and security, and that the vetoes held by the major powers are insurmountable barriers that weaken the U.N.  I understand that this is not the case, and the method around Security Council impasse is:

Uniting For Peace United Nations General Assembly Resolution 377 (V)

I recommend it as a good read, and it has a link to another resolution worth reading: resolution 290 (IV) entitled "Essentials of peace".  http://habitat.igc.org/peace/a-r290e.htm

I understand it needs a member nation to move it, and a majority of member nations to support moving a matter from the Security Council to the General Assembly, which is supposed to be a democratic forum.  It begs the question, in the run up to the U.S. war on Iraq, why did Iraq not move this resolution?  Why did France, Canada, Russia, U.S., etc. not moved it?

Additional reading:


[Photo of Nobel Peace Prize Medal]

Nobel Peace Prize for 2001

Acceptance Speech by U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan Audio

UNUnited Nations' International Homepage

UN Charter

unescoogo.gif (10049 bytes)A United Nations Celebration in the Year 2000!

Your Guide books that promote the United Nations as the credible "Third Side" in world matters:


NEW BOOK PROPOSES CENTRAL ACTION ROLE FOR A RENEWED UN - Altered States - Globalization, Sovereignty, and Governance published by Canada’s International Development Research Centre.   For a press release, click on http://www.idrc.ca/media/AlteredStates_e.html . 
In Altered States, Gordon Smith and Moisés Naím provide practical recommendations for improved governance and for strengthening and reforming the United Nations. They explore the dynamics of globalization and discuss what makes today's globalization distinct. They test the prevailing wisdom about sovereignty and state capacity, and sort out the humbug. They consider whether sovereignty itself is an impediment or a requirement to security and prosperity. And, in three urgent areas ripe for progress — preventing deadly conflict, providing opportunities for the young, and managing the many harms of climate change — they advance plans of action by which states, with others in the global community, can govern successfully in the future. The message of Altered States is one of both hope and warning: globalization opens great possibilities of prosperity, security, and human well-being, but only if new ways of governance are constructed. The United Nations must lead in this process and, at the Millennium Assembly in September, seize the opportunity to reconstruct our future.

The United Nations - better performance will help build confidence and political support by Maurice Strong http://www.cgg.ch/strong.htm .  The Commission on Global Governance http://www.cgg.ch/ , an independent group of 28 public figures, was inspired by the belief that the end of the cold war offered opportunities to build a more co-operative, safer and fairer world.  It presented proposals for improving the world's governance and better managing its affairs in a report published in 1995 - the year the United Nations marked its fiftieth anniversary.  The message of the report was encapsulated in its title: Our Global Neighbourhood http://www.cgg.ch/contents.htm . The book-length report was commended by such world figures as Nelson Mandela, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Vaclav Havel.  The Commission's recommendations centre principally on the United Nations, the only forum in which governments come together regularly to tackle world problems. Our Global Neighbourhood suggests how the UN should be revitalised so it can better respond to the needs of the modern world - a world that has changed in many ways since the UN was formed in 1945.

Getting to Peace : Turning Conflict into Cooperation at Home, Work & in the World
by William Ury.  5-Star Must Reading.  Format: Hardcover, 256 pages.  ISBN: 0670887587. Publisher: Viking Press. Pub. date: September 1999. Reviews Book Description A millennium manifesto for achieving peace at home, at work, in the community, and in the world from the co-author of the bestselling Getting to YES.  Almost twenty years ago, Getting to YES revolutionized the way we think about negotiation. Now, on the verge of the millennium, bestselling author William Ury tackles the most critical challenge facing all of us: getting to peace. In our rapidly-changing workplaces, stressed-out families, and violent world, we need cooperation more than ever and yet everywhere destructive conflict poisons our relationships and our communities. How can we learn to deal with our differences without going to war? Is it humanly possible?  In Getting to Peace, Ury challenges the fatalism that is so fashionable. Using new archeological and anthropological evidence, he overturns old myths about human nature and offers a new and hopeful story about human conflict. He suggests a powerful new approach for turning conflict into cooperation which he calls the "Third Side." For in every dispute, there are not just two sides, but a silent third side that can help bring about agreement. By discovering the ten roles of the third side, each of us can act as teachers, healers, and mediators to achieve fair and non-violent conflict resolution. Our happiness at home, our productivity at work, and our very lives depend on Getting to Peace.  "Bill Ury has a remarkable ability to get to the heart of a dispute and find simple but innovative ways to resolve it."--President Jimmy Carter.  About the Author William L. Ury is one of the world's leading negotiation specialists. Co-founder of Harvard's Program on Negotiation, he has mediated situations ranging from corporate mergers to wild cat strikes in a Kentucky coalmine, and from family feuds to ethnic wars in Russia and the former Yugoslavia. His books Getting to YES (Penguin) (with Roger Fisher) and Getting Past No have together sold more than four million copies. Ury and his work have been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek and on ABC's Good Morning America. He received his BA from Yale and Ph.D. from Harvard in social anthropology. See a more detailed review, and link to Amazon.com for ordering, at

It promotes:

conflict professionals and volunteers will be educated and skilled in the ten roles of the 'Third Side' (note 3), namely:

1. the Provider - enabling people to meet their needs
2. the Teacher - giving people skills to handle conflicts; empowering
3. the Bridge-Builder - forging relationships across lines of conflict
4. the Mediator - reconciling conflicting interests
5. the Arbiter - determining disputed rights
6. the Equalizer - democratizing power
7. the Healer - repairing injured relationships
8. the Witness - paying attention to escalation
9. the Referee - setting limits to fighting
10. the Peacekeeper - providing protection
The 'Third Side' thus serves as a kind of social immune system preventing the spread of the virus of violence.

Crandall R. Kline, Jr.,  Peace Within Our Grasp: Making the Dream a Reality
Akron, OH: C R (Dale) Kline ME, peacedefense@sbcglobal.net1999. 300 pp.  $10.50
Why do we have wars?  Do the Golden Rule, Ten Commandments and Just War Rules provide the correct moral guidance for preventing wars?  Why was the United Nations unable to prevent the Korean War and the Gulf War?  Why are some men so ready to kill for political causes?  This book delves into the roots of behavior to find the causes of war and suggests ways to prevent wars.  The book is recommended for students because it is so comprehensive.  John Seiberling, former Congressman, wrote that it does an excellent job of listing the elements that are needed for a peaceful world, both in moral thinking and in our political system.  It shows how built-in emotions can harmfully influence our decision making.  I recommend this book for all students of peace.  --Crandall Kline, peacedefense@sbcglobal.net 6/30/00
For a summary, click on:
How to Achieve World Peace   5-Star Must Reading

Other web sites that critique and offer suggestions to improve World Governance:
World Citizen Foundation http://www.worldcitizen.org

The Committee on Teaching About the United Nations http://www.teachun.org/

Friends of the United Nations http://www.fotun.org/

Help Get US out! of the United Nations http://www.getusout.org/index.htm

World Federation of United Nations Associations http://www.wfuna.org/

UN Watch http://www.unwatch.org/

World Federalists Association http://www.wfa.org/

U.S. Permanent Mission to the U.N. agenda for reform http://www.un.int/usa/reform.htm

Global Policy Forum http://www.globalpolicy.org/reform/index.htm

UN Reform: A Selected Bibliography http://www.library.yale.edu/un/un2a6a.htm 

Campaign for UN Reform http://www.cunr.org/

United Nations Reform: A Canadian Priority http://www.unac.org/unday/reform.html

An Agenda for Peace http://www.un.org/Docs/SG/agpeace.html

Supplement to An Agenda for Peace http://www.un.org/Docs/SG/agsupp.html

The Challenge facing the United Nations  by John Roberts

Whose World Order? Conflicting Visions by Noam Chomsky - "UN Ambassador Albright, later Secretary of State, put the matter pretty frankly when she was admonishing the Security Council when it was refusing to go along with US policies towards Iraq.  She said the United States will act multilaterally when we can, and unilaterally when we must, unconstrained by solemn treaty obligations.  The World Court, the foundations of world order or anything else are irrelevant.  That's been the case all along, not just for the United States.  It's been demonstrated in action in shocking ways, no need to review.  It's now a principle.  What that means is that the international political order is officially dead, not just dead in practice.  The United Nations is fine as long as it serves United States interests.  Otherwise, get lost."   Noam Chomsky, Whose World Order: Conflicting Visions http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~gharris/ ; updated in the Summer/Fall 2001 issue of the McGill International Review http://www.irsam.ca/mir/

WE SHOOT CHILDREN TOO, DON'T WE - In Chicago the evening of 31 January 2002 Mark Bruzonsky, Publisher of MER, gave the keynote address at the University of Chicago Model United Nations The Palmer House Hilton Ballroom was full with more than 2500 persons for the opening session - standing room only.   For the first time in the history of the keynote talks at this annual event the speaker received a prolonged standing ovation. "This has never happened before" said the conference organizer.  The speech by Mark Bruzonsky is attached.



Written during the growing Iraq war fever, The articles below paraphrase, "Ask not what the U.N. can do for you,
but what you can do for the U.N."

The Chinese symbol for "conflict" is a combination of "crisis" and "opportunity".  That is exactly what we have with the current U.S./Iraq crisis, and U.S. perceived "Crisis of Relevance of the U.N.".

The opportunity before us is as follows:

- to strengthen and reform the United Nations into a most credible system of
international law and world governance (dealing with terrorism and weapons
of mass destruction, among other things)
- to make the United Nations democratic and replace the veto in the Security
(if democracy is recommended for our countries, then it should be
recommended for our world; one can imagine safeguards such as a very
significant majority to vote for matter of major importance such as war, not
a simple majority; further, the U.N. can not be a puppet for any one country
and votes should not be able to be bought or coerced)
- to make a clear statement that the power of "United Nations" (and "We the
People") is greater than the power of any one Nation (and any one
government, including the United States)
- to make a clear statement that the world has significant concerns with
U.S. foreign policy, and reformation of the United Nations and U.S. foreign
policy is in the U.S. and world's best interests
- to raise world awareness that we are at a major crossroads: one path leads
to global systems breakdown (resource depletion, violence, dieoff); the
other path can build "A World Fit For Our Children"

A vote for a strengthened and reformed United Nations is a vote for peace and security for ourselves, all peoples of the world and future generations.  Please pass it on.

Bob Stewart

"The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of
those who look at it without doing anything."


The Crisis of Relevance at the UN By Dr. W. Andy Knight

Rumours of UN death exaggerated by Shashi Tharoor is under-secretary general for communications
and public information at the UN.  Not irrelevant - "the 'i' word is 'indispensable'"

The real function of the United Nations from Robert Muller.  "I'm so honored to be alive at such a
miraculous time in history. I'm so moved by what's going on in our world today."

Uniting For Peace Resolution: A Way Around Security Council Impasse .  Uniting for Peace is a legitimate UN mechanism adopted in 1950. It provides that if, because of the lack of unanimity of the permanent members of the
Security Council, the Council cannot maintain international peace where there is a "threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression," the General Assembly "shall consider the matter immediately.."  

How Kofi Annan Can Stop the War by Paul F. deLespinasse .  Wouldn't it be wonderful if today's tragic world conditions provided the opening for a great leap forward in our world institutions! If he seizes the opportunity fate has given him, Kofi Annan may well go down in history as a "Machiavelli for peace," one of the greatest people of the twenty first century.

Rotary International, Lions and other key NGOs to support peace education and the UN Culture of Peace Program