Sunday, June 3, 2012

Proposals On World Philanthropy

Ideas and Dreams For A Better World
(IDEAS 1101 TO 1200)


Robert Muller's speech
to the second 
World Congress on Philanthropy
in Miami, December 1991

After the laudatory introduction I have just received I would only like to add that I am in reality a very simple, down-to-earth, human being from the province of Alsace-Lorraine in France where my father was once a German soldier in World War I and then a French soldier in World War II and my grandparents had five successive nationalities without leaving their village!  I myself was in the French underground and my cousins were French or German soldiers in World War II.  We could have killed each other in different uniforms.  I saw the most incredible horrors between the French and the Germans, and when the war was over I decided to devote my life to peace.  I joined the United Nations where I spent all my adult life.  At retirement I was appointed one-dollar-a-year Chancellor of the first University for Peace created by the United Nations in demilitarized Costa Rica, where I continue to pursue my work.  It is basically what I saw in my youth which supports my efforts.

Since there are many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) represented in our congress, I would like to make these preliminary remarks:

Point No. 1: there is increased recognition of NGOs and grass-roots movements as channels and recipients of philanthropic aid.  Several speakers recognized and recommended it at the 1989 Rockefeller Conference on Philanthropy in the Twenty-first Century.  Speaking about what American philanthropy should do, Peter Goldmark, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, said in his concluding speech: "We should be supporting partner organizations in other countries – especially NGOs and new transnational groups working at the grass roots – that are willing to work toward balanced global development.  A specific challenge: we need a collaborative to help seed the birth and growth of more foundation-like organizations around the globe, especially in the third world..."

He further said: "If for the first time we live in a period when there are a handful of paramount survival issues, then for the first time it is not enough for philanthropy to address worthwhile subjects.  Philanthropy must be challenged to address the indispensable subjects."  Well, NGOs are by far the most vocal advocates of indispensable survival projects.

Also, an article on US philanthropy in this month's magazine Town and Country underlines that several large US foundations have hired peoples movements activists of the 1960s in key positions of their staffs.  The issues heralded by the young people of those years, such as peace, world cooperation, the environment, simple and frugal life are now recognized as priority issues.  My only regret is that there is no youth movement of the 1990s which would similarly tell the adults how they see the future and the problems which are awaiting us in the next twenty to thirty years.

Point No. 2: my second point is that NGOs are becoming increasingly a major factor of world governance.  This is an important point at the time when the Prime Minister of Sweden is calling for a commission of Eminent Personalities, including heads of states, to look into the way this planet is being governed and to propose fundamental reforms.  There are close to 20,000 NGOs* in the world today compared with less than a thousand at the beginning of the century.  During the League of Nations the majority of them were European-based.  Now many of them are US-based.  Many more are needed in other regions.  They are becoming part of the brain, the heart, the nervous system and the actions of the world community.  Their role in the United Nations and its agencies is ceaselessly growing.

In the light of the above, I would like to recommend:

Recommendation No. 1: every NGO represented here should make sure that it is registered with the Union of International Associations which helps the United Nations to keep track of this important world social phenomenon.  The address is: 40 Rue Washington, Brussels 1050, Belgium.

Recommendation No. 2: that NGOs request NGO links and accreditation with all world, international and regional organizations.  I was glad to hear that the Arab League will create an NGO office in its Secretariat.  NGOs should closely follow the work of each of the 32 specialized agencies and world programs of the UN and of each of its regional economic and social commissions.

Recommendation No. 3: many more NGOs need to be created in the most populated and neediest parts of the world in order to create a more balanced and democratic peoples' voice in world governance.

Recommendation No. 4: all international NGOs should have a volunteer or a person representing them at the United Nations in New York and/or Geneva.  For information about ways and procedures to be accredited with the UN as an NGO, write to the Secretary-General of the UN, NGO Unit, United Nations, New York, NY 10017.

Recommendation No. 5: if possible, NGOs should participate in the yearly NGO conference organized by the UN Department of Public Information in New York and in Geneva.  This year there were 1,000 participants.

Recommendation No. 6: the NGOs could ask that philanthropy and the NGOs should be placed on the agenda of one of these yearly conferences.  Write to the head of the Department of Public Information of the UN, Room S-1027 A, UN New York, NY 10017.

Recommendation No. 7: the NGOs should be represented at all major world conferences convened by the UN and participate in the International Years proclaimed by the UN.  They should also do something on the International Days proclaimed by the UN (information obtainable from the same department).

Here are my recommendations concerning more properly the subject of world philanthropy.

According to UNESCO only 15% of philanthropy is international, and most of it is bilateral.  As a result, when the world and humanity are in greatest need, they are the orphans of philanthropy.  At the 1989 Rockefeller conference on philanthropy in the 21st century, David Rockefeller said that this was an opportune time for international philanthropy.  Peter Goldmark, in his final recommendations had this to say: "Every major foundation should have an international dimension to its program.  In a period of planetary environmental danger, global communications, intercontinental missiles, a world economy, and an international marketplace of ideas and arts and political trends, there is simply no excuse not to."

*28,000 in 1997
At the same conference, the Bernard van Leer Foundation of the Netherlands pointed out that in 1981 several American and European foundation leaders considered but then rejected a proposal that 5% of their income be earmarked for the poor countries.

Recommendation No. 8: this conference should support the recommendation of Peter Goldmark and ask for a substantial increase in the percentage of philanthropy going to poor countries.

Recommendation No. 9: the NGOs should obtain that the national statistical offices of their countries and the statistical offices of the UN and of the specialized agencies and world programs of the UN publish statistics on national and international philanthropy.

As an outsider to world philanthropy, having attended only two conferences and read a few writings on the subject, I have the impression that there is a need for a basic rethinking of philanthropy in our global age.  It should be holistic, all-encompassing, not only monetary.  It should include voluntary services and the contributions of individuals and organizations all around the world, i.e. the contributions of all those who love humanity.  Phil anthropos is a Greek word which means to love humans.  Such a broader concept of philanthropy in our days should be holistic in several respects:

holistic in contributions:
not only contributions in money, but also
of services
of land and premises
of retirement*
of art
holistic in destination:
philanthropy to the world (e.g. through world organizations)
philanthropy to regional organizations
philanthropy to national causes
philanthropy to transnational causes
philanthropy to provincial causes
philanthropy to local causes
philanthropy to individuals

holistic in origin:
from world organizations
from multinational associations and corporations
from nations
from national associations and corporations
from families
from individuals

Recommendation No. 10: there may be need in our global age to give thought to a broader, encompassing, holistic concept of philanthropy, encompassing the entire globe, from the local to the global, from the individual to humanity, and including other loves for humanity than merely through monetary contributions.

*For instance, the offering to the United Nations of my retirement years could well be considered as philanthropic.  The Social Commission of the United Nations has recently recognized this and has asked the Secretary-General to create a Volunteer Service of retired UN officials.

Over my forty years in the United Nations I have observed that from 1945 to about 1970 the whole work of the United Nations was geared to humanism: avoid wars, save the children, improve health world-wide, increase longevity, provide better standards of life through economic development, etc.  From 1970 to the 1980s, the two major concerns became humanity and the environment.  And since the 1980s, the survival and care of our planet have moved to the forefront, so that today the UN can be said to be geared to the Earth and to humanity.  This had an effect on philanthropy, since a growing part of it goes now to the environment and the care of the Earth.  This of course is of primary benefit to humanity, but I would like to propose that a special branch of philanthropy should be called Gaiaphily, or the love of the Earth (from the Greek goddess Gaia, the Earth, from which were derived the words geology, geometry, geography, etc.)  Hence:

Recommendation No. 11: a special branch of philanthropy should be called gaiaphily, or love for the Earth, for nature, for the environment, for the basic elements and functioning of our planet.

Carrying the above a step further I wonder if the time has not come to envisage the development of a true science of philanthropy, which would study philanthropy from the manifold aspects of which only a few were outlined above.

Recommendation No. 12: consideration should be given to establishing philanthropy as a new science which would study its manifold aspects world-wide, in all cultures and societies.

The creation of the first University for Peace on Earth by the United Nations in Costa Rica has led to the discovery that humanity had never developed a true science of peace.  This is now being elaborated in that University.  Hence a further recommendation:

Recommendation No. 13: consideration should be given to the creation of a University of philanthropy, a fact which would inspire other universities in the world to create courses in philanthropy.  Some universities might consider establishing a Mastership program in philanthropy. *

*Since the congress, in a conversation with the President, C. W. Lees III, the idea came up of creating such a University in the Hudson Valley where John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie rest in peace.

A participant in the congress suggested that philanthropy should be taught in schools.  I wholeheartedly agree with her.  What has happened with the creation of the University for Peace could happen too in the case of philanthropy: a University of Philanthropy would soon be asked to develop curricula for the teaching of philanthropy in all schools, the same way as we do in the field of peace education.  Hence:

Recommendation No. 14: philanthropy, love for humanity, should be taught in all schools of the world.  A University of Philanthropy would be asked to develop curricula for philanthropy education at all levels of education.

My long experience in the United Nations, coping with one new global problem after the other during the last forty years, leads me to recommend that consideration be given to the establishment of a world organization of philanthropy.  I have recommended to UNESCO to convene a world conference on philanthropy which would consider the creation of proper global institutional arrangements.  The world congress of philanthropy could be that conference.

Many kinds of institutional arrangements could be considered.  For example there is an International Chamber of Commerce.  There could well be a World Chamber of Philanthropy with an adequate secretarial which would study and publish information on many aspects of world philanthropy such as legal regimes, tax exemption, etc.  Hence:

Recommendation No. 15: at its third session, the world congress of philanthropy should consider proposals for the establishment of proper institutional arrangements of a permanent character for world philanthropy.

During the last decades a new form of dealing with new global problems and avenues has appeared with considerable success: the convening of World Commissions of Eminent Personalities, including heads of states or governments.  Thus we had the Commission of Eminent Personalities headed by Willy Brandt on North-South Relations, the Commission headed by Olof Palme on disarmament, and the Commission headed by Mrs. Brundtland on the environment and development.  The next one under the Swedish Initiative called by the Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr. Ingvar Carlson, will deal with world governance.  Why not consider the convening of a Commission of Eminent Personalities to review world-wide the question of philanthropy?  Hence:

Recommendation No. 16: a Commission of Eminent Personalities could convene to review the state of world philanthropy and to issue a major report on the subject.

Representing the University for Peace at the first meeting of the Ministers of Culture of Central America in December 1990, I learned that these countries are poorly equipped to effectively seek and obtain funds from foreign sources for the preservation of a cultural past which is of interest to all humanity.  I suggested therefore the creation of a Central American Foundation which would be equipped with the information, experience, expertise and proper personnel to obtain philanthropic aid locally, regionally and from foreign sources.  Hence:

Recommendation No. 17: consideration should be given to the ability of poor countries to obtain philanthropic aid from abroad and to establish proper regional arrangements to facilitate such aid.

The Rockefeller conference held on the occasion of John K. Rockefeller's 150th anniversary, dealing with the subject of philanthropy in the twenty-first century was extremely useful.  On the basis of its findings, I would recommend:

Recommendation No. 18: that the next world congress of philanthropy examine these findings and further elaborate a strategy for world philanthropy to the year 2000 and into the 21st century.

Having coordinated the work of the UN and of its 32 specialized agencies and world programs for several years, I know the wealth of world knowledge on global issues which is available in the UN system.  All too often the early warnings of the UN, e.g. the population explosion, the environmental crisis, the energy crisis, the food crisis, the climatic changes were not heard in time and the situation got increasingly worse.  I strongly recommend that all foundations tap into this information in order to help stave off new dangers and contribute to a better world.  Hence:

Recommendation No. 19: a World Foundations Council or Office should be established in proximity of the UN, from which all member foundations would receive information on United Nations thinking, diagnoses and felt needs for a better world.  Perhaps the Ford Foundation which is located next to the UN could be the seat of such a Council or Office.

I would even go further and draw your attention that each year the Secretary-General of the UN and the heads of the 32 specialized agencies and world programs meet in Geneva and in New York in a remarkable world cabinet meeting where the world and human situation is reviewed in its entirety, priorities of action devised and future outlooks assessed.  The UN would have a lot to say to respond to the preoccupation of Peter Goldmark with new global problems.  Hence:

Recommendation No. 20: I recommend that consideration be given to a meeting being organized following the two yearly coordination meetings of the Secretary-General with the heads of all UN agencies, with heads of major foundations to hear the views of the leading world servants on global priorities as assessed by the United Nations system.  Such meetings would help the foundations in devising their priorities and strategy.

One form of philanthropy is the awarding of prizes to meritorious individuals or institutions.  Such prizes are given in innumerable fields and are a great leverage of human progress.  But it will surprise you that it is almost impossible to find either national or world information on existing prizes.  I have tried to obtain it in the field of peace.  It simply does not exist.  Not even the Nobel Prize Committee possesses such information.  If world philanthropy were well organized such information would be gathered and brought to the attention of the public, preferably in paperbacks for mass distribution.  At the University for Peace we have begun to collect information on peace prizes in the world, and UNESCO has started to establish a data base on prizes in its fields or concern.  Hence, a further recommendation:

Recommendation No. 21: philanthropy being a great incentive, adjuvant and leverage of human progress, attention must be given to proper information to the public on awards, prizes and financial help available from philanthropic institutions, on ways and procedures to apply, etc.  This seems to be an unexplored, utterly disorganized area of philanthropy.

There is another subject which I would call "inspirational philanthropy".  Nowadays all too many people are depressed, hopeless, giving up their creative energy.  Philanthropy could be more directed to inspiring people and institutions not to give up hope.  For example at the University for Peace we have on the campus busts of some of the great peacemakers and philosophers of history: Thomas Payne, Tolstoy, Gandhi, Teilhard de Chardin, the Presidents of Costa Rica who contributed most to peace, foremost among them Jose Figueres who had the courage to demilitarize the country in 1949, making it a model of peace and prosperity in Central America, now being followed by other countries.  Not only students, but innumerable visitors, including heads of states are inspired by our great peace monument, devoted to known and unknown peacemakers in the world.  One President of a Central American country pledged on the inspiring hills of the University to make peace in his country, and he did.  Hence:

Recommendation No. 22:  philanthropy does not require huge moneys.  Art often constitutes a free or modestly remunerated form of inspirational philanthropy which can have vast multiplier effects, especially in our time when the world needs above all visions, enthusiasm and dreams for a better future.

The Birth of a True Global Philanthropy
Finally, there is one new subject coming to the fore, namely the birth of a true global philanthropy, the fact that the new world organizations are becoming increasingly the recipients, the channels and providers of world philanthropy.  Here are briefly a few aspects of this new phenomenon:

1.  the lands of the UN in New York and in Geneva, and their libraries were donated by private philanthropists.  So was the huge land and primeval forest of the University for Peace in Costa Rica.  Innumerable works of art have also been donated to the UN and to its agencies.  The instruments of Eve Curie, the inventor of X-rays, were donated by her family to the World Health Organization.  Many movie actors and singers are donating their talents to UNICEF, the Refugee Organization, the University for Peace, etc.

2.  substantial monetary donations have been made by various individuals, foundations and corporations to the UN system's efforts and activities in the fields of population, the environment, development, drug abuse, children, women, the handicapped, etc.  The Sasakawa Foundation in Japan is making average donations of 2 to 3 million dollars a year to the UN system. (see footnote on next page)

3.  a sizable group of individuals interested in the promotion of peace has financed through individual donations a modern and powerful International Radio for Peace short-wave station at the University for Peace.

4.  an increasing number of world prizes are being established by philanthropists with the UN system as their base: scientific, cultural and education* with UNESCO, a World Environment Prize with the UN Environment Program, a World Disaster Prevention Prize with the Office of the UN Disaster Relief Coordination, medical prizes with the World Health Organization, etc.  The Sasakawa Foundation by means of such prizes established with the UN system gives the international organization the task of selecting the most meritorious individuals in the world in their fields.

5.  the UN, its agencies and its officers are often the recipients of world prizes.  Thus no less than 18 Nobel Prizes have been given to individuals and organizations of the UN system.

6.  the UN and its agencies are often used as the place where major world prizes or philanthropic projects are being announced and awarded.  This gives particular solemnity and visibility to such events.

7.  member governments often request that voluntary, philanthropic financing be granted to a host of UN and specialized activities for which the Secretary-General is asked to establish individual trust funds.  This applies also to International Years of the Handicapped, for Children and to UN celebrations and anniversaries.  They should be known to individual philanthropists and foundations.

8.  some UN agencies have been allowed by governments to give grants or financial help to NGOs.  This is the case of UNESCO and of UNICEF, but the UN and most agencies are unauthorized.

9.  I take pride for having proposed the first world foundation, namely the Banyan Foundation for the elderly, approved by the UN General Assembly, located in Paris.  It provides in particular the great pharmaceutical firms the opportunity to strengthen the United Nation's work in a field of growing concern.  It could be the model for the creation of similar world foundations in a number of fields of growing global concern.

10. I have also made the proposal and designed the structure for a true World Foundation under UN auspices.  In order to promote the idea I have included it in a recently published novel, First Lady of the World, unfolding at the United Nations and at the University for Peace.  When the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces were awarded

*e.g. the Sasakawa UNESCO Yearly Peace Education Prize which I received in 1986 for my World Core Curriculum and Robert Muller Schools.

the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988, the Secretary-General regretted that there was no UN or World Foundation into which he would have deposited the funds.

11. at the end of his mandate, Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, in recognition of the services rendered to him by the University for Peace to exercise his private diplomacy in Central America, announced to the General Assembly the creation of a major foundation, "The Secretary-General's Fund for Peace", administered by the UN Development Program, with a target capital of 250 million dollars.  The interests of the Fund would help finance the University for Peace and the private mediation of other activities of the Secretary-General favor of peace.  The text of this Fund was circulated to the General Assembly together with document A/46/580 on the Tenth Anniversary of the University for Peace.  This major decision by one of the great peacemakers of recent times offers golden opportunities to philanthropists to show their appreciation and to strengthen the work of the United Nations in the field of peace.

Recommendation No. 23:  as we move to the 21st century and third millennium in a global world, important consideration should be given to the potentialities, growth and development of a true, efficient, productive global philanthropy.  The subject should be taken up by a forthcoming world congress on philanthropy.  Several studies should be undertaken and published on current trends as exemplified above.

Recommendation No. 24;  Consideration should be given by the United Nations to open to foundations the yearly pledging conferences organized by the General Assembly for the announcement by governments of their voluntary contributions to a large number of UN activities, agencies and trust funds, or to organize separate pledging conferences addressed to philanthropy and foundations.

To all of you present here at this Congress, may I say that you are a wonderful group of people, the image of new humans of the 21st century.  You are doing good, you are trying to redress injustices and inequities, you are trying to help build a better world in many fields and in many ways.  I have met several of you in fields such as blindness prevention, the handicapped, drug addiction, women's rights, the environment, etc.  Personal happiness for a job well done will be your recompense.  Please never give up, never despair, never become hopeless and negative.  Do not make your efforts dependent on immediate, visible results.  Many will come to fruition only after our death.

There is an enormous need for love, for heart, for vision, for inspiration, for ideas, for creativity, for self-esteem, for altruism, for validation of the people.  We must be co-creators, true models of the new cosmic leaders needed for the wonderful global journey of this beautiful planet and its genial human race in the vast, star-studded universe.  If we decide so, we can make this planet a true paradise in the universe.

Update 1998:
Ted Turner's creation of a United Nations Foundation with funding of a billion dollars for UN primary needs over a period of five years, is a wonderful step ahead.  So is the decision of the UN Secretary General to create a United Nations International Partnership Trust Fund (UNFIP) open to philanthropy (why not call it UNiphily?) from all around the world.  May these actions lead to the birth, at long last, of a well-conceived and well-structured global philanthropy and gaiaphily.

No comments: