Time to Unite and Prosper: 75th Anniversaries of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the World Citizenship Movement

Time to Unite and Prosper: 75th Anniversaries of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the World Citizenship Movement

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the World Citizenship Movement (WCM).

As a response to the devastation of World War II, the drafters of the UDHR sought to ensure that human rights would be protected by the rule of law. The Declaration provides a statement of our civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights.

The WCM links our universal rights to our identity as citizens of the world. Former WWII bomber pilot Garry Davis gave up his US citizenship in favor of world citizenship, launching the World Citizenship Movement in 1948 to promote peace and human unity.

The UDHR and the WCM offer a framework of universal rights and universal identity to achieve the peaceful and governed world envisioned in 1948 by both the drafters of the UDHR and World Citizen Garry Davis.

Although we have enumerated our rights over the past 75 years, we have not yet fully implemented them. To paraphrase Rousseau from The Social Contract, humans are born free, but everywhere we are in chains. We have empowered a governing system — the nation-state — that because it is partial, can never fully affirm our rights and duties. The nation-state system where states maintain absolute sovereignty enslaves us to corporate interests and national security at the expense of human needs and world security.

As we celebrate how far humanity has come in the past seventy-five years, and simultaneously recognize the many existential challenges we currently face — war, climate destruction, injustice – let’s consider what kind of world we want for humanity in 2098, seventy-five years from now on the cusp of the 22nd Century.

Over the next 75 years, we must build a human rights institutional architecture that affirms our universal rights. That framework must be built on the global rule of law, world law that applies to everyone, everywhere. We must recognize the importance of seeing ourselves as world citizens and must legalize this status.

To achieve the peaceful and just world that the drafters of the UDHR and the advocates of the World Citizenship Movement envisioned, we must build the law, citizenship and governing structures at the world level that will help humans live together peacefully with each other and sustainably with the earth based on the principles of universal rights and universal citizenship.

How do we arrive at 2098, 75 years from now, having built a peaceful, just, sustainable, and united world?

  • The UDHR must become a universal bill of human rights incorporated into a world constitution legally binding on everyone, everywhere. This would ensure that all governments, ranging from local town councils and nation-states to the world federal government would place rights above self-interest and the force of law above the law of force.
  • World citizenship must become a recognized legal status for everyone, everywhere. This would mean that no one would be stateless anymore. Everyone would be able to exercise all rights no matter where they are or where they go throughout the world.
  • We, humanity, must create a World Parliament to participate in governing the world as one united planet. This would put the rights of individuals above the power of states.
  • A World Court of Universal Rights must be established where individuals and groups could seek redress when local judicial systems fail them. A global judicial system with subsidiary regional courts would provide venues for people to resolve conflicts peacefully.
  • To secure our peacebuilding efforts, we must outlaw war and weapons manufacturing. We must use resources sustainably for peaceful means. Because war and its preparation are the biggest wasters of resources, we need to develop peace and indigenous-based economies that will protect the Earth and ensure humanity’s survival.

Ultimately, we must fulfill human needs, affirm rights, resolve conflict, and protect the environment. We must build an ethical identity and governing system that allows us to accomplish these human and planetary requirements and manage our human and environmental interactions equitably and peacefully.

In 1948, the UDHR and the World Citizenship Movement provided a vision of a united world as an alternative to absolute national sovereignty that perpetuates war and continues to fracture humanity. The UDHR and world citizenship together provide the ethical framework we need to have a thriving Earth community in 2098.

By fully implementing the Declaration of Human Rights and world citizenship, in 75 years from now, we will have transcended the “Divide and Conquer” approach in favor of a “Unite and Prosper” paradigm.

UN Reform: Three Paths Forward

UN Reform: Three Paths Forward

It seems each day provides us a fresh reason for pessimism. A new demonstration of the fraying social contract, especially at the international level. The pillars upon which the international order was built seem to be rapidly deteriorating—from territorial integrity to the laws of war to the breaking of promises—and we find ourselves asking: what is to be done? There is no need to provide a comprehensive summary here of the risks we face; compelling diagnoses exist of what ails the world and there is no shortage of sensible prescriptions. The UN Secretary General’s Our Common Agenda is a good recent example as are many other reports and analyses with a narrower focus, touching upon issues of climate and the environment, security, poverty and inequality, financial sector vulnerabilities, and other such risk factors.

There is also growing acceptance of the view that these problems are generally global in nature; they are transnational. Solutions to them can best be framed in a context of much stronger international cooperation. It is for this reason that the debate about actions to confront them often ends up with a focus on the system of multilateral institutions that emerged out of the ashes of World War II. 

UN Reform a nonstarter?

One aspect of this debate is whether, against the current geopolitical background, it would even be prudent to talk about reforms to our global governance architecture. With the “abysmal political climate for international cooperation, with deep rifts and mistrust” some argue that “reform is a nonstarter,” that it is Alice in Wonderland to “discuss reforming the UN while ignoring the brutal contemporary political realities.”

Implicit in this position is the notion that time is on our side, that we can afford to wait for the ‘right’ geopolitical moment. And, until the stars align again, our task lies in making minor adjustments. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the General Assembly in 2003 “we have reached a fork in the road.” This thought has been repeated countless times by other Secretaries-General, by well-meaning heads of state and, it is assumed, will continue to be repeated through 2045, the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Charter.

But insights coming from systems science about the breaching of planetary boundaries—to take just one example—demonstrate that time is not on our side, that we have a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to address and hopefully mitigate the worst effects of the coming environmental calamities. Or, likewise, to reduce the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons in one of the many unresolved conflicts bubbling around the world. What, then, is to be done?                          

Three viable paths

There seem to be three viable paths, which can be pursued concurrently. The first path is to recommit ourselves to the system we have. There are tremendous benefits to this—most notably that it would be a return to consensus. At this moment of great crisis, there is a legitimate case to be made that the safest route is the surest route—at least in the short term. However, that is also a limiting prospect and runs the risk of determining that the best we can do is to continue doing what we have already done. Perhaps more importantly, if we are conscious that the system as it stands is increasingly insufficient, by choosing only this path we are in a way admitting defeat at the outset. 

The second course of action is to take the model we have and innovate. This is the course of action offered through the upcoming Summit of the Future and its attendant proposals including a New

Agenda for Peace, proposals for financial architecture reform, and even Article 109. There is significant merit in this course of action, as well: it offers an opportunity for questioning the structures we have without undoing the progress they have made. In other words, it allows for organic growth. Yet, there are risks here, too—in that we could end up investing significant time and energy to perpetuate a system ill-suited to our interconnected reality; or that we achieve only marginal progress, or, worse still, the process results in greater political fragmentation and mistrust.

The third course of action is a deeper exploration into the persistent challenges underlying our current systems and a search for new solutions. Essentially, questioning underlying assumptions and finding new answers. This course of action excites us most—in large part because we do not believe that the current frameworks are sufficient for the world of today, let alone tomorrow. In other words, when we imagine a century ahead, we just can’t picture a global governance system where Member States are expected, even required, to prioritize their domestic concerns when discussing international matters. We can’t imagine that a successful governance system would continue to prioritize a profit motive, a power motive, over the wellbeing of citizens and nature. Yet the system we have (even if modified as in option two) does just this. We will also be the first to admit that this may not be the most politically realistic course for today, but it will one day be the path we must choose. Why not begin it now given its far-reaching implications?

We do not need to choose merely one of these three options.  We are at a moment where many opportunities open before us. The international order is struggling under the weight of the crises we face—both new and old. Let us use this consensus as a starting point to commit to what we have, to see what meaningful change can come from the processes in progress, and to rethink the current order from our starting assumptions. In essence, a little bit of each viable path is the ultimate expression of the precautionary principle for global governance.

Overcoming paralysis

One problem with concluding that the current political impasses make UN reform a nonstarter is that it leads to paralysis. It results in proposals that are the intellectual equivalent of rearranging the deckchairs as the ship is sinking. We are not suggesting ignoring the political realities of this moment but trying to see what the future holds. One day, we will need to move beyond traditional paradigms, beyond “reinforcing the crumbling foundations” of the current system. Humanity will need to articulate a new architecture, better suited to the needs of a rapidly changing humanity. 

Importantly, it is not only governments who can advance this conversation—in fact this might be a key to overcoming some of the seemingly intractable obstacles to reform. As was noted in A Second Charter: Imagining a Renewed United Nations, numerous global governance innovations over the past quarter century were not initiated by governments. They started with civil society organizations: the Land Mines Treaty, the creation of the International Criminal Court, and the adoption of the Treaty on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, to cite some recent examples. At a later stage, many governments adopted them. This is the “new diplomacy” in action.

At the end of World War II, and because of the destruction created by that conflagration, humanity had an opportunity to imagine something better suited to the needs of, in particular, the European continent. If in 1945 one had ventured to suggest that within a generation Europe would be advancing a project of economic and political integration, that by the late 1970s there would be direct elections for members of an increasingly influential European Parliament, and that by end of the century the broad parameters of monetary policy would be set by a European Central Bank based in Germany managing a single currency, one might have been accused of “Wonderland thinking”. And yet, it was the very political turmoil of that moment which allowed for this evolution to take place.

Today, we cannot afford to wait for what is called a “San Francisco” moment. Recall how that gathering came only after a global catastrophe prompted humanity to dare to think differently and engage in a reform process. Yet, today’s generation is carrying the legacy of the imperfections bequeathed to it. Let us not wait for another catastrophe before we engage in meaningful reform processes. In addition to recommitting to promises made, in addition to technical modifications, let us take that leap of imagination necessary to prevent future global catastrophes. Who knows, perhaps in a few decades, like the European case, future generations will be amazed at what we were able to achieve.

This article was originally published in Global Governance Forum’s blog.

Image Source: Palácio do Planalto from Brasilia, BrasilCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis’ “Laudate Deum” (2023)

Pope Francis’ “Laudate Deum” (2023)

Pope Francis released this apostolic exhortation “to all people of good will on the climate crisis” on October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.  Its Latin title refers to the message of St. Francis to “praise God for all of God’s creatures.” (#1)  This letter to the world is an addendum to his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si” (“Praise Be,” the beginning words of a canticle by St. Francis).  That encyclical is known as “On Care for Our Common Home.” 

Pope Francis decided to write Laudate Deum because “climate change is one of the principal challenges facing society and the global community” (#3) but he is gravely disappointed that “our responses have not been adequate.” (#2)  The acceleration of global warming is evident now.  “Despite all attempts to deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue, the signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident.” (#5) 

According to Pope Francis, “it is no longer possible to doubt the human–‘anthropic’–origin of climate change.” (#11)  He says that it is a fact that the average global temperature has risen dramatically with the increase use of fossil fuels.  The consequence is the melting of glaciers and the polar regions, the acidification of the oceans, and the rising of sea level.  He concludes that “the change in average surface temperatures cannot be explained except as the result of the increase of greenhouse gases.” (#14)  He believes that some effects of the climate crisis are already irreversible.

What has gotten us to this point?  Pope Francis argues that a growing technocratic paradigm that exploits nature because of unbridled power and economic ambition is the underlying issue.  Humans have forgotten that we are part of nature and that how we interact with the rest of nature affects our future.  Therefore, “we need to rethink among other things the question of human power, its meaning and its limits.” (#28)  We need to reassess an economic mentality about maximum gain at minimal cost because such an attitude has serious consequences about care of our common home and care for the poor and needy.

The 2015 Paris Agreement has ambitious goals that are not currently being met.  Pope Francis hopes that the next climate conference will lead to the “necessary transition towards clean energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and the abandonment of fossil fuels.” (#55)

Pope Francis also addresses the weakness of international politics.  Individual nations acting alone cannot solve the climate crisis or any of our other global problems.  He says that we need multilateral agreements based on the principle of subsidiarity.  Solving global problems requires “establishing global and effective rules” (#42) and “increased ‘democratization’ in the global context.” (#43)

The reason why humanity has been unable to solve major global problems is because of our current international system of sovereign nation-states.  International law is a system of non-binding treaties.  No nation is required to become a party to any international treaty.  National governments that enter into treaties can withdraw from them or ignore them based on their perceived national interest. 

In Laudato Si, Pope Francis agreed with several previous popes that “there is urgent need of a true world political authority.” (#175)  Many Catholic leaders have been arguing that outlawing war and genocide as well as solving global problems such as climate change will require a truly effective democratic world public authority that can create and enforce world laws and prosecute individuals who violate them.  Until such a system is created, Pope Francis says that it is imperative that national governments become parties to effective environmental treaties and that they keep their treaty obligations.    

With this letter to the global community, Pope Francis continues his warning about the existential crisis caused by climate change.  He emphasizes the physical and spiritual dimensions of this crisis.  This letter needs to be studied by members of the world community because it concerns the future of our common home. 

Image credit: Dcpeopleandeventsof2017CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Time to Abandon International Anarchy

Time to Abandon International Anarchy

In December 1934, Arthur Henderson, a leader of the British Labour Party, declared in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize that the immense human suffering caused by World War I “led to the very clear realization that international anarchy must be abandoned if civilization was to survive.”

Unfortunately, that realization did not go very far or very deep.  Although, since that time, international law has been refined, nations remain far from adhering to its provisions or accepting its enforcement by the United Nations.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict

The lengthy, bloody conflict between the Israelis and their Arab neighbors provides a dramatic illustration of this point. 

On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted a plan to replace the British Mandate in Palestine with a partition of that land between a Jewish state and a Palestinian state.  The UN decision was fiercely resented by the surrounding Arab nations, which launched a war against the new Jewish state, Israel—a war from which Israel emerged victorious in 1948.

This victory did not end the violence, however, or the violations of international law.  Having fled abroad from the fighting in 1948, over 700,000 Palestinians, in contravention of international law, were denied the right to return to their homes in Israel.  Egypt, which, in 1956, had agreed under UN pressure to the demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula, expelled UN observers in 1967, massed its troops on Israel’s border, and together with Jordan, readied itself to invade Israel.  In turn, Israel launched devastating attacks on Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi military forces.  Victorious in this Six-Day War, Israel gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. 

Over the ensuing decades, numerous violent clashes followed, with Israel, now the dominant military power in the region, defeating Arab and Palestinian resistance.  Meanwhile, Israel defied international law by continuing to occupy the territory conquered in 1967, colonizing it with Jewish settlements, and violating the human rights of its Palestinian residents.  For their part, Hamas terrorists, dedicated to unremitting war against Israel, committed horrendous war crimes against noncombatants in clear violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.  When the Israeli government deprived Gaza’s civilian population of food, water, and other essentials of survival, it, too, defied international law.

The Russia-Ukraine War

The Russian invasion of Ukraine provides another clear example of flouting international law.  Article 2, Section 4 of the UN Charter prohibits the “use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”  Ukraine had been an independent, sovereign nation since 1991, when the Soviet Union authorized a referendum on whether it wanted to become part of the new Russian Federation or to become independent.  In the balloting, 90 percent voted for independence, which was formally accepted.  Three years later, in the Budapest Memorandum, the Russian government pledged to “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and to “refrain from the threat or use of force” against that nation.

Nevertheless, in 2014 the Putin regime drew upon Russian military power to seize and annex Crimea in southern Ukraine and to arm pro-Russian separatists and unleash its own thinly-disguised military forces in eastern Ukraine.  In February 2022, the Russian government, determined to seize full control of Ukraine, launched a massive military invasion.  Although fierce resistance by the Ukrainians prevented a complete Russian takeover, that September Putin announced the annexation of four additional regions of Ukraine, declaring that Russia would never surrender them.

Most of the world’s nations assailed this behavior as a flagrant violation of international law.  In March 2014, after a Russian veto blocked a UN Security Council rebuke, the UN General Assembly voted by an overwhelming margin to condemn the Russian action that year.  In March 2022, amid a new Russian veto of UN Security Council action, the UN General Assembly roundly condemned the full-scale Russian invasion by a vote of 141 to 5 (with 35 abstentions), while the International Court of Justice, the world’s highest judicial authority, voted by 13 to 2 (with Russia’s judge casting one of the negative votes) that Russia should “immediately suspend” its invasion.  That October, the UN General Assembly, by a vote of 143 nations to 5 (with 35 abstentions), called on all nations to refuse recognition of Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of Ukrainian territory.

The Renewed Nuclear Arms Race

Perhaps the most chilling manifestation of international anarchy is the renewed nuclear arms race.  Recognizing the potential for worldwide destruction in a nuclear war and pressed for action by an uneasy public, the nations of the world did, eventually, sign nuclear arms control treaties.  Among these agreements was the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968, in which non-nuclear nations pledged to forgo building nuclear weapons, while the nuclear nations agreed to divest themselves of their nuclear arsenals.  Nevertheless, in recent decades, additional nations have become nuclear powers, while existing nuclear powers have scrapped previous nuclear disarmament agreements.  Symptomatically, the nuclear powers oppose the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which became international law in 2021.

Indeed, all the nuclear nations are currently engaged in nuclear weapons buildups―planning and developing new, more efficient weapons of mass destruction.  Some government officials, among them Vladimir Putin, publicly threaten to launch nuclear war against nations opposing their international policies.

The planet faces a perilous future, indeed, particularly when one considers that, as of early 2023, it was undergoing the largest number of violent conflicts since World War II.

Global Governance

Against this backdrop, it’s tempting to conclude that, thanks to the apparently ungovernable nature of the world, the annihilation of civilization is inevitable.  But is the world ungovernable―or merely lacking an effective government?

Given the fact that the United Nations was created to guarantee international security, a logical solution to the problem of effective governance is to strengthen the ability of the world organization to enforce international law.  By curbing international anarchy, this action would prevent marauding nations and armed bands alike from indulging their worst impulses.  It would also significantly enhance the prospects for peace, justice, and human survival.

Image Credits:
Håkan Dahlström from Malmö, SwedenCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

World Peace and Security Require a Stronger United Nations

World Peace and Security Require a Stronger United Nations

Addressing the UN Security Council on September 20, 2023, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a heartfelt plea “to update the existing security architecture in the world, in particular, to restore the real power of the UN Charter.”

This call for strengthening international security under the aegis of the United Nations makes sense not only for Ukraine―a country suffering from brutal military invasion, occupation, and annexation by its much larger, more powerful neighbor, the Russian Federation―but for the nations of the world.

The Rise of the United Nations

For thousands of years, competing territories, nations, and empires have spilled rivers of blood and laid waste to much of the world through wars and plunder.  Hundreds of millions of people have died, while many more have been horribly injured or forced to flee their shattered homelands in a desperate search for safety.  World Wars I and II, capped off by the use of nuclear weapons to annihilate the populations of entire cities, brought massive suffering to people around the globe.

In 1945, this mad slaughter and devastation convinced far-sighted thinkers, as well as many government leaders, that human survival was dependent upon developing a framework for international security: the United Nations.  The UN Charter, adopted in a conference in the spring of that year in San Francisco by 50 Allied nations, declared that a key purpose of the new organization was “to maintain international peace and security.”

The UN Charter, which constitutes international law, included provisions detailing how nations were to treat one another in the battered world emerging from the Second World War.  Among its major provisions was Article 2, Section 4, which declared that “all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”  Furthermore, Article 51 declared that “nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations.”

The Role of the Security Council

Although the UN Charter provided for a General Assembly in which all member nations were represented, action to maintain international peace and security was delegated primarily to a UN Security Council with fifteen members, five of whom (the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Britain, and France) were to be permanent members with the right to veto Security Council resolutions or action.

Not surprisingly, the right of any of these five nations to block Security Council peace efforts, a right they had insisted upon as the price of their participation in the United Nations, hamstrung the world organization from enforcing peace and international security on numerous occasions.  The most recent instance has occurred in the case of the Ukraine War, a conflict in which, as Zelensky lamented, “all [Security Council] efforts are vetoed by the aggressor.”  As a result, the United Nations has all too often lacked the power to enforce the principles of international law confirmed by its members and enshrined in its Charter.

Some people are perfectly content with the weakness of the United Nations.  Fierce nationalists, including some Right-Wing actors, are contemptuous of this or any international security organization, and many would prefer its abolition. Others have little use for the United Nations but, instead, place their hopes for the maintenance of international peace and stability upon public and governmental acceptance of great power spheres of influence.  Meanwhile, a segment of the international Left ignores the United Nations and insists that world peace will only be secured by smashing “U.S. imperialism.”

Sadly, those forces opposing international organization and action fail to recognize that their proposals represent not only a return to thousands of years of international strife and mass slaughter among nations, but, in today’s world, an open door to a nuclear holocaust that will end virtually all life on earth.

Proposals to Strengthen the United Nations

Compared to this descent into international chaos and destruction, proposals to strengthen the United Nations are remarkably practical and potentially effective.  Zelensky has suggested empowering the UN General Assembly to overcome a Security Council veto by a vote of two-thirds or more of the Assembly’s nations.  In addition, he has proposed expanding the representation of nations in the Security Council, temporarily suspending membership of a Security Council member when it “resorts to aggression against another nation in violation of the UN Charter,” and creating a deterrent to international aggression by agreeing on the response to it before it occurs.

Of course, there are numerous other ways to strengthen the United Nations as a force for peace and to help ensure that it works as an effective international agency for battling the onrushing climate catastrophe, combating disease pandemics, and cracking down on the exploitative practices of multinational corporations.  Its member nations could also rally behind the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (still unsigned by the nuclear powers), agree on a UN program to handle the burgeoning international refugee crisis, and provide the world organization with substantially greater financial resources to reduce global poverty and mass misery than it currently receives.

Indeed, the horrific Ukraine War is but the latest canary in the coal mine―the danger signal that people of all nations should recognize as indicating the necessity for moving beyond national isolation and beginning a new era of global responsibility, cooperation, and unity.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

From the Partial Test Ban Treaty to a Nuclear Weapons-Free World

From the Partial Test Ban Treaty to a Nuclear Weapons-Free World

This September is the sixtieth anniversary of U.S. and Soviet ratification of the world’s first significant nuclear arms control agreement, the Partial Test Ban Treaty.  Thus, it’s an appropriate time to examine that treaty, as well as to consider what might be done to end the danger of nuclear annihilation.

The Rise of Public Pressure

Although the use, in 1945, of atomic bombs to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki unleashed a wave of public concern about human survival in the nuclear age, it declined with the emergence of the Cold War.  But another, even larger wave developed during the 1950s and early 1960s as the nuclear arms race surged forward.  At the time, the governments of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain engaged in testing a new nuclear device, the H-bomb, with a thousand times the power of the atomic bomb.

Many people found this situation alarming.  Not only did the advent of H-bombs point toward universal doom in a future war, but the testing of the weapons sent vast clouds of radioactive “fallout” into the atmosphere, where it drifted around the planet until it descended upon the populace below.  In 1957, Professor Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, predicted that, thanks to the nuclear tests already conducted, a million people would die early, and 200,000 children would be born with serious mental deficiency or physical defects.

In reaction to this growing menace, millions of people around the world began to resist nuclear weapons.  They formed new, activist organizations, including the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (better known as SANE) and Women Strike for Peace (in the United States), the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (in Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), the Japan Council Against A & H Bombs and the Japan Congress Against A & H Bombs (in Japan), and the Struggle Against Atomic Death (in West Germany).  Even in the Soviet bloc, concerned scientists pressed for an end to the nuclear arms race.

Governments Reluctantly Begin to Alter Public Policy

Government officials in nuclear-armed nations, troubled by the rising agitation, as well as by opinion polls showing widespread popular distaste for nuclear testing, nuclear weapons, and nuclear war, gradually began to adapt their policies to the demands of the public.  Meeting with top scientists in the U.S. nuclear weapons program, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower told them that the U.S. government was “up against an extremely difficult world opinion situation” and that the country “could not permit itself to be ‘crucified on a cross of atoms.’”  If U.S. nuclear testing continued, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles warned the president, “the slight military gains” would be “outweighed by the political losses.” 

Accordingly, in 1958, the Soviet, American, and British governments halted nuclear testing while beginning negotiations for a test ban treaty.  Failing to secure an agreement, they resumed nuclear tests in 1961, which led to nuclear testing remaining a very hot political issue for people and governments alike.

Into this controversy stepped Norman Cousins, the editor of a widely-read public affairs magazine, the Saturday Review and, also, ardent world federalist and founder and co-chair of SANE.  During a lengthy meeting at the White House with President John F. Kennedy in November 1962, Cousins inquired if the president would like him to meet with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to try to smooth the diplomatic path toward a nuclear test ban treaty.  Kennedy responded affirmatively and, in the following months, Cousins shuttled back and forth between the two world leaders.  Ultimately, Cousins overcame Khrushchev’s suspicions of Kennedy and, then, convinced Kennedy to deliver a major speech with “a breathtaking new approach” to Soviet-American relations. 

This American University address, partially written by Cousins, proved an immediate success with Khrushchev.  Test ban negotiations commenced in Moscow during July 1963, resulting in the Partial Test Ban Treaty―banning nuclear testing in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water.

The Significance of the Treaty and Its Successors

From the standpoint of ending the nuclear arms race, the treaty had its limitations.  Because the treaty left unaddressed the issue of nuclear testing underground, the nuclear powers and aspiring nuclear powers simply shifted nuclear tests to this new locale.  Furthermore, with nuclear fallout no longer a major public concern, popular pressure to halt nuclear testing―and, thereby, choke off the arms race―declined.

Nevertheless, the Partial Test Ban Treaty proved a turning point in world history.  Together with the nuclear disarmament campaign that produced the treaty, it reduced Cold War hostility and ushered in a period of détente between the U.S. and Soviet governments.  Furthermore, widespread nuclear proliferation, which seemed imminent at the time, failed to materialize.  Even today, sixty years later, there are only nine nuclear powers. 

Most important, the treaty demonstrated that nuclear arms control and disarmament were feasible.  And so a host of treaties followed that substantially reduced nuclear dangers.  These included the Nonproliferation Treaty, Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  Through these treaties, as well as through unilateral action―both spurred on by popular pressure―the number of nuclear weapons in the world dropped sharply, from 70,000 to roughly 12,500.  Meanwhile, nuclear war became increasingly unthinkable.

Nuclear Revival and Resistance

Of course, in recent years, with the decline of popular pressure against nuclear weapons, the prospect of nuclear annihilation has revived.  Disarmament treaties have been scrapped, a new nuclear arms race has begun, and reckless leaders of nuclear nations have publicly threatened nuclear war.  Although a UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force in 2021, the nine nuclear powers have resisted signing it.

Even so, it remains possible to get nations back on track toward international security.  Citizens for Global Solutions has signed on to a joint statement for the forthcoming Nonproliferation Treaty conference that calls for a Common Security framework approach as an alternative to nuclear deterrence.  The statement was presented at the recent NPT preparatory conference by the chair of the World Federalist Movement and has been endorsed by 170 organizations.  In a few weeks, CGS will also co-host a parliamentary delegation from Japan and the Republic of Korea that will be welcomed by U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), one of the staunchest congressional advocates of nuclear disarmament. 

Furthermore, the treaty process provides a useful route toward a nuclear-free world.   As the Partial Test Ban Treaty and its successors show us, arms control and disarmament treaties have helped to curb the nuclear arms race and prevent nuclear war.  The revived march toward nuclear catastrophe can be halted and reversed by a treaty finally banning nuclear weapons―if people will demand it.

Bruce Knotts

Bruce Knotts


Bruce Knotts was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia, worked for Raytheon in Saudi Arabia (1976-80) and on a World Bank contract in Somalia (1982-4), before he joined the Department of State as a U.S. diplomat in 1984. Bruce had diplomatic assignments in Greece, Zambia, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire and The Gambia, where he served as Deputy Chief of Mission. While in Cote d’Ivoire, Bruce served as the Regional Refugee Coordinator for West Africa. Bruce worked closely with several UN Special Representatives and observed UN peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone from 2000-2003. Bruce retired from the Foreign Service in 2007 and began directing the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) in 2008. Bruce founded faith-based advocacy for sexual orientation/gender identity human rights at the United Nations and continues to advocate for the rights of women, indigenous peoples and for sustainable development in moral terms of faith and values. Bruce is co-chair of the UN NGO Committee on Human Rights, the chair of the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, a member of steering committee of the NGO UN Security Council Working Group. Bruce retired from the UUA September 30, 2022. Bruce is currently the UN representative of the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women. In 2006, Bruce and Isaac Humphrie were wed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

James Lowell May

James Lowell May

Program Officer

James May is a programme and project development specialist. He has lived in Serbia since 2005, and prior to joining Citizens for Global Solutions, worked across the Western Balkans on a broad range of issues including human, minority and child rights, accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Holocaust commemoration, democratic participation, social justice and economic empowerment, and environmental restoration.

James began working in the Western Balkans on issues related to accountability for human rights violations, first for the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, a coalition of NGOs active in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, as the network’s development coordinator, then the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, leading a research project documenting the nomenclatural of the Milosevic Regime, and then the Federation of Jewish Communities in Serbia, running a Holocaust research and education project.

James then transitioned from accountability to efforts to protect and fulfil the rights of marginalised communities. For a decade James worked for the Centre for Youth Integration, an NGO that provides specialized services for children and youth in street situations in Belgrade, where he began as a volunteer before taking up a permanent role, while concurrently volunteering for community mental health organizations, as well as consultancy work for a number of local and international organizations, and most recently branched out to apply his experience to the environmental sector, focussing on social impact assessments and community-oriented nature-based solutions projects.

James has a degree in Archaeology from University College London. He was born and grew up in Great Britain. He is an avid cyclist.

Honorable David J. Scheffer

Honorable David J. Scheffer

Former U.S. Ambassador

Amb. David J. Scheffer is senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), with a focus on international law and international criminal justice. Scheffer was the Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law (2006-2020) and is Director Emeritus of the Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is Professor of Practice at Arizona State University (Washington offices). He was Vice-President of the American Society of International Law (2020-2022) and held the International Francqui Professorship at KU Leuven in Belgium in 2022. From 2012 to 2018 he was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Expert on UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, and he was the Tom A. Bernstein Genocide Prevention Fellow working with the Ferencz International Justice Initiative at the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (2019-2021).

During the second term of the Clinton Administration (1997-2001), Scheffer was the first ever U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues and led the U.S. delegation to the UN talks establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC). He signed the Rome Statute of the ICC on behalf of the United States on December 31, 2000. He negotiated the creation of five war crimes tribunals: the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and the ICC. He chaired the Atrocities Prevention Inter-Agency Working Group (1998-2001). During the first term of the Clinton Administration (1993-1997), Scheffer served as senior advisor and counsel to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Madeleine Albright, and he served on the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council. Ambassador Scheffer received an A.B. (Government and Economics) from Harvard College, B.A. (Honour School of Jurisprudence) from Oxford University (where he was a Knox Fellow), and LL.M. (International and Comparative Law) from Georgetown University Law Center.

Alex Andrei

Alex Andrei

Director of Technology and Design

Alex is an experienced professional in designing digital products, managing online applications, and providing IT consulting services. Their background is in working with online applications design, digital accessibility, learning management platforms, user experience and interface design for online and mobile applications. They have over 10 years of experience working with higher-education institutions, nonprofits, and business.

He believes that in today’s rapidly evolving landscape, organizations need to adapt and thrive in the digital realm to gain a competitive edge and be as successful as they can be. Alex specializes in supporting organizations in their digital transformation initiatives and creating effective user experiences and driving efficiency through technology to empower people.

As Director of Technology and Design, Alex focuses on identifying opportunities to integrate various technologies in ongoing operations and new initiatives at CGS to support programs, partners, and team members in achieving their goals.

Alex has a passion strategically leveraging cutting edge technologies to maximize the value of what can be done with limited resources to create a lasting impact and great experiences for people.

Jon Kozesky

Jon Kozesky

Director of Development 

Jon brings over 17 years of experience in development and fundraising in both the public and private sectors.  He started his career in politics working in the Ohio Statehouse and later in the office of U.S. Congressman Steven LaTourette, as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. After leaving Capitol Hill, Jon pursued his passion of helping nonprofits secure the resources they needed to best serve their constituents. This passion led to his founding of Jon Thomas Consulting, a boutique nonprofit management and development firm serving organizations across the United States and throughout the world in streamlining their processes and maximizing their revenue growth through grant writing, government affairs, donor stewardship, and major event planning.

Prior to his fundraising career, Jon proudly served his community as a firefighter and water rescue diver. In his personal time, Jon is a champion competitive sailor and a bit of a thrill-seeker, having skydived and bungee jumped on 6 continents.

Jacopo Demarinis

Social Media & Communications Coordinator

Jacopo De Marinis is a 2022 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he majored in Public Policy and Law, and is pursuing a career in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. While studying at UIUC, he co-founded a student chapter of Chicago Area Peace Action, CAPA UIUC, and spearheaded student campaigns for climate justice, justice for Black farmers, and a Chicago Department of Peacebuilding. He currently sits on the boards of Anne's Haven, a Chicago community-based organization dedicated to women's empowerment, and Chicago Area Peace Action. Jacopo has published articles on topics including conflict diplomacy, US-China relations, and United Nations reform in CounterPunch, Countercurrents, the LA Progressive, and on the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement's website, among others. Jacopo joined the CGS team in September of 2022, as he strongly believes that stronger global governance and UN reform is necessary if we are to realize a more peaceful and just world.

Marvin Perry

Accounting Manager

Marvin has been working in the areas of HIV/AIDS, international peace and human rights. He has worked with both national and international non-profits in the DC area. Marvin brings years of experience in non-profit finance and administration. Marvin is a certified human resources professional and holds an MBA from Howard University School of Business.

Peter Orvetti

Communications Consultant

Peter Orvetti is an editor and political analyst who has spent most of his career providing daily intelligence briefings for the White House across four presidential administrations, as well as multiple Cabinet agencies, trade associations, and Fortune 500 companies. He is the author of several “Young People’s Guides” to various U.S. federal elections and is a former daily columnist for NBC Universal’s Washington, D.C., website.

He has been involved with CGS and other world federalist organizations for more than a decade and publishes the daily “One World Digest” email newsletter. He is also a theater reviewer and an actor in both professional and amateur productions.

Drea Bergman

Director of Programs

Drea Bergman has been shaping world citizens developing global youth programs as Director of Programs for CGS. She is a public policy researcher with master’s degrees from Maastricht Graduate School of Governance and the United Nations University-MERIT (Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology). She specializes in evidenced-based public policy programs using mixed-methods research and has focused especially on spearheading digital transformation for a variety of NGOs and foundations. Some of her other projects have included research in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. More recently, she has lent her expertise by providing strategic planning for social enterprise start-ups.

Bob Flax

CGS Education Fund President

Bob Flax, Ph.D. is the former Executive Director of Citizens for Global Solutions (now retired). He has spent a lifetime addressing human suffering, first as a psychologist, then as an organization development consultant, and for more than a decade, as a global activist through the World Federalist Movement. He also teaches in the Transformative Social Change Program at Saybrook University.

Bob has a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from New York University (1977), an M.A. in Psychology from Long Island University (1980), a Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook Institute (1992), an M.A. in Organization Development from Sonoma State University (2007), a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University (2015) and a Diploma in Global Leadership at the UN Peace University in Costa Rica (2019).

Bob’s love of adventure has led him to international trekking, scuba diving, and climbing the tallest mountains on 3 continents. He also maintains a Buddhist meditation practice and lives in a co-housing community in Northern California.

Rebecca A. Shoot

Executive Director

Rebecca A. Shoot is an international lawyer and democracy and governance practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the non-governmental, inter-governmental, and private sectors supporting human rights, democratic processes, and the rule of law on five continents.

In nearly a decade with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Rebecca held numerous positions in headquarters and the field supporting and leading democracy and governance programs in Central and Eastern Europe and Southern and East Africa. She subsequently moved to a leadership role steering NDI’s Governance projects globally and directing programming for the bipartisan House Democracy Partnership of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rebecca created a global parliamentary campaign for Democratic Renewal and Human Rights as Senior Advisor to Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), an international network of legislators committed to collaboration to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Prior to that, she directed PGA’s International Law and Human Rights Programme and ran PGA’s office in The Hague. Most recently, she helmed global programming to promote gender equality and criminal justice reform for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI).

Rebecca has spoken at high-level conferences and events on five continents (and increasingly, globally through online platforms). Her publications include the first Global Parliamentary Report (IPU & UNDP 2012), Political Parties in Democratic Transitions (DIPD 2012), and Navigating between Scylla and Charybdis: How the International Criminal Court Turned Restraint Into Power Play (Emory Int’l L. Rev. 2018), which was honored with the Emory International Law Review’s Founder’s Award for Excellence in Legal Research and Writing.

Rebecca is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and is a member of several bar associations, including the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA), where she serves as Advocacy Director for the International Criminal Court (ICC) Committee. She served as a Visiting Professional in the Presidency of the ICC and has provided pro bono legal expertise to The Carter Center, International Refugee Assistance Project, United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, and U.S. Marine Corps University, where she helped develop the international humanitarian law curriculum.

Rebecca earned a Juris Doctorate with Honors from Emory University School of Law, where she received several academic distinctions, including the David J. Bederman Fellowship in International Law and Conley-Ingram Scholarship for Public Interest Leadership. She earned a Master of Science in Democracy & Democratisation from University College London School of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude in Political Science from Kenyon College. She holds certificates in Conflict Analysis from the U.S. Institute of Peace and in Public International Law from The Hague Academy of International Law.

As Executive Director of CGS, Rebecca will continue her current role as Co-Convener of the Washington Working Group for the International Criminal Court (WICC), a diverse coalition of human rights organizations, legal associations, former government officials, and leading legal professionals. CGS and WICC have a rich and intertwined history that this dual appointment brings full circle, with CGS formerly serving as host for the coalition and with several current and former common Board and National Advisory Committee members.

She also acts, directs, and writes for the theater.

Helen Caldicott

Physician, Author, and Speaker

Helen Caldicott is a physician, author, and anti-nuclear advocate. She founded several associations dedicated to opposing the use of nuclear power, depleted uranium munitions, nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons proliferation, and military action in general. In 1980, she founded the Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND), which was later renamed Women’s Action for New Directions. In 2008, she founded the Helen Caldicott Foundation for a Nuclear Free Future.

Blanche Wiesen Cook

Blanche Wiesen Cook

Professor, Author, and Historian

Blanche Wiesen Cook is a Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She is author of a three-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as The Declassified Eisenhower: A Divided Legacy of Peace and Political Warfare.

David Cortright

Author, Activist, and Leader

David Cortright is director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and chair of the Board of the Fourth Freedom Forum. In 1977, Cortright was named the executive director of he Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy (SANE), which under his direction became the largest disarmament organization in the U.S. Cortright initiated the 1987 merger of SANE and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and served for a time as co-director of the merged organization. In 2002, he helped to found the Win Without War coalition in opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

He is the author or co-editor of 19 books including Waging Peace in Vietnam: U.S. Soldiers and Veterans Who Opposed the WarGandhi and Beyond: Nonviolence for a New Political Age, and Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas.

Andrea Cousins

Andrea Cousins

Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, and Anthropologist

Andrea Cousins is a psychologist and psychoanalyst who has practiced for more than 30 years. She has a doctorate in anthropology from Harvard University and a Doctor of Psychology degree from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Her father, journalist and peace activist Norman Cousins, served as president of the World Federalist Association and chairman of the Committee for Sane Nuclear Policy, and was honored with recognitions including the United Nations Peace Medal.

Gary Dorrien

Gary Dorrien

Professor, Author, Social Ethicist

Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University. An Episcopal priest, he has taught as the Paul E. Raither Distinguished Scholar at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and as Horace De Y. Lentz Visiting Professor at Harvard Divinity School. He is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America’s Religion and Socialism Commission and the author of 18 books on ethics, social theory, philosophy, theology, politics, and intellectual history.

Daniel Ellsberg

Lecturer, Writer, and Activist

Daniel Ellsberg is a political activist and former military analyst. While employed by the RAND Corporation, Ellsberg precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of the U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times, The Washington Post and other newspapers.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, Ellsberg has continued his political activism, giving lecture tours and speaking out about current events. Ellsberg was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2006. In 2018, he was awarded the 2018 Olof Palme Prize for his “profound humanism and exceptional moral courage.”

Oscar Andrew Hammerstein

Oscar Andrew Hammerstein

Painter, Writer, Lecturer, and Historian

Oscar Andrew Hammerstein is a painter, writer, and lecturer. He has taught graduate-level courses on New York theatre history and general musical theatre history as an adjunct professor at Columbia University. He is the author of The Hammersteins: A Musical Theatre Family.

Randy Kehler

Randy Kehler

Pacifist Activist

Randy Kehler is a pacifist activist who served 22 months in prison for returning his draft card in 1969 and refusing to seek exemption as a conscientious objector, seeing that as a form of cooperation with the Vietnam war effort. He played a key role in persuading Daniel Ellsberg to release the Pentagon Papers, and later served as executive director of the National Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. Kehler and his wife Betsy Corner refused to pay taxes for military expenditures, resulting in the federal seizure of their Massachusetts home in 1989. They continue to withhold their federal income taxes.

Gordon Orians

Gordon Orians


Gordon Orians, an ornithologist and ecologist for more than half a century, has focused his work on behavioral ecology and the relationships between ecology and social organization, as well as on the interface between science and public policy. He was director of the University of Washington Seattle’s Institute for Environmental Studies for a decade and has also served on the Board of Directors of the World Wildlife Fund and on state boards of the Nature Conservancy and Audubon.

Orians was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1990.

William Pace

International Organizer

William Pace was the founding convenor of the Coalition for an International Criminal Court (ICC) and a co-founder of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect. He has been engaged in international justice, rule of law, environmental law, and human rights for four decades, serving as executive director of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, secretary-general of the Hague Appeal for Peace, director of the Center for the Development of International Law, and director of Section Relations of the Concerts for Human Rights Foundation at Amnesty International, among other roles. He is the recipient of the William J. Butler Human Rights Medal from the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the ICC.

James T. Ranney

Professor, International Legal Consultant, and Author

James T. Ranney is an adjunct professor of international law at Widener Law School. He co-founded the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center in Montana and served as a legal consultant to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. He has written extensively on the abolition of nuclear weapons and the establishment of international dispute resolution mechanisms.

Rick Ulfik

Rick Ulfik

The Founder of WE, The World, and the WE Campaign

Rick Ulfik is the founder of We, The World, an international coalition-building organization whose Mission is to maximize social change globally. He and his organization work closely with the New York Center for Nonviolent Communication, where he has been a facilitator since 2004. He is also the co-creator of the annual 11 Days of Global Unity - 11 Ways to Change the World, September 11-21.

He is an award-winning composer and keyboard player who has written, arranged, produced and orchestrated music for television networks, feature films, commercials, and albums. He has performed with Queen Latifah, Phoebe Snow, Carlos Santana, Bernadette Peters, and Judy Collins.

John Stowe


John Stowe is the Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. He is a member of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, a mendicant religious order founded by Francis of Assisi. In 2015, Pope Francis appointed Stowe bishop of the Diocese of Lexington. He is the Episcopal President of the U.S. board of Pax Christi, an international Catholic Christian peace movement with a focus on human rights, disarmament, nonviolence, and related issues.

Barbara Smith

Author, Activist, and Scholar

Barbara Smith has played a significant role in Black feminism in the U.S. for more than 50 years. She taught at numerous colleges and universities for 25 years and has been published in a wide range of publications including The New York Times Book ReviewMs.Gay Community NewsThe Village Voice, and The Nation.

Among her many honors are the African American Policy Forum Harriet Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Stonewall Award for Service to the Lesbian and Gay Community. In 2014, SUNY Press published Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith.

William J. Ripple

Conservationist, Author, and Professor

William J. Ripple is a Distinguished Professor of Ecology in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University. He has published two books and has authored more than 200 scientific journal articles on topics including conservation, ecology, wildlife, and climate change. He was the co-lead author on the 2020 paper “The World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency,” which was endorsed by more than 14,000 scientist signatories from around the world. He is the director of the Alliance of World Scientists, which has approximately 26,000 scientist members from 180 countries.

Mark Ritchie

President, Global Minnesota

Mark Ritchie is president of Global Minnesota, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization devoted to advancing international understanding and engagement. He served as Minnesota secretary of state from 2007 to 2015. Since leaving elected public service, he has led the public-private partnership working to bring the 2027 World Expo to Minnesota and he has served on the board of directors for LifeSource, Communicating for America, U.S. Vote Foundation, and Expo USA. He is also a national advisory board member of the federal Election Assistance Commission.

Kim Stanley Robinson


Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of many works of science fiction, including the internationally bestselling Mars trilogy, and more recently Red Moon, New York 2140, and The Ministry for the Future. His work has been translated into 25 languages, and won awards including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. In 2016, asteroid 72432 was named “Kimrobinson.”

Leila Nadya Sadat

Special Advisor to the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Professor, Author

Leila Sadat is the James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law at Washington University School of Law and the director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute. She is an internationally recognized expert on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and served as Special Advisor on Crimes Against Humanity to Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the ICC. She is also the director of the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative, a multi-year project to study the problem of crimes against humanity and draft a comprehensive convention addressing their punishment and prevention. She is a former member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, served as the Alexis de Tocqueville Distinguished Fulbright Chair at the University of Cergy-Pontoise in Paris, and is the author of several books.

Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

Actor, Activist, and Leader

Martin Sheen is an Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe Award-winning actor who has worked with directors including Francis Ford Coppola and Oliver Stone, in addition to starring as the U.S. president on the long-running television drama “The West Wing.” In his early days as a struggling actor in New York, he met activist Dorothy Day, beginning his lifelong commitment to social justice.

The self-described pacifist was an early opponent of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and has been a consistent opponent of nuclear arms. As honorary mayor of Malibu, California in 1989, he declared the city a nuclear-free zone. Nearly 20 years later, Sheen was arrested during a protest at the Nevada Test Site. Sheen said in 2009 that he had been arrested 66 times for acts of civil disobedience, leading one activist to declare Sheen to have “a rap sheet almost as long as his list of film credits.”

Sheen has also been active in anti-genocide and pro-immigrant causes, as well as in the environmental movement. In 2010, he told a crowd of young people, “While acting is what I do for a living, activism is what I do to stay alive.” In a 1963 episode of “The Outer Limits,” he portrayed a future astronaut wearing a large breast patch that read “UE. Unified Earth.”