Whose Red Lines?

Whose Red Lines?

In the conflict-ridden realm of international relations, certain terms are particularly useful, and one of them is “Red Lines.”  Derived from the concept of a “line in the sand,” first employed in antiquity, the term “Red Lines” appears to have emerged in the 1970s to denote what one nation regards as unacceptable from other nations.  In short, it is an implicit threat.

Russian Red Lines

Vladimir Putin, self-anointed restorer of the Russian empire, has tossed about the term repeatedly in recent years.  “I hope nobody will get it into their heads to cross Russia’s so-called red line,” he warned in April 2021.  “Where it will be drawn, we will decide ourselves in each specific case.”  These red lines, although addressing a variety of issues, have been proclaimed frequently.  At the end of that November, Putin announced that Russia would take action if NATO crossed its “red lines” on Ukraine, saying that the deployment of offensive missile capabilities on Ukrainian soil would serve as a trigger.  In mid-December, as Russian military forces massed within striking distance of Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry demanded that NATO not only rule out any further expansion, but remove any troops or weapons from NATO members Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Balkan countries and obtain Russian permission before holding any military drills in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, or Central Asia.

Finally, on February 24, 2022, Putin―ignoring a U.S. offer to negotiate some of these items―sent a massive Russian military force pouring into Ukraine in a full-scale invasion.  “This is the red line that I talked about multiple times,” he said, and “they have crossed it.”  Most nations were not impressed by this justification, for the Russian invasion and subsequent annexation of large portions of Ukraine were clear violations of international law and, as such, were condemned by the United Nations General Assembly and the International Court of Justice.

Of course, Putin’s red lines and international aggression, though particularly blatant, are hardly the only features of this kind that have appeared throughout Russian or world history.

American and Chinese Red Lines

The United States has a lengthy record in this regard.  As Professor Matthew Waxman of Columbia Law School has written, the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 involved “drawing a red line―with an implicit war threat” against “any European efforts to colonize or reassert control in the Western Hemisphere.”  Given the relative weakness of the United States at the time, the U.S. government did not attempt to enforce President James Monroe’s grandiose pronouncement.  But, with the emergence of the United States as a great power, its government expanded the Monroe Doctrine to justify frequent U.S. meddling in hemispheric affairs, including conquering and annexing Latin American territory.  Even in recent decades, when U.S. annexations have become a relic of the past, the U.S. government has engaged in military intervention in other lands, especially in the Caribbean and Central America, but also in Asia and the Middle East (where President George W. Bush drew what he called “a line in the sand”).

In recent years, as China’s military and economic power have grown, its government, too, has begun emphasizing its red lines.  Meeting with U.S. President Joseph Biden in mid-November 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that Taiwan was the “first red line that must not be crossed.”  Xi did not mention the tension-fraught situation in the South China Sea, where China had set up military fortifications on islands claimed by its neighbors, including Vietnam and the Philippines.  But here, as well, China had red lines―leading to the current dangerous confrontations between U.S. and Chinese warships in the region.  Sharply rejecting a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague that denied China’s control of the area, the Chinese government continued to build up fortifications on the disputed islands.  Furthermore, Chinese troops have continued for more than six decades to engage in violent military clashes with Indian troops along the disputed border, in the Himalayan region, between their two nations.

The Dangers of Red Lines Drawn by Individual Nations

Although it could be argued that red lines are only an innocent expression of what a nation considers unacceptable in world affairs, it’s worth noting that they are employed especially by major nations.  The “great powers,” after all, have the military strength to give their warnings some credibility.  Conversely, smaller, weaker nations do not usually bother to issue such pronouncements, as their warnings―and even their interests―are rarely taken as seriously.  For this reason, the issuance of red lines usually boils down to a matter of what nation has the power to compel other nations to accept its demands.

Consequently, red lines lead inevitably to spheres of influence that other nations are supposed to respect―including a U.S. sphere in Latin America, a Russian sphere in Europe, and a Chinese sphere in Asia.  Naturally, people and nations living in the shadow of these major powers are not enthusiastic about this arrangement, which explains why many Latin Americans want the Yankees to go home, many Europeans fear Russian hegemony, and many Asians are wary of the rise of China.

Another problem with the issuance of red lines is their tendency to inspire international conflict and war.  Given their roots in the professed interests of a single nation, they do not necessarily coincide with the interests of other nations.  In this competitive situation, conflict is almost inevitable.  Where, in these circumstances, is there a place for collective action to fashion a common agreement―one recognizing the fundamental interests of all nations?

A World Federalist Alternative

Rather than a world of red lines proclaimed by a few powerful nations, what humanity needs is a strengthened United Nations―a global federation of nations in which competing national priorities are reconciled and enforced through agreements, treaties, and international law.

Setting red lines for the world is too important to be left to individual, self-interested countries.  They should be set―and respected―by all.

Nations Of The World Unite!

Nations Of The World Unite!

Russia’s war upon Ukraine should remind us that violent international conflicts not only persist, but constitute a plague upon the world.

Over thousands of years, wars have brought immense suffering to people around the globe.  In addition to the widespread annihilation of human life, wars have produced vast material losses, including the destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, entire cities, the environment, and much of what people value as civilization.  They have also channeled enormous financial resources into military buildups that, even if not employed in battle, deprive other public and private programs of adequate attention and funding.  Also, since World War II, when nuclear weapons were first developed and used with terrible effect, the means of waging war have entered a new dimension, giving it the power to destroy virtually all life on earth.

Although, in recent centuries, many people have lamented war’s squandering of blood and treasure, as well as the suicidal nature of modern war, they have not yet found an effective way to stop it.

Public Efforts to Avoid War

One popular response to war is isolationism, which is designed to keep one’s nation out of the conflict.  But this policy (labeled “America First” in the United States) ignores the suffering of other people and, of course, does nothing to stop a war elsewhere.  In addition, it is often accompanied by a military buildup of one’s own nation, a policy that has a poor track record when it comes to preventing war.

Pacifism is on a higher ethical plane, for it deplores the horrors produced by militarism and war.  Furthermore, if most people around the world accepted the absolute pacifist position (which rejects military force in all circumstances), pacifists might be able to prevent wars from occurring or continuing.  But this is not the case and, given widespread public support for “just wars” (including defense against invasion), seems unlikely to become so.  Nonviolent resistance, a form of radical pacifism, has greater potentiality as an alternative to war or surrender, although its full promise has yet to be realized in coping with international war.

Effective Governance and Violent Behavior

By contrast, within nations there are alternatives to violent behavior that, although not always totally effective, do reduce it substantially.  Legislative bodies enact laws, while police and judicial institutions enforce these laws.  Unfortunately, on the global level, these institutions are so rudimentary and limited in power that they fail to produce an effective check upon violence.  Thus, on the national level, governments can restrain violence by individuals, mobs, or insurrectionists.  But, on the international level, things proceed much as they did in the American Wild West of yesteryear.  In this state of international anarchy, strong nations all too often threaten or wage war upon the weak, and nations often feel insecure unless they maintain a substantial capacity for war.

In short, while nations have established useful governance at the national level, the world lacks effective governance at the international level.  As a result, when nations have an international conflict, they are tempted, in the absence of the force of law, to invoke the law of force.

Strengthening Global Governance

Even so, the nations of the world could unite in the interest of their common security and bolster institutions of global governance.  To strengthen the UN Security Council, they could abolish the veto and substitute a rotating membership for the permanent membership of Russia, China, the United States, Britain, and France.  To strengthen the General Assembly, they could give it additional legislative power, including the power to fund the United Nations through taxation.  To enhance the democratic nature of the United Nations, they could establish a world parliament, with representatives elected by the public rather than selected by national governments.  Additional power could also be granted to the International Criminal Court and to the International Court of Justice to conduct investigations, deliver judgments, and enforce their rulings.

These kinds of reform measures have been advocated for years by the World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy and by its U.S. member organization, Citizens for Global Solutions.  Strengthened governmental authority on the global level is also supported by world public opinion.

A stronger array of international institutions is not a cure-all for international war.  But, like the enforcement of gun control within nations, it would significantly reduce the number of violent incidents.  It would help prevent international aggression.  And it would save the world from nuclear war by enforcing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  After thousands of years of blood and plunder, topped off in recent decades by the looming danger of a nuclear holocaust, isn’t it time to give strengthened global governance a try?

Nations of the world unite!  You have nothing to lose but your wars.

A Government Whose Time Has Come

A Government Whose Time Has Come

A world government is in the making, and we desperately need one. Why?

The world today is in turmoil, and our current global governance infrastructure (the UN, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), etc.) has proven itself unable to rise to the challenge, despite its best efforts. The undemocratic and ineffective UN Security Council, where five permanent members wield a veto that can block any binding resolution related to peace and security, routinely fails to prevent international political conflict. For example, Russia, a permanent member of the Council, has repeatedly blocked resolutions related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Individual countries, especially the US, Russia, and China, are not sufficiently held accountable when they don’t adhere to the provisions of international climate change or nuclear weapons control/disarmament treaties. This was the case when the US pulled out of the Paris Accords and Russia refused to support a recent UN version of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Human rights violations abound despite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Why are our international institutions incapable of addressing these threats to global security?

The reason is that one desperately-needed element is missing from the global security architecture: international law. As esteemed world federalist and Nuremberg War Crimes Trial prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz stated, “the only way to… solve the problem of war… is to replace the law of force with the force of law.” The law of force characterizes today’s international system as countries exercise absolute sovereignty and can invade other nations, disregard international treaties, and abuse their citizens or migrants with impunity. And, when other countries attempt to de-escalate a crisis or urge the offending government to obey international norms and declarations, there is little that can be done beyond condemning the country at the UN or imposing sanctions, which hurt the entire country. And that is the way of a world governed by the law of force… injustice leads to more injustice.

A democratically elected world government can end this cycle of injustice by providing stability and security in a chaotic international environment desperately in need of some sanity. It would do this by requiring that each country’s national military be reduced to what is required for internal policing, diverting military budgets into domestic infrastructure that will enhance citizens’ quality of life. An “international peacekeeping force” would be created to enforce world law and prevent interstate conflict as part of an international “executive branch.”

But do not despair! A world government is more than feasible; it is in the works.

History has demonstrated that, as economic and technological change transformed countries, their political system likewise changed to safeguard people’s rights and security. Sovereignty resided in clans and tribes, then towns, cities, dynasties, and nation-states as socioeconomic conditions obligated people to entrust their security to more centralized governments with greater jurisdiction, capable of preventing internal conflict. The most recent “socioeconomic conditions”- the Industrial Revolution, the development of the atomic bomb, and the digital revolution- have given rise to a technological, economically, and physically interconnected world that needs an interconnected world government capable of protecting us all from the ripple effects of the abuses caused by absolute sovereignty. The most extreme case of absolute sovereignty annihilating the world is a country unilaterally starting a nuclear war.

This historical and inevitable transfer of authority to higher levels of government with greater jurisdiction is exemplified by American history when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 formed a federal government despite some delegates’ objections. This federal government worked to ensure internal unity and stability by preventing the South from destroying the United States to preserve slavery and- despite failing to prevent many human rights abuses against African Americans and other marginalized groups- eventually successfully passed landmark legislation like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that moved the needle toward greater justice and equality for all. And this was done while protecting states’ rights, just as a world government would protect national sovereignty. Were it not for a strong, centralized government, the separate states would probably have failed to effectively address the secession challenge and slavery might not have been abolished. So, while a world government, like the US government, would not be perfect, it would provide internal stability and unity and make universal declarations of human/civil rights- in addition to international treaties that address shared global challenges- legally binding.

Fortunately, people are recognizing the inevitability of a world government.

Already nations are demanding UN Security Council reform to challenge the undue influence afforded to a handful of lucky countries, urging that the more democratic General Assembly play a greater role in UN resolutions regarding peace and security. There are vibrant global campaigns to establish a UN Parliamentary Assembly whose decisions would be binding, and to strengthen international courts like the International Criminal Court. The movement for world federalism, led by the World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy, is rapidly growing, with thousands of politicians all over the globe supporting the movement and new organizations like Atlas and Young World Federalists joining the cause.

When enough people exert enough pressure on their national governments to call for a world government, there will be a world government. Let’s hope, for the sake of the coming generations, that enough people wake up before it’s too late.

The Need For Global Unity: How World Law Can Save Us All

The Need For Global Unity: How World Law Can Save Us All

If humanity is to survive in the face of climate change, nuclear proliferation, and international political conflict, we must muster the courage to act with conviction and unity. On every level, starting at the individual and rising to the nation state, we must adopt the mindset with which world leaders approached the enormous task of ensuring global peace following the horrors of World War II. Yet, unfortunately, we are currently lacking that conviction and that unity.

Multilateral institutions have all too often failed to fulfill their mandate. António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, publicly acknowledged the failure of the UN Security Council, the organ of the United Nations tasked with ensuring global security and peace, to prevent or end the Ukraine war. The Security Council has been ineffective because it is composed of five permanent members―the United States, China, Russia, France, and Britain―that have veto power that can block any resolution set forth to cope with conflict, as Russia has repeatedly done with respect to the Ukraine war.

Although there is a general consensus that the climate crisis must be addressed internationally, climate accords tend to be legally unenforceable and are easily stymied by disagreement over which countries are most responsible for cutting back on fossil fuel emissions and how to establish a roadmap for emissions reduction. For example, the Paris Accords require countries to set their “national determined contributions,” which can be lax or stringent, and rely mainly on peer pressure to promote compliance. Furthermore, the backing of the largest emissions contributors, the United States and China, is crucial if these agreements are to be effective. International action on climate change was greatly hindered by the U.S. government’s decision against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, just as the Paris Agreement suffered greatly when the Trump administration decided to pull the United States out of it.

Nor do our current global institutions seem capable of securing nuclear disarmament. Nuclear weapons states (NWS) like Russia, China, and the United States have recently failed to honor their nuclear disarmament commitments, with the Russian government refusing to back the final draft of an updated declaration on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Furthermore, China, the United States, Russia, and the six other NWS have declined to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, an agreement promoted by non-nuclear weapons states frustrated with the failure of the nuclear powers to adhere to the nuclear disarmament commitments laid out in the NPT.

To effectively address these transnational threats, we need to begin strengthening and transforming the United Nations into a democratically-elected world federation. This is a colossal yet imperative task currently promoted by the World Federalist Movement and its U.S. member organization, Citizens for Global Solutions.

Why is a world federation necessary?

As the philosopher Emery Reves argued, the Industrial Revolution ushered in an economically and physically interdependent world while leaving political decision-making power in the hands of individual states. This is a lawless system that gave rise to the world wars. The only way to prevent conflict is to transfer some political authority to a higher source: a world government. Norman Cousins, former editor-in-chief of the Saturday Review, put the need for world federalism in the context of the atomic age, arguing that the advent of the nuclear bomb made national sovereignty “obsolete.” In an unregulated international environment, any country could easily acquire nuclear weapons, thereby threatening the national sovereignty of others, as well as all humankind. Thus, the concession of absolute national sovereignty is essential to secure the stability and survival of all nations in the future.

How can a world government be created?

One key proposal is to strengthen the United Nations by transforming the General Assembly into a world legislature that can pass binding resolutions. Richard Hudson, a world federalist, argued that such a legislature could employ a procedure for decision-making in which binding resolutions would be approved with a two-thirds majority vote of the current member states, countries that represent two-thirds of the total population of the member states, and nations that contribute two-thirds of funds to the world government’s budget. World federalists also advocate reforming the UN Security Council by revoking the veto and increasing the number of permanent members on the Council, key reforms supported by figures like Brazil’s newly-elected president, Lula da Silva. Other key suggestions include creating an “International Disarmament Organization” and strengthening the International Criminal Court.

The newly created world government could be equipped to effectively address climate change, interstate conflict, and nuclear proliferation. Each country’s national military could be reduced to what is required for internal policing, diverting military budgets into domestic infrastructure that would enhance its citizens’ quality of life. An “international peacekeeping force” could be created to enforce world law and prevent interstate conflict as part of an international executive branch. Furthermore, the democratically-elected world legislature could require the complete disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. As for climate change, the world government could issue binding resolutions guiding the Earth toward a more sustainable future through green technology and climate change mitigation. Furthermore, some world federalists and environmental activists advocate the creation of an International Court for the Environment, which could provide an enforcement mechanism for climate treaties.

Is a world republic is unattainable?

What country would agree to limit its absolute sovereignty? And yes, a country whose political leaders are held captive by special interests like military contractors and the fossil fuel industry might not agree to such an arrangement. Yet if the people unite with conviction to claim their right to live in a peaceful world, free from nuclear weapons, and to enjoy an economically and environmentally sustainable future―birthrights a world federal government is uniquely positioned to protect―this seemingly unattainable dream could become our reality.

Grandparents And Grandchildren Unite The World

Grandparents And Grandchildren Unite The World

I am a grandmother, and I have a dream that grandparents will work with their grandchildren to unite the world and build a better future.

But first we need to have a vision of how the world could be improved.

Many global problems face the world today

There are many problems facing the world today, including war and the threat of nuclear destruction, climate change, human rights abuses, hunger, extreme poverty, growing income inequality, and global pandemics.  One central source of our global problems is that we have put nations above people.  I think we should put people first.  National sovereignty and security should not be more important that the sovereignty and security of individuals.  Governments should be protecting the rights and freedoms of their people, not sacrificing them.

War is one way in which nations sacrifice their people rather than protect them.   War kills and injures people.  War destroys the environment.  War robs us of our financial and natural resources  War does not bring peace, although it does make a lot of money for some.

Think creatively to eliminate war

Surely it is time to think creatively about eliminating war.  Here in the United States, we can look to our own history for a way to accomplish that.  When Americans decided to transform the confederation of 13 colonies into a federation of states, they agreed to resolve their differences in a court of law rather than on the battlefield.  The original 13 states were able to eliminate or transform their militias.  With no need any longer to fight one another, they could rely on the rule of law to settle disputes.  Although the rule of law is not perfect, it is the best method we have found.  And it is preferable to war.

We need a similar transformation at the global level.  Why not transform the confederation of nations known as the United Nations into a United Federation of Nations?  Under this strengthened UN system, all nations could agree to resolve their differences using the rule of law rather than weapons of destruction.  Nations could be required to disarm and to transform their armed forces into peacekeeping forces that would respond to natural disasters and other domestic crises.

Unite the World

To implement this program, we could start by creating a World Parliament at the United Nations to give a voice to the people of the world, rather than just their governments.  We also need a world constitution to define a democratic federation of nations with a universal declaration of human rights and the ability to create and enforce world law that outlaws war and nuclear weapons.  Furthermore, we will need international courts (such as the International Criminal Court) and international police to arrest those who break the law.  Fortunately, much work has been done defining these components over the past 75 years.

All these components will cost much less than the vast amounts spent on the current war systems.  Furthermore, a United Federation of Nations could be employed to deal effectively with other global problems, such as climate change.

This vision is shared by the Young World Federalists.  Their tag line is “Unite the World.”  As their website explains, they are “a global movement to unite humanity through the creation of a democratic world federation.”  They believe that the current system of competitive sovereign countries fails to tackle the global challenges that impact us all.  Accordingly, they advocate a new form of global governance, one in which people cooperate to secure their common interest through a democratic world federation.  They envision a sustainable, just, and peaceful world through a democratic world federation.  It would be a world run by humanity, for humanity, providing equal opportunity to all on a thriving planet.

Work across the generations

The Young World Federalists (YWF) are building on the work of well-established organizations such as Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS).  CGS was founded 75 years ago, and many of its supporters, like me, are grandparents of the Young World Federalists’ generation.   We are delighted to be working with these young people and, in fact, have a lot to learn from them in this modern era of social media and technology.  We also have a lot to share with them, including our knowledge, experience, and funding.  One of their programs that we are co-sponsoring is the Week for World Parliament, which includes an event in New York City on October 22-23.

Working together, young and old, we are committed to building a united world and a better future for all.

Tanner Willis

Tanner Willis

Operations Officer

Tanner Willis has a master’s degree from United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) in international affairs and diplomacy. During his time at UNITAR he has been part of two fellowships, one with Al Fusaic as an information and communication technology and international affairs fellow. Al Fusaic is a non-profit who aims to provide education and career advancement to promote peace and security in Southwest Asia and North African region. His second graduate fellowship was with the United Nations Association – National Capital Area (UNA-NCA). UNA-NCA advocates alongside UNA-USA for further partnership with the United States and the United Nations to achieve goals surrounding global issues and uphold the UN charter.

Tanner’s research experience focuses on how information & communications technology influences social and political dynamics with civil society and their relationship with governments. His experience will help CGS utilize digital technologies to promote CGS' mission in promoting peace, international law, and human rights in a responsible and ethical manner. 

In his spare time Tanner is an avid basketball fan of his home team of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. He has played, refereed, broadcasted, and coached basketball and enjoys all levels of the game. He also loves going to art museums, hiking, and traveling with his wife

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.”