“By any rational standard what we are setting out to do is quite impossible. But we must do it, we can and we will!”
This is the inspirational message in support of democratic world government that longtime CGS supporter and National Advisory Council member Benjamin Ferencz prepared while drafting the lecture he would give at the Second Global Structures Convocation in February of 1992. The chief prosecutor of the Einsatzgruppen Trial- one of the Nuremberg Trials- at the age of 27, a tireless advocate for the International Criminal Court and a democratic world government, and an exceptional human being, Ben Ferencz had a life that was instructed by a simple yet powerful motto: “Never give up.” It is a fitting guiding principle for a person whose life was dedicated to campaigning for a democratic world federation to safeguard the sanctity of human life, a seemingly impossible yet necessary task that requires a “never give up” attitude that Ben embodied with his whole being.
In 1988, Ben teamed up with personal growth writer Ken Keyes, Jr. to write Planethood, a book directed to the general public that laid out eight practical steps to achieve a democratic world government. In the book, Ferencz and Keyes argue that “We must begin to think in planetary terms if we are to find peace.” Like many other people, we at Citizens for Global Solutions find Ferencz and Keyes’ message to be extremely hopeful since it advocates for a grassroots movement to establish a “United Federation of Nations”; We the People can really do this, provided that we “never give up!” And we are extremely grateful that Ferencz donated an entire print run of his book to CGS! Building off of Planethood, one of the most important, basic ideas Ferencz expressed in his literary works regarding world federalism is the importance of replacing the “rule of force with the rule of law” through the establishment of courts with universal jurisdiction. As Ferencz has asserted, “There can be no peace without justice, no justice without law and no meaningful law without a Court to decide what is just and lawful under any given circumstance.”
Ben’s indefatigable commitment to an International Criminal Court, with full US participation, and a democratic world government- in addition to his active involvement in CGS’ National Advisory Council- made him an obvious choice to receive the 2018 Norman Cousins Global Governance Award. Ben also was honored with the 2022 Congressional Gold Medal, which recognized his dedication to the international rule of law. In Section 2 (Findings) of the bill recognizing Ferencz, the 11th point is particularly notable:
Ben, at age 101, is still active, giving speeches throughout the world about lessons learned during his extraordinary career. He is compelled by the imperative to “replace the rule of force with the rule of law”… He often tells young people to “never give up” because the fight for peace and justice is worth the long struggle ahead.
On January 17th, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech warning the public of the dire, antidemocratic threats posed by the “military industrial complex.” He argued that, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence… by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Thanks to Ben Ferencz’s tireless dedication to a safer, more just world, we have a North Star that can, provided we “never give up,” guide all living beings on planet Earth toward a more sustainable future. In the words of CGS board member Larry David, “Ben Ferencz, we are forever indebted to your service in the cause of peace, justice, and our dream of a federal republic of the world – a true United Federation of Nations!”
About Citizens for Global Solutions
CGS is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-partisan membership-based organization that for more than 75 years has brought together a diverse collective of individuals and organizations with a common goal of a unified world predicated upon peace, human rights, and the rule of law. From championing ratification of the UN Charter upon our establishment in 1947 to supporting creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) 25 years ago to advocating for global instruments to confront today’s enduring challenges of war and climate degradation, CGS recognizes that true progress is a generational enterprise. We invite like-minded individuals and organizations to join us in this mission.
Contact: Donna Park firstname.lastname@example.org