Human Rights

Latin American Conference on World Citizenship issues declaration

SÃO PAULO, Brazil - Some 250 people from 13 countries attended the First Latin American Conference on World Citizenship, held 22-23 August at the Permanent Seat of the Latin American Parliament.

The Conference, the first of its kind in the region, brought together a wide range of elected officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and social activists. It resulted in a 10-point declaration on world citizenship, which will be presented to heads of state at the Sustainable Development Summit for the Americas. The Summit will be held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, later this year.

The 10-point statement declared that "the establishment and promotion of world citizenship" is "the greatest means for achieving peace, security and prosperity" in the world. It also called for all states to join into "some sort of world federation," saying it was "the best form of sociopolitical organization for the present-day world."

The Conference was organized by a group of Latin American NGOs, including the Bahá'í Community of Brazil, and it featured speeches by a wide range of regional and international figures. Among them were: Madame Mary Rabbání, leading dignitary of the Bahá'í International Community; Professor Ervin Laszlo of the Club of Budapest; Brazilian Minister of Culture Francisco Weffort; Brazilian Minister of Administration Luis Carlos Bresser Pereira; Brazilian Federal Deputy Luiz Gushiken; Maria Terezinha Godinho, São Paulo State Secretary for Childhood, Family and Social Well-being; and Pierre Weil, President of the City of Peace Foundation.

"This conference is a proof that society is realizing the need to consider a person as a 'global human being.' Conferences like this are the signals of a new era."

-- Regina Migliori, Institute for World Citizenship

"This conference is a proof that society is realizing the need to consider a person as a 'global human being,' " said Regina Migliori, a representative of the Institute for World Citizenship, a new NGO with a major role in organizing the Conference. "This 'global human being' is one able to deal with the challenges related with peace. The world is very diverse and the reality very complex with positive and negative aspects and what we need is to promote a complementarian perspective and not an antagonistic one. Conferences like this are the signals of a new era."

State Secretary Godinho said the Conference's main topics - "World Citizenship, Education for World Citizenship and Unity in Diversity" - are central to "a new vision of humankind and the search for a new humanism. . . The themes above bring us to discover a new era, a new world, a new society, a new humankind."

Rabbi Henry Sobel, from the Jewish community of São Paulo, spoke of the role of the individual in promoting change. "Everything is possible," he said. "It only depends on us, each one of us, from inside to outside, from inner development to outer development."