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World Peace Through World Law: WPI History Part II

(This is Part II in a series of articles on the history of the World Policy Institute leading up to World Policy Around the Table: A 50th Anniversary Celebration and Conversation)

By Amanda Dugan

Once the Fund for Education Concerning World Peace through World Law—now known as the World Law Fund—decided to promote a global educational program, its first step was to create a model that could be translated into cultures around the world. Beginning with the United States, the World Law Fund developed its “world order studies” method, a three step process designed to transform the world. First, experts diagnose and analyze the current world problems and extrapolate the trends 20-30 years in the future; second, they pose alternative political systems designed to resolve the problems in the first step; and finally, they create and test the viability of various transition steps.

Because the Fund approached the educational experience as a process—rather than a defined set of terms—they believed their model left room to adapt to the particulars of each society. Still, in order to ensure the universal appeal of its approach, the Fund made one final change before introducing it to foreign audiences. Rather than addressing individual problems that were of “vital interest” to all nations, the Fund identified the underlying causes. As the Fund’s leaders explained, these issues were just the symptoms, and the real solution had to address the root causes. To this end, the Fund identified core values they believed represented the interests of the entire global community. At this point, world order studies were redesigned as the “inquiry into the ways and means of achieving four interrelated basic values”: peace or war prevention, economic well-being, ecological balance, and social justice

With these values, the Fund launched its first stage of the world order studies program. At the New Delhi conference, the Fund presented an audience with what it considered to be the greatest problems facing the world through an Indian context. The next phase—the consideration of alternative models—was also presented at this seminar, as the Fund continued to rely on World Peace Through World Law as its instructional model. Though according to Clark and Sohn, the proposals in World Peace were only designed to serve as a catalyst for debate by identifying the issues facing the world and providing a framework for the “citizenry of [the U.S.] and of other lands [to] attain a far deeper understanding [of the problems].”

Using instructional materials “written by members of their own society,” in combination with World Peace, the Fund anticipated that they could engage Indian, as well as other international audiences on the same platform as their American counterparts. And ultimately, the Fund hoped that by approaching these issues from a common-value perspective, future generations would be prepared to search for solutions from a global, rather than national, perspective, and could come together to develop acceptable solutions for an international system based on the world order values. Unfortunately, as they met with educators around the world to introduce their model of world order studies, the Fund experienced what it called a “strong resistance to using one model as formulated by two United States citizens.”

Because World Peace was the result of “many years of study and of searching criticism by hundreds of qualified persons in many nations,” the Fund assumed that international audiences would welcome its proposals. Considering the text the result of a collaborative international process, the Fund hoped to use it as a foundation that could be expanded upon. However, while international audiences generally accepted the values presented in the text, they did not see how Clark and Sohn’s model could “reflect accurately the interests and priorities” of their own countries and regions.

Concerned that this program was beginning to look like a hegemonic intellectual exercise, the Fund attempted to reformulate its approach. At this point, the Fund had already published a new text, Legal and Political Problems of World Law. Written by Professor Saul Mendlovitz, who had been working with the Fund to develop its domestic approach to world order studies, Legal and Political Problems addressed each of the proposals in World Peace, asking, “Is it necessary? Is it feasible? Is it fair?” Applying this approach to its program, the Fund began inviting political scientists and scholars to conferences and asking them to analyze these proposals from their unique perspectives. However, as some participants were still unfamiliar with the text, they remained reluctant to engage in the process.

After returning from a conference in Africa, where he had unsuccessfully attempted to introduce the World Peace Through World Law, Mendlovitz arranged a meeting with World Law Fund President Harry Hollins. As Professor Mendlovitz explained the difficulties of applying World Peace in an African context, Hollins began thinking of a way to engage these various audiences. Rather than trying to fit new perspectives into the same model, Hollins asked Mendlovitz, “What if they had their own models?” This conversation brought the World Law Fund into its next phase: the World Order Models Project.

The next post in our series will introduce the indivudals behind the World Order Models Project

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Amanda Dugan is a Research Consultant for the World Policy Institute.

[Logo courtesy of Shutterstock]

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