Welcome to the office of the International Progress Organization

 

I.P.O., July 1996

 

Since its foundation in 1972, in the middle of the cold war period, the International Progress Organization has constantly propagated an international order that is based on justice and mutual respect between nations. As stated in our founding declaration, true and genuine progress must be based on tolerance and respect for each other's culture and value system. In the age of mass communication, mankind is developing towards a global multicultural society. Major conflicts may only be avoided if we abandon traditional ethnocentric attitudes and learn to accept the existence of other cultures different from our own.

In several respects, our organization was well ahead of the time when it pointed to crucial issues of our evolving global society. In the course of the establishment of the I.P.O., we sent a letter to the Division of Philosophy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, suggesting  the holding of an international conference on questions related to the "dialogue between different civilizations." The philosophy of intercultural relations, which we presented at our inaugural conference, contains in its essence the principles of tolerance and respect for each other's value system and way of life, which now have been endorsed in the United Nations policy of a global "dialogue among civilizations."

Since its early years, and particularly in the phase of geopolitical change after the end of the cold war, the International Progress Organization has called for a new world order based on the full realization of the principles of the United Nations Charter. In our view, this implies a multi-polar balance of power along the lines of the too early abandoned North-South dialogue.

The call of the I.P.O. for the establishment of a just and more equitable international economic order cannot be separated from our dealing with the causes of major regional conflicts that are threatening peace and stability in the whole world, whether in the Middle East, in Asia, Africa, or Latin America. Our organization firmly believes in the rule of law in relations between states. This implies that traces of traditional power politics should be eliminated from the United Nations system. It is for this reason that we are supporting the worldwide movement for a more democratic United Nations. We have spearheaded the global debate with the first international conference on "Democracy in International Relations," which we held in New York City in October 1985 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the world organization. Since the beginning of the 1990s, we have launched numerous initiatives and sponsored studies on the democratization of the UN, in particular the Security Council. Only with a democratic structure will the world organization enjoy the legitimacy necessary to provide the framework for conflict resolution on the basis of the concept of truly collective security.

We will continue to emphasize the crucial issues of a world order of peace and equality among peoples, nations, and -- not least -- among citizens of all cultures and races. In the 21st century, "progress" must not be understood in a narrow materialistic sense. The concept of human rights -- if it is to be more than a tool of hegemonial foreign policy -- has to be applied to all aspects of society: cultural, social, economic, and political. Only if human rights are established as the guiding principles of international law can we credibly proclaim a "New World Order" of peace and justice. This is the message of the International Progress Organization for the multipolar order of the future.

Hans Koechler