I.P.O. ANNUAL REPORT 2008
Vienna, 2 January 2008
The "Global War on Terror" and the Question of World Order. Studies in International Relations, XXX. Vienna: International Progress Organization, 2008. ISBN 3-900704-24-7. 252 pages.
Education and Intercultural Dialogue: A Philosophical Perspective. I.P.O. Online Paper. August 2008.
International Justice and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The Case of the Philippines. I.P.O. Online Paper. December 2008.
INTERCIVILIZATIONAL YOUTH ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM (IYEP)
In November 2008 the International Progress Organization co-sponsored the Intercivilizational Youth Engagement Program (IYEP-2) in Malaysia. The project was organized in co-operation with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and other international NGOs. 50 participants from over 15 countries discussed world environmental crises under the theme "Green vs. Greed: Youths Reflect on the Environmental Challenge" and adopted a five-point resolution calling, inter alia, for a thorough reevaluation and revitalization of education to ensure positive changes in society intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Among the co-sponsors were the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM), Pax Christi Australia, the Indian Council of Gandhian Studies, and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).
In the course of 2008, the International Progress Organization continued its participation in the global discourse on the dialogue among civilizations as basis of peaceful co-existence among peoples and states. Among the international meetings the I.P.O. co-organized or participated in are: -- "Islam et Occident: choc ou dialogue des civilisations," Seminar organized by Syndicat National de l'Enseignement Supérieur (SNESUP) and Association des Marocains Germanophones d'Autriche, Faculté des Sciences, Université Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco, 22 May 2008; -- International Conference "Education as a Dialogue Model of Social Development," World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" and Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, June 2008; -- lecture meeting on "Islamophobia and the Contradictions in Europe's Multicultural Society," Global Research Center, Bilim ve Sanat Vakfı / Foundation for Sciences and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey, 18 October 2008; -- International Conference "Beyond Religious Differences: Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination based on religion or belief," Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Co-operation / Council of Europe Directorate of Youth and Sport, Baku, Azerbaijan, 5-9 November 2008; -- Inter-civilizational Youth Engagement Program (IYEP2), Kuala Selangor, Malaysia, 16-20 November 2008.
The President of the I.P.O. further gave exclusive interviews for the daily newspapers Libération and Al Ahdat al-Maghribiya (Casablanca, Morocco) on Muslim-Western relations (May and June 2008). He also gave an interview for Syrian Television, Damascus, on issues of international conflict resolution and civilizational dialogue (24 November 2008).
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE
On 12 November 2008, the President of the International Progress Organization delivered a keynote speech at the TransAtlantic Conference 2008, organized by the Franklin Center for Global Policy Research, in The Hague (Netherlands) on "The International Criminal Court and International Realpolitik."
FOLLOW-UP TO THE LOCKERBIE OBSERVER MISSION
On 21 July 2008 the President of the I.P.O. sent a letter to Mr. David Miliband, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, concerning legal matters related to the appeal of Mr. Abdelbaset Mohmed Al Megrahi, the only convicted person in the Lockerbie case. On 27 August the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom sent a letter of reply. Several reports and interviews were published in the Scottish and British media.
From 11 to 19 September 2008 the President of the I.P.O. undertook an information visit to Scotland following up on the International Progress Organization's observer mission at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands (2000-2002). On 15-16 September 2008 an experts' meeting was held at Greshornish House on the Isle of Skye at the joint initiative of the International Progress Organization and the Lockerbie Justice Group to discuss the way forward after the decision of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to refer Mr. Al Megrahi's case back to the Appeal Court. The "Greshornish House Accord" was announced at an international press conference on 16 September 2008. In the course of his information visit the President of the I.P.O. met with Mr. Tam Dalyell, former British MP and Father of the House of Commons, and Mr. Alex Neil, Member of the Scottish Parliament, in Edinburgh. Dr. Koechler gave an exclusive interview to the BBC on the Lockerbie appeal and delivered a keynote address at the Law Awards of Scotland 2008 in Glasgow (18 September 2008) on "The Lockerbie Trial and the Rule of Law."
Dr. Hans Koechler gave interviews for Bavarian Radio (Cologne, Germany), Deutschlandfunk (Germany), ARTE TV, ITV (London), Sunday Express (London), Scottish Sunday Times (Glasgow), and several other radio and television stations on the developments in the Lockerbie case.
ACTIVITIES RELATED TO THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
On 28 July 2008 the President of the I.P.O. met in Vienna (Austria) a delegation of Interfaith Peace-Builders (USA), on their way to occupied Palestine for a fact-finding mission, and delivered a briefing statement on "The United Nations Organization and the Prospects of Peace in Palestine."
The International Progress Organization took part in the Arab-International Congress on the Right of Return, held in Damascus (Syria) from 23 to 24 November 2008.
On 26 November 2008 the International Progress Organization, on behalf of the network of non-governmental organizations on the question of Palestine, delivered a statement on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The meeting was organized at the United Nations Office at Vienna by the United Nations Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
On 31 December 2008 the International Progress Organization issued an urgent call for an Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly under the provisions of the Uniting for Peace Resolution, to deal with the Israeli attack on Gaza.
INITIATIVE IN SUPPORT OF THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
From 13 to 15 December 2008 the International Progress Organization participated in a national gathering in Manila, Philippines, on "The Protection and Promotion of Indigenous Peoples' Rights." On 13 December the President of the I.P.O. delivered a keynote address on "International Justice and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The Case of the Philippines." The conference participants, including representatives of indigenous peoples from Mindanao, adopted a resolution requesting the International Progress Organization to transmit to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the Human Rights Council, and other appropriate UN agencies, a "Call for these International Bodies to Look Into the Worsening State of the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines and to Intervene and Draw the Attention of the Philippine Government to Decisively Implement its Domestic Laws on, or affecting, Indigenous Peoples and to Fully Adhere to, and Respect the United Nations Declarations on Human Rights and on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
The International Progress Organization has endorsed an Open Letter addressed on 19 May 2008 by fourteen elder statesman from Europe to President Danilo Türk of Slovenia, acting President of the European Council, alerting him about the dangerous instability of the international financial system and urging the member states of the European Union to adopt comprehensive and effective measures to contain the crisis. Among the signatories of the letter were the former Presidents of the European Commission, Jacques Delors and Jacques Santer, and former Prime Ministers Lionel Jospin (France) and Helmut Schmidt (Germany).
On 10 September 2008 the President of the International Progress Organization delivered a lecture on "The Role of Trust in Multinational Financial Institutions: An Intercultural Business Model for Europe" at the Symposion / Group Executive Committee Meeting on "The Power of Trust - Facilitating Inter- and Transcultural Performance and Efficiency in Connected Banking Systems," organized by Erste University, Erste Group Bank AG, in Vienna, Austria.
On 15 December 2008 the President of the I.P.O. delivered a statement on "The Crisis of the Global Economy and the Imperatives of Global Justice" at an inter-faith meeting in Manila, Philippines.
SPECIAL LECTURES BY THE PRESIDENT
"Global Security in the Absence of a Balance of Power: The Importance of Inter-regional Co-operation": International Conference "Countries of the Caucasus and the Middle East - possible partners in the process of formation of a regional system of security," Yerevan, Armenia, 7 February 2008.
"The 'Global War on Terror' - Contradictions of an Imperial Strategy": Global Peace and Justice Auckland (GPJA), Special GPJA Forum, Auckland, New Zealand, 20 February 2008.
"The Kashmir Problem between Law and Realpolitik: Reflections on a Negotiated Settlement": Keynote Speech, "Global Discourse on Kashmir 2008," organized by the All-Party Group for Kashmir in the European Parliament and the International Council for Human Rights (ICHR) / Kashmir Centre, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, 1 April 2008.
"Global (Dis)order in a Period of Transition: Turkey's Role in the Emerging Multipolar World": Honorary Professorship Award Ceremony, Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey, 16 October 2008.
PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES
From 10 to 12 October 2008 the International Progress Organization participated in the 6th General Meeting of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" in Rhodes (Greece).
From 23 to 24 November 2008 the International Progress Organization participated in the Arab and International Conference on the Palestinian Right of Return in Damascus, Syria.
On 15 December 2008 the International Progress Organization participated in the launching of the international and interfaith OIKOTREE project in Manila (Philippines).
INFORMATION VISITS BY THE PRESIDENT
framework of the I.P.O.'s activities, Prof. Hans Koechler undertook
information visits to Armenia (6-8 February 2008), Australia (13-17 February
2008), New Zealand (18-20 February 2008), Norway (28-31 August 2008), Scotland
(11-19 September 2008), Turkey (14-20 October 2008), and the Philippines (12-17
SPECIAL MEETINGS OF THE PRESIDENT
6 February 2008: Meeting with the President of the World Armenian Congress, Mr. A. Sargsyan, in Yerevan, Armenia.
6 February 2008: Meeting with the President of the International Academy for Philosophy, Prof. Georg Brutian, in Yerevan, Armenia.
14 February 2008: Meeting in Melbourne, Australia, with the Director of the Centre for Dialogue of La Trobe University, Prof. Joseph Camilleri.
11 June 2008: Meeting with Mr. Vladimir Yakunin, President of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" in Ottawa, Canada.
15 October 2008: Meeting with the Rector of Pamukkale University, Prof. F. Necdet Ardiç, and the Rector of the State University of Tetova (Macedonia), Prof. Sadi Bexheti, in Denizli, Turkey.
5 November 2008: Meeting with the Director of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe, Mr. Ralf-René Weingärtner, in Baku, Azerbaijan.
24 November 2008: Meeting with the Asst. Secretary-General (International Relations) of the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party, Mr. Abdul El-Ahmer, in Damascus, Syria.
18 December 2008: Meeting with the Director of Intellectual Exchange, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), Mr. Peter Ryan, in Singapore.
CO-OPERATION WITH OTHER NGOs
The International Progress Organization continued its co-operation with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia, on questions related to inter-religious and inter-religious dialogue.
The International Progress Organization further agreed to continue co-operation with the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" (Moscow/Vienna), the Asia-Europe Foundation (Singapore), and the Foundation for Social Justice (Manila).