The Research Institute for the Integration of World Thought is committed to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Based on its partnerships with United Nations organizations and the specific competencies of the organization itself, the Research Institute has a special commitment to contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; to support Sustainable Development Goal 5 to achieve Gender Equality and to Sustainable Development Goal 16 to Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. These are three events that took place in 2017 to support those SDGs.
March 2017 New Yorker Hotel, Training Conference for the Women’s Federation for World Peace International with Dr. Thomas J. Ward, Co-Chair of the Research Institute for World Peace. Women’s Federation for World Peace International, a Civil Society Organization with General Consultative Status at the United Nations, hosted Thomas J. Ward who spoke on Strategic planning. Dr. Ward shared the historical development of the women’s suffrage movement and traced the careful process and planning involved in bringing the movement’s objectives to success. He noted that it had been born as an outgrowth of the Abolition movement in the United States. When abolitionists did not permit women to express their positions at their conventions, Ward noted that women had begun to organize themselves. They had a clear goal which was to secure the right to vote. They built alliances with African-American abolitionist leaders and with Frederick Douglas in particular. They drafted a proposed amendment for women’s suffrage. They built strong alliances often through the support of their husbands. They developed educational programs to explore why women should be granted the right to vote. They conducted demonstrations when appropriate and also even faced jail time but used such occasions of oppression to gain the attention of the press. They also built both state and federal initiatives so that women had to tracks and finally this led to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.
Ward showed the important role that strategic planning played in the achievement of women’s suffrage. He then proceeded to propose a model of strategic planning for WFWP and he has been involved with the WFWP leadership’s strategic planning process throughout the past year.
The growth and success of organizations such as WFWP serve to support SDG 5 to achieve gender equality.
Later that month, in his role as Co-Chair of the Research Institute, Ward was invited to lecture and oversee a simulation on Conflict Transformation in conjunction with the United Nations NGO Women’s Federation for World Peace International at a leadership training program targeting WFWP emerging young women leaders. The enhancement of our understanding of peace studies is essential to our efforts to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. In his presentation, Ward outlined the social science of peace studies. This was followed by a simulation that was designed to show how communication and collaboration among ostensible competitors can lead to far better results in negotiations and commerce than reticence and exclusion.
In October, the Research Institute conducted a conference with the Professors World Peace Academy at the University of Bridgeport which holds United Nations Department of Public Information NGO status at the United Nations. The Conference reflected on the impact of the Cold War and its antecedents and looked towards future challenges. The Conference included several academics at the University of Bridgeport including University President Neil Albert Salonen, President Emeritus Richard L. Rubenstein, and PWPA Secretary-General Dr. Gordon Anderson. The Conference was open to academic and other community and religious leaders. It represented a continuation of the annual conferences that have been conducted by the Research Institute to encourage ongoing research on topics related to peace studies and to provide continuing education opportunities. In the evening Research Institute Secretary-General Claude Perrottet shared his experiences teaching a course on Unification Philosophy which is available on the Research Institute website and is self-paced and an excellent introduction both to philosophy and to Unification philosophy in particular. Selected papers are available on the Research Institute website.