[Note: In several places the spelling used is based on Canadian/European formats.]
Fifty years is ample time in which to change a world and its people almost beyond recognition. All that is required for the task are a sound knowledge of social engineering, a clear sight of the intended goal—and power. [ Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End, p. 69.]
A world society cannot be haphazard. Since there are no precedents, it cannot be traditional at this stage in its development. It can only be deliberative and experimental, planned and built up with particular objectives and with the aid of all available knowledge concerning the principles of social organization. Social engineering is a new science. [Scott Nearing, United World, p. 221.]
Without question, one of the greatest tools for social engineering is in the realm of public education. This is not a blanket statement downplaying the role of education per se, but a judgment call recognizing the tremendous influence that the educational system can play in creating “social change.”
Consider this statement from Naresh Singh, a program director at the International Institute for Sustainable Development,
Education has been advanced as significant in bringing about changes in attitudes, behaviour, beliefs and values…In order to redirect behaviour and values towards institutional change for sustainable development there is a need to investigate strategic options in relation to educational philosophies, scope for propagation and adoption, and groups most likely to be susceptible to change. [Empowerment For Sustainable Development, 1995, International Institute for Sustainable Development, p. 27.]
All of this points to a radical shift now taking place—a shift which emphasizes “global thinking” and “planetary norms.” According to the IISD literature, “the task of education for the immediate future is to assist in activating an ethic of planetary sensitivity.…We must pass from a human-centred to an earth-centred sense of reality and value.” [Budd Hall and Edmund Sullivan, Empowerment For Sustainable Development, p. 102.]
This “global-shift role” for general education is a foundational platform for UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The first Director General of UNESCO, Julian Huxley, clearly laid out UNESCO’s educational scope,
In general, Unesco must constantly be testing its policies against the touchstone of evolutionary progress. A central conflict of our times is that between nationalism and internationalism, between the concept of many national sovereignties and one world sovereignty…
The moral of Unesco is clear. The task laid upon it of promoting peace and security can never be wholly realised through the means assigned to it—education, science and culture. It must envisage some form of world political unity, whether through a single world government or otherwise…However, world political unity is, unfortunately, a remote ideal, and in any case does not fall within the field of Unesco’s competence. This does not mean that Unesco cannot do a great deal towards promoting peace and security. Specifically, in its educational programme it can stress the ultimate need for world political unity and familiarise all peoples with the implications of the transfer of full sovereignty from separate nations to a world organisation. [Huxley, UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy, 1947., p. 13]
Back in 1968, UNESCO, along with The Twentieth Century Fund (now called The Century Foundation) and the Ford Foundation, helped start a new educational body located in Geneva, Switzerland—the International Baccalaureate Organization.
Originally, the IBO was established to provide a common educational basis for international students that would be acceptable to universities around the world. With this in mind, IBO curriculum has, for over 35 years, emphasized that its students need to broaden their understanding of various cultures, languages, and points of view.
Understanding other’s points of view, cultures and languages is, in itself, a noble task—it’s something that I work at pursuing and instilling within my own children and in myself. But underlining IBO’s philosophy is something deeper; according to George Walker, the Director General at IBO, “International education offers people a state of mind: international-mindedness. You’ve got to change people’s thinking.” Hence, “students develop an awareness of moral and ethical issues and a sense of social responsibility…fostered by examining local and global issues.”
This is not simply ambiguous language. In advancing the international-mindedness of IBO, the organization has endorsed the Earth Charter—an earth-centered declaration which venerates global political-ethical-moral and spiritual unification. Some, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, have gone so far as to compare the Earth Charter with “those 10 or 15 Commandments which we all know about…those famous testaments…” [Gorbachev, Rio+5 speech, March 18,1997].
Providing the Earth Charter initiative with advanced support, the International Baccalaureate Organization has agreed to become an Earth Charter partnership entity, along with such groups as the Association of World Citizens, Friends of the Earth, Global People’s Assembly, Rain Forest Action Network, the US branch of the United Nations Association, and the World Parliament of Religion.
Furthermore, IBO Deputy Director General, Ian Hill, sits as a member on the Earth Charter Initiative Education Advisory Committee. Going further, IBO is currently looking at ways to incorporate the Earth Charter into the following curriculum areas; Theory of Knowledge, Environmental Systems, Environmental Science, Technology and Social Change, Peace and Conflict Studies, Experimental Science, Philosophy, Geography, History, Math, and the Arts.
None of this would be very remarkable if the IBO were a small entity stuffed somewhere in a forgotten corner of the world—it’s not. Presently, almost 1,300 schools around the globe are authorized to offer IBO programs. And in the US and Canada, just under 650 schools are tied in to the IBO, with 473 in the US. Adding to this, the IBO is linked into a number of United Nations’ functions beyond the UN inspired Earth Charter and UNESCO—where it holds a special consultative status. The IBO has been involved in prep work for the UN’s World Summit on Sustainable Development, it’s involved in a number of UN International Schools, and the organization works with a variety of United Nations Model programs. In other words, it’s an organization with considerable “social change” inroads.
Funding for the body also reflects this global-local-global approach. This past October, in a monetary show of support, the US Department of Education awarded the IBO a grant of $1.17 million. According to the IBO press release, these US taxpayer funds were to be specifically channeled into setting up IBO programs “in six middle and high school partnerships in disadvantaged areas in Massachusetts, New York and Arizona.”
Further funding for the IBO has come from 14 other major national governments, including the United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada. Monies have also been funneled in through contributions from the Goldman Sachs Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the US Agency for International Development, the Armand Hammer Foundation and the Armand Hammer United World College, the United Nations International School, the New York Times Foundation, Gulf Canada, the IBM World Trade Organization, and many others. Obviously, incorporating a global mind-change educational agenda carries a hefty price tag.
Interestingly, Professor Azim Nanji, Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies, delivered a speech to the International Baccalaureate Organization on May 5th, 2003, stating that we need to see things in broader terms than just nation-states and western liberal democracy. He also stated that when people’s religious beliefs become a vehicle for political and social agendas, it’s an abuse of religion.
Somehow I think the irony of this proposition went unnoticed. By endorsing and incorporating the Earth Charter, the IBO is blatantly pushing a pseudo-religious/spiritual agenda—an international social-change concept that is grossly intertwined with global governance aspirations and United Nations empowerment. UNESCO itself, as part of IBO’s foundational base, endorses a quasi-religious version of international education through the work of a former high-ranking UN official, Robert Muller.
In 1989, Robert Muller received the UNESCO Peace Education Prize for his work on developing a World Core Curriculum. Frederico Mayor, the Director-General of UNESCO at the time, praised Muller as an “innovator in education” and gave accolades for Muller’s book New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality, saying that it “offers the world a blueprint for a new, spiritual vision of human destiny.”
Yes it does! According to Muller,
…humankind is seeking no less than its reunion with the “divine,” its transcendence into ever higher forms of life. Hindus call our earth Brahma, or God, for they rightly see no difference between our earth and the divine. This ancient simple truth is slowly dawning again upon humanity. Its full flowering will be the real, great new story of humanity, as we are about to enter our cosmic age and to become what we were always meant to be: the planet of God. [New Genesis, p. 49]
Not surprisingly, Muller’s World Core Curriculum closely followed this New Genesis-New Age vein. In fact, Muller’s World Core Curriculum is really more of a philosophy of education than an actual curriculum—a philosophy firmly grounded in New Age concepts of man’s deification and “Earth spirituality.”
Bridging all of this Muller asserts, “Yes, global education must transcend material, scientific and intellectual achievements and reach deliberately into the moral and spiritual spheres.” [New Genesis, p. 8]
Why? According to Muller,
We must manage our globe so as to permit the endless stream of humans admitted to the miracle of life to fulfill their lives physically, mentally, morally and spiritually as has never been possible before in our entire evolution. Global education must prepare our children for the coming of an independent…happy planetary age. [New Genesis, p. 8]
Lucile Green, a long-time world government activist and friend of Robert Muller, describes this new “planetary age” in her memoir,
A wholistic, one-world view is emerging from space travel and other miracles of modern technology and from communication. A new consciousness is also emerging from a growing awareness in the West of the wisdom of the Eastern world-view. Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shinto, while they differ in many respects, portray the world as a multi-dimensional, organically interrelated eco-system of which man is one of many inter-dependent parts. Perhaps we can learn through them to see the world whole, as it really is, and together—West and East—begin to build the foundations of a new world order.
The most urgent item on the planetary agenda is to set the limits of freedom and order in supra-national, global affairs. A constitution for the world is needed which combines the achievements of both hemispheres: that is, constitutional limitations and a bill of rights from the West and a spacious world-view from the East. [Journey To A Governed World, pp. 34-35].
Another contemporary of Muller, William D. Hitt, wrote in his book The Global Citizen, “As global citizens, we will need a new type of thinking.”
This is the crux of global social change: a “new type of thinking” that bridges international education, global ethics, world political unity, and the emergence of a “planetary spirituality.” It is the desire to shape and mold man according to man’s image. It is the desire to re-cast history and human endeavor to conform with the utopian New Age version of a “world society”—a society shaped by propaganda, planetary-correctness, and a faulty and exalted image of man and nature.
And finally, when contemplating the move towards this world society and the propaganda role of “international education,” consider the words of Scott Nearing, an avid socialist and proponent of world government,
The conversion of a continent of localists into a continent of nationalists in a few generations must rank as one of the outstanding achievements of modern times. Indoctrination works. Human loyalties can be and are speedily shifted by experience coupled with propaganda.
Worldizing processes are building up a great number and variety of world experiences. Millions of human beings, responding to these experiences, are already world conscious, world minded and prepared to function as citizens in a world society. Such human beings have passed through and graduated from the school of nationalism. They are wordlists. They wait with impatience for the emergence of a world commonwealth. — Scott Nearing, United World, pp.20-21.
(Carl Teichrib is a freelance journalist and world systems researcher.)