General Declaration 2012
A) At its 2012 annual meeting in the city of Sao Paolo (Brazil), the General Assembly of IONA (International Organization New Acropolis) highlighted and resolved to continue this year with the implementation of its three pillars, namely, philosophy, culture and volunteering:
Recognizing the need to strengthen the ties of solidarity, the General Assembly of IONA understands that philosophy is a way of raising awareness which enables individuals to have access to the understanding of the human condition; that culture is a way of helping to bring together the different expressions of knowledge of the different human communities that enrich our planet; and that volunteering is a valid method of social cooperation that brings human beings closer together in love for others, as a practical way of helping to develop programs that promote dialogue and harmonious coexistence.
Recommends that all New Acropolis associations affiliated to IONA should intensify their activities in these three areas of philosophy, culture and volunteering, as they have done up to now, but strengthening these channels of action in view of the current crisis which is devastating the planet globally, wherever these three forms of humanitarian action can be combined to alleviate the pain generated by the crisis.
B) As we have already pointed out on previous occasions, the General Assembly of IONA takes the view that the economic and social crisis that is overwhelming the international community in an alarming manner has its deepest roots in the crisis of moral and ethical values.
Recognizing that, as can be gathered from the official reports produced by the United Nations, a crisis of global dimensions is affecting the planet and generating instability in large banks, companies and enterprises, with devastating effects for citizens all over the planet, increasing the cost of living, destroying livelihoods, generating poverty, and with no short-term solutions in view.
Recommends considering that the roots of the economic and social damage which our society is suffering most probably lie in the decline in respect for moral and ethical values that has taken place over the last few years, and that this has opened the way to the corruption that has affected political and business leaders. It is therefore necessary and urgent to recover the most basic values which are those that support the concept of human dignity, and this is something that IONA, in the different countries in which it carries out its philosophical work, can encourage by means of public lectures and activities that help to raise awareness about the need for a moral rearmament on a planetary scale.
C) In view of the importance of the Yearbook, which is published every year internationally and in which the international community can see the exemplifying work in moral values and solidarity carried out by IONA in over fifty countries around the world.
Recognizing that for more than ten years the publication of IONA’s Activities Yearbook has become an international reference for our philosophical, cultural and volunteering work, and that our support and work has been requested on numerous occasions by the authorities of the different countries in which we operate.
Recommends continuing with the publication and dissemination of the Yearbook, both in its paper and digital versions, in order to continue to promote values, without forgetting the importance of the international website of IONA and the official websites of each of its member associations.
D) Given that UNESCO has established the annual event known as “World Philosophy Day”, during the month of November each year, with important implications in the different member countries of that Organization, and that it recommends its application in the framework of civil society.
Recognizing that IONA has carried out an enormous amount of work in connection with this event over several years, by organizing specific activities for World Philosophy Day each November in the countries where its member associations operate, with significant impact both locally and internationally.
Recommends continuing with this important work of disseminating philosophical values, bearing in mind that philosophical knowledge, as an “art of living”, is one of the fundamental pillars of the activities of IONA and a way of encouraging the spreading of the idea of “know thyself”, as taught by the classical philosophers.
E) Bearing in mind that an important part of the international activities carried out by the different member associations of IONA is cooperating with other international, national and local organizations and authorities.
Recognizing the importance of the activities carried out in this sense by IONA, it wishes to highlight the activity it carried out in December 2011, when it submitted to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) its recommendations for the strengthening of a Democratic Culture in the Americas, in the framework of the tenth anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Bearing in mind that IONA is present in twenty of the thirty-five member countries of the OAS, and that it is registered as a Civil Society Organization (CSO) with the OAS in Chile.
Recommends continuing with this important work, not only at a regional level in the framework of the Organization of American States, but also extending it to the context of the United Nations, where IONA can go more deeply into civil society dialogue and citizen coexistence.
F) Bearing in mind that the world population has risen from six billion inhabitants in the year 2000 to seven billion by the end of 2011, and that in the face of this exponential growth the capacity to feed and provide security for human beings is becoming increasingly complex.
Recognizing that the areas with the highest population densities are mainly concentrated in the developing countries, where poverty and hunger are endemic.
Recommends that the member associations of IONA increase their social aid work and their support for the underprivileged in order to alleviate the great imbalances that are having such a negative effect on the environment in which we work, applying the principle of subsidiarity, on the basis of which each association can best provide for the social needs that are closest to its own neighborhood, in view of the advantage that the activities of IONA are carried on in more than fifty countries distributed over the different continents.
G) Recalling the terrible natural disaster that affected Japan in March 2011, caused by the combination of an earthquake and a tsunami, which, within a few hours, devastated a large part of the Northeast of the country and resulted in a radioactive leak at the Fukushima Power Plant.
Recognizing the need to anticipate, as far as possible, these types of natural disasters which are becoming daily more evident all over the planet, what is becoming increasingly clear to us is the fragile nature of our environment.
Recommends that, wherever New Acropolis has centers, it should increase its awareness of the protection and security systems that can help in the event of such accidents and carry out regular evacuation drills in order to remain alert in the face of such emergency situations, and that it should also cooperate with other organizations to create community protection networks in the places where our centers operate.
H) Given that UNESCO has designated 2012 as the International Year of Reading, it is particularly appropriate to encourage the art of reading among the different sectors of the population.
Recognizing that, through reading, human communities make progress by cultivating culture to achieve better and higher levels of citizen and human awareness.
Recommends the promotion of reading in the different member countries of IONA and the creation of book clubs to take better advantage of the excellent libraries that our centers possess, thus providing a stimulus to knowledge and giving our libraries a further practical and social use.