MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING OF THE IONA HELD ON 12 APRIL 2018
The General Meeting of the IONA was held in the city of Paris (France), at the Hilton Hotel Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport
The General Meeting of the IONA approves the following resolutions:
A) The General Meeting of the IONA reaffirms the need to allow everyone access to knowledge and proposes three lines of action: Philosophy, Culture and Volunteering, bearing in mind the need to foster civic ethical values for the 21st century.
B) The General Meeting recalls that the purpose of Schools of Philosophy “in the classical tradition” is to educate all human beings without distinction so that everyone can live with dignity and understand their usefulness to society and the world.
The IONA recalls that, in order to act effectively in the societies of our times, human beings need to base their actions on organizational structures that provide them with the appropriate tools to solve the new political, economic, social and environmental challenges that face our societies. In this way they can bring about an improvement in human relations, as proposed by the Principles laid down in the IONA’s Charter.
C) The General Meeting reaffirms its intention to continue with the activities of the IONA and to promote its active participation in society alongside other public and private institutions and organizations.
D) The General Meeting recalls that humanity as a whole has resolved to defend human dignity in all places and all circumstances, and it was in this spirit that the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.” The Declaration was proclaimed on 10 December 1948, which means that 2018 will be the commemoration of its 70th anniversary.
The General Meeting invites each of the national member associations of the IONA to commemorate this event in the course of its activities.
The Meeting reiterates its intention to continue to support the principles that inspire the United Nations, which are also reflected in the principles of the International Organization New Acropolis.
Indeed, the First Principle of its Founding Charter presents precisely the idea of promoting “an Ideal of international fraternity, based on respect for human dignity, beyond racial, sexual, cultural, religious, social or other differences.”
E) The General Meeting of the IONA proposes to its Member Associations that they continue to establish institutional relations with international organizations having similar purposes and common ground for mutual cooperation.
In line with the above, member associations are encouraged to participate in institutional networks of a regional or global nature.
F) The General Meeting of the IONA echoes the appeal made by the General Secretary of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, in his New Year Message for 2018, in which he issued a “red alert” in response to the deepening of international conflicts, the increase in nuclear weapons, climate change, inequalities, human rights violations, nationalism and xenophobia. The General Meeting of the IONA agrees with the proposal of Antonio Guterres that it is necessary to foster unity in the international community by narrowing the gaps, bringing people together around common goals, bridging the divides and defending shared values in order to “make our world more safe and secure.” The IONA has been working in this direction for the last sixty years, through its more than four hundred and thirty branches around the world, striving for peace, unity and dignity of all human beings in over sixty countries across the five continents.
G) Since its beginnings, the IONA has promoted in its Schools of Philosophy a human rights-based education, so that human beings in every part of the world can know their rights and those of others, and develop a practical ethics of community service.
H) It also proposes continuing to develop and expand the activities of ecological action groups that foster the education of human beings while conserving the environment and providing systems of support and survival in the event of natural disasters.
IONA GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2017. BUENOS AIRES (SPAIN)
The General Assembly of the IONA approves the following resolutions:
A) The General Assembly of the IONA reaffirms its commitment to continue with its three lines of work - Philosophy, Culture and philosophical Volunteering - in order to offer access to knowledge for all. Through this work it seeks to develop essential ethical values and to work towards the moral transformation of all human beings.
The General Assembly invites each of the national member Associations of the IONA to implement these guidelines through their various activities.
B) The General Assembly recalls that the purpose of the IONA’s Schools of Philosophy ‘in the classical tradition’ is to educate all human beings without distinction and help them develop their own dignity and fulfil their capacity of service to society.
The IONA recalls that a philosophical education, which is not only intellectual but above all practical, enables people to face the crises that are devastating the societies of our times and to foster groups of human beings who can provide solutions for improving the world, as laid down in the principles of the IONA’s Charter.
C) The General Assembly reaffirms its determination to continue with the activities of the IONA and to promote its active participation in the societies of our times, together with other public and private institutions and organisations.
D) The General Assembly reiterates its intention to continue to support the principles that inspire the United Nations, which are in harmony with the principles of the International Organization New Acropolis in general and with the First Principle of its Founding Charter in particular, which states: “to promote an Ideal of international fraternity, based on respect for human dignity, beyond racial, sexual, cultural, religious, social or other differences.”
E) Since its beginnings, the IONA has promoted in its Schools of Philosophy an education based on “learning to know, learning to be, learning to do and learning to live together” - the four pillars of learning adopted by UNESCO in 2012 (UNEP, 2012). It therefore recognizes that learning is not limited to theoretical knowledge, but should include a training for life in its different aspects, resulting in an awareness of “global citizenship” that makes us feel an integral part of the Planet and its peoples.
F) The General Assembly therefore proposes to continue developing working groups and civic action groups to educate and work towards the preservation of our planet and societies, as recommended by the Agreement adopted in Paris (France) on 12 December by 195 countries, within the framework of COP 21 for the Protection of the Environment.
IONA GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2016. MADRID (ESPAÑA)
A) The General Assembly of the IONA reaffirms its determination to develop its three lines of work, namely Philosophy, Culture and Volunteering. In so doing, it seeks to provide access for all to real knowledge to counteract the violence, fear and loss of core values in our current societies, and to work towards a moral reconstruction with spiritual values that can unite all human beings.
The General Assembly invites each of the national member Associations of the IONA to implement these lines of work in each of their activities.
The IONA therefore reaffirms its preventive and constructive action for both society and nature, by promoting the necessary awareness to participate in and actively collaborate with useful and similar initiatives to those developed by the IONA.
B) The General Assembly recalls the need to continue with the development of Schools of Philosophy in the classical tradition, as the best instrument for education and training, since philosophy has practical applications that improve and give meaning to life and make human beings happier.
IONA recalls that a practical philosophical education promotes the essential aspect of human beings by developing their understanding, intuition and will, enabling them to become free from personal and social diseases such as selfishness, fanaticism, violence and materialism, thus fulfilling the IONA’s founding aims and principles.
C) The General Assembly values the actions of the IONA in collaboration and active participation with institutions and public and private organisations.
It invites its member Associations to continue along these lines of promoting shared philosophical experiences among human beings of different origins, cultures and practices, when lived in a complementary way.
D) It therefore proposes continuing with the development of working groups and social action groups that contribute to education and training with regard to the preservation and improvement of planet Earth and human societies, as recommended by the unprecedented Agreement adopted in Paris (France) on 12 December by 195 countries, within the framework of COP 21.
E) The General Assembly approves the actions carried out during the past year by the different organisations and associations working alongside the IONA in the area of environmental protection and philosophical and social education and training, as can be seen in the Activities Yearbook which is presented to this General Assembly.
IONA GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2015. ANTIGUA GUATEMALA (GUATEMALA)
A) The General Assembly of the IONA reaffirms its determination to develop access for all to philosophical knowledge and to make the practice of philosophy a bulwark against violence and the moral ills that are affecting the society of our times. It also intends to continue to promote an ethical renewal by providing the experience of transcendental values that can bring about a profound renewal of the human being.
The role of the General Assembly is therefore to transmit not only an ethical inspiration, but also to encourage the practical implementation of some basic lines of action in each of the national associations forming part of the IONA.
It therefore advises the member associations of the IONA to implement teaching programmes for philosophy, culture and volunteering and to develop a wide variety of activities with a philosophical focus. The aim of these programmes and activities would be not only to learn about and implement positive and constructive actions for the benefit of society or nature, but also to become aware of the need to raise awareness about actions that are harmful to society or nature.
B) The General Assembly recalls that the programmes of studies of the IONA, as a school of philosophy in the classical tradition, are based on the need for the development of the human being in order to improve society and the natural environment through a generous attitude of contributing to the common good.
C) The General Assembly recognises the positive contribution of the IONA in the world, and recommends that it continue with the valuable social and cultural work it has been carrying out over the past year. It also recommends that it continue with its collaboration and active participation with other public and private institutions and organisations in order to strengthen the necessary synergy between organisations working for philosophy, culture and volunteering.
It therefore proposes to continue with the development of work teams and social action groups that can contribute to the development and education of human beings and support the conservation and improvement of planet Earth and human societies.
D) The General Assembly approves the actions carried out during the past year by the different organisations and associations working alongside the IONA in the area of environmental protection and philosophical and social education and training, as can be seen in the Activities Yearbook which is presented to this General Assembly.
The IONA recalls that the research it carries out into different areas of knowledge helps to foster the essential part of the human being, by developing the understanding, intuition and will needed to become free from selfishness, materialism, fanaticism, violence and moral corruption. In this way it believes it can contribute to an increase in the personal and collective awareness of living together in fraternity, which is one of the fundamental criteria for creating the future of humanity, as expounded in the first of the founding principles of the IONA.
A)The General Assembly of the IONA reaffirms its determination to promote philosophical knowledge and to make the practice of philosophy a daily way of life. As a source of ethical and citizenship values, this practical philosophy can bring human beings closer to harmonious coexistence and solidarity and help humanity copemore effectively with the global crisis it is facing.
To this end, it recommendsthat the member associations of the IONAundertake joint programmes in the fields of Philosophy, Culture and Volunteering in ways that willenhance the value ofhuman dignity.
B)The Programme of Studies of the IONA's School of Philosophy in the classical tradition is yet anotherexample of the importanteducational work being carried out by the IONAaround the world.
As the priority of human beings is to improve themselves within a framework of respect and fraternity in order to foster the development of a better society, the General Assembly recommends that the member associations of the IONA promote the development of the different levels of this Programme of Studies in its degrees of Expert, Specialist and Master.
C)The General Assembly recognises the notable humanitarian and philosophical work of New Acropolis in more than two hundred centres around the world, the effectiveness of whichhas been praised by several major public and private institutions.
It therefore recommends that the member associations of the IONA continue to form social action groups to support men and women in difficulty or distress. To this end they should give priority to the training and education systems which New Acropolis has established,in order to continue to provide real and effective help in the different parts of the world where it operates.
D)The activities carried out over the past year by the different organisations and associations linked to the IONA in the area of environmental protection have been truly commendable, as can be seen in the Activities Yearbook which is presented to this General Assembly.
The General Assembly therefore reminds all member associations of the IONA of the need to preserve our shared planet, the Earth, and to continue with their educational and concrete actions in the field of ecology and the environment. In this sense, it recommends taking into account the call of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)for nominations for the Champions of the Earth Award 2014, which seeks to reward and endorse actions and leadership that have made a positive impact on the environment.
A) Bearing in mind
The social destructuring which is taking place in many places around the world and the factional fighting that is causing an alarming deterioration in human relations.
The General Assembly declares that
It is becoming increasingly necessary and urgent to recover the ethical values that constitute the pillars of harmonious coexistence between human beings, in order to promote an awareness of the “great human family”. In order for this reflection to be more than a theoretical construct without any practical application, IONA should promote a recovery of lasting values and human virtues in all its activities.
B) Bearing in mind that
No one can fail to be aware that we are living in a world in crisis, a world of great changes, both ecologically and socially.
The General Assembly
Reminds all the member and federated countries of IONA that an “ecological sea change” is necessary that will denounce the irrational exploitation of the natural resources of the planet and alert people to the uncontrolled industrialization that has resulted in the global warming of the Earth, with the disastrous consequences that this is producing in the melting of the polar icecaps and the rise in sea and ocean levels.
On the social level, we must bear in mind that the 21st century will be the century of global migrations in search of new horizons of subsistence, resulting in the uprooting of societies and families. Accordingly, New Acropolis should work effectively in all the countries where it carries on activities to mitigate the “dehumanisation of society”. The International Programs aimed at the protection of the environment should therefore be intensified, promoting collaboration with other institutions.
C) Bearing in mind that
There is a pressing need to draw up proposals to create alternative solutions, which coincide with those recommended by the different International Organisations in order to generate synergies, IONA therefore once again highlights the urgent need to implement programmes of action and activities to promote fraternity and tolerance, knowledge and an all-round development of human beings.
The General Assembly agrees
With the fact that these ideas are closely related to the three Areas of Action which IONA proposes, both on an individual and a social level: Philosophy, Culture and Volunteering.
D) Bearing in mind
The success achieved over the last few years in the celebration of World Philosophy Day.
The General Assembly declares its resolve
To continue to hold the activities relating to World Philosophy Day promoted by UNESCO on the Tenth Anniversary of this event. Remembering that this Day is held every year on the third Thursday of November, highlighting the importance that philosophy has in our daily lives and the need to reflect constructively on the world and the problems affecting humanity, as has been declared previously. To recall that in IONA there are more than 50 member countries, which contain philosophical and living expressions of different cultures, customs and languages, giving an added value to World Philosophy Day, since in each of the thousands of local, regional and national associations that make up IONA, significant activities are carried out in the framework of meetings, lectures, philosophical debates, artistic and cultural events.
E) Bearing in mind
The large number of activities carried out in the framework of the promotion of reading and the creation of Reading Clubs in different member countries of the IONA.
The General Assembly declares its resolve
To continue with these activities, promoting an interest in reading, especially among the young.
F) Bearing in mind that
The most technologically advanced countries in the field of astronomy have already detected and warned of the imminence, this year, of one of the most explosive solar electromagnetic radiation storms in recent centuries on scientific record, as well as the approach of what has come to be called by NASA a Near Earth Object as a group of asteroids which, by passing close to the Earth, may give rise to natural disasters.
The General Assembly declares its resolve
To take all the necessary precautions and reflect as philosophers and citizens about the relations between our Planet and the Solar System as a whole.
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.
At its 2011 annual meeting in the city of Vienna (Austria), the General Assembly of OINA resolved to continue this year with the implementation of its three pillars, namely philosophy, culture and volunteering, and wishes to highlight the following:
Reaffirming its conviction that philosophy and access to knowledge should not only be theoretical, but should also have a practical aspect that will enable human beings to deal with life with wisdom; and that, taking advantage of the legacy of the classical philosophers, we can attain happiness by understanding ourselves and treating others with respect, as an expression of harmonious coexistence that will make us all more human and more tolerant.
Reaffirming the value of culture as the necessary foundation for the knowledge of the history of humanity, that can give us the necessary tools to understand our own period of history better and to move towards the future with practical projects that will provide human beings and, in particular, the new generations, with access to universal education, without discrimination of any kind; with the aim of discovering ethical, moral and timeless values that will reinforce human dignity and the protection of humanity’s most fundamental rights to life and peaceful coexistence.
Reaffirming the need to offer our altruistic energies and support, through volunteering activities, to help those who, due to poverty or lack of knowledge or resources, are unable to access the most basic levels of survival. Such aid should be provided not only to human society, but also to the natural environment, as the latter is the necessary support for the habitat of the former, because the planet is the home of all.
In this sense, and as in previous years, the General Assembly of OINA reaffirms its conviction that it should continue to support the initiatives of different International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations which, in the same way as OINA, work resolutely to improve the health of the planet and the peaceful coexistence of the human beings who inhabit it. Accordingly, it reaffirms its intention to continue with its work of supporting international commemorative events which, if they are to go beyond mere proclamations, need the support of organizations such as OINA and so many others in the world to achieve their aims by promoting international cooperation.
Taking note of the fact that 2011 has been declared as the International Year of Volunteering, and that the United Nations is preparing a Report on the State of World Vounteerism, promoting a worldwide debate on volunteering.
Taking note of the fact that volunteering is a means for addressing the issues of poverty reduction, sustainable development, climate change and disaster prevention in the framework set out by the Millennium Declaration and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Without forgetting that, as well as the United Nations, the European Union has also declared 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering and that members and member associations of OINA in Europe are participating in this and have been involved in significant volunteering activities for decades.
It therefore resolves to continue with the substantial volunteering work carried out by the International Organization New Acropolis in more than fifty countries, as reflected annually in its International Yearbook published in Spanish and English and distributed worldwide; and to support all the associations affiliated to OINA in their efforts to strengthen relations between civil society and institutions, so that volunteer actions can be as effective as possible in redressing and alleviating the great social and cultural deficiencies which humanity is facing in the present millennium.
To recall that, in its Resolution A/RES 61/193, the United Nations General Assembly approved the motion to declare 2011 as the International Year of Forests, in order to raise awareness that forests are an integral part of the sustainable development of the planet in view of the economic, sociocultural and environmental benefits they provide.
In this sense, the members and member associations of OINA have been carrying out forestation campaigns for more than twenty years on the different continents where they operate. Therefore, it earnestly recommends that this important work be continued, particularly in this year dedicated to forests with the same or even greater emphasis as in previous years. Without forgetting the extremely important work carried out by OINA during the past decade, and also in this decade which has just begun, of effective campaigns of fire prevention, reforestation in the face of natural disasters and forest supervision activities carried out by New Acropolis volunteers in different countries with large areas of woodland, as well as environmental education campaigns that have been developed recently with evident effectiveness in the prevention and protection of our forests, which are the lungs of our planet.
Recalling that the Organization of American States has declared 2011 as the Inter-American Year of Culture in order to promote education and culture in Latin America.
It is emphasized that the important work which is being carried out by New Acropolis in aid of culture and education throughout the world and, in particular, in the countries of Latin America, is a reflection of the awareness that its associated members have that culture and education are two fundamental pillars of peace, tolerance and harmonious coexistence. Accordingly, it recommends that members and affiliated associations continue with this work in aid of culture and education, by implementing the initiative promoted by the Organization of American States in the countries of Latin America.
Furthermore, the General Assembly of OINA reaffirms its conviction concerning the importance of continuing to work on the development of moral and ethical values, which is one of its founding objectives, since these constitute the fundamental basis for the formation of character. Such values also enable human beings to understand humanity as a coming together of individual wills, where we all belong to the same family, not in a speculative and theoretical sense, but in a real way that allows us to share in both the pain and the happiness of others and to go forward together in our endeavour to build a better and more habitable world.
At its 2010 annual meeting in the city of Chincha (Peru), the General Assembly of the IONA (International Organization New Acropolis) wishes to emphasize the following points and solemnly resolves for this year:
To recall its commitment to a culture of peace and non-violence, as defined by United Nations Resolution of 19 November 1998 (53rd Session of the General Assembly, Agenda item 51), in relation to the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the benefit of future generations. This culture of peace consists of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, which endeavour to solve conflicts in the international community by tackling their root causes, through dialogue and negotiation.
To encourage individual members and member associations to participate fully in the process of development of society, both through a philosophical education, which implies reflection and action, and by offering an example of living together in peace and harmony.
To express solidarity with United Nations Resolution of 17 December 2007, which declared 2010 to be the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures; and to recommend that, throughout this year, individual members and member associations organize meetings and events on interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace, including a high level dialogue and/or informal interactive exchanges with civil society.
To promote the image of the International Association IONA as an example of rapprochement between cultures, since by its presence in more than fifty-five countries worldwide it has been able to foster a continuous and deep exchange between the members of its adherent associations through the study of philosophy. In this way, it has demonstrated the beneficial effects of cultural diversity and the exchange of experiences between different cultures.
To emphasize that the problems that press upon the world today in the form of financial, social and environmental crises, which have had an unprecedented and wide-ranging impact, call for debate, dialogue and an exchange of ideas between all the peoples of the world, which can result in a new humanism for the 21st century and the centuries to come.
To recall that 2010 will also be the International Year of Biodiversity, following the call issued by the United Nations, recalling that the human being forms part of nature and that our destiny is closely linked to the biodiversity of the planet as a whole. The United Nations also recalled that the wealth provided by diversity is at risk of disappearing more rapidly as a result of human activities that will affect us all, without exception, due to the alarming deterioration of life systems caused by climate change.
To recommend the promotion of all programs and actions that will help to protect the irreplaceable variety of natural life, in order to reduce the loss of biodiversity, recalling that it is vital for the present and future well-being of humanity to maintain the balance of life on earth.
To connect with the suffering of the victims of the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, recalling not only the need to improve the search and rescue efforts to help and treat the victims, but also to help and teach the affected populations to reconstruct their communities in a spirit of solidarity.
To recall that these natural disasters are a reminder of the fragility of our planet and the relativity of life, and the need for human beings to give the best of themselves in the service of humanity.
At its 2009 Annual Meeting in the town of Bol, on the Island of Brac (Croatia), the General Assembly of I.O.N.A (International Organization New Acropolis) declares as follows:
Faced with the crisis that has erupted throughout the world, the General Assembly of I.O.N.A wishes to express its concern over the fact that the crisis is not only having material effects, with disastrous results on the world economy, but is also affecting the fundamental values which form the very basis of human co-existence.
It therefore resolves:
- To reaffirm its conviction that philosophical knowledge is one of the fundamental ways of strengthening values and fostering a stoical attitude to the vicissitudes of life, that helps people to face misfortunes with greater self-control and a calm state of mind.
- That, etymologically, the term “crisis” means “change” and that, as such, every “turn of events” is a fundamental opportunity to take stock, both personally and collectively, that can help us to distinguish what is permanent and valid from what is passing and superfluous. As Albert Einstein pointed out, when referring to crises, “Let's not pretend that things will change if we keep doing the same things. A crisis can be a real blessing to any person, to any nation. For all crises bring progress. Creativity is born from anguish, just as day is born from the dark night. It is in crisis that inventiveness, discoveries and great strategies are born”.
- However, a large part of Humanity is destitute and the crisis, far from acting as a stimulus, may cause it to sink even further into poverty. In view of this, from its centres in more than fifty countries around the world, I.O.N.A. is in a position to offer significant help, by providing material, psychological and spiritual support to those most in need, to help them face the crisis more effectively.
- In the framework of World Philosophy Day, which is a UNESCO initiative that takes place every year, I.O.N.A will continue, as it has been doing for more than three consecutive years, to develop a wide-ranging program of commemorative activities linking philosophy to the arts, history and the promotion of philosophical values and ideas, offering a varied range of activities, as illustrated in the Yearbook published by the institution.
- The I.O.N.A General Assembly reiterates its conviction that there is a need to continue to protect the environment as an essential support for human beings and the natural habitat in which they can develop their potential, and also to develop the awareness that the Earth is the common home of Humanity. Accordingly, in all countries where I.O.N.A has centres, it should make a particular effort to promote ecological balance, both through courses and lectures for the promotion of environmental awareness and, above all, through specific and practical actions for the protection of the natural environment, such planting trees, caring for and cleaning natural environments, and providing assistance in the event of disasters, whether natural or man-made.
- As resolved at the previous year’s General Meeting, I.O.N.A will continue to participate in international events at the invitation of the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS), as scheduled in its Program of Activities for the coming period. In particular, it will continue to contribute as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Inter-American Program on Education for Democratic Values and Practices of the OAS, together with other international organizations working in Latin America in the field of “citizenship education”.
At its 2008 annual meeting in the city of San Salvador (El Salvador), the General Assembly of the IONA (International Organization New Acropolis) wishes to highlight that:
Last year - 2007 – it completed fifty years of uninterrupted activities in the service of philosophical thought, culture, international understanding, tolerance and protection of the environment.
It therefore resolves:
- To reaffirm its intention to continue to work for the development of philosophy as a way of life, with the aim of attaining a higher degree of social conscience and self-knowledge. Also to continue to act in the field of culture, since, as we have already pointed out on many occasions, the cultural expressions of humanity provide a foundation for better human relationships and a better understanding and rapprochement between nations. And to continue to promote volunteering as an expression of unselfishness and solidarity between the different parts of society, which will help to strengthen the bonds of harmonious coexistence and respect within a framework of mutual co-operation and support.
- To continue to develop its International Programs, which combine activities related to the arts, music and human sciences, character building and the development of will-power, as is reflected in the Yearbook which is distributed at every General Meeting containing all the activities undertaken by the IONA in over fifty countries world-wide.
- To strengthen the Volunteering activities it has been carrying out, whether on its own or in collaboration with the GEA Active Ecology Group. These activities have been taking place in different parts of the world, not only in relation to the protection of nature and the ecological balance, but also in aid programs and rescue operations in natural disasters, such as the earthquake which took place in Peru, or in the creation of the Hestia 2007 Program for collaboration and coordination of standards in search and rescue operations for missing persons.
- In the framework of World Philosophy Day, which on the initiative of the UNESCO is celebrated all over the world, the IONA has set up a wide-ranging program of commemorative activities relating philosophy to the arts, history and the promotion of philosophical values and ideas, in addition to its other wide-ranging activities which are also featured in the Yearbook published by the institution.
- To highlight the IONA’s support for the commemoration of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948-2008) promoted by the United Nations, and the European Union initiative which has declared 2008 as the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.
- It is important to note that the IONA has taken part in a number of major international events at the invitation of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS). In particular, the IONA forms part of the advisory committee of the Inter-American Program on Education for Democratic Values and Practices of the OAS, together with other international organizations that are working in Latin America in the field of “citizenship education”. In recent years, the IONA has been invited to take part on several occasions in the World Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations organized by the UN Department of Public Information.
At its 2007 annual meeting in Brussels (Belgium), the General Assembly of the IONA (International Organization New Acropolis) wishes to highlight its fifty years of continuous activities in support of philosophical thought, culture, international understanding, tolerance and protection of the environment.
It therefore resolves:
- That as an International Organization it has carried out important activities in pursuance of the above aims in over fifty countries throughout North, Central and South America, as well as Asia, Africa and Europe.
- That during these fifty years it has worked closely with both international and national or non-governmental organizations, as can be seen from its activities and achievements over these years, which are regularly detailed in the Yearbooks published by the IONA.
- That, within the possibilities of the national member associations of the IONA and within the framework of their activities, it has decided to continue to support the eight Millennium Development Goals approved by the United Nations, as they “form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions”.
- That given the presence of national associations affiliated to the IONA in the countries of Latin America, and the close links between some of these and the Organization of American States (OAS), it also resolves, as a civil society organization, to continue to support the important work of the OAS on behalf of the countries in the region and, in particular, to support its efforts to make education more widely available and to work for sustainable development.
- That in respect of the member countries of the IONA within the area of the European Union, it was decided at this General Meeting to support the proposal of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to designate 2007 as the European Year of Equality of Opportunities for All, the principal objective of which is “to launch a major debate on the benefits of diversity for European societies, and to make people more aware of their rights to enjoy equal treatment and a life free of discrimination”. This is especially relevant as one of the basic principles of the Founding Charter of the IONA is “to promote the spirit of universal fraternity among people of all creeds, races and social backgrounds”.
- That, as a philosophical movement of a humanistic nature, the IONA has made commendable efforts in the area of cultural development to “enable human beings to develop their potential and to live in harmony with nature by understanding its laws”, as its Founding Charter states. It therefore proposes to its member associations all over the world, which together have several thousands of members, that they intensify their activities over the coming year to promote the values of harmonious coexistence among human beings and work together to make known and defend the fundamental rights which all human beings without exception should be able to enjoy.
- That the ecological and environmental protection work which the IONA has carried out worldwide over these last fifty years has had a significant impact on the protection of our environment, not only in terms of prevention, but also in hazardous rescue operations in cases of natural disasters, in which the GEA (Active Ecology Group) branch of New Acropolis has played an important role, as is reflected in the notes of thanks from governments, humanitarian organizations and others detailed in our Yearbooks.
- That, particularly among young people, the IONA has been very effective in promoting volunteer groups which are active in society, combining individual and collective life and developing a spirit of solidarity with people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.
- That in the globalized world in which we live, the IONA has become an excellent means for disseminating philosophical thought, since its member associations all over the world, as stated in its Founding Charter, propose “to awaken a holistic vision of the world through the comparative study of philosophy, science, religion and the arts”. This principle has led it over all the past years to carry out quality work in the dissemination of culture and freedom of thought, and to continue to do so in the future.
- Over these fifty years, following the teachings of its founder, the philosopher Jorge Ángel Livraga Rizzi, the IONA has developed a culture of “values education” in the different activities of its associated centers around the world. As the UNESCO later pointed out, values are a factor in the search for the “common elements of spirituality found in all sacred traditions”. These have been consistently promoted by the IONA as part of an education in those lasting values.
- That the philosopher Jorge Ángel Livraga Rizzi, founder of the IONA already pointed out in numerous publications and lectures that the deterioration of the ozone layer would give rise to a warming of the planet, which would result in the melting of the polar icecaps. He stated that the consequence of this would be an increase in sea levels and an advance of cold waters, which would produce the contrary reaction to warming: a micro ice age. With these studies he anticipated what has now been pointed out by a number of major scientific associations. Along the same lines, the General Assembly of the IONA also wishes to emphasize that the philosopher Livraga Rizzi noted that this process of physical micro-glaciation would have important psychological consequences, generating phenomena of isolation and a neo-medievalization of society.
- That in the face of these phenomena of deterioration in human relations, the IONA is in a position to stimulate awareness of these issues and, through its work of integrating cultures and peoples, to counteract the above-mentioned process of neo-medievalization.
At its 2006 annual meeting in Santiago (Chile), the General Assembly of the IONA (International Organization New Acropolis) resolves:
- Wishes to express its commitment to the education of young people, within the values of solidarity and social responsibility which are so close to the driving ethical and philosophical principles of IONA.
- It associates itself with the processes of globalization which are emerging in the world and, as an international organization established in over fifty countries, it wishes to place its structure at the service of a better understanding between human beings. It therefore highlights the dialectic existing between the global and the local, and, in order to prevent the local from being diluted by the global, it wishes to implement a symbiosis between the two, which is summarized in the phrase “thinking globally, but acting locally”. Through this principle of subsidiarity, the different New Acropolis centres which form part of IONA will attempt to promote the development of regional and local identities wherever it conducts its activities, without forgetting the international community as a whole and at the same time taking advantage of the large international structure which IONA places at the service of local communities and minorities.
- As has been indicated by the United Nations Secretary-General, within the framework of the new globalized society, IONA wishes to develop all the communication models based on the new information technologies. It does this both through its international website (www.acropolis.org) and its national and local websites, as well as through its electronic magazines and all the means provided by the latest technology to bring the best criteria of philosophical education to the furthest corners of the planet.
- It reiterates its commitment to the society of our time through its implementation of specific actions of solidarity in different parts of the world where natural catastrophes, poverty, discrimination or injustice fall upon the most disadvantaged sections of society. This is reflected in the Yearbook published by IONA (in paper format and on CD), which describes the actions of New Acropolis in the catastrophes caused by the Tsunami in the Pacific, the earthquakes of Pakistan, natural disasters such as those suffered in El Salvador and Guatemala, as well as the countless actions of social assistance which have been carried out in orphanages, homes for the elderly, hospitals, etc.
- IONA reiterates the value of philosophy as a model of social commitment, since the values encouraged by philosophical knowledge promote in the individual a consciousness of humanity which enables it to recognize the needs of human beings and generates the desire to serve others. The General Meeting of IONA insists on the practical sense of philosophical knowledge as an indispensable instrument for helping the society of our time and developing greater solidarity.
- Finally, continuing the work it has carried out since its beginnings, forty-nine years ago, IONA is determined to continue with the efforts necessary to bring culture in all its expressions to people of all types without distinctions of creed, race or social status.
A) At its 2005 annual meeting in Rome (Italy), the General Assembly of the IONA (International Organization New Acropolis):
DECLARES its concern about the natural disasters that have taken place in the course of this year in different parts of our planet and in particular about the tsunamis which have devastated South East Asia, and the waves of cold in Northern Europe which caused the deaths of hundreds of people.
In this respect, the General Meeting of IONA
RECOMMENDS to the national Delegations associated with IONA
- that they encourage activities that take into account the progressive climate change which the Earth is undergoing and promote awareness-raising activities concerning the need to preserve the ecological balance so that future generations can inherit a habitable planet;.
- that they co-operate with other organisations of an ecological and humanitarian nature in order to act, within the means available to them, in cases where a natural catastrophe affects a particular part of the planet, either by travelling to the place of the disaster or by sending the necessary humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the affected populations which, as a general rule, are also the most socially and economically deprived.
B) As was already pointed out in the General Declaration of the General Meeting of 2004, the General Meeting of IONA
REITERATES its concern about the process that could be called “medievalisation” which is becoming apparent within our contemporary society. Its most significant symptoms are the absence of values - not only transcendent values, but also everyday values - thus giving rise to a society in which increasingly “man is a wolf to man” (homo homini lupus), according to the Hobbesian definition. This tendency needs to be exchanged for the idea which illuminated Seneca, that “man is sacred to man” (homo sacra res homini). The insecurity of cities, the lack of social solidarity, indifference towards the suffering of others, materialistic selfishness, compulsive consumerism, the daily violence that is reflected in the media, are just some of the symptoms of a society which, as it becomes “medievalised”, is falling sick.
For these reasons,
IT RECALLS the Report presented by the International Director of IONA at the European Congress held in Alicante in December 2004 concerning the need to generate a social alert in the face of this psychological decline which is beginning to affect a large part of the society of our times. As was pointed out on that occasion, certain “medieval thought forms” have appeared, leading to processes of atomisation whereby individuals are enclosing themselves within urban tribes, sects, and religious fundamentalisms, collectively generating a sense of social and psychological separateness resulting in hatred, violence and wars.
In view of such circumstances,
IT RECOMMENDS working tirelessly in favour of a “renaissance” of moral and spiritual values, with the aim, not only of recovering those values, but above all of transmitting them to future generations. The philosophical attitude to life is one which can set out a basic catalogue of those values which must be founded on solidarity, tolerance, freedom of thought and beliefs and the sense of independence, so as not to be dragged down by the moral and ethical decline of these times which, amongst other symptoms, are characterised by a lack of hope in the future which the younger generations are experiencing.
C) The General Meeting of IONA
WISHES TO EXPRESS its satisfaction with the different activities carried out by the national Delegations associated with IONA during 2004 in the context of social action, tolerance, non-discrimination and freedom of thought.
DECLARES that humanity should not forget the sacredness of the human being and therefore recommends to the associated Delegations that they continue to promote, within the framework of their different activities, an awareness that emphasises respect for different beliefs, ethnic groups, social status or gender.
RECALLS, furthermore, that the constitutional and founding principles of IONA contain in their first point the need to promote fraternity among human beings without distinction of creed, race, sex or social status, in order to encourage a society and an international community which will be more just and supportive, as is also contained in the United Nations Charter.
D) The General Meeting of IONA
SUBSCRIBES to the proposal of the Council of Europe to declare the year 2005 as the “European Year of Citizenship through Education”, given that its objective is to launch a Europe-wide campaign to disseminate programmes relating to education. It is pointed out that an education based on the promotion of moral values, human rights, tolerance and cultural pluralism is an investment for the future of Europe.
BEARING IN MIND that in the month of April 2005 a conference will take place in Warsaw (Poland) on the role of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the field of education for democratic citizenship,
IT RECOMMENDS to the national Delegations associated with IONA in Europe that they participate in this proposal and promote what has been proposed by the Council of Europe, given that one of IONA’s fundamental principles is the promotion of the education of human beings.
All decisions were unanimously approved.