Tag: <span>Roman Empire</span>

Stringfellow Barr Rapprochement of Cultures.

Stringfellow Barr. Joining the Human Race.

Featured Image: Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash.

By Rene Wadlow.

Stringfellow Barr: 15 January 1897 – 3 February 1982)

Stringfellow Barr;  whose birth anniversary we mark on 15 January;  was a historian;  largely of the classic Greek and Roman Empire period and an active world citizen.  

He served as president of the Foundation for World Government; from its start in 1948 to its closing in 1958.  He  was president of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (also home of the U.S. naval academy;  which turns out sailors). The aim of St. John’s; under Stringfellow Barr was to turn out well-read liberals;  who would have studied a common set of “Great Book” starting with the Greeks such as Plato.  The Great Books approach to learning developed community reading circles across the USA; very popular in the 1950s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZI0gUEzuEo

Stringfellow Barr had the good luck or a sense of the right timing to publish a short 36-page booklet; Let’s Join the Human Race in 1950. (1)  In his 30 January 1949;   Inaugural Address on becoming President of the U.S.A. Harry Truman set out four policy ideas; which he numbered as Point One to Point Four.

Presidential portrait of Harry Truman

Official Presidential Portrait. Notice the Capitol Building in the background. Truman, who was a two-term senator from Missouri and as vice-president presided over the Senate, wanted to emphasize his legislative career rather than his executive and the constitutional emphasis of the former over the latter. (1945). By Greta Kempton, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. 

Point Four.

Point Four  was really an afterthought as some mention of foreign policy was needed for balance. Point Four was “a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas.”

While the first three points dealing with domestic policy were quickly forgotten; Point Four caught the interest of many Americans as had the earlier Marshall Plan for Europe.  For some Americans; Point Four as the idea was called had an anti-Russian coloring.  U.S. technology to raise the standard of living of poor countries would prevent them “from going communist”.  For others; such as Stringfellow Barr;  the effort of raising the standard of living of the poor was a good thing in itself; and it should not be the task of the U.S.A. alone.

Barr  wrote “The people of the world are alone able to take on what is the main economic problem of every single national group – the problem of rebuilding their common world economy.  They can hope to do it only by the massive use of public funds.  America cannot do it for them… The nearest thing to a suitable agency that already exists is the United Nations.  And the United Nations is the nearest thing that exists only because the people of the world lack a common government.”

Citizens of the World.

Barr  called for the United Nations to create a World Development Authority: 

calling in all neighbors from the Mighty Neighborhood.”

However;  he developed the idea in a full-length book in 1952; Citizens of the World (2).

 

He places the emphasis on hunger; which at the time was the public face of underdevelopment.  Robert Brittain’s Let There Be Bread and Josué de Castro’s;    The Geography of Hunger were among the most widely-read books by people interested in development at the time.

Josué de Castro

Josué de Castro speaks in the Chamber of Deputies, 1940. By Brazilian National Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Today we have a broader view of what development requires; however food and rural development remain critical issues.  The efforts of the United Nations system for development are not integrated into a World Development Authority.   There are repeated calls for greater coordination and planning within the U.N. system. The 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals are an effort to provide an over-all vision;  but common action remains difficult.

As Barr pointed out at the time; most of the proposals to improve the U.N. have focused their attention on the elimination of war; obviously important in the 1950s; when war between the USSR and the USA was a real possibility; highlighted by the 1950-1953 Korean War.

However; world citizens have tried to look at the total picture of the social, political and economic life of all the people of the world.

Today the focus of citizens of the world is more on the need for world-focused attitudes and policies rather than on new political structures.  Yet the vision of Stringfellow Barr remains important as we highlight his birth anniversary.

 

Notes.

1)Stringfellow Barr. Let’s Join the Human Race (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1950, 36pp.).
2) Stringfellow Barr. Citizens of the World (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1952, 285pp).

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of Citizens of the World.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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world citizen action Education of World Citizenships.

The Three Waves of World Citizen Action

Featured Image Photo by fauxels on Pexels.

The idea of world citizenship has been put forward in periods when the existing structures of inter- State relations were fragile and endangering life and society: by Socrates when the classic Greek city states were under strain; by the Stoics when the Roman Republic was being transformed into the Empire; at the Renaissance as, again, the city-States were too narrow a framework for the expanding cultural renewal; by Anacharsis Cloots at the time of the French Revolution; by some of the Abolitionists during the US Civil War when equality between free and slave was at stake.

French Revolution, 1789 Painting; French Revolution, 1789 Art Print for sale. By Unknown authorUnknown author, CC BY-SA 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the same way, modern world citizen action has been a response to important challenges faced by the world community. Individuals who saw the dangers of traditional ways of thinking and inaction have acted together to promote loyalty to humanity as a whole. There have been three waves of modern world citizenship action.

Barbara Fritchie 1766-1862 in US Civil War. Caption reads: “Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag, she said.” By Source: Woman’s Work in the Civil War: a Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience (1867) page 10., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The First Wave.

The First Wave, manifested in 1938 by the creation in England by Hugh Schonfield of the Commonwealth of World Citizens, was a response to the growing power in Europe and Japan of narrowly nationalistic dictatorships. Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany was the outstanding representative of this dangerous aggressive nationalism.

Likewise, the following year, 1939, the Association of World Citizens was created when the clouds of war had gathered, and an ideology in opposition to narrow nationalism was required. The Association began at the same time in England and the USA by persons who had been active in the League of Nations. Salvador De Madariaga who had represented Republican Spain at the League, Henri Bonnet who had headed the Intellectual Cooperation Section of the League, and James Avery Joyce, a young British lawyer active in youth efforts for the League of Nations.

The First Wave of world citizen action was unable to prevent the Second World War. The war ended the possibility of active cooperation among members. Thus the war ended the First Wave, although many of those active on the eve of the war helped to form the Second Wave of world citizen action.

French conclude agreement on lend-lease and reverse lend-lease. Jean Monnet, representative of the French Provisional Government signs agreements. Left to right: Henri Bonnet, French Ambassador, Joseph C. Grew, Undersecretary of State and Jean Monnet (1945). By Lakey, J. Sherrel, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Second Wave.

The Second Wave was a response to the massive destruction of the Second World War, of the use of atomic bombs, and the start of the Cold War. Under the leadership of Lord Boyd Orr, the first director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), world citizens were particularly active in efforts against hunger and for a world food policy. 1948 and the proclamation by the UN General Assembly meeting in Paris of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the high point of the Second Wave. In 1950, the start of the Korean War and the structuring of the Cold War into military alliances – NATO and the Warsaw Pact – put an end to the Second Wave of world citizen action. However, many world citizens were active in the 1950-1990 period to lessen the dangers of Soviet-USA confrontation, to abolish nuclear weapons and to bring colonialism to an end.

Lord John Boyd Orr, Nobel Peace Prize 1949. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Third Wave.

The Third Wave of world citizen action can be dated from 1990 as a response again to narrow nationalism as seen with the break up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and the failure of nationalistic responses to major ecological challenges. Again world citizens are organizing in collective efforts such as the Association of World Citizens to develop strategies for the benefit of all humanity and to promote efforts based on justice and cooperation.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. By Lear 21 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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