I am a grandmother, and I have a dream that grandparents will work with their grandchildren to unite the world and build a better future.
But first we need to have a vision of how the world could be improved.
There are many problems facing the world today, including war and the threat of nuclear destruction, climate change, human rights abuses, hunger, extreme poverty, growing income inequality, and global pandemics. One central source of our global problems is that we have put nations above people. People belong first. National sovereignty and security should not be more important than the sovereignty and security of individuals. Governments should be protecting the rights and freedoms of their people, not sacrificing them.
War is one way in which nations sacrifice their people rather than protect them. War kills and injures people. War destroys the environment. War robs us of our financial and natural resources. War does not bring peace, although it does make a lot of money for some while impoverishing many.
Surely it is time to think creatively about eliminating war. Here in the United States, we can look to our own history for a way to accomplish that. When Americans decided to transform the confederation of 13 colonies into a federation of states, they agreed to resolve their differences in a court of law rather than on the battlefield. The original 13 states were able to eliminate or transform their militias. With no need any longer to fight one another, they could rely on the rule of law to settle disputes. Although the rule of law is not perfect, it is the best method we have found. And it is preferable to war.
We need a similar transformation at the global level. Why not transform the confederation of nations known as the United Nations into a United Federation of Nations? Under this strengthened UN system, all nations could agree to resolve their differences using the rule of law rather than weapons of destruction. Nations could be required to disarm and to transform their armed forces into peacekeeping forces that would respond to natural disasters and other domestic crises.
To implement this program, we could start by creating a World Parliament at the United Nations to give a voice to the people of the world, rather than just their governments. We also need a world constitution to define a democratic federation of nations with a universal declaration of human rights and the ability to create and enforce world law that outlaws war and nuclear weapons. Furthermore, we will need international courts (such as the International Criminal Court) and international police to arrest those who break the law. Fortunately, much work has been done defining these components over the past 75 years.
All these components will cost much less than the vast amounts spent on the current war systems. Furthermore, a United Federation of Nations could be employed to deal effectively with other global problems, such as climate change.
This vision is shared by the Young World Federalists. Their tag line is “Unite the World.” As their website explains, they are “a global movement to unite humanity through the creation of a democratic world federation.” They believe that the current system of competitive sovereign countries fails to tackle the global challenges that impact us all. Accordingly, they advocate a new form of global governance, one in which people cooperate to secure their common interest through a democratic world federation. They envision a sustainable, just, and peaceful world through a democratic world federation. It would be a world run by humanity, for humanity, providing equal opportunity to all on a thriving planet.
The Young World Federalists (YWF) are building on the work of well-established organizations such as Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS). CGS was founded 75 years ago, and many of its supporters, like me, are grandparents of the Young World Federalists’ generation. We are delighted to be working with these young people and, in fact, have a lot to learn from them in this modern era of social media and technology. We also have a lot to share with them, including our knowledge, experience, and funding. One of their programs that we are co-sponsoring is the Week for World Parliament, which includes an event in New York City on October 22-23.
Working together, young and old, we are committed to building a united world and a better future for all.
Donna Park is a grandmother of four, chair of the Board of Citizens for Global Solutions Education Fund, an advisor to the Young World Federalists, and Congress chair of the World Federalist Movement.