The Words of the Pople Family
Each year, the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences provides an occasion for members of the Professors World Peace Academies in various countries to meet, exchange news and make plans for the future. The Academy, founded first in Korea, is sponsored and funded by the International Cultural Foundation and in the future will fulfill an important role in planning the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences. Another goal of the Academies in each country is to make preparations for a future international university.
The level of development reached by the Korean and Japanese Academies, as described below, hints at the great potential contribution that a Professors World Peace Academy can make in other countries. It is hoped that by the end of 1982, the Academy can expand to 40 countries. (For more background information, see the January 1981 issue of Today's World Magazine.)
The Academy was first founded in Korea in 1973, with Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak as its secretary general. Current membership is 507.
Realizing that one of the missions of scholars is to discover the true meaning of peace and the way to achieve it, the Korean Academy has been emphasizing the field of peace studies ever since its inception. The scope of peace studies is very broad, extending to all aspects of human life and endeavor, such as global matters, survival, security, resources, development, cooperation, education, culture, economics and politics.
Since 1978, about 30 professors per year have worked together on research projects, with the results being published in hooks entitled, Korea's Value System, The Historical Identity of Korea, and Conditions for the Survival of Korea -- plans for the 21st century. The Academy also sponsors research in literature, arts, social and natural sciences, and has contributed financial support for 121 member professors through its Academic Research Fund.
In Seoul, the Academy sponsors open lectures by eminent member professors as a service to both the public and the academic community. Member and nonmember professors from several major cities give one lecture per academic term.
Early in 1981, Academy Breakfast Seminars were begun, gathering outstanding Korean intellectuals to discuss current issues such as international trends or aspects of Korean development. The "Science of Peace" seminars, held initially in 1973 and 1974, may also be reconvened as suitable topics for discussion arise. Every two or three months, a group of member professors meets to discuss a colleague's paper; the paper and the resulting discussion are then printed in the Academy's monthly magazine Forum.
The International Conference on World Peace, begun in 1974 by the Academies in Korea and Japan, has rotated among Korea, Japan and the Republic of China. These conferences gather prominent professors from all over the world and from all disciplines to present/and consider realistic ideas and models for the establishment of world peace, The conference aims to develop the special role that scholars and scientists can play in achieving this goal. As the conferences have evolved, there has been a progression away from general and abstract ideas toward a focus on real problems such as ecology, economic cooperation, security, international relations and area studies.
Each year, the Academy invites several scholars from other countries to visit Korea, giving them an opportunity to expand their professional knowledge, meet and confer with Korean professors and public officials, and give public lectures. Also, participants in each International Conference on World Peace have the opportunity to tour the host country.
The Academy has sent many Korean scholars to the International Conferences on the Unity of the Sciences. This year was the first time the Korean Academy had the honor of helping to organize an ICUS.
Forum, a monthly magazine; it published its 100th issue in November 1981. Guided by an editorial board of professors, each issue of Forum includes the following regular features: current topics, new academic trends, a paper by a foreign scholar and proposals for world peace.
Members' books and papers. So far, a total of ten papers and five books by members have been published.
Books on peace studies: Research on Peace Thought, a special collection of papers on this theme from the Academy Journal; Search for Peace Thought, a collection of previously unpublished papers. (All of the above are published in Korean, except for the proceedings of the International Conferences on World Peace, which are translated into English.)
The Japanese Professors World Peace Academy was founded in 1974, and with its present membership of 2,000 professors, it is recognized as a national scholars' movement.
A three-year research project entitled Japan's National Goals: A Decade Hence was set up in 1976, and in 1979 the results were published in a book which has exerted considerable influence on various sectors in Japan. In 1981, the book was translated into Korean, and a summary version of the report was published in English under the title, Japan at the Turning Point.
The results of another significant research project, evaluating educational materials used in Japanese schools, have been published as a book, Criticizing Biased High School Textbooks. This hook has become a best-seller in Japan and has had a positive influence in political and educational circles, as well as on parents and students.
An annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference provides a channel for Academy members to express their opinions and share the results of their research. The third such conference met in December 1981 to discuss the theme, "The Revitalization of the Free World."
The Academy has made notable contributions to Japanese society. Forums on a New Civilization, started in 1976, provide business leader with an opportunity to discuss various current issues. Special summer seminars have also been held each year; the 1981 conference discussed "War and Civilization."
The results of the National Goals Research Project (described above) have been well received by the Liberal Democratic Party. In 1980, a national policy study group entitled "Forum on Prospects for the 1980's" began meeting monthly. These gatherings of distinguished professors make specific proposals on current issues and submit reports to the Party, thus enabling the Academy to play a role in policy-making on national issues such as constitutional amendments, defense, Korean-Japanese relations and education.
Academy publications have been increasing. Recent works include A Call in the Wilderness and The Age of Internationalization and Universities. The proceedings of the tenth and eleventh International Conferences on World Peace were published under the titles, The Creation Of a New World Order and Emerging Asia: The Role of Japan.
Future plans call for the establishment of an Asian Hall, in conjunction with the International Cultural Foundation, with conference facilities and accommodations for scholars from around the world.
Composed mostly of ICUS participants, the Academy in the United States is still in its formative stages. There are two on-going projects. One is a study of the internal and external aspects of the situation in Central America; the preliminary report, written by people with extensive experience in Central America, was available for inspection by participants at this year's conference. The second project concerns the involvement of the United States in the Middle East.
Because of the difficulty of achieving unanimity in viewpoint, the American Academy does not see its role as making suggestions on national policy but rather as clarifying complex situations. In the contemporary world, governments which are trying to arrive at justice and equity have had no truly unbiased arbiters to whom they can turn when disagreements arise. American Academy leaders hope it can play such a role.
Membership in the American Academy is still small, since no substantial recruiting efforts have yet been made. Plans call for establishing a headquarters office for the American Academy, probably in Washington, D.C.
In a number of European countries, the Academy has been active for several years, sponsoring conferences and research projects on a variety of themes related to contemporary social problems. Books containing the results of these studies are being aimed at a broad educated public, not just the academic community. Some participants in this year's ICUS expressed curiosity about the possibility of involving scholars from Eastern Europe in peace discussions. Two ICUS participants from Poland spoke briefly during the discussions.
In May 1981, a European headquarters for the Academy opened in Dusseldorf, West Germany.