Newsletter June 2003


AUD's Summer Team


Dr.Robert Muller, former United Nations assistant Secretary General, Chancellor emeritus of the University of Peace in Costa-Rica, and long time AUD supporter was one of the people who witnessed the founding of the United Nations and has worked in support of it ever since. Shortly before the war broke out in Iraq last February, he was in San Francisco to be honored for his service to the world through the UN and through his writings and teachings for peace.


At a time when the United Nations is more often criticized for its diplomatic failure and laborious administrative process than praised for its efforts to preserve world peace, we could not help but share with our members Dr. Muller’s optimistic vision on global security, public participation, and the role of the UN. We are thankful to Ms.Judith Richardson for her original recording of his speech.


Dr. Muller surprised many of the audience that day with his most positive assessment of where the world stands now regarding war and peace. “I am so honored to be here”, he said. “I am so honored to be alive at such a miraculous time in history. I am so moved by what’s going on in our world today! Never before in the history of the world has there been a global, visible, public, viable, open dialogue about the very legitimacy of war. The whole world is now having this critical and historic dialogue – listening to all kinds of points of view and positions about going to war or not going to war. In a huge global public conversation the world is asking – is war legitimate? Is it illegitimate? Is there enough evidence to warrant an attack? What will be the consequence? The costs? What will happen after the war? How will this set off other conflicts? What might be peaceful alternatives? What kind of negotiations are we not thinking of? What are the real intentions for declaring war?”


All of this, he noted, is taking place in the context of the United Nations Security Council, the body that was established in 1949 for exactly this purpose. He pointed out that it has taken us more than fifty years to realize that function, the real function of the UN And at this moment of history – the United Nations is at the center of the stage. It is the place where these conversations are happening, and it has become in these last months the most powerful container for the world’s effort to wage peace rather than war.


Dr. Muller was almost in tears in recognition of the fulfillment of this dream. “We are not at war”, he kept saying. “We, the world community, are WAGING peace. It’s difficult, hard work. It’s constant and we must not let up. It’s working and it’s a historic milestone of immense proportions. It has never happened before - never in human history – and it’s happening now, every day, and every hour, waging peace through a global conversation. This has never happened before on this scale – not before WWI, WWII, not before Vietnam or Korea, this is new and it is a stunning new era of global listening, speaking, and responsibility.


Most peace demonstrations in recent history took place when a war was already waging, sometimes for years, as in the case of Vietnam. “So this” – he said, “is a miracle”. This is what “waging peace” looks like. No matter what happens, history will record that it is a new era. And that the 21st century has been initiated with the world in a global dialogue looking deeply, profoundly and responsibly as a global community at the legitimacy of the actions of a nation that is desperate to go to war. Through these global peace–waging efforts, the leaders of that nation are being engaged in further dialogue forcing them to rethink, and allowing all nations to participate in the serious and horrific decisions to go to war or not.


All around the world, people are waging peace. To Robert Muller, on of the great advocates of the United Nations, it is nothing short of a Miracle and it is working!