Dialogue: The Global Forum of Parliamentarians and Spiritual Leaders


The Global Forum held five conferences throughout the 1990s in Oxford, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Jericho*, Kyoto, and Konya.

The Global Forum of Parliamentarian and Spiritual Leaders on Human Survival, Oxford 1988

Among its guests and speakers were:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Laureate and political and spiritual leader
Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Soviet Union/Russia and Nobel Laureate
Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro of Syria
Mother Theresa, Nobel Laureate and Catholic nun
Wangari Maathai, Nobel Laureate and environmental activist
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor
Al Gore, then US Vice President and Nobel Laureate
Carl Sagan, astrophysicist and science educator
Javier Perez de Cuellar, then UN Secretary General
John Denver, musician and environmental activist

These major conferences are considered to have solidified the idea of a “global conscience” and preceded major tectonic shifts of power in each region.

*Akio organized the Jericho conference, which PLO Chairman Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Rabin remarkably agreed to co-chair. Tragically, Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated shortly before the conference would have taken place.

Here is a brief outline of the forum.


In January 1990, over 700 world religious and legislative leaders cooperated with top Soviet authorities in a five-day Global Forum on Environment and Development. Leaders from the sciences, journalism, the arts, business and labor also contributed. The Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival (New York) organized the event, which was hosted by the Supreme Soviet, all faith communities in the USSR, the USSR Academy of Sciences, and the International Foundation for the Survival and Development of Humanity (Moscow). The premise of the forum was that, through intensive dialogue, spiritual and parliamentary leaders can influence each other and extend that influence to the communities they serve world-wide. To promote such outreach, journalists from around the world also met to discuss communication of global environmental issues to the public. Scientist Carl Sagan addressed the plenary session of the forum on climate change and ozone depletion; subsequent sessions dealt in more detail with scientific topics, particularly energy conservation. The forum concluded with an address by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who expressed general support for the role of the United Nations in global environmental problems, and emphasized the Soviet Union’s need for environmental technological assistance from other countries.

Produced at the meeting was an 11-page Moscow Plan of Action which suggested, for future consideration by the forum, approaches for building global awareness. It is available from the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival, 304 E. 45th St., 12th Fl., New York NY 10017 (212-953-7947). The International Foundation for the Survival and Development of Humanity is located at Ulitsa Vesnina 9/5, 121002, Moscow, USSR (tel.: 241-8255). An informal, 11-page summary of personal observations and suggestions relating to the forum are available from Global Climate Change Digest editorial board member William Moomaw (Ctr. Environ. Mgmt., Tufts Univ., Medford MA 02155; 617-381-3486). (See also “Soviets Clean Up Their Act,” Time, p. 64, Jan. 29, 1990.)

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Mohandas Gandhi

“God has no religion”