Educating For Global Citizenship
Forcing Change, Iss.3, Vol.1 -7- www.forcingchange.org
Note: Although this article was written and published in 1997, the information it contains is vital to understanding the philosophical mind-set of social change education. It has been briefly edited for flow, and contains an added paragraph with extra detail [on the occult beliefs and influence of UN leader Robert Muller and [theosophist] Alice Bailey. Furthermore, unless otherwise noted, all quotes and information are the result of the author’s eyewitness experiences and audio tapings.
With these words Dr. Desmond Berghofer, author and Chairman of the International Foundation of Learning, officially opened the Global Citizenship
2000 Youth Congress. From April 4-6, 1997, at the one-thousandth day before the year 2000, the Vancouver Public Library in British Columbia, Canada, became the “visioneering” epicentre of the world. We had gathered to make global history.
Friday evening, April 4th, educators, community leaders, and approximately 150 children congregated in the Library Concourse to celebrate Global Citizenship. This was no ordinary gathering.
Philip Owen, Mayor of Vancouver – unable to attend – passed along his support to the Congress.
The children, students from British Columbia’s lower mainland, marched in carrying banners with themes of Global Citizenship. Opening the event, Edith Wallace, a gifted Canadian performer, sang about the “fire within” and our planetary home.
But it wasn’t a Canadian who stole the show. In the words of organizer Dr. Geraldine Schwartz, the man to inspire the Congress was a “planet elder,” Dr. Robert Muller.
For long-time United Nations observers, Robert Muller is a familiar name. In 1948 he won a UN internship by writing an essay on how to govern the world. Over the decades he eventually rose to the position of Assistant-Secretary-General, and directly served under three Secretary Generals. Moreover, he was personally involved in creating eleven of the UN’s specialized agencies, and over the years he became known as the “Prophet of Hope” at the world body.
Although he retired in 1986, he has remained active on a number of fronts, primarily in global citizenship and education initiatives. One of his accomplishments is the drafting of a World Core Curriculum, which is more of a philosophy of education than a curriculum per se. In fact, his World Core Curriculum has been adopted into a network of institutions known as the Robert Muller Schools, which specifically use Muller’s world views as the school’s guiding principles.
Added to this is the fact that in 1989 his World Core Curriculum earned him a UNESCO Peace Education Prize, and since then he has championed his education agenda far and wide.
This is what I had come to Vancouver for, to witness the birth of a new era in education: “Education for Global Citizenship.” According to the organizers this was an historic event, a time of planning and commitment, a time to celebrate the dawning of a New Age in Canadian education and culture. As one Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress document asserted, this event, held 1000 days before the year 2000, was meant to,
“'…launch a project to encourage our youth to see themselves as global citizens…promoting global education in the curriculum of our schools, and to celebrate the common energy…' The central idea of the Congress is that young people be brought together as teams of creative energy, working with their teachers and community leaders to show how and what we all must learn to become global citizens in the 21st century.”1
After Friday’s opening ceremonies it was clear that Robert Muller’s task was to energize and move us towards a major task. The next day, we were told, would be a day of exploration and excitement, for we would all be embarking on a journey of “global visioneering.”
Visioneering the Future
To understand what happened in Vancouver it’s important to know what visioneering is. Based on Dr. Berghofer’s book, The Visioneers, it’s a concept of elevating global transformation by developing a new set of core values at both the grassroots and leadership levels. Then, when enough of the planet’s citizens have embraced this new way of thinking, massive global revolution ensues.
This radical change causes political systems and religions to unite, all with an emphasis on harmonizing humanity with a spiritually charged planet Earth.
Personalizing the process, Berghofer explained this as “going out in your mind to explore the future and shape it to your liking – to shape it so well that you feel yourself moving comfortably into it.”2 Visioning “embraces faculties of mind little used in the past, but ready to be developed when we choose to do so.”3
This was our task; to use both Muller’s World Core Curriculum and Berghofer’s visioning ideas in carrying forward Global Citizenship. Just how far were we to take this? Berghofer writes,
“The big truth…is that people can choose to become connected through their minds to the energy of universal creative intelligence. If enough do so, they can set in motion a wave of creative initiative to usher in an era of unprecedented harmony and collaboration worldwide.”4
Visioneering “energy” was the lifeblood of the Congress. Schwartz and Berghofer referred to this energy often, both on and off the stage.
While visioneering may have been a new concept to those attending the Congress, it’s an idea with a long history. Throughout the Congress and within the writings of Berghofer, a cord of old was shaping the new. Alice A. Bailey, one of Muller’s life inspirers,5 appears to have influenced Berghofer as well.
“Global Citizens: Earth-centric Thinking”
Typically unheard of in general public circles, Alice Bailey lived from 1880 to 1949. During that time she embraced the esoteric ideas of Theosophy and embarked on a path to occult enlightenment. As a writer, her occult texts have been instrumental in today’s New Age Movement, and her organization, Lucis Trust, has been a longtime affiliate of the United Nations.
In Bailey’s occult classic, The Rays and The Initiations: A Treatise on the Seven Rays, she explained that the “Art of Visualisation” allows expressions of human consciousness to become possible.6 She gives three areas that this new type of thinking, or “visualization,” manifests itself,
1. Through “the development of the sense of vision” a new world occult spirituality will “be definitely seen”.
2. “Groups, large wholes and major syntheses will also be visualised, and this will lead to definite expansion of consciousness. Thus the sense of synthesis will be unfolded.”
3. “All creative art will be fostered by this training (visualisation), and the new art of the future…will be rapidly developed as the training proceeds.” According to Bailey, this is a direct result of the unfoldment of visualisation. 7 [Italics in original]
On Saturday, April 5, the Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress demonstrated Bailey’s philosophies. Muller’s World Core Curriculum, Berghofer’s visioneers, and Bailey’s occult concepts fit like a glove.
On Saturday the children – some as young as six – along with educators and leaders, were given the task of visioneering for a new world. Each school constituted a visioneering team with the purpose of deciding what was necessary for Global Citizenship.
Before this task was undertaken, Dr. Schwartz explained the importance of using our minds in a way meant to expand consciousness,
“Our minds, our consciousness has got to be equal to the task of the future…This is the most important thing that I want you to understand today; that a quality future comes from your mind, from your consciousness, from your heart and from your spirit, from your understanding.... We are Global Citizens in a planet that has no true borders and we have to understand the nature and truth of that.”
In keeping with the theme of visioneering, Schwartz emphasized the proper vision/value context.
“All around the world there are actions that are not right and we have to learn to judge the right action, and when we have decided in our truth, in our heart, that we know what is right, we need to share that with others… when we in community have understood what is right action, then we need to have the most important human quality. The courage to act… and even more than the courage to act in the present, to dream big dreams and to create visions for the future so that we are always visioneering… to plan, to vision, to share what you might do to make a contribution to the great millennium.”
Winding down, Schwartz told the students to proudly bare their Global Citizenship 2000 Passports included in the Congress’s information package. Earlier that day, everyone received passports symbolic of their allegiance to Planet Earth, which included Robert Muller’s poem, “Decide to be a Global Citizen.”
But before our visioneering could commence, Dr. Robert Muller added his foundational philosophies for proper Citizenship.
Muller’s Convincing Emotional Appeal
Introduced as a “planet elder,” Muller related how the Earth was overpopulated, how our present lifestyles and values needed to change, and how it was up to the generation present at the Congress to force the world to embrace “Mother Earth”.
On population, Muller boasted that the United Nations had, as a result of warnings to the world, “prevented the birth of 2 billion, 200 million people.” He also encouraged the Congress; “Try to convince your people to reduce the number of children. This is one of the biggest problems we have on this planet.” [Italics added]
Next, Muller laid out a lengthy scenario of unimaginable environmental destruction. He did this in a unique way by holding a hypothetical dialogue between himself and Mother Earth. This emotional appeal had a staggering effect on the participants,
“What are you doing to me? How do you think I can continue to have good oxygen for you? How do you think I’m going to have enough water for you? You are killing me!
And in certain projections which have been made by scientists now, some of them say that this Earth will become lifeless and uninhabitable within the next fifty years. So do not forget: That if we continue to live and to waste, and to do all the wrong things which we do today, by your age, maybe this planet will be finished.
Never forget this, so that the future of this planet is totally in your hands… this is what you have to be taught by your teachers. This is an absolute fundamental knowledge which you must be taught. And remember that when you do something wrong, multiplied by 5.8 billion, this is an incredible quantity of wrong.”
“Now this is why you are here sitting in this room, the generation on which the future life on this planet will depend. Either you change your values, or you don’t. If you continue consuming as you do and throwing things away, you will be the responsible generation of having to put an end to all life on this planet. And if you change, if you consider the Earth as being number one, your Mother, then it will change.” [Bold print for emphasis]
This is the new education. On impressionable children, this guilt-induced brainwashing had its desired effect. During the question and answer “The UN’s Prophet of Hope, Dr. Robert Muller” period, one young girl, fighting tears, explained how we humans “exterminated” animals for our own use.
Children were not the only ones affected. A young mother asked Muller what her family’s optimum size should be. Muller told her two, one to replace yourself, one to replace your partner.
After this a visibly shaken middle-aged mother expressed her gratitude to Muller, “I have brought five children into this world [at this point she was fighting tears] and I’m so moved by what you said. I’ve been asleep, my family’s been asleep.”
Later that evening I had a chance to talk to a high school student who was obviously bored during the day. Her parents had dropped her off in the morning, and she didn’t want to be there. We had coffee in the Library Concourse where she explained her belief that the Congress was an exercise in “brainwashing”. Twenty minutes later her parents showed up and asked if she wanted to stay for the rest of the evening. Her response was telling, “I want to leave before they convince me not to have my five children.”
Muller’s last comments before our time of group visioneering revealed the heart of the man. He explained to the Congress how fundamental religions, those religions that “have the total truth,” missed the real point of Jesus and other religious “emissaries.” Muller explained,
“…the truth that was given by Jesus, by Mohammed, by these emissaries from outer space, they were really basic truths. And they were so great that the cosmos almost incarnated itself. This is why Jesus said, ‘I am the incarnation of the divine.’ And the Indigenous people, they called it Great Spirit. So there was always this fighting to get the message from the outer universe to give us confidence and to tell us how to behave. This is why practically all the religions have a great contribution to make to the mystery of life…The only trouble is that their followers, the disciples…created around these spiritual messages, a religion.”
Note: This poem by Dr. Robert Muller was printed in the Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress passport.
Decide to be a global citizen
A good inhabitant of planet Earth
A member of the great human family
Pray, think, act, feel and love globally
And you will aggrandize yourself to the outer limits of being.
Know this planet; Love this planet; Care for this planet
For you come from Mother Earth
You are made of her elements
You are the Earth, become conscious of herself.
You are her eyes, her ears, her voice, her mind and her heart.
Save your Mother Earth from her matricidal children who destroy her
who divide her, who spike her with Nuclear arms
who hold their territories to be greater than the globe
and their groups greater than humanity
Unite, global citizens, to save and heal planet Earth
And to make our Mother bloom again
As the most beautiful planet in the universe.
Explaining further, he revealed how through his inspiration a new organization was taking shape:
The United Religions – a blend of Earth centred “basic truths.” [Note: the organization Muller was referring to was the United Religions Initiative, which signed its Global Charter in 2000]. What basic truths does Muller ascribe to? He told these Canadian school children,
“…behave correctly towards the Earth… You are not children of Canada, you are really living units of the cosmos because the Earth is a cosmic phenomena…we are all cosmic units. This is why religions tell you, you are divine. We are divine energy…it is in your hands whether evolution on this planet continues or not.”
While detailing the plans for a United Religions, Muller expanded his vision of a United World. He told us that the United Nations needed to be “tremendously strengthened” or that a “United States of the World” should be modeled after the European Union. Among the ideas Muller presented for a United World included his support for the World Federalists, world regionalism and continental units blending into a World Union, and “organizing this planet according to biology.” NAFTA [as a regionally organizing process], Muller explained, was a positive development towards a regionalized World Union.
All of this was told to the Congress in order to prepare these children for proper visioneering.
After Dr. Muller’s inspiring message, each school group was given an assigned space to “mind map” and develop “Millennium Projects”. This was the theory and practice of common visioneering, and the entire Saturday afternoon was devoted to it.
Mind mapping, as was demonstrated at the Congress, is a technique developed for group learning. The idea is to use mind mapping as a predetermined and synthesized thinking method to establish consensus. No criticizing the main idea; rather, you must overcome as a group any “validconcerns” and continue on towards the central goal. The goal for each group; to visioneer as a team of creative energy in shaping how you wanted the to transform the Earth - Global Citizenship was the aim.
Towards the end of the afternoon, each team reported their visioneering to the Congress. These visions were to be the school’s plans, or “Millennium Projects.” Some were elaborate and required lobbying efforts and capital. For example, the Vancouver Learning Centre proposed a kids United Nations; a Global Citizenship theme park where people would be taught about environmental destruction through imagination; developing and lobbying for fundamental recognition of Global Citizenship education; and advocacy for a cashless monetary system. The essential idea was that an individual’s documented environmental stewardship would be the basis for a person’s economic security.
The team from the Earl Marriott Secondary School presented a drama displaying the philosophy of Global Citizenship. In this drama, a young female student sat on top of a desk, held pine boughs aloft and proclaimed herself “Mother Earth.” Encircling her, other female students took turns laying hands on Mother Earth while individually confessing their environmental sins. In turn, Mother Earth would forgive each student, and the girls committed themselves to change their destructive behavior.
The predominant Millennium Projects were school-formed Global Citizenship clubs. Other schools with existing clubs declared their continued service to Earth through deeper global education and peer leadership.
In thanking Robert Muller and the behind-the-scenes organizers, Dr. Schwartz presented solid marble “spirit birds.” Each spirit bird was carved out of a single slab of “the finest marble in the world,” from “the very same place that Michelangelo got his stone to make David.” We were told the birds represented the freedom to act and serve as “partners of light, partners of celebration.”
Before midnight, the beginning of the one-thousandth day, a drama was presented in which the elephant headed, six-armed Hindu deity Ganesa made an appearance. The Cultural Metaphors Theatre Workshop professionally dressed a young woman in a Ganesa costume and explained to the children the powers of Ganesa.
“I have been around for thousands and thousands of years. And you can call on me anytime to remove your thoughts of any obstacles. If you should ever worry or anguish… or if life gets you down…whisper an AUM [Ohm]…call on loving Ganesa who always is there, for Ganesa is none other than you.”8
Support for Global Change
The Global Citizenship Youth Congress was a publicly supported initiative: primarily through tax dollars. Funding support for the event came through the Canadian Federal Government via the Minister of Environment. And for any team wishing to receive capital for their Millennium Projects, Environment Canada had a booth set up with Federal application forms to fund the projects.
Although the Youth Congress was chiefly aimed at changing Canada’s educational focus, the results of the event were to have a larger impact. On Saturday afternoon, Muller proposed that copies of the Congress’s work should go,
“…to the mayor of your city, to the Minister of Environment in Canada, to the World Environment Program in Nairobi, to your parliamentarians who represent you in parliament so that they will get an example of what young people are thinking and what they are ready to do. I have a whole list which I will give to Desmond.
"For example, yes I have UNICEF…the Secretary General of the United Nations, the UN Earth Council in Costa Rica, so that in order to create a movement that other schools will do what you have begun to do here…very practical proposals… communicate them to other authorities, to other schools, to UNESCO…a world program of asking other schools around to do this thinking; ‘What do you propose to save the environment of this world?’ And you will be the first example given by UNECSO of how to (do it). So this is very, very important what you have done today.”
The World Core Curriculum
Because I came as an independent observer, Dr. Schwartz placed me with the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Student Teachers, a leading institution in British Columbia. The Millennium Project that Simon Fraser committed to was implementing World Core Curriculum philosophies in the public education system. Some of the student teachers admitted that this wasn’t learning in the traditional sense, but rather values and behavior modification.
It was education for creating environmental activists, a position viewed as a positive educational step. One SFU student teacher proclaimed, “With us being here, they are planting a seed in us.” Another student teacher explained that Muller’s World Core Curriculum is “what we’re trying to get to.”
A very interesting dialogue between two student teachers showed how subversive this thinking is. One of the team members asked, “How do we deal with parental pessimism?” It was explained that if a child’s values could be altered, eventually parental persuasion could be shifted.
The basic idea of SFU student teachers was to push for compulsory World Core Curriculum education with the focus being on sustaining the“creative energy” of Global Citizenship. As one SFU team member commented, “Make it a virus – no inoculation – infect everyone.”
The Congress ended on Saturday evening with a grand “Festival of Lights.” Students were given flashlights and led at the appropriate time into the darkened Library Concourse to a rousing marching tune. Berghofer explained this was symbolic “because light is the primary energy of the universe.”
He went on, “we are dedicating ourselves to act, to use the energy of our historic 1000 days to further our cooperation and visioneering work.”
Serving as a UNESCO model of proper global citizenship, the Vancouver Congress opened the doors for similar events by youth and educators. Just as importantly, it added to the weight of global citizenship education as dreamed of by world change visioneers.
Additional Quotes by Dr. Robert Muller as taken from the Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress"
“You must remember the Earth. I would even say that the word ‘global education’ and the word ‘global citizens’…I’m almost tempted to change the words and to replace them by ‘Earth education’ and by ‘Earth citizen’…we are children of the Sun and we are children of the Earth.”
“…you can be the caretakers and the saviors of the world…everyday remember your Mother Earth…Do not forget it that from now on you have to be Earth citizens, you have to be the children of Mother Earth.”
“I have requested that when I die, I do not want to be burned. I do not want to be put in a casket. I want to be put straight into the Earth, so that the Earth can re-absorb me and then I can live again as the form of a tree, or in the form of insects or worms. This…will be my contribution when I am dead…It is my fundamental right to live again in another form!”
“Let me tell you, that when you have an idea which you consider fundamental and good for humanity, sooner or later you can implement it. So I was invited to the World Parliament of Religions. And I made a speech there which was so well received by all the participants that the idea of creating a United Religions like the United Nations was promoted during the World Parliament of Religions. And then during the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations in San Francisco, we launched again the idea of United Religions and at the end of June there would be a meeting of 200 people from various religions in San Francisco to draft and to give birth, in San Francisco, to a United Religions…I almost cannot believe it that they listened to me! I will be the father of the United Religions!
"It took 30 years to create a United Europe took 46 years. To get the United States together took 10 years. And to get the world together and abolish the passports might take also 10 or 20 years. In these ideas I have six fundamental ways of getting to a United World…. I’mgoing to work with each of them…I am asking now that either the United Nations would be tremendously strengthened, or…create a United States of the World…. Or let us take the European Union now, as a model which is better than the United Nations, for a United World. Or let us take all the World Federalists together to create a World Federation. Or let us create regional continental units…the European Union, an American Union, which I’ve been pushing too, and this is how you got the trade agreement between the U.S. and Canada."
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1. Education for Global Citizenship: Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress Call for Leadership, p. 1.
2. Desmond E. Berghofer, The Visioneers, Creative Learning International Press, Vancouver, Canada, 1992, p. 10.
3. Ibid. p. 10.
4. Ibid. p. 72.
5. Hope For The World Update, Spring 1997, page 6, “Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul.”
6. Alice A. Bailey, The Rays and the Initiation: A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Lucis Publishing Company, New York, 1960, p. 123.
7. Ibid. p. 123.
8. ‘AUM’ is a Hindu/occult sound or word used to connect you with the pantheistic energy flow or “god force” of the universe.
Forcing Change, Iss.3, Vol.1 -14- www.forcingchange.org
Articles to Watch for in Upcoming Issues of Forcing Change
• Earth Day: A Radical Religious Agenda
• Utopian Politics: International Socialism and the Rise of Global Governance
• Cult of Green: The UN Earth Sabbath
• Fundamental Fears: Biblical Christianity as a Factor in Global Instability
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