The world is in need of guiding ideas, a vision, to more effectively direct our intellectual, moral and scientific capabilities for world peace, global security, human dignity and social justice. Today we face myriad challenges. Unprecedented material and technological achievements co-exist with unconscionable and in some cases increasing poverty, inequality and injustice. Advances in science have unleashed remarkable powers, yet these very powers as presently wielded threaten to undermine the very future of our planet. Rapidly rising expectations have increased frustrations and tensions that threaten the fabric of global society. Prosperity itself has become a source of instability and destruction when wantonly pursued without organizational safeguards for our collective well-being. No longer able to afford the luxury of competition and strife based primarily on national, ethnic or religious interests and prejudices, we need urgently to acquire the knowledge and fashion the institutions required for free, fair and effective global governance.
In recent centuries the world has been propelled by the battle cry of revolutionary ideas — freedom, equality, fraternity, universal education, workers of the world unite. Past revolutions have always brought vast upheaval and destruction in their wake, tumultuous and violent change that has torn societies asunder and precipitated devastating wars. Today the world needs evolutionary ideas that can spur our collective progress without the wake of destructive violence that threatens to undermine the huge but fragile political, social, financial and ecological infrastructures on which we depend and strive to build a better world.
Until recently, history has recorded the acts of creative individual thinkers and dynamic leaders who altered the path of human progress and left a lasting mark on society. Over the past half century, the role of pioneering individuals is increasingly being replaced by that of new and progressive organizations, including the international organizations of the UN system and NGOs such as the Club of Rome, Pugwash and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. These organizations stand out because they are inspired by high values and committed to the achievement of practical, but far-reaching goals. This was, no doubt, the intention of the founders of the World Academy of Art & Science when it established this institution in 1960 as a transnational association to explore the major concerns of humanity in a non-governmental context.
The founders of WAAS were motivated by a deep emotional commitment an sense of responsibility to work for the betterment of all humankind. Their overriding conviction was on the need for a united global effort to control the forces of science and technology and govern the peaceful evolution of human society. Inhibiting conditions limited their ability to translate these powerful motives into action, but they still retain their original power for realization. Today circumstances are more conducive, the international environment is more developed. No single organization can by itself harness the motive force needed to change the world, but a group of like-minded organizations founded with such powerful intentions can become a magnet and focal point to project creative ideas that possess the inherent dynamism for self-fulfillment.
The Editorial Board