President's Report on 5 March Meeting
The 5 March has come and gone. Forty participants came and lent their ideas to this fascinating meeting. The open space session disclosed at least fifteen different foci of interest across the widest range of topics; these led to about fifteen workshops spread throughout the day — three consecutive sets of five in parallel.
We emerged from these with the new knowledge that we have four active working groups, only one of which is listed in our current brochure. The groups now active are on Ethical Considerations in Science and Scholarship; United Nations Reform; the Ozone Layer and Global Climate; and Scientific Cooperation with Cuba. In addition the former Superordinate Project is still active in the sense that funds are still being sought for the LET System study. Also, Eric Fawcett is since reactivating the working group on Militarism and the Environment. A clear outcome of the meeting on 5 March is that Science for Peace has shifted its interest very largely from the narrower arms control focus that it had in the 1980s to broader concerns; peace, as most of us have now realized, includes justice and the environment
The meeting also confirmed the interest of many members in continuing to publish in Peace Magazine. General satisfaction has been expressed by some members of SIP with the quality of the magazine and the eight pages per issue allocated to Science for Peace. However, there is room for more feedback here.
The 5 March workshop on finances and modus operandi led to no consensus, but a fundraising campaign is underway right now. If you receive the appeal to contribute monthly to Science for Peace you may rest assured that the funds really are necessary. If you do not receive the appeal, contribute anyway. The other workshop reports have been edited by Margot Mandy and are available from the SIP office on request, and by email.
Science for Peace as a continuing influence
It was stated very strongly by Dominick Jenkins at the 5 March meeting that Science for Peace has a unique university role in remembering Hiroshima and keeping the nuclear arms race in focus, thus underscoring fundamental problems of science and society — most recently the globalization of the economy and with attendant marginalization of people. The future of SIP depends on its being able to relay -a critical awareness of those fundamental problems to a new generation of scientists. Failure to address and oppose the latest forces, particularly those of fear induced by the current market forces — that lead to student and faculty preoccupation with grades and career — will doom SIP to decline by attrition. The full version of Dominick’s statement is available from the Science for Peace office in the workshop reports. It should be discussed widely, across the campuses of Canada, and elsewhere!
Change of name
Three workshops discussed a change of name for SfP. The fact that this subject came up so often in a single day prompted a discussion at the 19 March Board meeting and a decision to bring it up again at the Annual General Meeting. Against changing our name are those who think of Peace as a highly appropriate word and those who feel we have so long been known by that name it might be unwise to change. In favour of changing are numerous of the younger members who feel that Peace is often a misunderstood word, one that to many people means less than the portmanteau of meanings understood within the peace movement itself; to attract new blood SfP would have to change its name.