April 12, 2013

Barbara Ford on UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)

Hello, my name is Barbara Ford. I am a resident of Champaign and serve as Director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at UIUC.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was established to create conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures, and peoples based upon respect for commonly shared values.  Nothing is more important in todays world.  In 2011 I was appointed as a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. Since then I have realized how important UNESCO is to much of the world and how little many of us in this country know about the activities of this important international group.

UNESCO promotes the advance of education and freedom of expression around the world, including a free and open internet and media sector. It also promotes the sharing of scientific knowledge and cultural understanding through  preservation of world heritage sites and encouragement of intercultural dialogue. 

While the United States played a leading role in the creation and development of UNESCO, it stopped funding UNESCO in late 2011 after the agency admitted Palestine into its membership. This created  a 22% cut in UNESCOs budget that may either cancel or jeopardize countless programs that improve peoples lives.   We need to encourage Congress to take action so the U.S. can again pay its UNESCO dues and become a fully functioning member of the organization.

Learning more about UNESCO and its work is very important.  To help with this on a local level, a new UNESCO Center for Global Citizenship will make its community debut at a public ceremony and reception in the Robeson Rooms at the Champaign Public Library on Monday, April 15, 5:00pm  7:00pm. Mr. Guy Djoken, Executive Director of the UNESCO Center for Peace in Washington, D.C., will formally welcome UCGC into the UNESCO network of over 3,800 affiliates in more than 80 countries. The mayors of both Champaign and Urbana will be on hand to mark the occasion. The public is invited to the event.

The Center for Global Citizenship becomes only the second UNESCO affiliate in the United States.  We hope the Center can draw upon the wealth of knowledge in our university and community to build a deeper understanding of global issues affecting the worlds population and to show how UNESCO contributes to the eradication of poverty, sustainable development, intercultural dialogue, and the building of peace.

Our desire to start the UNESCO Center for Global Citizenship springs from the belief that a world -- starting with our own community -- that is open to different perspectives is a better, safer and more peaceful place in which to live. UCGC programs and events will include guided visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Cahokia Mounds in southwestern Illinois, museum tours, reading/discussion groups, guest speakers, school events, traveling exhibitions, and partnership ties with UNESCO associations across the world.

UCGC has its administrative home with the University of Illinois Center for Global Studies. Partnership and project proposals are welcome. Please join us on Monday evening at 7:00 at the Champaign Public Library. Thank you.

March 12, 2013

Arthur Cronkhite on Gun Rights

Hello, my name is Arthur Cronkhite.

Once again, we debate our personal rights, granted in the second amendment of our Constitution. Although the courts have assured our right to possess guns, the debate now centers on the slippery slope in what kind of guns.

This recent debate, was the result of the Sandy Hook event - that to-date, has many questions still outstanding, un-asked by today’s media. One example of our media’s neglect, is the lack of reporting that handguns and not an “assault” rifle, was used at Sandy Hook.

A highly-suspect, under-reporting, especially when you consider that today’s media, on average, has aired, pro-gun-control reports at a ratio of 8 to 1. And the 1 - many times, is a lackluster, poorly delivered, and/or negative example of gun ownership.

But the greatest omission and probably best example of our media’s complicity, is the silence, surrounding a singular common factor in the vast majority of school and public shootings, that of; Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – referred to as SSRI drugs.

There have been nearly 2 dozen international warnings, concerning this class of psychotropic prescription drugs, whose side effects include; mania, psychosis, aggression, violence, suicidal and homicidal ideation. Drugs that most of the shooters had been on, and were on, at the time of their attacks.

As one of the media’s largest advertisers and biggest political campaign contributors, the Pharmaceutical industry, has little desire for Americans to contemplate that their drugs might be part of the problem.

So, to make it appear that mental health issues are being properly addressed, debate has focused on the need for “more” mental health, which in today’s Psychiatric practice that does less talk therapy and more pill prescription, means more psychotic drugs to more people and therefore higher profits.

Until we demand greater accountability of our media and honesty from our politicians, this kind of subversive Orwellian farce will continue, as our liberties are further challenged. And is “the” primary reason why ammunition is in short supply and some guns are difficult to keep in stock.

Recent statistics show that some 325 people died by rifles while at the some time, 450 died falling out of bed. So for what possible reason would certain politicians, continue to lie about an assault rifle being used at Sandy Hook, with a focused effort, against high capacity magazines? I can tell you why!

For the statement rarely made and the reason seldom given, is that assault rifles and high capacity magazines are “most coveted” not for hunting or home protection, but are “the” guardian-device against tyranny. Because without them, “we the people”, would no longer be a potential threat to bad governance, as our founding fathers intended and admonished - - us all to be.

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