War and peace will be the topics of discussion tomorrow morning, as a former U.N. official and the author of an internationally renowned book about peacemaking team up to teach locals about the diplomatic potential for “a better world.”
“United Nations for a Better World” – the event sponsored by the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) – will be held at the headquarters of the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the American Red Cross at 9 a.m. and admission is free. Dr. Robert Muller, former assistant secretary general for the United Nations, and Douglas Noll, author of Peacemaking: Practicing at the Intersection of Law and Human Conflict, will discuss some of the issues pertaining to international conflicts and peace movements currently facing the United Nations.
The Santa Barbara chapter of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is co-sponsoring the event. UCSB Nobel Laureate professor Walter Kohn, chairman of the organization’s science committee, will also attend.
Noll, a trial lawyer for 22 years, said his speech will focus on the ways modern countries can peacefully resolve their conflicts, provided they abandon many of the current diplomatic policies they follow.
“[Modern diplomacy] is myopic, simplistic, based on violence and just going to lead to more war,” Noll said.
Noll said he plans to address the actions of many high-ranking diplomats, including President George W. Bush. He said Bush’s foreign policy and diplomatic decisions, as they stand, are unlikely to lead to international peace.
“George Bush is dead fucking wrong [about diplomacy],” Noll said.
Noll said he thinks it is important that people attend this event because he thinks most educated people are unaware of the complicated issues surrounding international diplomacy.
“I want people to understand that the road to peace is as equally complex as the road to war,” Noll said.
Muller, who will also speak at the event, said he intends to discuss his experiences as the former United Nations assistant secretary general and ways that individual citizens can contribute to international politics and their local communities.
“[I will] talk about the experiences of my life … and tell people what they should do for the U.N. and in the community,” Muller said.
UNA-USA Vice President of Communications Kazutoyo Furuta said Muller, who worked for the United Nations for almost 40 years, is now retired at the age of 83. Muller, a local resident, is the current chancellor at the University for Peace – a school created by the United Nations in demilitarized Costa Rica.
“Half the year he stays in Goleta, because his wife lives here, and the rest of the year [he spends] in Costa Rica,” Furuta said.
Muller has been nominated 23 times for the Nobel Peace Prize and said he will share some of the lessons he learned in his time with the United Nations. He said he has both friends and enemies in international politics because of some of the policy he has written.
“I’m too dispersed in all kinds of directions, I don’t know who likes me or not. I’ve made so many resolutions,” Muller said.