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Image credits:  1. Aristide Maillol, Head of a Woman   2. Aldo Calo, Sculpture   3. Arnaldo Pomodoro,
The Book of Signs   4. Auguste Rodin, The Thinker   5. Francois Morellet, Sphere   (click to enlarge)

Canadian International Youth Letter

"Of all intellectual activity, science, in its civilizing and humanizing role, has turned out to have the kind of universality among humans which the times require. Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge, but it is the best we have in the field of inquiry that yields knowledge."

PAEP Science International

"In order to succeed in the dynamics of globalization, international competitiveness and partnership building, it is of paramount importance to understand how others understand themselves - to promote mutual understanding based on respect for other people and the diversity of cultures."

PAEP Mission Statement - Minding Our Future

The Canadian International Youth Letter (CIYL) is published by PAEP and the International Youth Network for the Advancement of the Sciences, Humanities and Global Bioethics (IYNet)

Contributors are scholars, scientists and engineers of national and international distinction, representing advanced education, the humanities and social sciences, as well as public life and industry. Their progressive ideas, scientific, cultural and social thought for the world and future generations help build and advance constructive dialogue towards universal values and action for a sustainable world community.

The CIYL is distributed to students, educators, and the general public in Canada and internationally in 191 countries.

As an NGO Member of Forum UNESCO and UNEP, PAEP takes partnership initiatives to promote and advance the universal values and goals of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; to foster a new transdisciplinary, educational and inter-cultural dialogue; to build awareness; to understand and respect diversity; and to strengthen international cooperation in the conservation of the world's natural, cultural, intellectual and scientific heritage.

In accordance with the request by the Director General of UNESCO for international solidarity and mobilization against the destruction of Iraq's historical, intellectual, scientific and cultural heritage, PAEP has made the appeal known to its national and international contacts and is urging them to help rebuild and restore.

The threats, violence and imprisonment waged against tens of thousands of intellectuals, academics, artists and writers have severely damaged Iraqis' ancient and indigenous world knowledge base. The systematic, contracted assassinations of university presidents and deans; leading professors of biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, and medicine [an estimated 2000 physicians alone have been murdered since the 2003 occupation]; teachers and even students, are crimes of enormous magnitude.

They were upholding freedom of thought and expression, and human rights, resisting the occupation with the same intellectual determination they used to oppose their own dictatorial government. They upheld the dignity and moral courage of the Iraqi people working to establish their own democracy for an independent Iraq. Some were colleagues and friends from the Association of University Lecturers of Iraq, advancing science and knowledge-building for the common welfare of humankind.

Statistics to consider:

  • Based on UN statistics, the imposed sanctions and war against Iraq has caused 2.5 million avoidable deaths, including the deaths of 1 million children under the age of five since 1991. The sanctions brought malnutrition, disease, and lack of medicines. Iraqis became nearly completely reliant on food rations for survival.

  • Nearly 350 children under the age of five die every day of diarrhea and pneumonia since 1990.

  • Iraq’s population in 2003 was estimated at 28 million. Half of Iraq’s population is under the age of 18.

  • Iraq’s population now (2008) is approximately 23 million.

  • The United Nations University reported that 85 per cent of Iraq's institutions of higher education have been burnt, looted or destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of books, manuscripts, scientific and literary papers, and ancient documents––constituting a people’s very identity––have been lost.

  • It is estimated that up to 1.5 million avoidable civilian deaths, mostly women and children, have occurred after the occupation of Iraq in 2003.

  • There are now over 5 million civilian Iraqi refugees, 3 million have fled Iraq. (War and political violence cause not only direct psychosocial health problems in the exposed population, but additional trauma in the refugees who attempt to flee the fighting).

  • Terror, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), severe injuries and mutilation, widespread disease and chronic illness, are critically affecting the mental and physical health of an estimated 8 million women, children, and men. It will seriously impact the development of future generations.

This atrocity, accompanied by forced acculturation and the vast physical destruction of Iraq's infrastructure and housing, universities and schools, and continued remote bombing throughout the country, will seriously affect the spiritual, psychosocial, intellectual, scientific, and material development of following generations. The scale of terror, despair and fear caused by this crime surpasses the much publicized human toll of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

UN Humanitarian Coordinators for Iraq, Dennis Halliday (1997-1998) and Hans von Sponeck (1998-2000), resigned in protest of the international policy of sanctions towards Iraq. Hans von Sponeck stated, "What has been done to Iraq in the name of democracy and freedom has no parallel in history."

History is our bridge from the past to the future. The education system in Iraq, prior to 1991, was one of the best in the region, with 100 percent gross enrolment rate for primary schooling and high levels of literacy for both women and men. The devastation of one of the world's greatest cultural and archaeological heritages, and the organized killings of Iraq's custodians of indigenous knowledge is an irreplaceable loss for human civilization, for the world of ideas and for world heritage. The disfiguration of Iraq's eight thousand years of human history, science, and culture, is a huge loss for the people of Iraq, its youth, the Arab Nations, for the world of Islam and for our shared history and humanity.

The dehumanization and humiliation of Islamic civilization has caused inestimable harm and has created a new generation of radicalism worldwide. The long-term consequences and intergenerational reverberations that Western civilization and the advancement of democracy and human rights will be facing are beyond measure.

Harold Pinter, Nobel Laureate in Literature, closes his 2005 Nobel Lecture Art, Truth and Politics, with an urgent appeal to us all: "I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory. If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man." (Nobel Lecture -- Video - 46 min)

Given current world events, a special CIYL series has been prepared with an emphasis on science and human affairs. The series incorporates cultural and youth studies as well as research-based information on the science of human behaviour, including the effects of war, destructiveness and violence on youth development, global mental health and the environment. Under the theme "Exploring New Ways of Knowing – A Meeting of Minds, Science and Human Experience" it is part of the new project of the International Youth Network for the Advancement of the Sciences, Humanities and Global Bioethics (IYNet).

The key objective of the new CIYL series and the IYNet project is to advance youth as a value-creating resource. The IYNet project builds on the transdisciplinary, youth-oriented public awareness programs (est 1979), incorporating the 1985 Collège de France educational principle of l'unité de science et la pluralité; the Canadian International Youth Forums of the Sciences and Humanities - Values and Society (est.1994); and the Global Bioethics Network (GBN, est.1999).

IYNet incorporates the John Dewey/Tsunesaburo Makiguchi concept of knowledge-building, shiso no kagaku or science of thought. It builds on scholarship, intergenerational and inter-cultural dialogue. By exploring new ways of knowing it emphasizes the humanistic functions of science for our common humanity in an interdependent world. We welcome your ideas and contributions.


A Meeting of Minds, Science and Human Experience - CIYL Special Series
Educational and Scientific Links - UNESCO Declarations - Essays and Statistics

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV


Selected Occasional Essays:


Additional Links:


A message from the Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pearson and the Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien.

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