International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo 35th World Vegetarian Congress
'Food for all our futures'

Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland
July 8-14, 2002
Hosted by

The Vegetarian Society
of the United Kingdom

Global Voices
by Tina Fox, Chief Executive, Vegetarian Society UK
, October 2001

In the last two articles about Congress I have very much focussed on the facilities and the social side of the event so I thought it was about time we discussed what actually will be happening in terms of information and learning opportunities at the Congress.

When it was discussed - it seems a very long time ago now - with the trustees to decide our theme everyone was in agreement that all aspects of vegetarianism should be covered. As a result our programme is a varied one with talks and workshops on animal welfare/rights, the environment, health, the philosophical and historical elements of vegetarianism, its future and sharing information on vegetarianism around the planet. At present there will be at least 3 concurrent workshops, seminars and cookery demonstrations at any one time , although it is expected we will add to this number as more speakers are recruited. On four of the six days there will also be a plenary session with three speakers on a specific topic.

Each day will start with an opportunity for exercise as we feel the body should not be neglected in favour of the mind! All lectures and presentations should be finished by 6.00pm and entertainment is being organised each evening after the evening meal to allow for plenty of networking.

A provisional programme is in place and if you only want to come for a particular speaker or theme then day delegate packages are available. It would be wise to leave booking for this until nearer the time however as it is possible speakers may need to change their flights or timetable so it could be subject to change.

The Congress starts on the Monday 8th July in the afternoon to allow for registration in the morning and throughout the day. We will kick off with a welcome ceremony after lunch at 2.00pm and we hope to persuade one or more of our patrons and other celebrity supporters to attend this so watch this space!

The seminars on that day so far include Sigrid de Leo, previously secretary of the European Vegetarian Union on the influence of nutrition on students, Alan Watson Featherstone from Findhorn on restoring the earth and John Wedderburn from Hong Kong on veganism in the east. As this is only a short day we will move into the first plenary session after the coffee break and this one will focus the history and the future of vegetarianism and will be presented by myself, Maxwell Lee our President and Derek Antrobus who is well known both in the UK and the USA for his work on the transatlantic history of the movement. I will very much be focussing on the future directions as I leave the history to those with much more expertise and after that I will be resting on my laurels! Seriously as I want to ensure all our delegates are looked after well and this will be a conference to remember I won't have time to do more in terms of presentations but I hope I may be able to join in some of the workshops.

Tuesday will be a very full day of lectures etc with 14 scheduled so far excluding the plenary session. Speakers include Derek Antrobus, John Wedderburn , Sigrid de Leo and Alan Watson Featherstone again all with new topics, Claude Pasquini , our IVU ( International Vegetarian Union) European Co-ordinator and well know philosopher on the abolition of speciesism, Joyce de Silva from Compassion in World Farming on genetic engineering, Franciso Martin from Spain on veganism and the quality of life and Juliet Gellatly from Viva! on campaigning to save the world. There will also be a number of Cookery demonstrations courtesy of our own Cordon Vert School. The plenary session that day will focus on animal welfare with Joyce, Juliet and Francisco all giving the benefit of their differing experiences and knowledge. We hope to have a world music disco that evening so if you have sat around all day this will be your chance to shake it all out!

As we want to break people in gently and allow you to learn without being overtaxed Wednesday has been designated a free day. There is a choice of three full days excursions and the option of just having a day to yourself in Edinburgh at the excellent museums etc. or even a relaxing day on campus.

Thursday it is back to work with a further full day of presentations and also the IVU general member meeting which is scheduled to take place 9.00am to 11.00am that morning. I will be very much in my membership secretary and deputy Chair of IVU role then and all attending are welcome to attend though only those representing paid up groups can vote on any matter. This is an excellent opportunity to get more involved in the work of IVU and I would be happy to provide information about it to anyone interested. Presentations this day include Kim Smallwood, Director of the Animal Rights Network USA on animal rights in the UK and USA, Dr Hans Diehl, who is very well known for his work in the USA and Germany on heart problems and osteoporitis, Rynn Berry , well know US lecturer and writer on historical aspects of vegetarianism, and Gerry Coffey, IVU councillor, on health matters. We also plan a session that day to share our experiences of vegetarianism around the world and there will again be cookery demonstrations from both the Cordon Vert School and Dilip Barman from the USA. The plenary session that day will be on the environment with David Pye, director of Wirral Green Alliance and VSUK trustee and George Rodger, Chair of the Vegan Society together with a third speaker to be confirmed.

Friday there will be group of excursions after lunch but nine sessions will be held in the morning with a number of the earlier speakers with new topics and two new speakers, Alex Connell VSUK youth education officer and Marcel Hebbelink, previous president of the EVU and Fellow of the IVU, on the health of elderly vegetarians, an often neglected topic.

Saturday sees our final day dawn sadly but it will be a full one. The fifteen sessions currently scheduled include new speakers such as "Iron Lady" Ruth Heidrich on the calcium deficiency myth, Dr Douglas Graham on how food choices affect the planet, Dilip Barman on vegetarian gardening, Paul Appleby our Oxford group co-ordinator and well known researcher on the long term health of western vegetarians and Professor Rosalind Gruben on inspiration to exercise. New sessions will also be available from Alex Connell, Rynn Berry and Marcel Hebbelink and our guest cookery tutor for a couple of sessions is the very well known Rose Elliot, recently awarded an MBE for her services to vegetarianism. The plenary session that evening is on the subject of health and the speakers are Paul Appleby, Professor Gruben and Ruth Heidrich. I hope it won't all wear you out too much though as you will need some energy for our farewell dinner and ceilidh that evening. In the morning we will bid fond farewells except to those travelling on to Nairn on the post congress tour.

If anyone would like more information on the programme or speakers booked so far please see our website at www.vegsoc.org/congress or drop me a line. A word of warning - the post congress tour is now nearly 50% booked and double rooms at Heriot Watt are in limited supply so if you are keen on either option early booking is suggested! I hope you will make learning more about vegetarianism and meeting new friends your new year resolution and join us all next July in Edinburgh.