|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
IVU Online News - October 2006
HAPPY WORLD VEGETARIAN DAY!
If you have events taking place today please send reports to our new editor for next month's issue.
37th IVU WORLD VEGETARIAN CONGRESS, GOA, INDIA, SEPTEMBER 10-16 2006
Yet another IVU Congress has come and gone, almost 100 years of them now, but more of that below.
Some people ask if these Congresses are worth the bother, a few hundred delegates flying around the world to listen to talks that they could probably read on the internet anyway. Of course it all depends what you want from them but there is nothing quite like sharing a meal (100% vegan and fabulous quality) with a group of people from several different countries, or meeting in the flesh the writers whose articles you might already have seen online. Even if an individual Congress doesn't change the world, there is a cumulative effect of meeting every couple of years for almost a century, the networking opportunities are unique. And it can be a lot of fun too.
This Congress attracted visitors from at least 20 countries, not a record number but what was significant was that half of those countries were in the Asia-Pacific area. A group of 21 arrived from China, a large delegation from Indonesia, many others from Australia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand - and of course lots from India. There were plenty of us from the West too, but we were really just extras in this Congress.
- did you notice Iran and Israel in that list? The present writer had the pleasure of a drink in the bar with friends from both (at the same time). If only the rest of the Middle East could duplicate an IVU Congress...
One of the newly elected IVU councillors, from Africa, had to miss the congress as he was on a business trip to China - but he read about it in the English language Chinese newspaper in his hotel room, the newly formed Chinese Vegetarian Union had brought their own reporters with them.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the impact of events until we able to look back on them with hindsight. The first, and so far only, IVU Congress in East Asia was in Chiang Mai, Thailand in January 1999 - at the time it didn't seem to have set the world alight, but maybe some things have to smoulder for a while. That Congress saw the foundation of the Asian Vegetarian Union which appeared to get off to a slow start. Their first Congress was in India in 2001, then a long silence until the 2nd Asian Congress in Bangkok earlier this year. But a lot was happening behind the scenes. The President, Jashu Shah from India, along with the Deputy President, Dr. Maitree Suttajit and General Secretary Dr. Pichai Tovivich, both from Thailand, were developing contacts, expecially in China. The Chinese government had initially refused to recognise the new Vegetarian Society as they thought it was some sort of religion, it took a flight to China by our guys from AVU to resolve matters.
The group from Indonesia commented during the Congress that only 20,000 of their 60,000 members were actively involved - most Western Vegetarian Societies would be delighted to get a tiny fraction of that activty!
The next AVU Congress will be in Taiwan in August 2007 - watch thisspace for more details.
With vast numbers of Hindu and Buddhist vegetarians, the Asia-Pacific region has been something of a sleeping giant of international vegetarianism - but there are signs that it is beginning to wake up in a big way.
- even your next issue of this newsletter will be edited from Singapore . . .
for more comments about the
Congress, from some who were there, and some photographs, go to:
The next IVU Congress will be the centenary! 100 years since a meeting in Dresden laid the foundation for international co-operation between all the vegetarians of the world.
To celebrate we're going back to Dresden wich, of course, was until recently part of Communist East Germany. We would particularly like to use this Congress to reach out to all vegetarians in Eastern Europe - it's on your doorstep and probably as near as it will get for some time to come.
IVU might even be able to offer some financial support to leaders of IVU Member Societies in Eastern Europe. Nothing has been decided yet but you have nothing to lose by asking - and in some of the countries which are still struggling economically you could get free membership for your group as well.
It would be great if the Dresden Congress can do for Eastern Europe what the amazing Brazil 2004 Congress did for Latin America, and what Goa 2006 could begin to do for Asia-Pacific.
Don't miss it - lots of details
already available at:
best wishes to all
John Davis, still working for IVU from rural England
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