International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Message from the Chair of the International Council
from IVU News, March 2000

Things change with time and hard work and we should remember this when we endeavour to promote vegetarianism and concern for the welfare and good of the animals.

Chair of the International Council is an example of change. Member societies have voted on a new constitution that has caused a number of changes to the organization of IVU. Elected President at the World Congress in January, 1999 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I felt able to propose doing away with the post of President. What IVU needs, in my view, is someone who is a capable leader who can chair meetings and give a lead through the International Council. As a result, I proposed the change that led to an election a few months ago in which the International Council elected me as its first chair. I trust the change will serve IVU better, and help it to move forward into this millennium with the hope and expectation of a vegetarian future for the world.

In recent months, television programs have reviewed the past century and reminded us of the struggle for equality and rights for all people. Many never thought they would live to see the fall of apartheid in South Africa or blacks achieving rights in the USA. "I have a dream," claimed Martin Luther King but, sadly, he did not live to enjoy his dream. We also have a dream that is related to the fight for equality and rights for all people. Respect and rights for all life on Earth, and particularly for the animal world is a dream that many of us have. It might seem unlikely at the moment, and be something that cannot be achieved in our lifetime. However, the fight for human rights shows that massive change is possible.

At the start of this new Millennium we look forward, full of hope and expectation. We hope for a world at peace; one in which war, environmental degradation, denial of rights to people and animals will all become part of the past. Let us work for a world in which we are all at peace with ourselves, the animal world and all life on Earth. A vegetarian world will be an important step in this direction.

We can all play a part in this work whether we are active or passive. IVU exists to promote vegetarianism world wide through its member societies, and to work for the encouragement of the development of new vegetarian societies where none exist. The active will volunteer for election to the International Council or play a part in their regional, national or local vegetarian movement's work. The less active can still play an important role. They can provide the ammunition to enable our work to succeed. IVU needs financial support through membership and donations to ensure its success. Give whatever you can to promote the vegetarian cause and you will play a vital role in the work. Without funds, IVU can achieve little. With support, it will conquer the world and give all vegetarians hope for a vegetarian future.

My best wishes to you all for a vegetarian future and success in our work.

Maxwell G. Lee

Contributions to IVU News are welcomed. Material published does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or the policy of the International Vegetarian Union.