|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
13th IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1953
From both the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester) and the Vegetarian News (London) 1953 (photos from Manchester):
Report of the IVU Executive Committee to Congress
In the eventful and expansive years approaching 1950 the need for a permanent international vegetarian office had become increasingly apparent, and this progressive thought occupied the minds of many who met in that year in Holland for the Twelfth International Vegetarian Congress.
There being no financial provision for the maintenance of such an office and staff, the decision to open an IVU office and appoint a full time secretary could only be agreed in principle. Immediately Mrs. Clarence Gasque, of the U.S.A. generously offered to meet the expenses of such an office and the salary of the secretary. This spontaneous gesture was very warmly received and opened the door to great future possibilities, although the course to be taken and the activities to be undertaken were no more than vague outlines in anybody's mind.
One of the greatest steps forward in world vegetarianism was therefore
taken and entrusted to a Committee consisting of:
The Committee met in England later in 1950 and appointed the first permanent Secretary of the I V U, whose duties commenced January, 1951. In accordance with the single condition of Mrs Gasque's grant, an office was opened in London early in 1951, and the work of establishment commenced. No records from the past the were available and with no precedent to act as guidance, foundations of the work were laid on virgin soil. The Secretary bore in mind two major considerations : to bring nearer fruition the work of the pioneers who had so faithfully and devotedly served the vegetarian movement in the past, and to help the movement progress along its logical, rational, and balanced path. Another consideration was that every aspect of our work should uphold the principle of norn-hurtfulness implicit in the vegetarian teaching, and that harmony and goodwill should be developed and maintained with all individuals and groups both inside and outside the vegetarian movement.
During the two-and-a-half years since the opening of the office the Committee members have met as follows:
18th May, 1951, London. U.K. members met to confer with the Secretary.
Present: Messrs. Sibly, Hough, Jones. and the Secretary.
Time, distance, and money have prevented more frequent meetings, but every member of the Committee has been in close and constant touch with the office. Further, the Secretary has had other meetings with individual Committee members either in England or their own country, and a high degree of unity has been maintained. The I V U Executive Committee has been represented by one or more of its members at vegetarian meetings in the following countries Scotland, Eire, Northern Ireland, England, Sweden, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Canada, and the U.S.A., through which country a three months' tour was undertaken.
Existing connections have been strengthened and new ones made and developed, and the IVU office is now in constant touch with national or district vegetarian societies in all of the aforementioned countries, plus Finland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Switzerland. Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, British Guiana, the Gold Coast, Brazil. India, Japan, Ceylon, Israel, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Australia.
Friendly relations and varying degrees of co-operation now exist between the I V U and other International and National move-ments which are wholly or partly vegetarian. Contact is also main-tained with many other progressive movements throughout the world, and every opportunity taken to acquaint them with the veget-arian teaching. Correspondence reaching the office has now reached very considerable proportions, and all these letters with a few special exceptions, receive suitable replies.
Requests for assistance are many and varied, covering school exchange visits, holiday exchanges, lists of vegetarian addresses of those making tours overseas, commercial introductions, information for those seeking employment or emigration, and all such needs have been met so far as the office limitations of staff and information permit. The development of this aspect of our work would meet a very widespread need within the world vegetarian movement.
A steady stream of visitors from many lands has called at the IVU office. From these welcome fellow workers we have gathered considerable information concerning the vegetarian movement in other parts of the world, and in return we have been able to render them assistance in their further travels. A significant step was that when the proprietors of the international vegetarian magazine World Forum agreed to their excellent publication being used for IVU news, notices, and articles.
Valuable recognition was accorded the vegetarian movement when the IVU was appointed an official consultant of UNE-SCO and FAO. The limited resources of the IVU have been very employed, and an extensive programme planned for the future.
The Executive Committee of the I V U is very mindful encouragement, assistance, and hospitality that have been given both the Committee as a body and also its individual members during their travels, and grateful recognition of these generous services is gladly recorded.
Despite the progress made in the period covered by this report it is acknowledged that little more than the fringe of the world vegetarian movement has been touched, and endless opportunities for service to mankind beckon us into the future. The IVU will need the numerical, moral, and financial support of all vegetarians in. every land to meet this challenge.
HANWORTH WALKER, General Secretary