|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
16th World Vegetarian Congress 1960
Hannover and Hamburg, Germany
From The Brtitish Vegetarian Nov/Dec 1960:
16th WORLD VEGETARIAN CONGRESS, 1960
REPORT OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY
The period under review has been overshadowed by the sudden loss of our generous patron and President, Mrs. Clarence Gasque, of America. Her financial help over many years enabled The I.V.U. to increase its work and have offices with a paid staff in London. We have also been saddened by the death of our first Past President, Mr. W.A. Sibly, M.A., J.P., who was a mainstay of The Union for as long as most of us can recall. It was my privilege to work very closely with both of them and I can testify to their devotion to our Cause. We have also lost Mr Harry Harris, who stepped into the breach left by the previous Secretary and did much to restore order to the temporary confusion. All three were of a great age in their seventies and eighties, and were actively engaged in our work until the last. We feel their loss very deeply, and I should here like here to express the gratitude felt by The Union for their services to our Cause.
Starting with the "Fabulous Fifteenth" Congress in India, when delegates travelled all over the country and were entertained by the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, by Mr. Nehru, Governors of States and Maharajahs, I can state, without any hesitation, that this Congress stimulated a tremendous interest in the practical side of vegetarianism and made a valuable contribution towards stemming the drift away from India's traditional vegetarianism. Several new Societies have been established and the appointment of Mr J. N. Mankar as our Regional Secretary for India and The East, operating from Bombay, has resulted in new members and a strengthened the bond between East and West. We congratulate Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale and Mr. Peter Hoffmann on establishing an active group in Madras; we are also delighted to have so many Indians and Eastern delegates with us on this occasion.
The appointment of a Regional Secretary in America was not very successful and the office appears to have lapsed, but if, as we hope new arrangements can be made, we feel sure that The Union can help to give an impetus to the American vegetarian movement - as you may know suffers somewhat from the enormous distances between the various centres
It will be appreciated that the sudden deaths of Mrs Gasque and Mr. Harris threw a considerable volume of work on your Secretary and I have only recently emerged from the deluge, so any errors and omissions during the last year or so will, I hope, be forgiven.
Arrangements for keeping members in touch will have to be devised at this Congress under "Any Other Business" on the Agenda, but at least one magazine, The British Vegetarian, is willing to devote regular space to The Union's affairs.
I am very happy to report a great increase in the general interest and acceptance of vegetarianism in all parts of the world - except perhaps. in the Communist-dominated countries which are not permitted to have vegetarian societies - but since our movement is non-political, non-religious except by personal preference, and designed to build healthier bodies and ensure abundant and economically produced food, we hope the barrier will be over-come, when we shall be only too glad to put our knowledge and experience at their disposal.
We have sent a memorandum on the health, medical and economic advan-tages of vegetarianism to all world governments, including Russia and China, and a number of Embassies in England expressed their appreciation and asked for extra copies. Reuters, the big press agency, distributed widely our appeal for all nations to observe a Vegetarian Day. If nothing appears to have been actually accomplished by these efforts. I think we can be assured that our constant little jabs will have a cumulative effect and gradually impress themselves on the public's mind.
In 1958 we celebrated our Golden Jubilee - 1908 to 1958. We hoped to have this Congress at that time, but unfortunately it was not possible so soon after the Indian gathering. Although the credit for expanding the vegetarian movement must go to National and Local Vegetarian Societies (and, of course, their members), The International Vegetarian Union has played a very valuable part in bringing the nations together and cementing the bonds of friendship between people dedicated to work for the betterment of Mankind, not only in health through diet, but morally and spiritually through fostering an appreciation of the basic rights of all living creatures. Not only do our Congresses mean a sharing of experience, but they have a great and lasting impact on the countries in which they are held.
Dr. Barbara Moore's courageous walks, which have been featured on the radio and in the Press all over the world, have given a tremendous impetus to vegetarianism. We hope that all Societies will have taken advantage of her exploits, which must bring home to us that athletic achievements appeal to the public. We should like to suggest that all vegetarian societies should foster this aspect of our movement and try to help vegetarian athletes on their way. In Britain there has been a Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club since 1887 and it has provided us with many outstanding records.
Most of our work and correspondence consists of advising and helping in the formation of new societies. May I take this opportunity of saying that The Union is in a unique position of having at its disposal the vast references of The Vegetarian Society, which was established in England in 1847 and was the first in the world, and it is always very happy to help in any way possible.
May we congratulate Britain on the establishment of The Vegetarian Nutritional Research Centre under the direction of Dr. Frank Wokes, who is to speak for us at this Congress. The Centre is recognized by The Royal Society and is the first exclusively vegetarian research centre to be so honoured.
As you can imagine, the organizing of an International Congress involves a considerable amount of work and many headaches. Your Committee has had meetings in Germany, Holland and France, and I must pay a very warm tribute to the co-operation received from the Vegetarier Union Deutschland, its members, and particularly from Herr Geo. Hiller, whose assistance has been wholehearted and beyond praise. I know you will join with me in thanking them very sincerely for their noble efforts and generous hospitality.
The following societies and organisations are now affiliated to The I.V.U.
Secretaries are asked to note that any Society with vegetarian executives may join The International Vegetarian Union and additional support will be much appreciated. An application form will be supplied on request.