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16th World Vegetarian Congress 1960

Hannover and Hamburg, Germany

From The Brtitish Vegetarian Nov/Dec 1960:

THE INTERNATIONAL VEGETARIAN UNION
(General Secretary: GEOFFREY L. RUDD, Bank Square, Wilmslow, Cheshire, England)

THE Proprietors of The British Vegetarian have very kindly agreed to allow The I.V.U. to publish its news and reports in this magazine, and the facility is gratefully acknowledged. Secretaries of Societies affiliated to The I.V.U. already receive free copies as part of the service given to the movement by The Vegetarian Society and The London Vegetarian Society, so it will be greatly appreciated if Secretaries will watch these columns for official announcements and also keep us constantly in touch with all developments in their countries so that a helpful and interesting feature can be published in each issue.

The German Congress
The 16th World Vegetarian Congress was held in Hanover and Hamburg from August 20th to 28th, 1960, under the auspices of The Vegetarier-Union Deutschland - we hasten to express our grateful thanks to Mr. Geo. Hiller and his German colleagues for their co-operation in staging a very successful series of meetings.

We welcome the appointment as President of Mr. Woodland Kahler, of America, France and India, where he has his three homes. Mr. Kahler is well known for his deep and thoughtful literary contri-butions to vegetarian literature and is also the author of several novels, "best sellers" in America and France. Free to travel and give his time to furthering the aims of The I.V.U., he is welcomed as a very worthy successor to our late President, and will, we know, bring his enthusiasm to the work and uphold the high standard set by his predecessors.

We should also like to take this opportunity of thanking Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale, M.P. (India), for officiating as Chairman throughout the Congress and making a valuable contribution towards its success.

A résumé of activities is included with this report and it is hoped to publish some of the fine lectures given from time to time.

An important item which emerged from the Congress was the appointment of a Sub-Committee to present a memorandum to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and national governments setting forth basic nutritional requirements on vegetarian lines for countries which suffer from serious food shortages. This is a fine opportunity, for the F.A.O. has launched a "Freedom From Hunger Campaign" over a period to 1965, while in 1963 a series of national food congresses and a World Food Congress will be held to review the information obtained. On the other hand, stiff opposition to our proposals can be expected since Dr. Norman Wright. Deputy Director-General of F.A.O., speaking in September at The British Association's symposium on "World Food and Population." rejected out of hand the possibility of a universal vegetarianism keep-ing all peoples sufficient in food.

Another interesting item was the proposal for a "World Vege-tarian Day." After a lot of discussion it was finally agr:eed that the first Sunday in September every year should be a day for concentrated propaganda efforts all over the world. It is not particularly convenient day for British vegetarians, but Swedish Vegetarian Societies have observed this date for about 15 years and were not prepared to change it. Dates with a religious significance were deliberately avoided - October 4th (St. Francis) - so that vegetarianism should not be thought of as part of a religious organization. However the British cannot expect to have everything arranged for their own con-venience in an international movement, so it is hoped that some effort will be made to encourage vegetarian meals, Church services with a humanitarian theme, to hold dinners and stage special activities in their districts on these occasions.

We think the Congress helped and will continue to help the German vegetarian movement - Heads of local Government Depart-ments gave their support and spoke with enthusiasm for our move-ment at Civic Receptions. Newspapers gave excellent reports of the proceedings and quite a lot of the Business Ssessions were televised. There were also special interviews for the radio.

We were delighted to have delegates from as far apart as Japan and Iceland and very glad to make contact with Icelandic friends who reported a thriving Vegetarian Society and well over a thousand vegetarians. We are hoping shortly to have the affiliation of the "Nátturulaekningafelag Islands," of Rekjavik.

Already we are in communication with the Spanish Vegetarian Societies concerning the next Congress in 1962 : permission has been obtained from the Spanish Government to hold such a Congress and we look forward to a gathering either in Madrid or Barcelona.

The value of our World Congresses is that they give tremendous publicity to vegetarianism in the countries in which they are held - no country can ignore a meeting of delegates from about twenty nations - and they bring us together so that we are encouraged to know that in all peoples there burns an ardent desire to live by kindlier ways. We are encouraged, and friendships are cemented by personal contact.

The German Congress demonstrated in no uncertain way a wonderful solidarity between Vegetarian Societies and Animal Welfare Societies, and the experiment of bringing them together for public lectures was most successful, large audiences resulting, so large that we were reminded of the Indian Congress, at which a meeting of 5,000 people was not remarked!

It should be noted in the Minutes, please, that "Individual Members" as such are no longer recognised in The I,V.U. - this followed a strong protest from The American Vegetarian Union that such admissions robbed National Societies of potential members. It believed that people should subscribe to their local or national organi-zations and a proportion of their donations be received by The I.V.U. as affiliation fees. However, the Rules leave it open for individuals to subscribe direct to The I.V.U. and such patrons will receive all communications.