International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

Message from the Chair of the International Council
from IVU News Oct 2000

As this is my first time in this position, I feel that it is appropriate that I introduce myself.

I have been a vegetarian for over 17 years. I have served on the IVU council since the 32nd World Vegetarian Congress in Johnstown, PA, USA in 1996, and have also been President of the Toronto Vegetarian Association (hosts of the 34th World Vegetarian Congress) since 1993. In addition, I have been the Vice-President of the Vegetarian Union of North America since 1995. Although I am a computer consultant, I consider my volunteer work for the cause to be my real job.

Now that that is out of the way, I would like to look at how things are shaping up for the future. I have always been a strong believer in doing whatever is necessary. Rather than look at why we can not do something, I prefer to look at what needs to be done so that we can figure out how we can do it.
After the elections in Toronto, I feel your International Council is strong and committed. We have a lot of good, hard working people who have returned and some new faces to keep us on our toes. I look forward to being part of this great team and working together for a better future.

Our world is changing. and IVU is adapting to those changes. The recent constitutional changes are just part of that. We are still adjusting to those, as well as looking at new ways of doing things better and making our actions more effective. One of these changes has been making the IVU a more open organization that is subject to the scrutiny of its member societies. After all it is you, our member societies, who decide how IVU's energies should be directed.

One thing I have always felt is very important is communication within the vegetarian movement. IVU's continued expansion onto the Internet and the easing of communication between member societies has helped us all to share our successes, jointly solve problems and make a stronger, more international front representing the vegetarian cause. One of the main objectives of IVU is "To encourage the formation of local, national and regional vegetarian organizations, and cooperation between them." I feel we are very much on track with that.

One of the key words in that objective, in my mind, is "cooperation". For without cooperation, we expend a lot of energy on internal battles that only divert our attention from the real issues. We are all in this for the same reason, which happens to also be the aim of IVU, that being "to promote vegetarianism throughout the world."

Again, reflecting on my earlier comments, I feel we should find ways that we can all contribute and work together in whatever way we can rather than to find reasons why we can not do it. It is good to see the renewing of old ties so that we can get back to the business of promoting the vegetarian cause. We all have something to contribute and we should all be given the opportunity to help in whatever way we can.
As the theme of the 34th World Vegetarian Congress stated, we are "Sharing the Vision". The vision of a better, kinder and gentler vegetarian future is being shared with the world and with each other. It is a new beginning. The future is in our hands.

For a vegetarian world,
Kevin Pickard