A message from the Chair about the current crisis
The pandemic spread of Covid-19 virus has caused widespread alarm among the global population and reaction from various governments in a piecemeal manner reflecting the evolving knowledge of the impact and reach of the virus. Among the obvious fears of vulnerable groups is whether they will experience infection and serious and possibly fatal results but also the uncertainty of the duration of both the medical and economic effects - people are not only dying and suffering but also becoming unemployed and increasingly finding it hard to make ends meet, businesses are closing and those relying on normal social interchange are experiencing the full rigours of a lock-down seldom seen outside wartime. There can be little doubt that, even when the virus is controlled and, hopefully, combated through an antidote, the long-lasting effects on people's lives, their livelihoods and pensions will remain considerable for many years.
"In such circumstances it is difficult to see any encouragement - yet it is there. Neighbours are increasingly becoming aware of their responsibilities to look after the vulnerable and lonely with a number of local initiatives springing up. Moreover, set against the backdrop of this pervasive virus which, like its predecessors the Bubonic Plague, Spanish Flu and others is indiscriminate in its victims, the trend towards narrow nationalism, populism and national preferment seem minor irritants and irrelevancies. Although we are now clinically so much better able to cope with such a disease the question remains whether both domestically and internationally we are more capable in the spheres of governance and economic management of our fragile planet.
"There is a frustrating absence of democratic global co-operation and it can only be hoped that in the light of such a terrible stimulus humanity can rediscover, as it did following the bloodletting of world wars and the fear of mutually assured destruction, a sense of global co-operation which led to the League of Nations, the UN and our current, still imperfect, world order - I am referring especially to the global optimism and sense of urgency engendered in the 1960s and 1970s. It is arguable that through an international body representative of all the nations (in addition to the ad hoc G20 etc) and the Bretton Woods financial bodies as well as trade and climate treaties we have already the institutions for global decisions. Yet these are not yet equipped with the authority needed to be able to deal with a pandemic or the other global issues which confront us. They remain inhibited by the belief that nations can best serve their own interests individually rather than collectively, that humanity is not one entity but still separated into conflicting and conflicted groups divided through ethnicity, race, religion, culture and language. Although our trade and financial transactions are global our attitudes and manipulation of them are national and local with consequent disruption.
"At WPCT we confront these notions and refer, instead, to an unshakeable belief that it is only through international co-operation, partnership on the basis of mutual trust and sharing equitably our planetary resources as well as the concept of one common humanity to which we all have obligations of care and concern that we can bring about a new era in human and global development. This is as true of the world as it is of our European neighbours with our shared culture, history and democratic traditions.
"I am not alone in having frequently expressed the hope that it will not take another global conflagration for us all to be brought to our senses and pursue these beliefs. Maybe, it is just possible, that we are now seeing another form of devastation beyond our immediate comprehension that will engender that sense of common responsibility and the need to enshrine that in binding, effective governance structures that will make the tragedy of these current circumstances be remembered nit just as a disaster but as a new beginning.
I hope that all our members, supporters and their loved ones and those for whom they care will remain safe throughout the duration of this crisis."
Working for peace, world order and the rule of law in Europe and the world
The Wyndham Place Charlemagne Trust aims to bring together people of different cultural, political and religious backgrounds to address European and world issues, not just from a political and economic perspective but from the point of view of values and beliefs, and to enlighten public opinion and influence those who shape policy.
Its supporters include politicians, academics, officials and leaders of different faith communities. Many have experience of working with or in European and international institutions, or with other research bodies and inter-faith organisations.
The Trust collaborates with other national, European and international bodies with similar interests, and aims to keep its subscribers informed of current policy and events via its e-newsletter Eurogazing.
For news about events, speeches etc please go to "Lectures"
Our Corbishley Lecture was delivered by
Professor Tina Beattie
"Faith in Europe? - Remembering the Future"
on Wednesday, 7th November 2018
Conference Room, Europe House, 32 Smith Square London SW1P 3EU
We always start with a short reception at 5.30pm followed by the address and questions finishing at 8.00pm.
There is no charge but we welcome donations to defray the costs especially if these can be made through Gift Aid so that we benefit from the HMRC contribution if you are a taxpayer. Please use this registation form.
Please confirm your attendance and that of any colleague who wishes to come to our meetings. Forms with signature for Gift Aid should be posted to:
Keith Best, Chair WPCT, 15 St Stephen's Terrace, London SW8 1DJ.
Please respond by no later than Wednesday 31 October.
Charity number 1080157 wpctrust [at] gmail.com