Mankind 2000 / Humanité 2000
In Remembrance of James Wellesley-Wesley
Instigator and Executive Director of Mankind 2000
James WeIlesley-Wesley died at home in St Bathelemy on 25th April 2007
of a heart attack following a serious bout of pneumonia and pleurisy. He was
81 years old.
I first met
James in the period in which the Club
of Rome was
preparing to publicize its first report (Limits
to Growth, 1972 )
-- a report that was to focus debate for decades to come.
James was closely associated with the Austrian futurist Robert
Jungk, through Mankind
2000 (which they founded in London in 1965), in seeking ways to promote futures
research -- especially with a focus on human development. James and Bob Jungk
had travelled the world together in endeavouring to build up a network of
contacts with such concerns. These efforts resulted in the organization of
the first International Futures Research Conference (Oslo, 1967), with
the collaboration of the Peace
Research Institute Oslo (founded
by Johan Galtung in
and of the Institut für Zukunftsfragen (founded
in Vienna by Bob Jungk in 1964). Bob Jungk and Johan Galtung edited the Oslo
1969). The Oslo conference was followed by futures conferences in Kyoto
(1970) and Bucharest (1972). James attended the inaugural
meeting of the World
Future Society where Bob was a speaker.
My dialogues with James at that time explored the contrast between the "objective
collective" problem-oriented approach that was the preferred focus of
the Club of Rome and the "personal subjective"
dimension so characteristic of every individual's existential lived reality.
The former had acquired a degree of academic and political credibility, whereas
the latter had relatively little visibility in the mainstream. My own concern
was the very limited range of "world problems" that were the focus
of the Club of Rome's systemic analysis -- which certainly did not recognize
the huge range of problems with which the many thousands of international organizations
It was from these exchanges that the idea was born for a Yearbook
of World Problems and Human Potential -- a collaborative initiative
between Mankind 2000 and the Union of International
Associations (UIA) where I was based (see original project
June 1972). It was agreed that Mankind 2000, with funding arranged by James,
would support the costs of the necessary editorial research work and that
UIA would fund the final publication and marketing. The copyright would be
shared. The initial fruit of this extraordinary collaboration appeared four
years later in 1976, and was launched by Bob Jungk.
As an initiative, the Yearbook recognized right from the start that
whilst there was a "market" for "problems", such interest was inadequate to
the challenge of the future. However, whilst there was almost no "market" for
"human development" in those early years, this was where the challenge lay.
In fact the larger challenge was marrying the two seemingly incompatible preoccupations.
The project was designed to give credibility to a more complex and subtler
approach. For Mankind 2000, as catalyst of the international futures research
movement, it was a means of bringing into focus its prime concern with the
place and development of the human being in the emerging world society.
James and I have been friends since that
time and I have had the delightful experience, on many occasions, of visiting
James and his wife Trinette in the succession of locations where they
have lived: Rome, Opio (near Nice), Tryon (North Carolina) and finally St Barthelemy
(Caribbean). We have also travelled together, notably to futures-related events
in different countries. It is too James that I owe my decades of associations
with futures -- especially from a psycho-social and spiritual perspective.
James was also an advisor to the World
Network of Religious Futurists for whose president, Rabbi Moshe Dror, most
significant was his nature as a truly gentle soul, embodying the powerful
importance of quietude.
As those who have known James will readily attest, most striking was his friendship,
hospitality, courtesy and modesty in seeking ways to enable fruitful things
to happen -- often between people who were not necessarily enthusiastic about
each others preoccupations. He offered me a wonderful education in the appreciation
of food and wine.
In parallel with the Yearbook project in the period 1972-1976, James
was very active through Mankind 2000 in seeking to promote a World
Forum on Social Innovation (also envisaged as a World
Forum on Social Transmutation) in collaboration with
the Centre d'étude
des Conséquences générales
des grandes Techniques Nouvelles (CTN, Paris) and the Société Internationale
des Conseillers de Synthèse (SICS). Key figures in those discussions
were Georges Guéron
and Armand Braun. These exchanges resulted in the creation of an International
Foundation for Social Innovation to organize the event, although only a preparatory
event eventuated -- Journées d'Etudes (Paris, 1977), for which introductory
reports were produced on behalf of Mankind 2000.
Whilst resident in Rome in that period, James devoted considerable time to
facilitating the work of the 1973 futures research conference by Eleonora
Masini as leader of the organizing group IRADES (Istituto Ricerche Applicate
Documentazione e Studi, Rome) -- appointed by a Continuing Committee at the Kyoto
futures conference in 1970. James was associated with the process through which
a draft of a charter, presented
at the conference in Bucharest (1972), was prepared for a permanent worldwide
body. He and Bob Jungk were present at the founding conference
(Paris, 1973) hosted by Futuribles International (founded
in 1967 by Hugues de Jouvenel). The World Futures
Studies Federation was formally launched
-- a culmination of their networking efforts.
Also in 1973, Mankind 2000 was established as a formal international organization
under Belgian law with James as Executive Director. James's friendship with
John McHale and Magda
Cordell McHale, co-founders of the pioneering Center
for Integrative Studies (based initially at SUNY Binghampton and now at SUNY
Buffalo), resulted in an association with the Yearbook project at that
time -- notably through the collaboration of Guy Streatfeild (former editor of
the journal Futures). This was also the case with Julius
Stulman as president of the World Institute
Council (founded in New York in 1949) and publisher of the journal Fields
within Fields within Fields.
I also recall a memorable visit with James and Trinette to the International
Symposium on the Environment on the "The Dilemma Facing Humanity" (Spokane
WA, USA on May 1974) in
which they found themseves housed in a leaky caravan -- unusual for James,
to say the least. It appropriately provided our first introduction
to the Findhorn Foundation -- in its earliest days at that time. That same
journey also included a memborable visit to Kenneth
Boulding and Elise
Boulding in Boulder -- and to her mountain hermitage. As one of the members
of Mankind 2000, Elise had astounded participants at the 1973 futures conference
by presenting to the plenary session the report of her working group in song
form. At that time she was working on her magnum opus The
Underside of History: a view of women through time (1977)
on the second edition of the Yearbook of World Problems
and Human Potential (renamed "Encyclopedia") was initiated
in 1983 and was completed in 1986. The third edition work was initiated in
1988 and completed in 1990. Work on the fourth edition was initiated in 1992
and completed in 1995. These editions were jointly funded by the UIA
and its long-term publisher K
G Saur Verlag (Munich) -- whose founder Klaus
Saur explicitly saw as an affirmation of the inspiration of Bob Jungk.
The editors of these editions, who became friends of James through this process,
Casswell and Jacqueline Nebel. The fourth edition,
compiled by Nadia McLaren,
was extended from two to three volumes by the addition of a third volume on global
strategies and solutions, for which
James provided essential seed funding on behalf of Mankind 2000.
With the advent of the world wide web, James also made it possible for the
UIA to set up and participate in a cooperative providing internet services
to international associations from 1995. This became the key for the
very early development of the UIA's large website and the Encyclopedia databases
it makes freely available thereon. This proven knowledge management capacity
enabled the UIA to successfully head a consortium that obtained funding from
the European Union for what amounted to a fifth web-based edition of the Encyclopedia -- a project started in 1997 and completed in 2000 on the initiative of Nadia
McLaren. This achievement further enabled the UIA to successfully lead another
consortium proposal that was accepted for World Bank funding, although funds
were unfortunately diverted to the crisis in Yugoslavia.
In pursuit of his continuing interest in human development, James became
a founding member and active participant in a series of semi-annual meetings
of the highly experimental International
School of Ignorance in the period
1994-1997 -- notably involving the editors of the Encyclopedia. He
facilitated the participation of Bronislav Vinogrodsky (author of The
Way of Tea), an extraordinary Russian scholar of Chinese culture and practitioner
of Taoism and the tea ceremony -- founder of the Moscow Club
of Tea Culture (an interest that resonated with those of James as a connoisseur
of tea). His own participation was especially valued for his capacity to focus
through pointed questions on essentials. He also participated in a related
School of Unknowing.
It might be said that the personal tragedy of James derived from his Anglo-Irish
origins. As a consequence he was too "Anglo" to be welcome in a politicized
Ireland -- especially as a descendent of the Duke of Wellington. But, imbued
as he was, to the highest degree, with the Irish intuitive understanding of
place and Celtic magic, what he experienced as most essential did not make
him fully credible to the "English",
having lived and farmed by one of the most magical places in Ireland: Loch
Gur (Co. Limerick). The Celtic
triple spiral --
logo of Mankind 2000, open to various interpretations -- was one consequence.
James had a romantic streak. Just before committing
himself to the discipline of a Zen monastery, he received a telegram -- "I
am out" -- from
Trinette (a former girl friend), who had been a Catholic nun for 14 years.
They were married soon after.
James came to see the mother/child relationship as being
the most natural union of humanity throughout the world at large – trans-tribal,
trans-national, trans-cultural, trans-faith – namely central to the
extension of the family embrace from the nuclear to the global community.
His last initiative, prior to Easter 2007, when his infirmity became
more evident, was proposed under the title Mum’s
The Word. This was for
a silent demonstration
over the Easter period, by mothers in particular and others in general, protesting
the current wanton devaluation and destruction of all forms of Life, including
that of the human species, and proposing the provision of genuine mediational
services in all circumstances of conflict whatever the scale. The
demonstration was to involve the
wearing of black armbands in mourning -- with the observation of silence
as the most telling communication of disaffection.
James was a wonderfully steadfast friend. He will be sorely missed. His legacy
is far from negligible or fully manifest -- and remains an inspiration.