Letter to Obama from the five regional Humanist Spokespersons

November 24, 2008

Dear President-elect Obama

First, please accept our warm congratulations on your election, which has inspired people all over the world; and for the conduct of your campaign, which was carried out with integrity, inspiration and consummate skill.


The reaction to the outcome, from New York City (where people poured into the streets to celebrate) to Nairobi and around the world, reflected not only the deeply felt symbolism of overcoming historic tragedies, but also the deepest hopes of people of all nations and colors for a profound change in the direction of governance in our country and the world.

This is a moment of great change, of great danger and of great opportunity. As Humanists, we wish to highlight especially the grave danger of nuclear war facing the world today – a danger that surpasses even the most hostile moments of the Cold War.

For this reason, we call on you to use the power of your new office, the mandate you have received from citizens of the US and the support of people around the planet, to decisively signal a new direction for US foreign policy. In our view the priorities in such a direction should be the withdrawal of US troops from all occupied territories, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and a clear and immediate initiative toward progressive and proportional global nuclear disarmament.

Your campaign platform contains many excellent proposals for steps in this direction, beginning with bringing all nuclear weapons currently on “hair-trigger” launch status to a safer level. We urge you to move forward with these initiatives immediately, in order to send a clear signal to the world and lower tensions. We believe the window of opportunity for such a move is very short — measured in weeks rather than months. Should you continue to show the courage and vision displayed in your campaign by charting a clear course for withdrawal and disarmament, we believe the people of the world would decisively support you. If you wait too long, however, the moment could be irrevocably lost.

We recognize that you don’t govern alone and that there will be strong pressures from powerful interests to continue in this disastrous militarized direction. We also believe you have the strength and capacity to forge a truly new direction for humanity, commensurate with the historic moment of deep change we are living together on this small planet. Should you choose this direction, which is urgent, and necessary in order to bring the world back from the brink of a nuclear abyss, you can count on the support of Humanists the world over.

We would also like to take this opportunity to inform you of the World March for Peace and Non-Violence and to ask you to join us in supporting it. The March, which is being organized by World Without Wars, an international peace organization, begins in Wellington, New Zealand, on October 2, 2009, International Day of Non-violence, and will pass through 90 countries on 6 continents in 3 months, ending in the Andes mountains of Argentina on January 2, 2010. It will be very open and inclusive, encouraging the initiatives and creativity of individuals, organizations and groups, and including a diversity of forms — marches, concerts, demonstrations, festivals, work with the media, conferences, seminars, meetings with governments, etc. — with the aim of raising awareness globally of the urgent need for disarmament (especially nuclear) and for active non-violence.

With our sincere best wishes,

Chris Wells,
Spokesperson for New Humanism in North America

Tomas Hirsch,
Spokesperson for New Humanism in Latin America

Giorgio Schultze,
Spokesperson for New Humanism in Europe

Sudhir Gandotra
Spokesperson for New Humanism in Asia-Pacific

Ivan Andrade
Spokesperson for New Humanism in Africa

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