Dr. Agni Vlavianos-Arvanitis
President and Founder
Biopolitics International Organisation
Technology has been the cause of many of the threats to modern society but it may also be viewed as a pathway leading to new alternatives. Now, on the threshold of a new millennium, a farsighted approach is needed. Positive action can correct the mistakes of the past and lead to the realisation of a balanced bio-environment. The participation of everyone is needed to construct a tower of hope and vision, where light and clarity may prevail over confusion and anxiety.
Technological progress has the power to provide a better future for mankind. In order to benefit from the expanding horizons of knowledge, however, our institutions need to be inseminated with new and challenging ideas. Excessive specialisation in modern-day educational systems has contributed to technological progress, but is also responsible for the fragmentation of thought. In view of the existing threats to the preservation of bios (life), there is an urgent need to restructure the educational framework and to redefine our priorities.
The threats to bios arise from international problems and the required solutions relate to the development of cooperative educational activities to promote peace and international understanding. Emphasis on an integrated system of education will allow bio-environmental issues to be handled more efficiently. Interdisciplinary communication and the broadening of the educational framework could convert diffused efforts into coordinated action within universities and governmental organisations.
Bio-diplomacy could contribute to the development of policies for world-wide waste minimisation. Existing inadequacies and injustices can be alleviated, if proper planning by decision-makers reflects an awareness of past errors, and directs growth toward the service of new priorities related to the preservation of the world’s natural resources and bio-diversity, in full respect for the bio-environment. The decisive role of education raises our concern on the need to assess priorities and formulate new educational strategies. The International University for the Bio-Environment will encourage cooperation among all areas of human endeavour in order to promote a unified vision of technology directly related to the bio-environment.
Threats to the bio-environment are endangering bios. Our ripening into maturity and our survival will depend on our ability to assimilate the explosive progress of technology towards a new culture webbed with unifying values and based on a better understanding and respect of bios.
We need to intensify our efforts to understand and identify today’s problems by constructing our “Model Global Bio-Education”, to provide not only new educational methods and techniques but to expand our scopes in every static idea and value.
We cannot take any more risks as local problems cross national boundaries quickly. The Biopolitics International Organisation (B.I.O.) proposes the creation of the International University for the Bio-Environment (I.U.B.E.) in order to promote the implementation of the B.I.O. goals and contribute to the change from the present inverted pyramid state to a balanced society in the future.
In an effort to bridge the gap between technological progress and societal values, I.U.B.E. will foster the B.I.O. goals through global bio-education in the following ways:
International cooperation for the better understanding of bios and the bio-environment. Bios recognises no ideological or geographical boundaries, no East-West, North-South or developed-developing countries. Bios provides the unifying force for the harmonious co-existence of all forms of life. Parallel to internal problems, nations will have an international task. In order to implement global bio-education, the goal is to seek the cooperation of universities, governments, industries, institutions and individuals in an effort to introduce a new vision in curricula. Innovative educational programs could be devised for teaching via satellite transmission. New course material could be incorporated into existing curricula and programs in order to increase public awareness on life-supporting issues. Lobbying groups could be established to put pressure on world media organisations to include more news and information on bio-environmental issues in their publications and programming. Satellite television networks, for example, could include a bulletin or update on environmental issues along with the weather and stock market reports which accompany each news program.
International legislation on ‘Bios Rights’. It is important to realise that environment deterioration constitutes a threat to all forms of bios. In view of recent technological advances, new dimensions of understanding are arising. Creativity and economic growth may be channeled to foster the “defence for bios” and bio-diversity, reduce environmental risks and promote compatibility between technological progress and the bio-environment. The respect for bios may serve as the core of thinking and action.
Present society resembles an inverted pyramid, with human rights representing the tip and technology expanding the unstable base which stands in the air. This imbalance may be changed in we invert the pyramid and place bios rights as the wide base of our society. Human rights will then occupy the stable tip of the pyramid.
Worldwide bio-assessment of technology. Progress may be viewed under the spectrum of “Bios in the Next Millennium”, so as to retain the positive aspects of technology that contribute to the maintenance of the bio-environment. In a dialectic exchange of views, experts in respective fields will be asked to present the thesis and antithesis, and then create the synthesis of new values leading to a harmonious global community. The effort will be to identify the factors leading to the decline of values, harness the damages to the bio-environment such as species extinction, water and atmospheric pollution, ozone layer destruction, greenhouse effect, soil erosion, acid rain, nuclear waste and benefit from the positive contributions of technology. Greece is proposed as the ideal meeting place for people from all specialties to meet and assess progress and values. Every corner of Greece, depending on its cultural contribution to mankind, may serve as the meeting place for providing the needed new dimensions. Mythology, history and tradition, as well as modern technology, may combine to provide a future based on a perspective of hope, as well as respect for creation.
In addition to the theoretical search, action-oriented activities will be needed in order to use the progress of technology for preserving the bio-environment.
- Develop a bio-syllabus and new curriculum materials for preschool, elementary, middle and higher levels of education and audio-visual materials on issues related to bios and the bio-environment.
- Encourage the creation of a clearing house for both dedicated individuals and established organisations to provide, through the use of computer link-ups, a network of people wishing to cooperate and contribute towards saving the bio-environment.
- Provide a structure which could generate environmental action groups, utilising both the enthusiasm of the young and the experience and know-how of retired people to tackle local bio-environmental issues.
- Encourage on a world-wide basis interdisciplinary exchange of information promoting the appreciation of the bio-environment. Exchange of bios-supporting data between cities, individuals, universities, etc.
- Promote the establishment of a computerised Bank of Ideas in which scientists, academicians and philosophers, as well as every individual, may bequeath their thoughts to create a rich depository of information and reflections on bios.
The sensitisation of public opinion to the ramifications of the biological sciences so that more people will realise that progress in the biological sciences relates to their own specific field of interest. The impact of this progress may open new fields of human endeavour such as bio-legislation, bio-environment, bio-literature, bio-linguistics, bio-economics, bio-communication, bio-history, bio-education, and bio-diplomacy. When the wheel was discovered it must have been difficult to predict the endless chain of cars found in the streets of modern cities. A similar revolution is taking place today in biology and medicine. Until a few years ago, medicine was based on the study of symptoms, the diagnosis and the corresponding treatment. At present, genetic engineering provides a revolutionary approach to medicine due to the understanding of the biological mechanism of disease. For the first time, in the multi-million year history of life, the genome can be analysed and changed. The biological sciences are causing the major revolution of our times and raise the awareness for a unified concept of life.
As we enter the meta-industrial era and the next millennium, technology offers the expansion of human potential. We are surrounded by ever-increasing dangers and signals of alarm for the very existence of bios. Every plant that is destroyed, every animal that becomes extinct, every micro-organism dying from pollution breaks the chain of the continuity of bios. It is for this reason that the bio-environment can contribute to a new perspective in international cooperation and bio-diplomacy. It is hoped that this symposium could promote these ideals.
- Vlavianos-Arvanitis A., Biopolitics – Dimensions of Biology, European Philosophy Conference on Man in the Age of Technology, Athens, June 24-28 1985.
- Vlavianos-Arvanitis A., Biopolitics – A Pathway for International Cooperation, presented at World Federation of United Nations Associations meeting in Berlin, GDR, September 8-11 1986, published in Bulletin of the Greek Association for the United Nations, November 1986.
- Vlavianos-Arvanitis A., Dimensions of Biopolitics, in Proceedings: First International Conference on Biopolitics – The Bio-Environment, held in Athens, May 1987, Athens May 1988.
- Vlavianos-Arvanitis A., Biopolitics – Bios in the Next Millennium Introduction to the Right Honourable Lord Ennals speech at the British Council, Athens, May 1988.
- Vlavianos-Arvanitis A., Biopolitics – The Bios Theory Vol. II Proceedings of the Second International Conference on “Biopolitics – The Bio-Environment” held in Athens, October 1988, Athens 1989.
- Vlavianos-Arvanitis A., Biopolitics International Organisation – International University for the Bio-Environment, Proceedings of the International Conference on the Environmental Management of Enclosed Coastal Seas ’90, Kobe, Japan, Pergamon Press (in print).
Dr. Agni Vlavianos-Arvanitis founded B.I.O. in 1985, after having dedicated over 20 years to teaching and research in biology. In 1990, she launched the International University for the Bio-Environment and, in 1992, a campaign for Bios Prizes and cease-fire during the Olympics. A recipient of many high distinctions, she was elected, along with M. Gorbachev, N. Mandela and M. Strong, Honorary President for Life by the UNA of Sri Lanka, and is also an Abdi Ipekci Peace and Friendship Prize laureate. She is Vice President of the International Bioethics Society, Member of the Journal of Cleaner Production Advisory Board, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Uganda National Foundation for Research and Development, Vice President of the UNESCO-MAB Hellenic National Committee, Commissioner on the Global Commission to Fund the UN, Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the International Academy of Ecology, Human and Nature Safety Sciences, the Hellenic Philosophical Society and the National Society of Greek Writers. Author of poetry books, she is also Honorary Professor of St. Petersburg State University for Plant Polymers and Doctor Honoris Causa of Mendeleyev University. In 1995 she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, a nomination renewed in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.