Until the age of seventeen I went to French Schools where I had to learn all the French rivers and their effluents, all the French provinces and their capitals, the French history, its heroes and victories, the French literature and its great authors, etc. The world and its history were taught us accessorily and mostly towards the end of our studies.
Then, one day the Germans invaded France and a German teacher appeared who told us that France was a decadent country and that they taught us lies. And we had to learn the German rivers and their effluents, the German heroes and victories, the German famous authors and philosophers, etc.
At the end of the war, I took a Doctorate of Law degree at the University of Strasbourg and was lucky to get a job at the United Nations on the basis of an essay I wrote. In the US the Americans told me that I had learned the wrong thing and that instead of law I should have studied economics. So I went to Columbia University and took a degree in economics.
In the middle of my life I discovered that the only true, objective education I had received was from the United Nations where the earth, humanity, our place in time and the worth of the human being were the overriding concerns.
So at the request of educators I wrote the World Core Curriculum, the product of the United Nations, the meta-organism of human and planetary evolution.
I sent it at the time to a famous committee appointed by the president of the United States, the Paediaea Committee, headed by the great American philosopher, Mortimer Adler. Only one of its member wrote me back saying: "Mr. Muller, you are a nice fellow, but I can tell you that there will never be a school on Earth that will teach your curriculum in our lifetime."
During Christmas of the same year, a lady called me from Arlington, Texas, and asked me if I could allow her to name her school The Robert Muller School, because she wanted to use the World Core Curriculum! I was overwhelmed to see a school named after me before I was dead! She also predicted that some day there would be thousands of schools in the world which would use that curriculum. I was personally very doubtful.
Well, today, sixteen years later, there exist many schools in the world bearing my name or using the World Core Curriculum. Thousands of individuals or groups of educators have acquired the curriculum for study and use. Schools are in process of forming all around the World. The experience gained and the progress of humanity in understanding its global fate, problems and challenges, lead me to say that Gloria Crook was right, that it is a curriculum of our universal knowledge which should be taught in all schools of Earth.
In the meantime, I have concluded that the curriculum could serve as a basic framework for many other applications. the most important example is that of the media:
When we leave school and university, how do we continue to be educated during our adult life? In our respective professions we have our professional journals. But it is the media who are "informing" us and should educate us about the major, very rapid changes which are taking place in the world. But the media do not recognize that they should be educators. They are simply communicators. Well, they should be the educators of our adult lives until death. This is why I have also couched the World Core Curriculum into a framework for World Media Coverage* which I would like to see taught in all schools of journalism and hung on the walls of all media directors in the world, as a basis of their media coverage and programming.
Former UN Secretary-General U Thant who was a teacher and master to me, often had this comment: "Robert, the world will not change and find peace, if there is not a new education." He was entirely right. And today I would add: the world will not change and will not find peace if there is not a new media.
History will prove that Gloria Crook, U Thant and the United Nations were right. The quicker all educators and media will listen to them, the quicker we will get out of the present confusion and find a new, promising way of our progress and evolution. Please, all teachers of the world, listen to them.
Robert Muller, Former UN Assistant Secretary General, Chancellor of the University for Peace (At the time this letter was written, Robert Muller was Chancellor of the University for Peace. He is now -- July 2001 -- the Senior Advisor Emeritus of the University.)
* For a copy, write to Media 21, Gaughen Public Relations, 226 E. Cannon Perdido, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA Ph. (805) 965-8482.
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