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Student group to hold nine day conference

Martin Zeilig — May 1984

OTTAWA — On April 6, the newly-formed group Pax Humana held a press conference to announce plans for “INPAX: A Commitment to Creating Peace.” According to Tim Evans, president of Pax Humana’s board of directors, “INPAX will be an international gathering of youth committed to positive peace initiatives which will take place from September 1-9, 1984, in ‘Ottawa.” INPAX is the first of many peace initiatives which Pax Humana hopes to organise.

Pax Humana is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation founded last November by Evans, who is also president of the University of Ottawa Students’ Federation, and three friends from the Universities of Carleton and Ottawa. Witnessing the “extraordinary public response to the threat of nuclear war,” Pax Humana’s founding members felt that the emotional energy arising from this fear must be directed into “positive and concrete action at the grassroots level, especially by youth.”

Special guest at the April 6 press conference and at a reception held the previous evening in the parliamentary West Block Building in Ottawa was Dr. Rodrigo Carazo, former president of Costa Rica and now president of the United Nations World University for Peace. Dr. Carazo is International Honorary Chairman of the Pax Humana group.

INPAX, which stands for International Peace, was conceived of in December, 1983, as a means to “promote global peace building,” and to “create an awareness among young people that they are capable of shaping the world’s destiny towards attaining peace.”

INPAX will involve 600 delegates between the ages of 18 and 30 from around the world. “Peace Trains” will depart from Halifax and Vancouver on August 27, gathering Canadian delegates along the way and arriving in Ottawa before September I.

A “jamboree” format has been chosen for the conference, and the programme for the nine-day fete is divided into four areas: Dialogue, Skills development, Cultural events and activities, and Beyond INPAX.

Present plans call for the INPAX delegates to be addressed by prominent international figures, including Dr. Helen Caldicott; Nobel laureate Garcia Robles; Dr. Carazo; and Petra Kelly, leader of the Green Party in West Germany. To date, however, there are no confirmed speakers.

Tim Evans and the other INPAX organisers hope to raise the proposed $1.2 million budget for the event from both governmental and non-governmental sources. Through various Federal Government summer employment programs, they have asked for a total of $660,000 in grants and goods and services. For example, they have approached the Department of National Defence to allow delegates from Europe to fly to Ottawa aboard DND planes from the Lahr Air Base in the Federal Republic of Germany. Banks and foundations in the private sector have been approached to make up the rest of the funding. A letter from Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, read at the INPAX reception on April 5, indicates the Prime Minister’s strong personal support for the INPAX festivities.

Others, however, have raised some questions about the purpose of the jamboree. On April 18th, NDP Defence Critic Terry Sargeant voice some reservations in the House of Commons.

“I have a terrible suspicion,” said Sargeant, “ that this INPAX group with its admirable initiative is really a Liberal front, (that) .somehow or other the Liberals are trying to get on the peace bandwagon.”

Liberal MP Paul McRae, who organised the April 5 reception, said he was “surprised” that Sargeant saw it “as something that I was trying to do in any very partisan way.”

The registration fee for the entire INPAX event is $200 per delegate. Evans stresses that he welcomes the support and participation from the Canadian peace movement.

For further information about INPAX, contact Robert O’Neill at (613) xxx-xxxx, or write The Pax Humana Group, 401 University Centre, Colonel By Drive, Ottawa On., K1S 5B6.