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For Immediate Release: August 16th, 2000
David lerner, Riptide Communications, 212-260-5000
1310Joshua Karliner, Transnational Resource and Action Center, 415-561-6567
1310Debbie Barker, International Forum on Globalization, 415-229-9350

Globalization Debate Comes to NY, Opponents Hold Teach-In

Leading Globalization Opponents Hold Town Hall Meeting AS 144 World Leaders Converge on United Nations for "Millenium Summit''

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NEW YORK -- Motivated by a growing concern that the United Nations is in danger of becoming an engine for corporate globalization, leading opponents of globalization will hold a Teach-In in New York coinciding with the United Nation's Millennium Summit -- expected to be the largest-ever gathering of Heads of State. On Tuesday, September 5th, while the Global Leaders gather at the UN to begin three days of meetings "to address the challenges of the 21st Century," prominent scholars and activists will stage a series of panel discussions at Town Hall (123 W. 43rd Street, 1 pm to 11 pm) in midtown Manhattan where they will address the challenge of effectively articulating the dangers of the unchecked power of global corporations and develop strategies to restore the UN's historic mandate placing human needs and the environment above the profit motive.

The Teach-In is sponsored by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), an international alliance of sixty leading activists, scholars, economists, researchers, and writers that was formed in response to the increasing dominance of corporate globalization. The IFG played a key role in challenging the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle and educating the activists who participated in the mass demonstrations that occurred in Seattle and in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. According to the IFG, the recently inaugurated Global Compact (an alliance between the U.N., some non-governmental organizations and multi-national corporations -- including some implicated in human rights abuses such as Nike and Royal Dutch Shell) signals a worrisome trend:

"The UN's mission is being compromised by the encroaching power of global corporations," said John Cavanagh, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and an IFG board member.

He added: "For the United Nations to mimic the free trade model that motivates the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF undermines the UN's potential to serve the needs of peace, security and the interests of the global poor.

IFG associate Vandana Shiva, internationally acclaimed as one of the most passionate and articulate critics of globalization, cautioned that by aligning itself with the purveyors of corporate globalization, the UN is in danger of becoming a vehicle for "the new colonialism of the Third World that rests on free trade and liberalized rules for investment and privatization and de-regulation." Both Cavanagh and Shiva note that the historic antagonism of the U.S. toward the U.N. -- as manifested by the massive U.S. debt -- has played a role in the world body's increased interest in cooperating with multinationals.

The Teach In will feature four panels. The panelists will review the status of the battle against globalization in the wake of the Seattle and Washington, D.C. protests and analyze the increasing influence of corporations and the free trade model on the UN. Panelists will also articulate alternative economic models and institutions based on values favoring human welfare and the environment over corporate interests.

Co-sponsors of the event include: Institute for Policy Studies, Transnational Resource and Action Center, The Nation Institute, and the New York Open Center