A Progress Report
|Disseminating the Statement||Page 5|
As it became obvious that most of the press was not going to attend the press conference, we drafted a 'letter to the editor' which was sent to the New York Times, Nature, and Science. The news editor of Science had been personally invited to cover the press conference but said that it was 'not newsworthy'. The letter called attention to the Seville Statement and its message and was signed by the presidents of the APA, the American Anthropological Association (which had also endorsed), and representatives of the International Council of Psychologists, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, International Society for Research on Aggression, and Society for Psychological Study of Social Issues. In response, we never received acknowledgements from the New York Times or Nature, and only a form letter of rejection from Science. Contacted by telephone, the letters' editor at Science said that the letter was 'too political'. This was despite the fact that at that time many political letters and news articles were being published by Science about Soviet treatment of scientists who wished to emigrate.
In the long run, the press did respond. Carol Tavris used the press release as the basis for a note in her column on Mind Health in Vogue Magazine. Having read the Tavris column, a writer for US News and World Report included the information in a major story. Also, since Psychology Today was owned at that time by the APA, we were able to convince their editorial board to run a major story on the Seville Statement and make it part of an entire issue devoted to war and peace.
Another method of dissemination was the use of the network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations. Jo Groebel and I, who are both signatories and NGO representatives, introduced the Statement formally to the Special Session on Disarmament and Development in September, 1987. And four NGO's introduced the Statement to the Third Special Session on Disarmament in June 1988.
The long-range goal continues to be the adoption of the Seville Statement by UNESCO. This process was greatly facilitated in 1987 when Seville signatory Federico Mayor Zaragoza was elected the new Secretary-General of UNESCO. We anticipate that the Statement will be submitted to the General Conference of UNESCO by the Spanish National Commission in the fall of 1989. Supporters of the Seville Statement are being urged to seek the support of their National UNESCO Commission and have it conveyed to the Spanish.