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(Frequently Asked Questions )

What is World Citizen?

World Citizen is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1982 to encourage young people and others to find peaceful ways to solve problems.

Why is the organization called “World Citizen”?

Getting along with others and taking care of our natural environment ultimately lead to care and concern for the health of our planet, Earth. Everyone, wherever they might live, can be patriotic citizens of their own country, as well as being responsible citizens of the world, thus, “World Citizen”.

How is World Citizen funded?

World Citizen has always been funded by voluntary contributions, primarily from individuals and a few foundations.

Who founded World Citizen?

Lynn Elling, a Minneapolis businessman and Naval Officer in WWII and Korea is the founder of World Citizen, Inc. He witnessed the horrors of war first hand and wished to assure a better future for children everywhere. Mr. Elling remains active in World Citizen. More about Mr. Elling can be found elsewhere at this site and also at www.amillioncopies.info.

What does World Citizen do?

World Citizen’s key program is peace education for educators, helping students become more aware of ways to peacefully and cooperatively work together for the betterment of all. The program, which formally began in 2001, is not a curriculum, rather a process that can be easily integrated into existing curriculum. World Citizen also helps establish Peace Sites, and is a key organization assisting with the Nobel Peace Prize Festival at Augsburg College, Minneapolis.

Is World Citizen a partisan organization?

No, it is not. In fact, the major document which preceded the founding of World Citizen was a Declaration of World Citizenship signed by every major political leader in Minnesota in 1971, Republicans and Democrats, as well as church leaders. This document can be seen at www.amillioncopies.info. World Citizen has never entered the partisan political arena. Its members and governance simply share a belief in the Mission of World Citizen.  See final entry in this section for some pertinent quotes about the concept of "World Citizen(ship)"

How can I contribute to World Citizen, and is the contribution tax deductible?

You can contribute via credit card or Paypal through this website, or through personal check or other means directly to World Citizen at its office in St. Paul MN. Contributions are tax deductible as determined by law. Additional donor FAQs can be found below.

What are Peace Sites?

The “heart” of World Citizen is its Peace Sites, which are described at this website. Peace sites are places whose citizens have made a commitment to work towards Peace as defined elsewhere in this website. Each peace site approaches its commitment in ways appropriate to it. There is no specific ritual. This is a simple informal partnership of groups of like commitment.

What are Peace Poles?

Peace Poles (illustrated at the website) are simply visible reminders to visitors about the universality of peace.

We are interested in becoming a Peace Site. What should we do?

First step is to let us know, and someone will get in touch with you.

What is the film “Man’s Next Giant Leap”, how does it fit into World Citizen, and how did it come to be?

The approximately 30-minute “Man’s Next Giant Leap” was produced immediately following the adoption of the Minnesota Declaration of World Citizenship in March, 1971. The film was produced by World Citizen founder Lynn Elling, with the cooperation of many Minnesota institutions, and its purpose was for classroom and adult use in peace education and promoting world citizenship. Famed singer John Denver donated his time to the project. The film premiered in St. Paul in January, 1972, and is owned by World Citizen. Copies are available with a donation of $25 or more to World Citizen.

I’d like to donate. How can I be sure my money is wisely used to further the stated Mission of World Citizen?

A) We are a 501(c)3 organization and have been since our founding in 1982. To our knowledge, no one has ever raised any complaints about our stewardship of donated dollars.

B) World Citizen’s Mission has not changed in its entire history; indeed the founder of World Citizen has been consistent and unwavering in his focus from 1954 onward.

C) The present and past Boards of Directors (see biographies) are well qualified to be very prudent stewards of World Citizen funds.

D) While we have always been a small organization, primarily focused in Minnesota, the internet age has greatly expanded our potential capacity to offer our training programs for teachers world-wide.

E) We employ a part-time Executive Director with years of management experience as a school Principal and dedication to peace education.

F) Our focus has never been to accumulate money; rather, additional resources have made it possible for us to offer additional training to more classroom teachers.

G) Those seeking more specific information on our funding and fiscal management can contact World Citizen Board members or Executive Director.

Some expressed thoughts about the words "World Citizen" and the concept of World Citizenship:

President Ronald Reagan at the United Nations June 17, 1982, on the topic of disarmament: "I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world..  I come with heartfelt wishes of my people for peace...."(the first two sentences of the speech).  The full speech is accessible at  http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=42644
Then-candidate for U.S. President, Barack Obama, in Berlin, Germany, July, 2008: "I come to speak not as a candidate but as a citizen; a proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world."
Former Minnesota Governor Elmer L. Andersen (1961-63) devoted a full chapter of his last book, "I Trust to be Believed" (Nodin Press 2004) to the subject of World Citizenship, including text of several speeches he gave on the topic, including a speech on the steps of the Minneapolis City Hall in October, 1968.  (See page 151-152 of the book, attached below.)