Al Norman, the founder of Sprawl-Busters, an international clearinghouse for citizens’ groups fighting big box superstores, has been invited to speak at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City on March 3rd. The event is the 30th Anniversary conference of the United Nations International School. The subject of the Annual Conference is: “The Role of Corporations
in Today’s World.” The conference will be held on Thursday and Friday, March 2nd and March 3rd, 2006, in the General Assembly hall of the United Nations. Participants from all over the world will be attending this conference. “This year’s UNIS-UN conference will attempt to answer this fundamental question by investigating the functions of corporations in modern times-what corporations do and what they should be doing,” the UNIS said. “Through the close examination of issues such as the environment, the workforce, healthcare, the media, agriculture, the food industry, education, and global development, we hope to gain an understanding of how corporations penetrate many aspects of our lives and our world.” Norman will speak as part of a panel of presenters that will include Jeff Ballinger from Press For Change, and Bruce Greenwald from the Columbia Business School. Norman’s comments will focus on the corporation and the treatment of its workers. For nearly 13 years, Norman has been helping citizens on several continents organize and prevent their communities from being overrun by huge retail projects. “To bring the world cheap underwear,” Norman says, “Wal-Mart has had to exploit workers all along the production chain. Underpaid and overworked people have produced enormous wealth for a handful of managers. As Balzac wrote, ‘behind every great fortune is a crime.”
UNIS explains that giant global corporations “play a huge role in today’s world: making products that are relied on, providing jobs, supporting our world’s economic structure. But there are ill effects as well: corporations often demonstrate little or no social conscience or responsibility, and yet have many of the same rights as individuals, and much more power. Is there a balance to be struck?”
The UNIS-UN Conference is organized and run by UNIS students. Preparations for the conference are begun nearly a year in advance, and include finding and researching a topic of global relevance, drawing up a list of speakers, inviting several hundred students from schools all over the world, organizing UNIS Tutorial House debates, and compiling a Working Paper of articles pertaining to the topic written and edited by members of the UNIS-UN Committee. The conference is also broadcast live on the Internet.
The structure of the UNIS-UN Conference is designed to provide students with expert knowledge imparted by provocative guest speakers. The conference also endeavors to give students a platform to express and debate their own opinions and views in arguably the most internationally significant gathering place on earth. More than six hundred students hailing from six continents will attend the conference.
For further information about the UNIS event, contact Mick Krever, UNIS-UN at 212-584-3108.