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Union of International Associations: a profile (Part #5)


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It should be made clear that the Union of International Associations is not, as its title suggests, an actual union of international organisations. International organisations may associate with the U.I.A. and make use of its services by the simple device of taking out a subscription to the monthly magazine 'International Associations' and furnishing regular reports of their activities. Such association implies, of course, a general recognition of the value of the work of U.I.A., but ties it in no way to any particular policy or activity of the organisation. It enables the organisation to take part in the general assemblies of the U.I.A., though without voting rights.

This simple but effective and somewhat informal means of association gives U.I.A. an operational flexibility that it would undoubtedly lack if it became in anyway a 'federation of associations'. Here too the Association points the way by establishing a pattern of informal yet effective working relationships based not on legal formalities but on mutual and cooperative interest.

Co-operation at the international level is rapidly ceasing to be the somewhat haphazard and disorganised affair that it used to be. If for no other reason, the exuberant multiplication of international plans and programmes, the massive supply of documents to be examined, and the ever-increasing technical complications of certain types of international work, are forcing some rationalisation in this field. By providing an unbiased and competent centre of research, information, documentation, and advice the U.I.A. offers the essential and fundamental basis without which no future development of international work would be possible. A clear perspective must be established and a way through the 'maze' of international work found. The U.I.A. seeks to contribute, as it confesses itself, in a somewhat humble mood, to the development of this most important of all areas of human life and work.

It is appropriate to conclude with a quotation from the President of the U.I.A., Senator Etienne de la Valée Poussin :

'The 19th century has tried to be the century of liberty; to ensure liberty it proclaimed its faith in the autonomy of the individual and the absolute sovereignty of States. In the light of terrible experience the 20th century- has understood that if the individual rights of man and the independence of States must be respected, we must also organise co-operation between individuals and collaboration between States.'