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Since the inception of Share International magazine, Benjamin Creme’s Master has provided articles to be published not only at the time they were written, but also whenever appropriate according to world circumstances. Indeed, many of these articles seem more relevant now than when they were first published.
by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme
Seldom before has the world seemed so beset with problems. Across the globe, in almost every country, forces are afoot which disturb all balance and security. Chaos and mayhem wreak their terror on an ever-increasing scale. Millions suffer the most degrading hardship and want while whole nations convulse in the throes of change.
Into this cauldron has come the Christ. Recognized or not, His hand can be seen behind the outer turmoil, guiding and cementing the forces for good, ensuring their final triumph. Little as it may seem, a new order is being created from these warring forces, a new livingness from the ashes of the dying forms.
As commercialization spreads its cancer around the world, poisoning the life-blood of human relations, commerce and government, more and more are awakening to the danger, and are searching for new modes of intercourse and trade.
While ruthless and ambitious men spread havoc in their homelands, igniting the fires of hatred long slumbering in the hearts of their peoples, a new willingness to aid the victims and to counter the aggression asserts itself in the forum of the nations.
The hand of the Christ strays never from the helm. Only the fulfilment of the Law limits His range of action. Always, His forces are alert and ready to intervene when too heavy a weight would crush humanity’s cause.
Take heart, then, from the knowledge that these days of fire and fear will end; man’s long suffering and pain will soon be over. Take courage from the knowledge that man is not alone, that his Elder Brothers know and watch each painful, passing phase.
Prepare, now, to see and build the future. Envision it enfolded in your highest aspiration. Learn to be detached amid the present chaos and add not your quota of fears to the encroaching dark. Nearer than you may think is the day of rejoicing; hatred, too, in time, runs its course.
Awaken, soon, to the new day. Polish, anew, each bright aspiration. A new light, the Light of the World, is now, once more, among you. Reveal the growing light which now enters each sentient being, and redress the imbalances of old.
We watch and wait and are with you. Each day brings Our presence closer to your ken. When you see Us you will know that the time to work together for the safeguarding of the race has arrived: no longer must “market-forces” blight man’s ascending path. No longer must cruel ambition hold sway over the lives of the people. Never again must millions starve in the midst of plenty. No more must the future of the young be sold above their heads. The future of freedom and justice beckons. Accept it, accept it.
(A Master Speaks, May 1993)
[This article from Share International magazine, April 2017, is by a senior member of the Hierarchy of Masters of Wisdom. His name, well-known in esoteric circles, is not yet being revealed. Benjamin Creme, a principal spokesman about the emergence of Maitreya, was in constant telepathic contact with this Master who dictated his article to him.]
As Benjamin Creme worked with his Master informing the public about Maitreya’s imminent return he was asked innumerable questions covering a vast range of topics. We are now drawing on this large recorded resource; answers provided here were given by BC and His Master over the years and have not previously been published in Share International.
Q. Could the Masters being here overshadow all of us – humanity – and turn our minds to a new way of thinking?
A. That’s why They’re coming! Of course. This is a message of hope, but we have to act for ourselves. We have to want what Maitreya is advising. We have to want the principle of sharing. We have to want to be one, to get rid of war. Our intention must be to do it. That way, Maitreya is not infringing our free will. But His energy, His ability to inspire will inspire the soul of America, and bring about a transformation in the attitude of the people of America, and the acceptance of the principle of sharing. But He cannot do it without us being ready for it. That’s why He is not working outwardly in the world yet, recognized as Maitreya, the World Teacher. My job has been to prepare the way, to create the climate of hope and expectancy so He can enter our lives without infringing our free will.
Q. How many more of us are needed in order to reach the critical mass for this [Maitreya’s public emergence] to take place?
A. No more. Maitreya has plenty. That critical mass is more than enough, but we have to be ready to act. We have to do things for ourselves that we can do for ourselves. If we got into such difficulties that war on a major scale was inevitable, He would come in and intervene. He watches the world situation instant to instant. Every moment of time He is watching what takes place in the world, judging it in relation to our free will and also to the danger involved. We see only danger. If we look at the world we see danger, wars and so on. It is a one-dimensional view of the world, whereas the world is multi-dimensional. The Masters see the dangers, of course. They see the changes, They see the forces for change, and They know that, given time, They are building up such a force for good, such a transformative development is taking place, and this is quite unknown to the world.
For example, there is a great Cosmic Entity called the Spirit of Peace and Equilibrium, Who works through Maitreya in a way very similar to the way Maitreya worked through Jesus in Palestine, by overshadowing Him. This energy works with the Law of Action and Reaction, which is opposite and equal. The effect of this Avatar’s work is to transform the prevalent violence and hatred and discord into its opposite, into harmony, accord, peace, justice, in exact proportion to the existing violence and hatred. This is the most powerful energy in the world today. Not the most powerful energy per se, but there is a greater amount of this energy in the world than any other of the mighty energies that work through Maitreya. There is another great Avatar called the Avatar of Synthesis, which brings the Aquarian energies, the energies of synthesis, into the world in tremendous potency. Maitreya Himself brings the energy of the Buddha, which is Cosmic Wisdom, His own energy of Love, which is Cosmic Love; and these are a rainbow of energies. All of these are working at the same time as the destruction, the violence and the hatred. And you can be sure that this [the negative] will be overcome. But we can’t just sit back and say: “Maitreya will do it all.” We cannot do that. We must not do that. We must be responsible. We must act responsibly if we wish to be considered as responsible adults, and work accordingly against the hatred and injustice, and for the good of the world.
Q. There are many people who die in natural disasters – why?
A. It is natural that people die in natural disasters. Because the earth moves, there are earthquakes, there are cyclones and so on. Very recently we have had two huge disasters [the Tsunami and an extreme earthquake in China]. The question is whether they were natural disasters. The answer to that is that they were not so-called natural disasters. Humanity does not understand the law – the Law of Harmlessness and of Cause and Effect. If we create tension in the world, and there is tremendous tension because of the war in Iraq – a totally illegal, unnecessary and ghastly war, costly in human lives – the invasion by the Americans, British and a few others; then what has happened in Afghanistan, the threat to Iran, which America maintains through pressure on Iran, and keeps up tension in the world. People throughout the world are living in a state of tension because of the great cosmic energies which are present in the world at present, but also because of the actions of powerful individuals and nations. And people watch in silence; this country [Japan] watches in silence the actions of America, because it is an ally, but the nations must raise their voices against this trampling on the other countries of the world. America is a great nation and will become an even greater one but it is sadly out of step with its destiny. It is playing with forces it does not understand. It is a young, powerful nation. It has the arrogance of youth, especially strong youth. It is time the other nations of the world, the older, wiser nations raised their voices against the actions of America.
Now, when we are out of equilibrium, as we are now, the sub-human elemental forces which manage the cyclones, earthquakes, in fact, the forces of the planet itself, go out of equilibrium. So in regions where there are normally hurricanes or cyclones or earthquakes they become massive; everything is exaggerated because of the tension, essentially created by humanity, but to which the elemental forces respond. It sends them out of balance. When we come back into equilibrium they too will come back into a balanced state. Humanity needs to understand the connection that exists between all forces and all aspects of the planet. And the best way to do this is to advocate and encourage the acceptance of sharing. Sharing and justice will bring tranquillity and even balance to the world.
Share International has a very large reserve of ‘Letters to the Editor’ which have been processed over the years, confirmed to be genuine, but not yet published.
Some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the Master Jesus, appeared at Benjamin Creme’s lectures and Transmission Meditations. They also appear in different guises. If the experiences were authenticated by Benjamin Creme’s Master, the letters are published. These experiences are given to inspire, guide or teach, often to heal and uplift.
They also draw attention in an amusing way to some fixed intolerance to, for example, smoking or drinking. At times the Masters act as saving ‘angels’ in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. They use a ‘familiar’, a thoughtform, who seems totally real, and through whom the Master’s thoughts can be expressed. They can appear as a man, a woman, a child, at will.
Occasionally They use the ‘blueprint’ of a real person, but in most cases the ‘familiar’ is an entirely new creation. In this issue all but the first letter were confirmed.
On Saturday 21 January 2017, I attended the London demonstration for women’s rights. All the roads leading to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square were packed with people waving home-made banners, mostly on pieces of cardboard stuck together with tape, carrying slogans relating to Donald Trump. There were families and thousands of predominantly younger people. The atmosphere was wonderful. I later heard that nearly 3 million people demonstrated in 600 marches in 60 countries.
When I finally managed to arrive at Grosvenor Square, there was a bit more space and a few stalls had set up on the pavement. Suddenly, a youngish woman came towards me from the Stop the War coalition stall carrying a clipboard with petitions attached. I had never been approached by a campaigner from Stop the War Coalition in this way before. I had been signing petitions from this campaign group the previous day, so I did not think I needed to sign again. She was dressed for the cold. She had lovely kind hazel eyes behind round-rimmed glasses, and light brown clustered curls framed her attractive face. She pointed out that this was a new petition asking the Conservative Government to tell the truth about a failed Trident missile test that had taken place in 2016. I realized I had not signed this one and as I wrote she made a strange remark that often, members of the same family frequently had similar writing, and that was true for some of my sisters and my brother. Then we spoke about the numbers of protestors as people had started marching down Park Lane an hour before, yet Grosvenor Square was still filled with waiting people. This was the largest march I had been on for a long time, she agreed and said there would be many changes to come and that there was a very good film called, We are Many by Amir Amirani which was worth watching. She smiled very beautifully and warmly at me when I thanked her and said I would look at the film. I felt uplifted as I walked away. (See page 19 for a review of the film)
Afterwards, I thought this was an unusual encounter with a remarkable woman and how there is no better time for the voices of people all over the world to be raised during massive demonstrations.
S.P., West Sussex, UK.
Two letters from the same writer:
(1) On New Year’s morning 2004, just after midnight, I came from the church, from the Taize (Prayer for Peace) and walked to the bus station. I passed by a beggar lying on the pavement in front of a shop-window without offering him money. Wishing him a “Happy New Year”, I walked on but thought “that did not fit with the Prayer for Peace.”
At the bus station, I had to wait. By and by, several other people gathered, waiting for the bus too. While waiting I watched the fireworks.
Suddenly a man spoke to me. He asked me if I could help him with some cents. At first I felt angry because he asked me and not other people. (I had not seen him asking anyone else.) But then I thought the New Year should not be starting like that, with such a rejection of help. I gave him a handful of coins. He thanked me and then wished me a happy and a good New Year and walked away. He did not ask anyone else for money. To my experience, beggars always ask every person they see. The money they get they hide in their pocket and go on begging. He did not.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirmed that both ‘beggars’ were the Master Jesus.)
(2) On Sunday 25 January 2004 I went to church, taking the bus to Rathausmarkt. In my handbag I had a €10 bill which I wanted to give to the church, and in my pocket I had several coins. As I got off the bus, some distance away, I could see someone standing like a statue, with two bags on the ground. The person looked like a very old man, wearing a coat looking like a monk’s habit, the cowl all over his head. He had a hunchback. He did not look in my direction.
I was not sure whether he was a beggar or only a strange person. But I did not think much about it and offered him all the coins in my pocket. He stretched out his hand as if he had waited for this, smiled at me with a very young face (maybe about 20 years old) and very clearly he said “thank you very much”. His smiling young face and these strong two words I cannot forget.
M.W., Hamburg, Germany.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirmed that the man was Maitreya.)
On receiving a daunting diagnosis from the hospital, we were in slight shock as we walked up from the supermarket into Halifax town.
I have this conviction that my late father leaves me encouraging messages in the form of two pence pieces, so when I found two in an old sandwich container, I was not surprised. I mentally said ‘thank you’ and picked them up.
To my surprise a young tramp jumped out from behind a wall and started gesticulating and used a few choice words about me pinching his money. I walked back, rather sheepishly, to apologize and to explain that I honestly thought that the two pence pieces were a message from my father. To my surprise he seemed to understand and suggested that I keep the two pence’s and in return, give him a little money, which I did. He looked deep into my eyes as we talked.
As I walked back to my husband the tramp kept giving me the “thumbs up” sign (as did I back) and this had the effect of making us both laugh, in spite of our worries. I wonder (and hope) that this was a special meeting?
L.L., Brighouse, West Yorkshire, UK.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirmed that the ‘tramp’ was Maitreya.)
One night in March 1992, in Paris, I woke up and noticed near my bed, someone dressed in a pair of baggy trousers. I gazed upon his form seeing a tunic and a face of which I could not make out the features. The hair was short and wavy; its colour a blue grey, nearly white – the atmosphere hazy yet friendly. It was magical, but unfortunately the figure disappeared very quickly. I wasn’t able to talk to him at the time, to ask him who he was and why the visit. I wasn’t given a message. Since then I have the impression that I missed an opportunity that was important in my life.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirmed that ‘the figure’ was the Master Jesus.)
Two letters from the same writer:
(1) Some time around April 2002, I went to buy two Alice Bailey books, as well as another book, at my usual bookshop in Nantes. It was St George’s Day and the bookseller very kindly gave me a rose. I felt such unusual joy and light that was like a blessing.
As I was leaving the shop a man stopped me. He was a backpacker, dressed warmly, with a hearty look about him; he told me he’d like a coin to buy something to eat. As I was interested in him, I asked him a few questions. He told me he’d been travelling a lot, for more than 20 years; Canada, Brazil and certain countries were happy to see him, others weren’t. I gave him a coin and left it at that.
I gave the rose to my mother and it stayed fresh for three weeks like it had become mummified. Can you tell me what happened that day? Was that man really a backpacker?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirmed that the ‘backpacker’ was Maitreya, Who kept the rose fresh.)
(2) A long time ago when I was 19, I went through certain ordeals and intense aspiration towards God. Everything was unbearable for me, even though I felt compassion or pity, apart from this inspiration towards Divinity, and the hope of getting a sign, certain evidence of my soul, of my immortal and divine nature.
One day, on the 23 or 24 June 1990, I was alone in my bedroom praying, when suddenly a veil was lifted from my heart, a door was opened. I don’t know how to say it, but something marvellous appeared in my heart. It was similar to a loving and joyful flame; something unbelievable in total silence. I was that, and it was as if millions of years of misery and obscurity had been lifted from my heart by this marvel.
This experience has passed, leaving me for some time in profound peace. Since then I know we are divine, and that this state of grace awaits us.
I would like to know if this experience was some contact with my inner self, some sort of grace from a Master, or some initiation.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirmed that it was a blessing from Maitreya.)
The “Signs of the time” presented in this section have either been confirmed in the past by Benjamin Creme’s Master, resemble similar “signs” also confirmed or speak for themselves. Many phenomena have been witnessed by people who see them as confirmation of their hopes and faith. We present them for your consideration.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirmed in April 2016, that the lingams which appeared at the same celebration in 2016, were indeed, manifested by Swami Premananda.)
This description of how Swami Premananda created lingams while he was alive was given by Benjamin Creme in Share International in 1997. “The lingam is an oval stone, a symbol of Shiva — the creative power. It begins as a sort of “flame” in the energy centre at the lower end of the spinal chord. After three months this etheric energy develops a solid counterpart. During Mahashivaratri, the Night of Shiva, the lingam was “born” from Swami’s mouth. From a week to a month after Mahashivaratri a vibuthibhavan takes place, when for many hours Swami blows holy ash out of His mouth. Producing vibuthi in this way is a sign that His body is already preparing itself for the manifestation of the next lingam.”
On 12 February 2017, NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory photographed a huge object near the sun that appeared to be emitting a long beam of energy. (YouTube: myunhauzen74)
A cigar-shaped object was seen near the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2017. Before the lights were dimmed either by the ship itself or by NASA, the UFO was captured by Streetcap1, published 2 March on YouTube. Said researcher Tyler Glockner: “I have monitored hundreds, likely thousands, of hours of ISS, live feed footage, and I’ve seen UFOs ... I’ve seen space debris, and I’ve seen light reflections. What we see here looks like none of those.” (Source: YouTube: Streetcap1; The Event is coming soon)
Edmonton, Canada – In the early evening of 26 January 2017, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, V.H. took photographs of a large star-like object that appeared to change shape in the north-west sky. (Benjamin Creme’s Master previously confirmed sightings of Maitreya’s ‘star’ in the same location.)
Normandy, France – Multiple witnesses were baffled on 11 February 2017 when they observed a large, semi-transparent object with flashing lights pass over a town in Normandy, France, during sunset. One witness managed to record the object with a cell phone before the battery mysteriously ran out. (Source: ufosightingsdaily.com)
Leitrim, Ireland – On the night of 25 November 2016, a witness was walking dogs on a country road near Leitrim, Ireland, and photographed unusual lights in and above a farmer’s field. “I’ve walked that path many times and never seen anything like this!” the witness stated. (Source:ufosightingsdaily.com; mufon.com)
Colima, Mexico – On 2 December 2016, a webcam photographed a huge glowing object above the Colima volcano in Mexico. (Source: ufosightingsdaily.com)
Tilo, Slovakia – A bright-coloured UFO that changes shape was filmed on 19 December 2016 over a mountain, near Tilo, in Slovakia. (Source: YouTube: Martin Mikuaš)
Nerja, Spain – These gigantic ‘cloud UFOs’ were photographed over Nerja, Malaga, Spain on 10 January 2017, by Share International co-workers L. F. M., D. J. and A.M. R.
Editors’ note: Benjamin Creme and his Master confirmed that there is a UFO-base under the caves in Nerja, Spain.
An article written by Winston Churchill in 1939, revised during the 1950s but never published, has recently been discovered in the Churchill Museum in the USA: ‘Are we alone in the Universe?’ Written on the verge of World War II, with crucial political events to occupy his mind, Churchill’s interest would have been stimulated by the recent notorious US radio version of War of the Worlds (adapted by Orson Welles from the novel by H.G.Wells), that had many panicking that an ‘alien invasion’ was actually taking place. The article was originally written before the period, particularly in the 1950s, of many reports of UFOs and great public interest in the phenomenon.
Astrophysicist Mario Livio, the first person to be shown this newly discovered manuscript, points out that Churchill posited the existence of many other suns with families of planets, decades before the actual discovery of extrasolar planets in the 1990s. What impresses Livio about Churchill’s article is how he approached the question of alien life with a ‘scientist’s mind’. “What’s so amazing about the piece is that here is a man, arguably the greatest statesperson of the 20th century, and in 1939 he not only has the interest, but finds the time, to write an essay about a purely scientific question” (Nature, 15 February 2017). In fact, Churchill was always interested in and committed to the importance of science in society, and as UK’s Prime Minister he appointed a government science advisor, a role that would have even more importance today.
The article explores the conditions necessary for life to exist – life defined as the ability to reproduce – and discusses the ‘habitable or Goldilocks zone’, the narrow orbital region where a planet is neither too hot nor too cold (but just right) to support life. This is in line with the latest contemporary thinking about where we might find life in the universe. Churchill’s measured conclusion was, we might now think, only common sense, but it was well before its time: “With hundreds of thousands of nebulae, each containing thousands of millions of suns, the odds are enormous that there must be immense numbers which possess planets whose circumstances would not render life impossible.”
However, although Churchill interestingly posits Mars and Venus as possible hosts for life, he in no way entertains the possibility of etheric matter that can explain the existence of life on planets in our solar system and that underpins the accounts of space people in the writings of Benjamin Creme and George Adamski (borne out by countless sightings and other accounts). All the same, intriguingly, the very fact that he wrote the article might suggest that Churchill, a third-degree initiate, could have had an intuition that life outside our planet can, and indeed – as he himself says – must, exist.
As a third-degree initiate, the scope of Churchill’s knowledge and talents was huge – he was well-known as an historian and inspiring orator, even gaining the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953, as well as a politician. Most importantly, as Prime Minister of Britain, he helped to lead the allies to victory in World War II. With his first ray make-up (personality, and mental and physical bodies) he was also physically fearless and indomitable, deliberately seeking out, early in his career, dangerous military combat, particularly in the Boer war, though as a war correspondent rather than as a member of the armed forces. He was also something of a maverick; he never did well at school and was largely self-taught. He became a Freemason in 1902, which suggests an interest beyond the material. His newly found article illustrates how he was prepared to enquire into areas beyond contemporary, conventional thinking. All the same it is telling that, whatever his own view about the possibility of life outside planet earth, as Prime Minister during the war he appears to have ordered that a UFO sighting be kept secret to prevent “mass panic”.
In the late 1950s, Churchill revised the article a little, changing the title from its original ‘Are we alone in space?’ to the more specific ‘Are we alone in the Universe?’ By then there had been very many publicized encounters with UFOs and the space people and George Adamski had published his world famous books, Flying Saucers have landed in 1953 and Inside the Space Ships in 1955. Churchill concludes his article prophetically: “I, for one, am not so immensely impressed by the success we are making of our civilization here that I am prepared to think we are the only spot in this immense universe which contains living, thinking creatures, or that we are the highest type of mental and physical development which has ever appeared in the vast compass of space and time.” As Benjamin Creme said in a lecture in 2014: “The space people live and we owe them an enormous debt; they are all part of the same planetary system. The people of the space vehicles are our brothers and sisters.... What we call man exists everywhere in space.”
Winston Churchill’s ray structure:
Soul: 2; Personality: 1(subray 4); Mental: 1(6); Astral: 4(6); Physical: 1(3). He was 3.0 degrees initiate. (From the List of Initiates in Maitreya’s Mission Volume Three)
by Ana Swierstra Bie
New words enter languages all the time. One of them, first used by the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in her New Year speech for 2016, is ‘everyday integration’. Everyday integration emphasizes the role and importance of ordinary citizens and volunteers in the integration of refugees and immigrants into society. It shows that social inclusion happens mainly in daily life and not in official documents or statements.
Immigration has become a contentious issue. Many countries take an isolationist approach, viewing migration as a national concern rather than a humanitarian problem. The refugee and migration crisis is not a temporary phenomenon but a new social and political reality, and it raises issues from which no nation is exempt.
Global migration is on the increase. The UN estimates that by the end of the century there will be 200 million people fleeing from the effects of climate change alone. According to The Huffington Post, military experts warn that climate changes can lead to more war and refugee numbers unlike anything we have experienced so far, giving rise to a humanitarian catastrophe of unknown dimensions. However, the right to seek protection and asylum is not a matter of charity or volunteer work, but of human rights. Norway has ratified the UN Refugee Convention and assumed responsibility for receiving and helping refugees.
Norway is a small nation with a population of only 5.3 million. Immigration is a fairly new phenomenon here. In 1950 only 1.4 per cent of the population consisted of immigrants, mainly from neighbouring countries and Western Europe. Now, in 2017, there are people from more than 200 nations and 16 per cent of the population are immigrants or Norwegian-born to immigrant parents. Of these, 200,000 are refugees, representing 3.8 per cent of the whole population.
Norway is a modern democratic nation with high welfare, based on social and gender equality, freedom of speech and belief, and non-discrimination of minorities. The healthcare services are good and the educational system ensures opportunities for all to succeed independent of background. The society is characterised by a high degree of social trust and little corruption. While the early work immigrants in the 1970s were encouraged to keep their own language and culture, now assimilation is the aim. The official aim is to avoid ‘parallel societies’ of individuals or groups who do not take part in society or have no sense of belonging. Such ‘parallel societies’ may represent a threat because social trust is undermined, and that could fuel both criminality and populist tendencies.
There is broad political agreement in Norway that refugees and immigrants should be met with clear expectations and demands to participate and contribute to society. Newcomers are also expected to understand, respect and further the basic democratic Norwegian values.
The Introduction Act (2003) gives the municipality the responsibility of providing a full-time qualification programme for the newly arrived refugees they are settling. Refugees and family members between 18 and 55 years and in need of basic qualifications have the right and obligation to complete an individualized ‘introduction programme’. Normally lasting for two years, the main elements of the programme are Norwegian language tuition, social studies, and preparation for labour market entry, or continued education, by providing work-experience or other vocational guidance, and charting earlier competence or upgrading professional skills.
As being able to speak the language and find employment are considered the keys to integration, the introduction programme aims to enhance the refugee’s ability to participate in work and social life and become economically self-supporting. The language tuition is divided into different ‘tracks’ depending on previous education. The teaching in social studies is always given in the refugee’s native language or a language the person understands. By explaining important rules, laws and characteristics of the society, highlighting central Norwegian values and providing information about duties, rights and possibilities, the refugee is given insight into Norwegian society and community life. Participants in the programme are entitled to receive introduction benefit, conditional on ongoing participation. In order to acquire later a permanent residence permit, one must have completed the mandatory tuition, consisting of 550 hours with language training and 50 hours of social studies, within 3 years. A final test is compulsory. The right and duty (for some only a duty) to complete a certain amount of obligatory tuition in language training and social studies also include other categories of immigrants between 16 and 67 years, with some exceptions. Adult refugees with minimal or no basic education are entitled to complete elementary and secondary school. Children and young people attend pre-school day-care centres or ordinary school.
Until the asylum seekers have been granted asylum or some form of refugee-like status they may not participate in the introduction programme. Many have to spend a long time, even years, in different reception centers waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, or later for a transfer to a municipality able to provide them with a dwelling. Legal rights ensure a place to stay and basic financial support during this period. Some municipalities have decentralized reception centers and asylum seekers live separately in different places. For unaccompanied minors there are special arrangements.
It is the municipality which is responsible for the housing and integration of refugees. Receiving refugees is voluntary, and the counties make agreements with central authorities according to their capacity to settle refugees and offer appropriate facilities and services. They receive a government subsidy and refugees are deliberately spread out geographically in different parts of the country. The municipality is obliged to provide the refugees with integration services, which include healthcare, children’s education, appropriate housing, vocational training and employment support, some of which is included in the introduction programme. The most successful municipalities work actively to involve Norwegian locals and refugees already established in the community to help receive and include newly-arrived refugees, thus proving the value of everyday integration.
Human resilience and ability to adapt is great. Nevertheless, adjusting to a new society is never easy, especially if one has been forced to flee. Traumatized by war experience and loss, starting from scratch, refugees must learn a new language, new customs and different cultural codes in order to understand and adapt to a foreign society. For many it also entails travelling from a less developed or dysfunctional nation to a highly modern and democratic society. In Norway the climate too may prove difficult to get used to, especially in the north with its long polar night and cold weather.
Integration is a two-way process. It requires effort, activity and initiative from the refugees and immigrants themselves, but it also demands flexibility by the authorities, local community, volunteer workers, labour market and economic life. Fear of the unknown and the foreign may afflict both native citizens and immigrants.
The Norwegian score on the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) is quite high. However, the relative success compared to other countries may not necessarily be directly related to the immigration policies. Norwegian economy has remained quite good and there has been less unemployment than in many other nations. The country has also received more work migrants than refugees.
Statistics shows that some groups of refugees and immigrants in Norway have a lower rate of employment than the rest of the population. There are few jobs for unskilled workers and higher education is usually a prerequisite. Many have a long journey to make as they may have little or no formal education, or even be illiterate. Fluency in Norwegian is usually required and many employers are reluctant to hire foreigners. Social networks are mostly lacking, making it even harder to find work. Often previous qualifications are not approved of and many immigrants are overqualified for the jobs they are able to get. The second generation is more assimilated, a large percentage of whom take higher education.
Many fear the changes that follow immigration. Stability and tradition are being challenged, and like people in all nations Norwegians too are proud of their national assets and the rights and freedoms so hard won by earlier generations and continuous effort. Since the end of 2015 Norway has implemented further restrictions in the asylum rules and is now one of the strictest countries in Europe. Norwegian Minister of Immigration and Integration Sylvi Listhaug states that it is “Absolutely necessary to have strict asylum politics. Norway should not appear attractive to asylum seekers”.
By applying ‘strict and just’ policies the government seeks to control immigration and enable good integration by not receiving more refugees than the worklife and welfare system is able to absorb. The fear is that unregulated immigration would lead to increasing economic inequality among the population and, as the Norwegian welfare system depends on high work participation, some argue it may become difficult to uphold the legitimacy of the system if many remain outside worklife.
At the same time it became very difficult to enter the country through Denmark, Sweden and Russia due to strict border and ID-controls and visa requirements, and European leaders made an agreement with Turkey to stop refugees and migrants from coming to Europe. The EU is also reinforcing Libya’s coast guard economically in order to prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean. For the refugees and migrants there are no safe or legal routes to Europe. It is illegal to help them on their way as one may be charged with people smuggling. Some of the most vulnerable and defenceless people in the world are prohibited from reaching our doorstep and using their right to seek asylum.
Our present world order is clearly not sustainable. The unjust distribution of resources makes living a decent and peaceful life increasingly impossible in many places of the world. It would be unrealistic to expect that large portions of the world’s population should remain content with their meager share. The grave economic, ecological and social imbalances are our joint responsibility, demanding measures of a very different scale.
While it is important to preserve national culture, freedom and democracy, nothing is gained if national identity and interests are upheld for selfish reasons only. If our individualistic nature prevails, it could lead to retracting into the cultivation of separation, hatred and reverting to nostalgic dreams of past glories instead of facing the present challenges. There is already evidence that some governments and sections of their populations are under the illusion that we can remain snug within our national borders, unaffected by the serious problems afflicting the world.
But the real threat to our identity and cherished values does not come from without. It comes from within ourselves, against which no strict border controls or walls can protect us.
It may be understandable, under the pressures that immigration brings, that the selfish, fearful and ambitious elements in us as individuals and nations have come to the fore, at least for the moment, and that people rebel against what is construed as being forced to accept a more inclusive vision. But unless we redefine our identity – seeing ourselves as part of the one humanity – and until we learn to think in general terms and the inclusive whole, we will not be able to solve the crisis afflicting us. Only when we apply our individual selves for the common good, enriching the greater whole, and willingly contribute to the welfare of humanity, will we finally move forward as a family of nations into a new and better future.
by Chantal Piganeau
Céline Alvarez, a young teacher working in France, decided to try a new experiment: to find new approaches in the education systems and demonstrate their effectiveness. What if schools have missed out on the potential of the students because of obsolete methods? Could we foster a happy relationship to learning, starting in kindergarten?
Alvarez revised the institutions that Maria Montessori built, drawing on recent discoveries from neuroscience. What does neuroscience tell us regarding learning and life in society? The human brain is organized for learning and loving, with ease and pleasure. But it needs the right fuel. The child’s brain develops through the free exploration of a rich environment and benign interactions with others. The child learns better when he discovers an attractive and reassuring universe, while being supported individually. When those principles are followed, his faculties develop naturally, without any resistance.
Between three and five years of age, the brain is at its best potential for learning, due to the fact that it has unconditioned mental and neural capacity.
Knowledge is built, as well as the capacities of concentration, memory, autonomy, self-control, self-esteem and the ability to recognize the other. If, during this fundamental period, the child is offered a place of discovery equal to the breadth and depth of his potential, and is accompanied through his discoveries, just how far can his capacities develop? How can we conceive an education based on those principles?
Alvarez started her new position in 2009, and applied to the Ministry of Education for her specific project. She was given an experimental class, and the results would be studied scientifically. The class was in a kindergarten in Gennevilliers, in the Paris suburbs, in September 2011. It was located in a “Zone d’Education Prioritaire”, a priority education area, therefore a school which could face some problems. She got the equipment she needed and a full-time assistant, financed by a voluntary association.
At the beginning, the pupil’s parents were distrustful: no toys, no dolls in this classroom, instead, educational workshops, with sensory-stimulating equipment, inspired by the Montessori method. The children could also circulate freely in the classroom and get together.
The activities offered were fun, meaningful and challenging. Each child could explore, independently, what he or she was interested in through workshops, coming and going and learning at their own pace. The teacher and her assistant were there to accompany, show and explain, always with kindness. In other words, the initiative came from the child and the adult was there to provide support. In this way learning was possible without unnecessary tension and with natural concentration.
The two adults were always mindful of their own behaviour and use of language in order to cultivate calmness and respect towards others among the children.
Three age groups worked in the same classroom, and the more advanced taught the younger children what they had already learned. Each child gave and received support and counseling. Each class gathering was an opportunity to exchange in a spirit of respect and conviviality, creating a warm, lively and inclusive environment.
The project was a success. After a few months, parents were surprised by the progress made by their children in various fields: self-confidence, sociability, and autonomy. Children participated spontaneously in their homes. They became more involved and happy, and most of them were more responsible.
The tests showed that progress made over the first six months was better than expected: pupils with learning disabilities ended up outperforming the average student in their age group. Even better, most students in their second year of preschool were able to read ahead of their time. They learned without any pressure, in a spontaneous way. To satisfy the children’s thirst to read, the class borrowed 50 books from the city’s library every two weeks; pupils could take books home each evening.
Céline Alvarez had her experiment validated by a research team from the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique de Grenoble (Grenoble’s National Center for Scientific Research). In addition, independent psychologists monitored the children’s development. They stated that those children who developed to a very advanced level were perfectly healthy for their age. The atmosphere in the classroom was relaxed and focused, and as a consequence, interactions were respectful and empathic. The children’s attitude was evidence of their involvement in their own development. Through this experiment, this young teacher shows us that the dynamic of failure can be changed if the child is accompanied and supported throughout her or his path of discovery.
In 2012 the official support for the project was terminated. Céline Alvarez was no longer able to officially test the pupils, so she continued secretly - only with parents’ permission. She continued at the school for three years, but eventually resigned having gathered enough proof for her experiment to be shared. After that, she went on to create a blog, train teachers, and publish a book sharing the foundations of this approach to education.
Céline Alvarez’s objective is to combine school with scientific research, to update the Montessori pedagogy using recent discoveries in neuroscience, and make it accessible for all. Her experience shows that it is possible to awaken the best in each of us, given an appropriate environment and right guidance.
This pedagogy is not offered as a miracle cure-all, but rather as a deep modification of the way we see a child. It is based on offering him or her a high-quality environment and instilling in them confidence and a sense of security and support. In this way, school becomes a place of total or holistic education: an awakening of the child’s mental faculties and an apprenticeship to happy living in society.
Céline Alvarez, Les Lois Naturelles de L’enfant, paperback 2016
Foreign Ministers from the G20 countries, including the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, met in Bonn, Germany, on 16 and 17 February 2017; the conference theme was ‘Shaping the global order – foreign policy beyond crisis management’. Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said: “Climate change poses a threat to every country in every corner of the globe, including the United States. Now is the time to put people and planet first. The G20 must show united leadership in solving the climate crisis.” The environmental activists unfurled a banner, which read, ‘Planet Earth First’ from the masts of the Greenpeace ship on the river Rhine near Bonn’s World Congress Centre. About 40 activists in dinghies landed at the waterfront and submitted a petition to demand an absolute commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. Greenpeace is challenging the President Trump’s ‘America First’ policy with particular regard to its support of fossil fuels. (Source: media.greenpeace.org)
The United Nations is declaring war on oceans plastic based on distressing statistics which are more than proof that this is a problem that ought to have been tackled years ago. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic leaks into our waters each year – equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic every minute. We are destroying our planet; we wreak havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and it is costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. In fact, the Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on 23 February launched an unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: micro-plastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022. [Share International believes the target date should be brought forward, given the urgency of climate change and ecological degradation.]
Launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali, the #CleanSeas campaign is appealing to governments, as a matter of great urgency, to pass plastic reduction policies. The campaign is also targeting industry to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products, and calling on consumers to change their throwaway habits – before irreversible damage is done to the seas.
Erik Solheim, UNEP’s Executive Director, said, “It is past time that we tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans. Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables. We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop.”
Throughout the year, the #CleanSeas campaign will be announcing ambitious measures by countries and businesses to eliminate micro-plastics from personal care products, ban or tax single-use bags, and dramatically reduce other disposable plastic items.
The #CleanSeas campaign is a global movement targeting governments, industry and consumers to urgently reduce the production and excessive use of plastic that is polluting the earth’s oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health.
So far, 10 countries have already joined the campaign with far-reaching pledges to turn the plastic tide: Belgium, Costa Rica, France, Grenada, Indonesia, Norway, Panama, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone and Uruguay.
According to estimates, at the rate we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and an estimated 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.
Major announcements are expected during The Ocean Conference in New York at the UN Headquarters on 5-9 June 2017, and the December UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.
“We don’t need to invent or negotiate something new, we just need to have action to implement what we already agreed upon,” said Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden. (Source: ipsnews.net)