Heroic Humanitarianism: IAS 35th Anniversary Celebrates the Profound Progress of a Global Movement
The International Association of Scientologists (IAS) gathers in East Grinstead, Southern England, to mark a year of unparalleled achievement in the name of uplifting Mankind.
Stirring bagpipes break the silence of West Sussex woodlands in this storybook corner of East Grinstead, a town nestled on the border of the ancient Ashdown Forest. The rhythmic fall of horse hooves and the clatter of high heels cut through the crisp autumn air. A buzz of anticipation and the medley of more than a dozen languages echoed through the grand gates and winding paths of this nearly 300-year-old manor estate.
The 35th Anniversary of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) had arrived at Saint Hill, home of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard and the time-honored backdrop for a weekend-long gala drawing Scientologists and guests from more than 65 nations. As attendees crossed the threshold into the Grand Marquee, one could not help but think something special, if not magical, was astir.
In a summary statement of the night, Mr. David Miscavige, the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, stated: “Just as we unite, advance, support and protect Scientology, so we must do the same for all humanity. Because, and quite literally, if not axiomatically, whenever someone out there suffers, so we are the less. While conversely, whenever someone avails themselves of our help and succeeds, is succored, assisted, unburdened and enlightened, so we are the more.”
Born in 1984, the inception of the IAS marked the moment when a courageous few gathered at Saint Hill, pledging to unite with unswerving commitment for the sake of people from every creed and nation, and thus achieve the Aims of Scientology. In testament to that commitment, Mr. Miscavige presented a year of IAS compassion and help brought to bear where humanity most needed it.
The first topic of the night featured the intrepid work of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, marking its 50th anniversary of combating abuses in the field of mental health. Among the many milestone accomplishments were:
- The now mandatory FDA black box warning labels for every anti-depressant drug, exposing the life-threatening side effects.
- The US Child Medication Safety Act, officially prohibiting forced drugging of schoolchildren.
- The new Department of Health and Human Services regulations forbidding physical and chemical restraints.
To cap those 50 years of accomplishment, CCHR unveiled a brand-new feature-length documentary comprising the definitive exposé on the modern-day torture of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
The night continued across an expanding vista of humanitarian achievement through initiatives sponsored by the IAS: United for Human Rights, an education program centered on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and advocating its implementation by governments world over; Foundation for a Drug-Free World, the largest nongovernmental drug education program on Earth; and The Way to Happiness, L. Ron Hubbard’s nonreligious moral code, comprising 21 precepts as a common sense guide to better living.
This year’s annual review proved brighter than any previous twelve months, with highlights including:
- The 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates presenting the Peace Summit Medal for Social Activism to Youth for Human Rights International and its president, Mary Shuttleworth. The award, personally bestowed by Nobel Laureates, represents a significant contribution to peace and human rights.
- Youth for Human Rights sparking a young citizens awakening in the Solomon Islands, reaching 10 percent of the population in only 2 weeks and the Ministry of Women, Children and Family Affairs endorsing the program nationwide.
- United for Human Rights orchestrating rallies and events worldwide, topped by Human Rights summits in Mexico, Nepal and Washington, DC, as well as UN headquarters in New York City. Through more than a decade of tireless work, the campaign has helped drive global awareness of human rights from an abysmal 4 percent to better than 50 percent of the world’s population.
- The Way to Happiness permeating religious conflict zones in Sri Lanka, with more than 40 civic and government agencies and over 100,000 citizens embracing the 21 precepts. This work culminated in an unprecedented Interfaith Conference, where all major religions united with a pledge to foster peace and unity through The Way to Happiness.
- Drug-Free World providing Taiwanese police precincts with Truth About Drugs materials to saturate 30 districts and 7 cities, triggering a 42 percent decline in youth drug abuse. Inspired by such results, every branch of the Taiwanese military is also now partnering with the campaign to implement the Truth About Drugs curriculum, with over 7,000 personnel already trained.
- Drug-Free World distribution rallies forming an international front against substance abuse from motorbike cavalcades at the foothills of the Italian Alps to police adoption in the Philippines and an anti-drug drum corps in Times Square. Altogether, the foundation staged 9,000 events across better than 100 nations, disseminating 22 million Truth About Drugs booklets in just the past year.
Scientology Volunteer Ministers constituted yet another epic chapter of the evening. Providing indiscriminate help in both everyday crises as well as sites of man-made and natural calamity, Volunteer Ministers were once again a ubiquitous presence:
- Delivering aid and succor at disaster sites world over, whether earthquakes in Haiti, hurricanes in Florida, fires in California, cyclones in Mozambique, torrential rains and mudslides in Uganda, monsoons in Nepal or the superstorm devastating the Grand Bahamas.
- In Indonesia, in the wake of a trio of natural disasters (a 7.0 earthquake, a tsunami and this century’s deadliest volcanic eruption), Scientology Volunteer Ministers provided emergency supplies and trauma relief to over 93,000 affected citizens.
- In Mumbai, India, Volunteer Ministers partnered with the state director of Fire Services, integrating Scientology Volunteer Minister technology into the firefighter curriculum, for increased efficiency in saving lives.
- All told, from Western Siberia and West Africa’s Guinea Coast to the Andes Mountains and the northern reaches of Scandinavia, Scientology Volunteer Ministers traveled more than 400,000 miles to provide unequivocal help and train over 150,000 people in the last year alone.
Indicative of what the IAS represents collectively are the individual stories of IAS Freedom Medal Winners for 2019:
- In Ukraine, CCHR pioneers Anton Batalin and Anastasiia Vilinskaya relentlessly exposed psychiatric abuse across their nation. Forging alliances with the Ministry of Health, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the world’s largest intergovernmental security organization, they won Constitutional Court decisions which set forth sweeping reform to the country’s mental health laws.
- In Mexico, Rosalba and José Cordero employed The Way to Happiness for prisoner rehabilitation, first driving implementation of the booklet in all Mexico City and Mexico State prisons. After which, “revolving door” recidivism rates dropped to a mere 1 percent among inmate graduates of the program. Subsequently, they brought the 21 precepts to the National Human Rights Commission, engendering adoption of The Way to Happiness curriculum through all state and federal prisons nationwide.
- In East Africa, Daniel Okello became his nation’s first Scientology Volunteer Minister, using Scientology tools to empower the business community, churches, prisons, schools and community groups throughout Western Kenya. Through more than 600 seminars, he has trained more than 50,000 East Africans on VM technology and established a first-ever network of VM groups, from the shores of Lake Victoria to the Indian Ocean.
The night next featured the epic saga of the Advanced Organization and Saint Hill for Africa. Opened January 1st, 2019, in Johannesburg, under IAS sponsorship, the organization has since emerged as a generation point for community action spanning all strata of society: partnering with the South African National Police to reach 400,000 with drug education, and creating an interreligious allegiance with ministers of 16 different faiths to bring valuable tools for life from The Scientology Handbook to more than 100 congregations. Subsequently, attendance in those churches rose by more than 60 percent. Also cited was the fulfillment of a special request for distribution of The Way to Happiness at the first public presidential inauguration since the end of apartheid. With booklets in the hands of every attendee, The Way to Happiness contributed to an unprecedented incident-free inauguration.
Finally, and to complete the adventure of an enthralling night, came the announcement of Scientology TV Network’s new season, set to premiere October 21st. Mr. Miscavige previewed what will soon hit the airwaves and promises an incisive array of new episodes and entirely new series that will satisfy curiosity and provide deeper insight into the global religion.
Saturday evening saw a black-tie dinner acknowledging the steadfast dedication of those who power the IAS movement. Overnight, the Grand Marquee transformed into a majestic setting for the IAS Patrons Ball. The evening acknowledged top Patrons, who were treated to an international concert featuring star performers from Australia, Europe, Africa and the United States, with festivities extending late into the night.
The weekend concluded with the Saint Hill Charity Concert, where 1,500 local residents attended the much-heralded annual event. Headlining was a dynamic range of award-winning artists, crossing multiple genres from Broadway to jazz. A lineup of leading charities were beneficiaries of donations to expand their activities to better serve their communities, in keeping with the tradition begun by L. Ron Hubbard during the years he called Saint Hill home.
The IAS, the official membership organization of Scientology, open to all Scientologists from every nation, was formed in 1984. The purpose of the IAS is to unite, advance, support and protect the Scientology religion and Scientologists in all parts of the world so as to achieve the Aims of Scientology as originated by L. Ron Hubbard: “A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where Man is free to rise to greater heights.”