Vegetarians in Paradise presents the 24 Carrot Award to an outstanding person or organization that endeavors to practice or promote education, natural health, wholesome nutrition, and ecology techniques for the mutual benefit of humans, animals, and the earth.
Vegetarians in Paradise takes great pride in presenting its 24 Carrot Award to John Davis of the International Vegetarian Union and acknowledging his accomplishments in promoting the work of that organization. Since 1995 he has been IVU webmaster creating and maintaining the organization's website. During that time he has researched the history of the organization as well as the history of vegetarianism culminating in over 10,000 historical files on the IVU website.
Since 2006 Davis has held the prestigious title of IVU Manager and played an active role in the IVU's 100th anniversay in 2008. During his IVU tenure he has attended the organizations congresses and other events in many countries, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Italy, Indonesia, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United States.
He takes pride in the fact that the he had the opportunity to support the first vegetarian congresses ever held in Africa because of funds raised by IVU.
What follows are the questions asked by Vegetarians in Paradise (VIP) and the answers by John Davis (JD).
VIP: You have been an active member of the International Vegetarian Union (IVU) for a number of years. Could you tell us how your involvement began and what jobs you have held in the organization?
JD: In 1995 I was running some websites for UK veg groups and we were looking for funding. I contacted the then General Secretary of IVU (the role no longer exists) who didn't have much money to offer, but asked me to set up an IVU website as well. Eventually I passed all the others on to other people, but continued with IVU myself.
In 1997 I was co-opted onto the International Council, during a European Congress in Italy, then at the 1999 Congress in Thailand I was elected to the council. However the work of running the website was getting time consuming, so the Council agreed to pay me a small fee. That meant I had to resign the elected position but was made an ex-officio non-voting member, so I still can join in all the discussions.
By 2006 I had taken on various other responsibilities as more and more was being done online, so I was designated as IVU Manager, and have continued in that role.
VIP: Some of our readers may not be familiar with the IVU. Could you give them information about the major goals and activities of the organization?
JD: The main objective is to promote organised vegetarianism around the world. This is a little different to just promoting veg*ism to individuals, we want existing veg*ans to work together to promote the cause.
To do that we encourage the formation of organizations; promotion of international gatherings; fund raising; information sharing; and anything else which can help to achieve that objective. We currently have 120 member organizations worldwide.
VIP: What are some of the major accomplishments of the IVU?
JD: As VegParadise readers are mainly in the USA, the one that stands out is the 1975 IVU World Vegetarian Congress, held in Maine and the first such event in North America. It is generally recognised by historians as having kick-started the organized veg movement in the region.
In more recent years the priorities have been in the developing world. We had the first World Veg Congress in Latin America in 2004; the first veg congress of any sort in Africa in 2007; now we have events in the Middle East, China, and many places that we couldn't reach in the past.
VIP: The IVU has held many conferences around the world. What countries have hosted these events since you have been involved? What were some of the high spots for you personally?
JD: There have been congresses on every continent, and I've been to all of them except Africa -- but I'm planning to be at the East African Congress in Nigeria, Kenya, in December 2010.
The events that stand out for me are probably the 2004 IVU Congress in Brazil, and the centenary Congress in Dresden, Germany, 2008. But there have been many others, and all the result of a huge amount of work by local organizers.