In 1968 Alfred de Grazia completed his work on World Government, the book titled "Kalos: What is to be Done with Our World.." In the same year he had gone to Vietnam as a ranking consultant on research to the Department of Defense with the task of applying the methods of the social sciences to finding the least terrible resolution of the war going on there. He resigned in frustration and turned his attention to ideas of new education for world citizenship that had long occupied his mind. Several of his former students appealed to him to attempt a new university. He had found what seemed a likely spot to engage in a critical experiment in higher education, at the Canton of Valais in Switzerland, where Belgian friends from Naxos, who were real estate developers, had begun work on a ski resort.
In 1970 he visited the area of Sion and upon returning to the United States, taking the sense of his young educational rebels, decided, against all odds, to plunge ahead. The Bulletin that follows was composed by him, and in view of what followed, as with many another Constitution, was more utopian than real. The experiment that was intended to go on forever expired in 1972. But it had taught many a lesson, and had affected the minds and spirits of several hundred participants and thousands of Valaisans lastingly. Its cost was negligible, no more than the cost of keeping a couple of convicts in prison for a year or half the size of a grant then made by the Ford Foundation to prepare a report on what was needed in higher education. It could be said of the adventure, using an ironic medical expression: "The operation was a success, but the patient died."
The Bulletin is presented here as one of the more significant applied philosophical documents to come out of that exceedingly stressful and largely futile period of American and European revolt in education.
The University of the New World is being born like some great American and European Universities were born. A man is moved by a crisis of ideas and society to offer whatever he has to those who are searching. He welcomes whatever help is offered. He compromises only when direct progress without compromise is absolutely barred. In the end, we have a great University or we leave some monument or memory.
In September of 1969, I visited the Canton of Valais in Switzerland where some Belgian friends were constructing buildings. I visited the old quarter of Sion. I saw there a pretty square surrounded by buildings in good condition but not in full use. I made new Swiss friends. We spoke of higher education in Valais and in America. I asked why a University should not be founded there. They replied, "It may be." A host of doubts that I had been carrying around for years suddenly fell from my shoulders. Here was a place to dig and build!
The story of what has happened since then is conveyed in the lines of this Bulletin. We strive for universality, though we may take a wh11e to achieve it. If this University is not all things to all men, it is something of importance and meaning to many men and women. If it is not the ultimate revolution in education and society, it is a present-day revolution.
The University of the New World is already far more than a repository for one person's experiences, hopes, and abilities. It has a hundred workers, advisers, and faculty. It has a thousand persons who feel that they should study and live in its community. This all within three months of my final decision to go ahead! This all on the basis of the ideas contained in the present Bulletin! If such is the case within the first moments of its life, the University must have profound meaning. It must have an enormous inherent vitality. Dedicated to the future, the University has itself a future.
Alfred de Grazia