The World Public Forum: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

From the website of the World Public Forum:

The World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” International Coordination Committee meeting was held on February 4, 2012 in Vienna, Austria. The ICC members discussed the forthcoming 10-th anniversary Rhodes Forum to be held in October 2012.

The meeting included a statement on tensions between Israel and Iran, helpully urging “all parties to use maximum restraint.”

Among those present was Vladimir Yakunin, one of the three co-founders of the forum. Yakunin runs Russia’s railways, and he is a close confidant of Vladimir Putin; reports describe him variously as an “Orthodox Christian Chekist” (a phrase recently used by singer Mikhail Borzykin in a song refering to “the group of KGB officers who came to power in Russia after President Boris Yeltsin resigned in 1999”) and as “the Kremlin’s model Orthodox businessman”. Yakunin also runs the Center of the National Glory of Russia and the Saint Andrew the First-Called Foundation, and these organisations are named as the “initiators” of the WPF. Some WFP events dovetail with the Foundation’s interests: the WPF held a conference on the subject of Mount Athos last summer (again in Austria) involving Archimandrite Ephraim, abbot of Athos’s Vatopedi Monastery. A few months later, the Foundation organised the first ever Russian tour of the Belt of the Mother of God, which is kept at Vatopedi .

Yakunin’s presence in Vienna for the co-ordination meeting was noted by Der Standard:

[Wladimir] Jakunin ist Chef der Russischen Eisenbahnen und Präsident des World Public Forum. Diese hauptsächlich von russischen Wirtschaftskreisen finanzierte Stiftung will mittels eines Dialogs der Kulturen einer behaupteten westlichen Wertedominanz etwas entgegensetzen.

Am Wochenende war Jakunin in Wien, wo das Sekretariat des World Public Forum angesiedelt ist, um den zehnten “Dialogue of Civilizations” im Oktober auf Rhodos vorzubereiten. Zu Sowjetzeiten stand Jakunin unter anderem als Diplomat in KGB-Dienste.

Yakunin told the Standard that unrest against Putin was due to people getting their information “from bloggers and the internet”; I noted a previous statement made by Yakunin on the subject here.

In the run-up to elections in Kazakhstan last March, Yakunin personally awarded President Nursultan Nazarbayev with a “Dialogue of Civilizations International Prize” on behalf of the WPF. This is just one link between the WPF and Kazakhstan: former Chancellor of Austria Alfred Gusenbauer is a co-chairman of the WPF and a “consultant” to Nazarbayev, while the chairman of the WPF’s International Coordination Committee is the Austrian politician Walter Schwimmer. Later this month there will be a “Celebratory Event to mark the 20th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Kazakhstan and Austria”, at the Kazakh embassy in Vienna; Schwimmer will be the moderator, and the programme for the event highlights his WPF position. Just a few days ago, Schwimmer gushed that the authoritarian Nazarbayev (who is currently cracking down on opposition movements) is “a real politician and a wise leader of his nation”.

Alongside Yakunin, the World Public Forum has two other co-founders. One is a businessman named Nicholas Papanicolaou, who resides in America and who has links with the neo-Pentecostal segment of the Christian Right. As I’ve noted previously, Papanicolaou is a board member of Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative, and he is the “Grand Master” of a chivalric order called  Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, the Ecumenical Order (not to be confused with the more famous Roman Catholic “Knights of Malta”). Joyner is also involved in this Order, as “Deputy Member of the Supreme Council”, while the “Grand Chancellor” is none other than General William “Jerry” Boykin. In 2010, Papanicolaou and Boykin co-signed a fundraising letter on behalf of the Order which reflected Boykin’s well-known anti-Islam and anti-Obama views, and around the time of the last WPF meeting in Rhodes, Papanicolaou joined Boykin for an investiture ceremony on the island. (1) Joyner himself attended a WPF forum in 2009, alongside Bob Weiner (formerly of the controversial Maranatha Ministries) and Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition.

The third co-founder of the WPF was Jagdish Chandra Kapur, an Indian philosopher and futurologist who died in 2010. According to the WPF, he

contributed a lot to the transformation of the WPF “Dialogue of Civilizations” from a small seminar into a recognized international public organization that unite like-minded people from more than 60 countries. The ideas of Kapur about a dialogue of civilizations for the sake of a new globalization based on common human values laid the groundwork of themes for discussion. The Forum’s “Cosmic humanism” – this was his vision of the future which is to come into being by merging science and spirituality.

Close links with Kapur’s legacy remain; the Kapur Surya Foundation in New Delhi co-sponsors the WPF and sponsors the World Affairs Journal, which is listed as one of the WPF’s partners. The convenor of the editorial board of this journal is Come Carpentier de Gourdon, a French writer based in India who is also a consultant to Kapur’s Indfos Industries Ltd.  Carpentier de Gourdon has an esoteric perspective on world affairs; at the last WPF meeting in Rhodes he spoke of his

theory to unify science and traditional wisdom systems under the name of “cosmosophy and psychosynthesis”.

Carpentier de Gourdon also has an interest in “exopolitics”, referring to research into the role played by extra-terrestrials in human affairs, and he is on the advisory board of the Exopolitics Institute. In 2006 he spoke to the World Public Forum on the subject of “The Case for Exopolitics: Ushering in a Cosmic Dialogue”:

Earth is under observation, some say under some sort of quarantine, while mankind operates its transition towards full contact with and admission into the interplanetary Cosmic Community.

…The Dialogue between Civilisations will have to include, sooner or later, those beings and cultures that are not human, in the “homo sapiens” category but which clearly have a  presence on our planet and a stake in the future of terrestrial and human life. 

A site called added a note of commentary:

According to a well-placed observer, Come Carpentier de Gourdon’s presentation… at the Rhodos World Public Forum was well received, including some present and former officials from various governments asking for more information on Exopolitics and the Extraterrestrial issue. No one raised any doubts about the information.


(1) Joyner, who receives messages from God about how an earthquake will soon destroy the west coast of the USA, claims that he was introduced to the Order by an “Austrian baron”, and that his books were responsible for a “spiritual renewal” in the Order. Joyner also claims that his involvement “began a series of events that made Kurt Waldheim a believer as well” – a remarkable and otherwise undocumented incident in Waldheim’s life.