THE LEONARDO DA VINCI PEACE PRIZE
SPONSORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PEACE STUDIES AND GLOBAL PHILOSOPHY (IIPSGP)
The prize will be awarded in two stages. The first will go to the architectural design for putting a top floor on the Pentagon, to house a New Department of Peace.
The Second phase will go to the lobbying team or political consultancy group, who manage to get the US Department of Peace Bill through both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President of the USA.
Both prizes will be awarded on the same day, when the first building work actually begins on the Nonagon, and after the President has signed the Bill into law.
RATIONALE: The Pentagon is currently the largest single source of expenditure on planet earth, and spends billions of dollars per year, and trillions over decades, all of which go to military and defence expenditure on behalf of the USA. It organises, finances and plans, the entire running of the USA military, including the Navy, the air force, the army, and also pays for all weapons research and development. It also manages the budgets of the military intelligence networks of the USA, which have spiralled into astronomical expenditure rates since 9/11. It is also responsible for paying for USA army bases around the planet, which are many in number. All this military-industrial complex which is fed from the Pentagon, is also the largest single aggregate consumer of energy on the planet and responsible for major pollution worldwide. Yet this vast expenditure I actually buying the USA as a nation very little security. Attacks on USA interests worldwide are ongoing. The rival major powers of the planet are not fading away, and continue to protest and oppose many aspects of USA policy, and also continue to develop their own military arsenals. All this vast expenditure by the Pentagon has actually witnessed many new wars breaking out worldwide.
THE NONAGON: The Nonagon will be a nine-sided building sitting on the top of the existing Pentagon structure, which will house the new USA Department of Peace. This will be voted into being by act of USA congress and the President. The budget of the Department of Peace will be exactly the same, in any calendar year, as the Department of Defence. Once the Nonagon is built, the easiest way to achieve this parity will simply be to cut the Department of Defence budget in two, and allocate one half to the new Department of Peace.
THE DEPARTMENT OF PEACE: The purpose of the new department will be to achieve peace worldwide in our lifetimes, by seeing a peaceful end to all ongoing wars and military and violent struggles taking place worldwide. Its aim will be to achieve bilateral peace and nonviolent treaties between the USA and every other nation on earth, pledging that neither will attack the other in military aggression or covert destabilisation and intelligence wars. Its tools will be: communication, mediation, dialogue, peace-building, confidence building measures, social development, poverty alleviation, providing alternatives to recruitment into terrorist armed groups through peace training provision, and above all educational provision, from school through university level to post graduate research institutions. It would be the aim of the Nonagon that every Ministry of Education worldwide will write and implement a peace education curriculum for all schools in their country, varying according to the prevailing cultural norms of that country. Likewise it would be the aim of the Nonagon, that all Universities in the world would have a department of peace studies in their universities, teaching and researching the whole field of peace from a variety of academic lenses, including political science, sociology, philosophy, religious studies, arts, literature, psychology, theology, humanities, history, ecology, earth sciences, natural sciences, biology, engineering, law, diplomacy etc. The Department of peace would have large budgetary resources at its disposal and would insist that development funding can be given to rebuild shattered post conflict communities, once all sides agree to a comprehensive peace plan that can be drafted, and presented by the Department of Peace.
THE EXISTING PENTAGON STRUCTURE The Pentagon was designed by American architect George Bergstrom (1876–1955), and built by general contractor John McShain of Philadelphia. Ground was broken for construction on September 11, 1941, and the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motivating power behind the project; Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the U.S. Army. David J. Witmer replaced Bergstrom as chief architect on April 11, 1941, after Bergstorm resigned due to charges, unrelated to the Pentagon project, of improper conduct while he was president of the American Institute of Architects The Pentagon is the world’s largest office building, with about 6,500,000 sq. ft (600,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq. ft (340,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defence support personnel work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 mi (28.2 km) of corridors. The Pentagon includes a five-acre (20,000 m2) central plaza, which is shaped like a pentagon.
THE FUTURE NONAGON STRUCTURE: The Nonagon will retain the overall internal size as the Pentagon below it, but will be a 9 sided building, instead of a 5 sided one. The existing height of the walls of the Pentagon is 22 metres high and consists of 5 storeys full of offices, in which the numerous employees of the Pentagon are accommodated. Likewise, the Nonagon will be 22 meters high and also consist of 5 floors likewise. This will bring home to everyone that the work of the Department of Peace is equally important as the wok of the Department of Defence. All prize entries for the Leonardo Da Vinci Peace prize must explain in detail how the Nonagon structure will be built so as to cap and sit aside the existing Pentagon structure, and must also explain how a 9 sides building can be made to fit safely and beautifully atop a 5 sides structure. On the very top of the Nonagon will be a purposely built World Peace garden for people to admire the views and enjoy nature at her finest, with trees and shrubs from all over the world, and with cooling fountains for hot summer days. There will also be meditation pavilions and prayer spaces for all world faiths to pray for peace and keep up a steady energy of goodwill for the work inside the Nonagon below.
All necessary facilities for the Nonagon structure to house the new US Department of Peace must be included in the plan, and specified by the architectural design presented. A detailed specification of the interior space design requirement for the Nonagon will be made available to candidates wishing to enter for the prize.
THE LEONARDO DA VINCI DIMENSION: Why Leonardo da Vinci ? Leonardo was a famous Italian artist, inventor, architect, designer, draughtsman, sculptor, mathematician, and scientist, whose work has become the very base line of the ideal of Renaissance genius. The American colonies of North and South America, and then the USA, were themselves born out of the European renaissance and the Americas are named after a fellow Florentine, Amerigo de Vespucci (1454-1512), who like Leonardo was a protegee of the Medici family of cultural and financial patrons running the Florentine democracy in its glory days. Amerigo and Leonardo could have met and discussed ideas together at the Academy in Florence. The necessity of the times mean that Leonardo had to spend time working as a military engineer and technical inventor, both for Lodovico Sforza, the ruler of Milan, which was one of the superpowers of the day, and for Cesare Borgia, the fierce military general working for his father, Pope Alexander Vl. In today’s world, many brilliant inventors, scientists and engineers likewise end up working for the military around the world, spending the best years of their lives designing weapons and high-tech equipment that will end up killing and maiming people all over the world. They also work for high tech military intelligence projects designed to pump out propaganda to weaken and demoralise self-defined “enemies”. But Leonardo’s vision was ultimately one of peace. As a Christian catholic and universal mystic, Leonardo dreamed of a world where the spiritual laws of love and wisdom would one day prevail over a world based on barbarism, cruelty and violence. He dreamed that peace can be furthered through art, science and beauty and the realisation and manifestation of the divine patters that underlie all our lives. He was an expert in sacred geometry and had studied Islamic and Jewish science, Sufism and the Qabalah, as well as advanced Christian philosophy and metaphysics.
The Leonardo Da Vinci Peace Prize has been launched as a project of IIPSGP following the Leonardo Da Vinci Peace Study day in France, and the visit to the Chateau of Amboise and Close Luce where Leonardo lived and died from 1516-1519, having been invited by King Francis 1st, the great renaissance King of France who did so much to boost education, scholarship, learning and the arts in France and Europe. The USA was itself a truly renaissance country, which historically also prizes and values renaissance thinking, and a whole lineage of savants and polymaths like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Buckminster Fuller, Edison, A.G Bell, Tesla, Einstein, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and many others, have contributed in the centuries since its foundation, to the advancement of humanity as whole, by developing numerous excellent inventions and technical and engineering devices. Whereas Leonardo da Vinci only dreamed of flight, the USA has developed the air industry. Whereas Leonardo only sketched ideas for self-moving automobiles, the USA has developed the car industry. The greatest statesmen and leaders of America, such as Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, F.D. Roosevelt, or J.F. Kennedy, have all realised that whereas the USA might have to fight unavoidable wars from time to time, the best long interests of the USA and the planet as a whole, are found in developing and securing peace. Thus the coming into being of the Nonagon and the Department of Peace represents the best brightest dreams of all the greatest visionary American citizens and pioneers. Peace was likewise the vision of the native peoples of North America, and in Deganawidah profound teachings on peace were shared before the coming of the Europeans. Many of the early settlers and pioneers who came to North America likewise dreamed of a country living at peace, such as William Penn. The Nonagon will represent the achievement of all their hopes and goals too.
IMPLICATIONS: Building the Nonagon will represent a major shift for the people of the USA and the world. By recognising that peace is an equally important goal for mankind as defence, it will send a signal to other nations to likewise follow suit. Instead of proving one’s friendship to the American people by match-spending the Pentagon’s massive budget, nations could instead develop their own departments of peace and develop their own peace projects in their own unique cultural contexts. instead of the USA military continuing to strive for strategic military dominance over all other nations, it could realise that the true way to security is via peace, not war. It represents a major shift of consciousness suitable for a third millennium, that shows mankind there is a way out of the current chaos and confusion caused by unsolved military conflicts worldwide. The Nonagon would tackle creatively and imaginatively the necessity to end peacefully (un)civil wars such as have been raging in Syria for too long, and the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict over hegemony in the Holy Land. By building the Nonagon and prioritising peace, the USA would show it is serious about peacebuilding not only in the Middle East, but globally, and in this new mission it would hopefully be joined by its true friends and partners.
PRACTICALITIES: Fully trained and qualified architects and architectural practises are invited to submit their design plans for building the physical infrastructure of the Nonagon. Political lobbying forms and consultancies are invited to submit their plans to ensure the passage of the US Department of Peace Bill, including the wording of the bill. Both prizes will be judged by a professional team of architects and savants organised under the rubric of the IIPSGP. The final announcement will be made in Amboise at Clos Luce where Leonardo lived and died from 1516-1519. The prize will remain open until the building of the Nonagon commences.
GUIDING VISION: It has been well said of Leonardo that “He was like a man who had woken too early in the darkness when everyone else was still asleep” (Dmitri Merezkhkovski, 1901) The same will be said of the Leonardo da Vinci Peace prize and the Nonagon Project, but later, humanity will only ask why it took so long to think of it.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Dr Thomas Daffern, Chair of the Leonardo da Vinci Prize Committee or Jeffrey Gayle, Architectural Adviser to IIPSGP, at IIPSGP, Leonardo da Vinci Peace Prize, 13 Grande Rue, Betete, La Creuse, 23270, France, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com