In the 1980's, many NGO's recognized as the forces of globalization grew stronger, very few local issues and problems were unrelated to global processes. This awareness represented an important paradigm shift in social justice work. International Possibilities Unlimited (IPU) was formed in 1997 to help mobilize people of African descent and to ensure black communities' participation in this new paradigm. IPU believes social and economic injustices can best be solved through global strategies. IPU mobilizes national and international networks to participate in international forums and advocates for social justice, conducts research, provides technical assistance, serves as a clearinghouse for information, and provides avenues for experiential learning.

What we have done recently

  • Organized consultations on civic inclusion and development decision-making in Barbados and Kenya.
  • Co-organized the Environmental Justice Weekend in Durban, which included an International Forum and Toxic Tour.
  • Created several publications on the WCAR including a magazine, newsletters, background information packets and briefing updates.
  • Conducted exchanges between environmental justice activists in the United States and activists in Nigeria, Ecuador and South Africa.

Selected Accomplishments:

Participated on the Emergency National Commission of Inquiry on Environmental and Economic Justice in St. James Parish, Louisiana and wrote the section of the Commission's report that ties the findings to international human rights law.

  • Participated in the December 1998 National Environmental Justice Advisory Council meeting.
  • Assisted residents of Norco, Louisiana after a toxic release by the Shell plant in their neighborhood.
  • Accompanied a delegation from Louisiana to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
  • Wrote the article, "Environmental Devastation at Home and Abroad: The Importance of Understanding the Link", for a Briefing Pack that was disseminated at the United Nations in Geneva.
  • Facilitated meetings between Nigerian and U.S. environmental activists.
  • Participated in the 8th Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific conference in Tahiti and helped draft the resolutions on the environment.
  • Presented a keynote address on environmental racism at a World Council of Churches global conference in Brazil entitled, "Understanding Racism Today."
  • Organized the International Panel for the National Emergency Gathering of Black Community Advocates for Environmental and Economic Justice, held in New Orleans, December 1999.
  • Organized an NGO Briefing on the UN World Conference Against Racism with representatives from the UN, the CERD Committee, State Department and White House in March 2000.
  • Facilitated the participation of a 15-member NGO network in the 1st PrepCom for the World Conference Against Racism in Geneva in May 2000.


International Possibilities Unlimited
8403 Colesville Road (Metro Plaza II) Suite 865
Silver Spring, MD 20910
phone (301) 562-0883
fax (301) 562-8084

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