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Resolution for a new Drug Policy

World Psychedelic Forum
Change of Consciousness:
A Challenge of the 21st Century

Basel, Switzerland. At the World Psychedelic Forum, which will take place from 21st to 24th March 2008 at the Congress Center Basel, more than fifty experts from all over the world will inform about and discuss the multi-dimensional aspects of consciousness expanding substances, and will present their tremendous potential for self-awareness and for the change of consciousness.

Psychedelics have been widely used for thousands of years nearly everywhere on the planet. Psychoactive plants have been central to most ancient sacred rituals and primitive medical treatments. They have been worshipped in all cultures as "Plants of the Gods" and considered as mediators between human beings and the universe, linking the physical to the spiritual dimensions of existence.
In January 2006 the International Symposium "LSD – Problem Child and Wonder Drug" took place at the occasion of the 100th birthday of Dr. Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD. Several thousand visitors and more than 200 media people from 37 countries gathered in Basel to hear lectures from scientists and historians, to exchange ideas and disseminate information. It was the biggest conference of its kind worldwide. For the first time since the turbulent 1960s, a wide range of psychedelic issues and topics has been brought back to public discussion and re-evaluation.
The World Psychedelic Forum will expand upon this renewed interest, presenting a unique opportunity for experts, researchers, and interested persons from all around the globe, to exchange views and hear presentations of the latest research on the value of these remarkable psychedelic substances in medicine, psychology, science, religion, culture and the arts.
The term "psychedelic" is derived from the Greek "psyche" (soul) and "delos" (manifest), and means a state in which the soul manifests itself. It was coined in 1956 by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond, in a now-famous exchange with writer Aldous Huxley; both recognized the potential of these compounds for self-awareness, and their correspondence to psychoactive plants held sacred for millennia.
Albert Hofmann experienced the extraordinary mental effects of LSD in the context of his work as a chemist in 1943. He so was placing a cornerstone for new insights and knowledge about by the time unexplored consciousness expanding substances. The following decade saw the publication of thousands of research papers about the nature and the effects of LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. But when LSD got out of the laboratories and "out of control", to be used for self-exploration by 1960s youth, Western governments generally declared psychoactive substances a menace, claimed it had no psychological, educational or therapeutic value, and linked it to dangerous and addictive narcotics. With a compliant mainstream media that sensationalized and parroted the official drug policy, the "authorities" not only prohibited research on these sacred compounds but criminalized the users, a situation that has prevailed ever since, except for example in the Netherlands and in Switzerland, and although inroads have been made in recent years that will be one of the many themes of this conference.
The classic psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin from magic mushrooms, mescaline from peyote and ayahuasca – the Amazonian "Vine of the Soul" – are not drugs in the medical sense but belong, according to Albert Hofmann "concerning their chemical structure and their pharmacological effects, to the sacred substances, re-discovered through LSD, and used in ritual settings for thousands of years." They are characterized by the fact that they are neither toxic nor addictive, and have the power to bestow benefits of both practical and transcendental value.
The global youth movement, that peaked some forty years ago with the "Summer of Love", was fueled by psychedelics. A historical view shows, that the "consciousness-expanded" hippie counterculture exerted an enduring influence on society. Without the soul-opening and sensory stimulus of psychedelics, many of the social, cultural and ecological advances taken for granted today would be absent from our lives.
At the World Psychedelic Forum more than fifty experts from all over the world will bear witness to, and shine light upon the multi-dimensional psychedelic experience with its tremendous potential for expanding consciousness and for self-awareness. We will hear of the renewal of research that foretells a promising future when psychedelic plants and their synthetic derivatives will reclaim their destined position as incomparably valuable tools for individual and collective evolution and thus supporting the needed consciousness change for humanity.

The general headline for Friday, 21st March will be The Psychedelic Experience: Opening the Doors of Perception

On Saturday, 22nd March, we will shed light on The Legacy of the Shamans: Ancient Traditions and New Dimensions

Sunday, 23rd March is all about Change of Consciousness: A Challenge of the 21st Century

The World Psychedelic Forum welcomes the elite of the international consciousness researchers, among them Rick Doblin, Stanislav Grof, Ralph Metzner, Jeremy Narby, Daniel Pinchbeck, Thomas B. Roberts, Christian Rätsch, as well as Alexander and Ann Shulgin. But also prominent artists and contemporary witnesses like "Mountain Girl" Carolyn Garcia or visionary painter Alex Grey will come to Basel, to give account about their personal experiences with psychedelics and its influence on art and culture. In addition more than 30 papers and dissertations from young scientists from various countries will be presented. LSD discoverer Albert Hofmann will attend the conference as a guest of honor.


Program Flow
Each morning will begin with a "Tune-in", a meditative-musical start into the program. Afterwards, as well as in the early afternoons, the plenary events "Panorama" will be presented: with short talks a moderator and several speakers will illustrate the day’s topics in order to give the audience reference points for easy navigation through the dense program of the day. Before noon, in the early and in the late afternoon, 40 and 90-minute seminars, panels, and workshops will be staged. There will be three blocks of 3 to 4 presentations each. At the end of most lectures the speakers will be available in the foyer of the Congress Center for follow-up discussions or individual conversations.
A rich supporting program will be presented in the foyer of the Congress Center from Friday to Sunday, with discussions, exhibits, shows and films.
On Monday, 24 March, day- and half-day seminars will take place with Alex and Allyson Grey, Stanislav Grof, Ralph Metzner and Manuel Schoch.

Patrons are the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), USA, The Beckley Foundation, UK, consulting the UN for drug matters, and the Swiss Medical Association for Psycholytic Therapy (SAEPT).

The World Psychedelic Forum will be presented by the Gaia Media Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the communication and networking of information for a holistic and up to date understanding of our existence, and the potential of human consciousness, and its expanded states. Under the motto The Spirit of Basel the foundation organizes local and international events.


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Spirit - Congresses and Events
Neuweilerstrasse 15
CH - 4054 Basel
P +41 61 302 12 36
F +41 61 383 97 21

Press Office
World Psychedelic Forum
Neuweilerstrasse 15
CH 4054 Basel
P + 41 61 383 97 22
F + 41 61 383 97 21

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