Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why create a Global Peace Center on Alcatraz Island?
The Alcatraz Conversion Project is a consciousness-raising project, in alignment with the indigenous people's perspective that Alcatraz Island is sacred land. Situated in the center of San Francisco Bay, it occupies a significant place in the minds of the people: we can all see it. We have a choice to look out into the Bay at an old abandoned prison, or create something aesthetically beautiful, which in no uncertain terms will add to the spiritual and psychological well being of the people of the Bay Area.
San Francisco is one of the world's great port cities, well-known for its appreciation of music and the arts, for peace, progressive values, and openness to the diversity of our human family and its sacred traditions. The Global Peace Center is a public statement commensurate with the city and people of San Francisco that will further strengthen its role in the world as a city of peace and enlightened values.
Is this a new idea? When was the Alcatraz Conversion Project Initiated?
The project was initiated in 1978 after a music healing experience in an amphitheater atop Mt. Tamalpais, overlooking Alcatraz and the San Francisco Bay. The original plan for the Project was generated in the form of an inspired vision, which was later recorded and refined. The Project has gone through many levels of evolution over 30 years, maintaining momentum with inspiring artistic events, such as recently at the Palace of Fine Arts, Native American ceremony, and the dissemination of tens of thousands of cards, CDs and DVDs to people around the world. Despite the many intervening years, the original idea of a Global Peace Center as a place that will uplift and enlighten humanity, and its high standard as a visionary and spiritual art project, has always remained steady.
Have actual designs been finalized? Is the picture of the domes and pyramid an accurate representation of what we will see in the middle of the Bay?
The image that has been used to represent the Global Peace Center in the promotional material over the last two decades is based on the original vision. This image is a template to work with; it sets a standard. A certain ideal has been painted in order to clearly indicate the flavor of the Project, and to give a directing concept.
The plans for the Global Peace Center have included domes and pyramids from the very outset, as befitting the original revelation from atop Mt. Tamalpais. Domes and pyramids and certain other structural forms were chosen for their inspiring effect on the human mind. They represent the same geometric laws that have been used in the construction of temples and cathedrals through the history of human civilization. The structures of the Global Peace Center are intended to be sacred, to express a quality of peace and high ideals, and to be expressive of the technological capacities and forward-thinking qualities of this time.
Many variations on the theme are possible. These will be addressed when the project goes into construction planning phases, now still quite some way off, and still pending an initial 'Yes' vote in February. Though actual architectural designs have been drafted in detail, this is a work in progress that will involve significant collaboration as more people and organizations get behind it.
How are Native Americans Involved?
During the 30 years since the original visioning of the Global Peace Center, great care has been taken to understand the sensibilities of, and elicit the support of, the Native American people. The Alcatraz Conversion Project was initiated just 5 years after federal agents ended, on June 11th, 1971, the nineteen-month Indian occupation of Alcatraz, an occupation whose stated goal was to create an ecological and educational center on the Island. This Project has always acknowledged Alcatraz Island as sacred Native American land. In extensive communication over many years, alliances and mutual supports have been forged. Of the eight founding supporters of the project, four are Native Americans, actively representing the specific interests of First Nation peoples.
The Project also continues to be given blessings and support from Dennis Banks, the dynamic co-founder of AIM, (American Indian Movement), and a participant in the 1969-71 occupation of Alcatraz. The Native American community is recognized as an important collaborator in the establishment of the Global Peace Center, and it is very important that the project continues to get its strong support. The Global Peace Center represents First Nation culture and beliefs, as well as the sacred traditions of all peoples.
What is the Relationship between The Alcatraz Conversion Project, The Global Peace Center, and The Light Party?
The Light Party, originally founded as The Human Ecology Party in 1984, is a Wholistic New Political Paradigm dedicated to "Health, Peace and Freedom For All". The Light Party has formulated a 7 Point comprehensive synergistic platform which includes the vision of transforming Alcatraz Island into A (The) Global Peace Center. Da Vid MD, founder of the Light Party and director of The San Francisco Medical Research Foundation and the Global Peace Foundation has been promoting this idea of converting Alcatraz Island into The Global Peace Center locally, nationally and internationally for the past 30 years.
Pending a majority 'Yes!' vote in the city-wide elections of February 2008, what happens next? What are we voting for?
The first and most fundamental step in this project is to bring Alcatraz Island under the administration of the City of San Francisco, from its current position of being administered by the National Parks Service. A majority 'Yes' vote will allow the city to make a policy statement, presentable to Congress through our state and national representatives "... concerning the acquisition of Alcatraz island for the express purpose of building a Global Peace Center".
For such a referendum to reach the floor of Congress, significant public support must be shown. Congress will then vote in session whether or not to pass the proposed resolution. A majority 'Yes' vote will also serve as an indication of deep and broad public support. This allows the Alcatraz Conversion Project to be taken into serious account by local and state government officials, deconstruction/construction firms, architectural firms, cultural organizations, private individuals and businesses. The support of, and cooperation between, these and many other people and groups will be required to bring the Global Peace Center to fruition. A majority 'Yes' vote will show the coordinated will of the people, and take the Alcatraz Conversion Project to its next phase.
If Alcatraz is acquired by the city of San Francisco, who will be in charge of its development?
Though there are many possible administration models for the Alcatraz Conversion Project, the current idea is that it will be administered by an international trust comprised of individuals and organizations in the public and private sectors. Members of city government will obviously play an important role here as well, and naturally many different interests will be represented in the agency that forms to administer the project. The original promoters and organizers of the Global Peace Center have been steadily working for many years to set a tone for the project. We call forward all groups and individuals that are ready to collaborate at a high level of integrity and alignment to the vision originally presented in this campaign.
Is there money for this already? Who will pay for the deconstruction and development on the island?
Public and private sector contributions are seen to be the primary source of funding for the project. Projected groups include the Native American community, the technology sector, the green sector, the business community, the tourist industry, religious groups, private individuals, and numerous international trusts committed solely to supporting global peace-oriented projects. All these groups have common interests well supported by this Project and we consider their broad financial and technical support to be a completely realistic assessment.
Over a period of many years, a significant amount of money will need to be spent in phases, with the main cost being the removal of the prison structures from the Island in an environmentally-friendly way. The actual structures of the Global Peace Center are intended to represent an elegant simplicity, and are projected to present less burden of cost than dismantling what is already there. As the project itself is a statement of common vision and commitment, good will and cooperation, we see this form of financing as being in alignment with the Project's ideals. That is, a Global Peace Center for all by all. A majority 'Yes' vote will bring national and international media coverage as well as increased legitimacy in the public eye. It will open many more doors in regards to this question. For this reason, right now, we are solidly focused on generating a 'Yes' for the February 2008 elections.
What's going to happen on the Island once the Global Peace Center is built?
As the original vision for this project stands, one of the primary structures on the Island will be a large dome which will be used as a high-tech 'temple' for beautiful and enlightening audio/visual experiences and performances. San Francisco happens to be one of a small number of global centers in a burgeoning movement of artists who work with light, color and sound in a way that draws the mind towards higher ideals. In a similar way, high choral music in a cathedral reminds us of the heavens and generates inspiring emotions. The primary theme of all content in this structure, and in truth on the Island as a whole, will be to uplift the minds of the visitors.
The proposed conference center, for its
part, has been modeled as a non-affiliated neutral space for
hosting conferences that promote healthy global culture and
higher ideals, including explorations of human spirituality and
the world's sacred traditions. The conference center alone has
the potential to become an internationally sought-after
destination, and will give even more credence to idea of San
Francisco as the 'Geneva of the West'. Tourist activities will
continue, with the main difference being that tourists will come
to Alcatraz for a different reason than they do today They will
be visiting a site and having an experience that educates,
uplifts and celebrates truly positive qualities of humanity.
Rather than glorifying a troubled past, the Global Peace Center
is designed to be a timely beacon of light for the future.