World Academy of Art and Science

World Academy of Art & Science


World Academy of Art and Science


The World Academy of Art and Science is composed of 730 individual Fellows from diverse cultures, nationalities, and intellectual disciplines, chosen for eminence in art, the natural and social sciences, and the humanities. Established in 1960 by distinguished individuals concerned by the impact of the explosive growth of knowledge, its activities seek to address global issues related to the social consequences and policy implications of knowledge. The Academy serves as a forum for reflective scientists, artists, and scholars to discuss the vital problems of humankind independent of political boundaries or limits, whether spiritual or physical — a forum where these problems can be discussed objectively, scientifically, globally, and free from vested interests or regional attachments, to arrive at solutions that affirm universal human rights and serve the interests of all humanity. WAAS is founded on faith in the power of original and creative ideas — Real Ideas with effective power — to change the world. Its motto is “Leadership in thought that leads to action.”

The spirit of the Academy can be expressed in the words of Albert Einstein: “The creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind.” Its Fellows share the ambition (as the Founders said in their 1960 Manifesto) “to rediscover the language of mutual understanding,” surmounting differences in tradition, language, and social structure which, unless fused by creative imagination and continuous effort, dissolve the latent human commonwealth in contention and conflict.

Scientific discovery and technological innovation keep developing instruments of unparalleled power for fulfillment or destruction. We humans, more and more, are taking into our own hands the future evolution of our bodies, our minds, the civilizations we create, and the very planet we inhabit. So it is imperative that we guide what we do by what we know, and guide what we know by what we value. The aim of the Academy’s founders was to function as “an informal WORLD UNIVERSITY at the highest scientific and ethical level, in which deep human understanding and the fullest sense of responsibility will meet.”

The World Academy is incorporated in the State of California and is recognized by the US Internal Revenue Service as a tax exempt private foundation under section 501(c)(3).


The World Academy of Art and Science is an association of committed individuals drawn from diverse cultures, nationalities, occupations and intellectual pursuits spanning the arts, humanities and sciences, conscious of the profound social consequences and policy implications of knowledge, and united by a common aspiration to address the urgent challenges and emerging opportunities confronting humanity today. Our mission is to promote cross-disciplinary dialogue generative of original ideas and integrated perspectives that comprehend the root causes and effective remedies for our common problems, while furthering those currents of thought and social movement that affirm the value of human dignity and equitable development. The Academy dedicates itself to the pursuit of creative, catalytic ideas that can provide to present and future generations enlightened leadership in thought that leads to effective action.


The idea of founding an international association for exploring major concerns of humanity in a nongovernmental context grew out of many conversations that took place among leading scientists and intellectuals in the years following World War II. Prominent among this group were people such as Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer who had played a part in the development of the atomic bomb and were deeply concerned about how it and other scientific advances might be used – or misused.

This informal project took a major step forward in 1956, when a meeting – The First International Conference on Science and Human Welfare – was held in Washington, D. C. The organizers were two American scientists: Richard Montgomery Field of Princeton, who had worked for many years as chairman of an international committee on the social values of science; and John A. Fleming, former President of the International Council of Scientific Unions. At the end of the conference, participants agreed to take steps toward the formation of a World Academy, and elected an International Preparatory Committee for that purpose. Its members were: (from France) Pierre Chouard, George Laclavére and G. Le Lionnaise; (from the United Kingdom) Ritchie Calder, H. Munro Fox and Joseph Needham; and (from the United States) Robert Oppenheimer.

The Academy was formally founded (and its first officers elected) in 1960. They were: as President, Lord John Boyd Orr of Scotland; as Vice Presidents, Hermann Joseph Muller of the United States and Hugo Ostvald of Sweden; and, as Secretary General, Hugo Boyko of Israel. They published the following statement

For more information about WAAS please visit their website.