The first Life Education Centre was established in 1979 by the Reverend Ted Noffs at the Wayside Chapel in Sydney, Australia. The aim was to help children from the age of five (the Centres now work with children as young as three) choose never to be involved in drug abuse. A high-tech centre was created with life-size electronic models of the human body showing arteries, veins and organs; an animated model giraffe who talks and sings; and a wide range of space-age computer-driven modules. Later motorized caravans were built, enabling Life Education Centres to travel to schools throughout Australia on a regular basis. In 1992, Life Education International was established to foster the spread of Centres throughout the world and to promote preventive education. Life Education mobile units now also operate in New Zealand, the USA, UK and Thailand. The programme impresses the following recognition upon children: "Your body and your mind are precious. They are unique. You have remarkable talents, wonderful skills." Children are taught how their minds and bodies work, and about the effects of food and chemicals upon their health and well-being. At 1995, approximately 3 million children worldwide had participated in the programme.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.