Rather than really knowing themselves and their own qualities, people often based their sense of identity on their interactions with others. This results in a perception of the self based upon the way they would like to be seen by others or the way they think others see them it is therefore no surprise that many people base their identity on factors such as their occupation, etiquette, dress, nationality, colour, sex, age, social status, ideologies and wealth. As these factors are to some extent transitory, such a sense of identity required continual maintenance, nurturing and protection. Much energy is then devoted to establishing and defending this identity and life can become an external search for the reinforcement of personal self-worth, too often overlooking the fundamental goodness that exists in every human being.
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.